by Guest Contributor Ope Bukola, originally published at Zora & Alice
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post that discussed the problem I feel feminism poses for a lot of women, among them black women.
An argument that played out this past weekend in the “lady blogosphere” offered a good example of the problem. It started last week when, in The Guardian, Womanist Musings‘ Renee Martin wrote a piece titled “I’m not a feminist (and there is no but).” Renee was responding to an article by Chloe Angyal, a writer for Feministing, in which Chloe argued that young women should boldly proclaim themselves as feminist. Renee’s post rejected what she describes as a “white feminist movement”, represented by college “women’s studies” curricula and by blogs like Feministing, which do a poor job of representing women of color.
So far, so good – a friendly, if somewhat esoteric, disagreement between two women who both clearly care about the status of women. Things got really interesting when the mega-blog Jezebel picked up Renee’s article and criticized her for ignoring the women of color write for the publications she disparages. The comment threads quickly devolved into an “us vs. them” with readers mostly divided along black and white racial lines. One commenter wrote what I felt before I even clicked the link to the Jezebel post: “My urge to comment swelled when I first read the post, and then I thought to myself, “Self, take cover and just wait for the shitstorm.” Read the Post Femme-fights: ‘Feminists, Womanists’ Battle Across Racial Lines