Get Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism PDF

By bell hooks

A vintage paintings of feminist scholarship, Ain't I a girl has develop into a must-read for all these attracted to the character of black womanhood. interpreting the influence of sexism on black ladies in the course of slavery, the devaluation of black womanhood, black male sexism, racism between feminists, and the black woman's involvement with feminism, hooks makes an attempt to maneuver us past racist and sexist assumptions. the result's not anything in need of groundbreaking, giving this publication a serious position on each feminist scholar's bookshelf.

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Additional resources for Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism

Sample text

Sexism was an integral part of the social and political order white colonizers brought with them from their European homelands, and it was to have a grave impact on the fate of enslaved black women. In its earliest stages, the slave trade focused primarily on the importation of laborers; the emphasis at that time was on the black male. The black female slave was not as valued as the black male slave. On the average, it cost more money to buy a male slave than a female slave. The scarcity of workers coupled with the rela­ tively few numbers of black women in American colonies caused some white male planters to encourage, persuade, and coerce immigrant white females to engage in sexual relation­ ships with black male slaves as a means of producing new workers.

Those women who did not willingly respond to the sexual overture of masters and overseers were brutalized and punished. Any show of resistance on the part of enslaved females increased the determination of white owners eager to demonstrate their power. In an account of her slave experience, Ann, a young mulatto woman, documents the struggle for power enacted by white masters, overseers, whippers, and the female slave. In her case it was the paid whipper who planned to rape her. He demanded that she remove all her clothing prior to the whipping.

A case appeared before the Virginia courts in 1761 in a dispute over a will that included a provision to free a female slave Jenny if she bore ten live children. Some enslaved women desired pregnancy, for they saw it as a means of obtain­ ing certain advantages, the primary one being a lightening of the work load. Frances Kemble in her Journal o f a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839 surmised: On the birth of a child certain additions of clothing and an additional weekly ration are bestowed on the family; and these matters small as they may seem, acted as powerful inducements to creatures who have not of the restraining influence activating them which belongs to the parental relation among all other people, whether civilized or savage.

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