Note from BW of Brazil: In today’s post, Viviane de Paula delves into a topic that springs up here from time to time: the need address specific issues of black women within feminists circles. We all know that we live in a sexist world, but what many if not most (all?) white women don’t seem to get is how black women must face this form of oppression in combination with another form of oppression that white women simply don’t have to deal with: racism. As much as white women have legitimacy in pointing out sexist male privilege that seeks to silence the feminine, white women often don’t acknowledge their privilege of being THE standard of femininity in the not only the media but in the social consciousness of Western nations. White women are not the base of the social pyramid. White women are not passed over in the realm of matrimony because of their color as are 50% of black Brazilian women who are single. White women don’t face widespread stereotyping based on race that projects their image in only a few select ways. Which is why black women tend view the world in a number of ways, including through the lens of prejudice. But, some people will never get it!
“You all see prejudice at everything”: the silence of black women in feminist movements
by Viviane de Paula
In recent months I have heard more frequency and indignation the following sentence: “you see prejudice in everything.” It was not just one or two people, but almost all my social circle and family. I began to review my criticism and my opinions, rethinking if I really “saw prejudice in everything.”
I realize that for most people with whom I live, racist discourses of media and society in general, are common and unpretentious, that is, only a “thing” in my head. In one of my recent discussions, I raised the case of the former Globeleza girl Nayara Justino. I was, in a circle of colleagues, feminists including white women. In 2014, Nayara suffered several criticisms of an extremely racist and sexist character, above all, by not fitting into the standards of “mulatologia” (mulatology). That’s right: as if we needed an area of knowledge to discover black women, or rather black (and beautiful) women. No, I don’t see racism in everything. I don’t not need “mulatólogos” (mulatologists). No black person needs them.
Sometimes there is no space, particular and specific, for one to establish an agenda for black feminism in feminist movements. Although for us – black women, activists and feminists – proclaiming that sexism against the black woman is crueler, certain feminist groups come to disregard this fact. Minimizing the struggle of these movements against the sexist discourses and attitudes is not the goal, but to reflect on the natural need to listen to the voice of the black woman.
“Black women are hyper-sexualized, but white women are too.” Yes, but this issue goes much further.
The experience of oppression is given, above all, by the position that we occupy in a matrix of domination in which race, gender and social class are related in different perspectives. It’s not difficult to note that the black woman in an unequal, racist and sexist society, experiences oppression in a very distinct place.
I see a certain reluctance on the part of white feminists to conceive relevance to black feminism within the hegemonic feminist movement. The voice of the black woman, even within these movements, is silenced, as if we were too dramatic, seeing too much, hearing too much: however, among so many, this is just another way of silencing.
“We all go through the same thing.” No, we don’t. The black feminist movement has its peculiarities, omitting them therefore contributes to the deconstruction of the whole struggle of a people, blacks, black women in society. When we talk about domestic violence, 60% of cases involve black women. In the media, the representation of the black woman is the “mulata gostosa” (“hot mulata”), “do bumbum grande” (“with the big butt”) contributes directly to strengthening the discourse that black women are more sexually active, more provocative, “hotter”. In this manner, refusing any kind of harassment is not socially accepted, generating, often times, reasons for insults and even physical violence.
Since colonization, rape culture has been disseminated by the discourse that we are “um país miscigenado” (“a mixed-race country”), so here there would be no discrimination.” The body of the black woman was considered an object, and today it’s no different. Why doesn’t Globo TV extend the “mulatologia” (mulatology) to other races? Aren’t we in a mixed-race country? Well, then.
When we talk about equal working conditions for men and women, what women are we talking about? When you see a job advertisement which states “mulheres com boa aparência” (women with good appearance/women that look good)”, what women are we talking about? When it comes to the Brazilian standard of beauty, what women are we talking? When discussing the marginalization of women, what women are we talking about?
Racist and sexist discourse that I hear every day go beyond what is clear in our eyes and, perhaps, the problem of society is looking beyond the opacity, the obscure, beyond what is transparent.
No, I don’t see too. I don’t see prejudice in everything.
It was always there. Close your eyes and see it.
Source: Blogueiras Negras