The present study aims to make an elaborate study on Alice Walker’s The Color Purple on an ecofeminist platform. Essentially, Afro-American women belong to the most jeopardized group among all humans as they are both Blacks in a racist society and a woman in the patriarchal society. They are left with no choice other than yield to the affliction and torment for centuries together Walker reproves that the earth has become the nigger of the world and will assuredly undo us if we don’t learn to care for it, revere it, and even worship it. . In an interview with John O’Brien Walker admits that she is committed to the cause of black women but equally to the cause of
The coloured people are always viewed as folks who should endure violence and pain even at home. Toni Morrison illuminates on the sufferings of black females in a white society in The Bluest Eye. This novel “…shows racism’s damaging effects on the black community at large and on black families” (Kubitschek, 27). In The Bluest Eye, Pecola Breedlove realizes the supremacy of white society and longs to have the features of white females. She prays God to give the bluest eye in the world.
Winifred Morgan’s article, “Gender-Related Difference in the Slave Narratives of Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass”, examines multiple fundamental differences between male and female slave narratives. Morgan says, “However, given the pervasive impact of the ‘social organization of the relationship between sexes’, gender influenced even the way in which bondage was experienced; men and women experienced it in different ways.” (n.pag) Women in slavery not only faced dehumanization, but sexual harassment and rape as well. A slave woman dealing with these aspects daily could break down their life into pieces and destroy their personhood for their whole life. Jacobs writes, “The remembrance fills me with sorrow and shame. It pains me to tell you the truth, and I will do it honestly, let it cost me what it may.
In this monolitic and exclusionary feminist arena, African American women who engaged in feminist activisim, were “often expected to choose between identifying as blacks or women” (McCluskey, 1994, pg 1), at this historical momentum, the two emancipationary movements were thought to be exclusive of one another. Black feminism emerged in the effort to address the struggle of the black woman; Dorothy King perfectly condense the subversion of the current order by stating in a powerful statement in a rally: “I refuse to choose. And by that I mean I refuse to choose between being black and being a woman. Men don't have to choose. I don't know why women have to choose.
Alice Walker, in fact, uses the imagery of the quilt to suggest what womanism is all about. Dee approaches culture by decontextualising it, while Maggie and Mama relate to it with a kind of ‘organic criticality’. The former stance is mere rhetoric and the later one is womanist. In one of her interviews, Alice Walker identifies three cycles of Black Woman she would explore in her woman’s writing: 1. First are those “who were cruelly exploited, spirits and bodies mutilated, relegated to the narrowest and confining lives, sometimes driven to madness”.
Afro-American women writers present how racism permeates the innermost recesses of the mind and heart of the blacks and affects even the most intimate human relationships. While depicting the corrosive impact of racism from social as well as psychological perspectives, they highlight the human cost black people have to pay in terms of their personal relationships, particularly the one between mother and daughter. Women novelists’ treatment of motherhood brings out black mothers’ pressures and challenges for survival and also reveals their different strategies and mechanisms to deal with these challenges. Along with this, the challenges black mothers have to face in dealing with their adolescent daughters, who suffer due to racism and are heavily influenced by the dominant value system, are also underlined by these writers. They portray how a black mother teaches her daughter to negotiate the hostile, wider world, and prepares her to face the problems and challenges boldly and confidently.
Black women faced constant sexism in the Black Liberation Movement. The movement, though ostensibly for the liberation of the black race, was in word and deed for the liberation of the black male. Freedom was equated with manhood and the freedom of blacks with the redemption of black masculinity. The lives of African-American women have been critically affected by racism, sexism and classism, which are systems of societal and psychological restriction. The racist, sexist and classist structure the American society compartmentalizes its its various ethnic groups, denigrates the colored as inferior and characterizes males and females as center and margin respectively.
The subordination of African women supplied the British with the “legal foundation for slavery and the future definitions of racial difference.” This is seen in the Virginia Slave Codes, in which black femininity was harshly policed through laws that outlined racial differences and stripped black women of privileges, effectively blocking them from power. The Virginia Slave Codes explicitly denied black women of basic human rights, rights that white people enjoyed on an everyday basis. In every colony, European women and men lived a range of lives, from poor indentured servants to wealthy aristocrats, whereas black women were subjugated to the lowest of ranks. Because they were born in a black, female body, their status was disregarded and they were sentenced to generations of discrimination. The brutal and, oftentimes, fatal exploitation of black women during colonial America cannot be overstated as this exploitation has remained present in the politics and social life of black
Modern feminism is prevalent in movements such as “Me Too” and “Say Her Name” to diminish sexism and oppression felt on all fields. Modern feminism has been made to destroy the history of racism, homophobia and cisgender embedded principles of historical feminism. One of the most influential and intersectional feminist works are that of Audrey Lorde. In Audrey Lorde’s book, Sister Outsider she explains the sexism felt by black lesbian women and the intersectional oppressions and the lack of social acceptance. Lorde explains the homophobia she faces in the black community, the racism she feels in the LGBT community and the intense homophobia and racism embedded in