This post was inspired by a comment that my reader had to this post. https://notyourgirlfriday.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/so-black-women-hate-and-are-jealous-of-white-women-and-are-too-bitter-to-support-feminism/
I didn’t post the entire comment but I did post this part of it. Blackfemaleculture writes:
The BW who wrote the post you are quoting from is a mammy and an idiot. And not just for supporting those who don’t give a rat’s crap about her or anyone who shares her ethnicity, but because she is willing to throw other BW under the bus to curry favor with such people. If I were going to swear my allegiance to a group of people, it would be one that actually has my back. I don’t need fair weather friends / alliances. None of us d
The biggest thing that stands out to me was when she used the word mammy. I honestly don’t think I could have used a better phrase than this. When I think about it, that is exactly the type of relationship that black women have with feminism. They are they Mammy’s. Further I have to call out “womanism” because to me it is a shell of something that had potential to be good for black women. In reality black women became Womanism’s wet nurse.
Let’s talk about how black women became feminism’s Mammy.
Dependable – Like a good mammy, and although feminists like to pretend black women are oh so unsupportive when really black woman have always been the mammy to the movement and were dependable. I think some people like to forget how during the 70’s there were black women who supported feminism. Admittedly it wasn’t all black women but think about this, if a significant number of black women hadn’t supported feminism, black male /female relationships wouldn’t where they are today. Supposedly from what black men say (although I do consider it bullshit) black men wouldn’t hate black women if they hadn’t defected to the “dark side” and supported the “I don’t need a man”meme that feminism supposedly was/is. So from at least one part of the population there is some*albeit ridiculous* acknowledgement that black women were involved in the movement. (although some bm try to say that wanting equal pay and reproductive rights is “defecting” but w/e)
Nevertheless black women were dependable and joined the movement. Classic signs of a good mammy.
Let’s look at another way that black women became the Mammy of feminism.
They do the dirty work. When it’s time for fat acceptance it’s time to fly in black women who are previously relegated to sidelines/sidekick, (While white feminists get to play desirable roles. (I’ve written about this before) Or if there is any character that needs to “break molds” black women classically get the dirty work of being othered ( and given false acceptance for being progressive) meanwhile other races of women get to stay in the safe area and play roles that while may “ pressure them to live up to a standard” but still ends up in the long run. In the end black women have paved the way for other races to get feminist benefits that in the end black women, because of racism won’t get to enjoy. If you have seen the movie Pitch Perfect they had a black, overweight, lesbian (butch dressing woman) which if you are a butch lesbian I’m not indicting you because that’s not the point. This isn’t an indictment on sexual orientation. This is to point out a trend. In the movie it was made a joke that they thought she was a man only to find out she wasn’t. (which considering black women’s history and the jokes for women who aren’t butch lesbians and the propensity for the media to make black women asexual or treat them like men in wigs I’m not laughing) In this world all black lesbians are butch not femmes. Or if they’re not a lesbian they are completely asexual. But it’s clear that when there are lesbians they are always the masculine (never feminine) woman that craves gentle white women (pretty much what happened in the movie). Because black women are just like every other MAN who just *loves* white female flesh. What I want to know is this: If being a butch lesbian is something to aspire to, why are black women always the ones assigned that role? Why aren’t there an equal number of supposedly desirable rolls for black women? Why are the black women always assigned the masculine role. AND NOTHING ELSE? Further why aren’t the majority of white women ever cast in this role? Why do we always see ( and are pushed to accept ) roles for black women like Mercedes on Glee, who doesn’t care about how overweight she is meanwhile white feminists get to women like Rachel on Glee to look at. Why is the only representation of black women lesbian, masculine, fat, or unattractive, or all of the above? Why aren’t they ever desirable femme lesbians, or desirable straight black women?
I’ll give you the answer like a good mammy these women are supposed to do the hard work ( ie be characters that are “ groundbreaking” in a time where there is no acceptance ) they are letting white (and other women of color) pretend that they are accepting ( because like they claim “ there’s nothing wrong with the being (fillin in the blank)) while they get the high horse of being desirable. Just like a good ol’ mammy they do the work while Scarlett O Hara gets to have fun.
No reciprocity- Even worse than the other is there is no return. Like a good mammy black women never receive anything in return. They are “treated like family” just like many white people thought of their mammy’s in the old days except not only are black women (like the old mammy’s ) still treated like dirt with racism, there is no time for black women to get anything back after their hard work. Instead like a mammy black women are treated as if they have no wants needs or desires, and if it is acknowledged it is well know that white feminist (just like the people with mammies in the old days) aren’t going to defer their dreams, wants, hopes, and desires, to a simple black mammy. Black women feminists are supposed to do/ support…. they are NOT supposed to ask, think, feel, experience pain etc.
Treated like family… but not really. People claimed to love their Mammy’s. They claimed they were family. Similar to the way non black feminists like to say the care about ALL women. But with a Mammy that obviously isn’t true because they were still thought of as inferior and you simply don’t treat a mammy like a non living, being if you truly care about someone. Same as if you claim to care about black women in feminism you simply DON’T relegate them to the sidelines while they do what you say and then use them like a tool when you’re ready. You also don’t ignore real problems they may have ( like racism) you would be concerned and try to help.
Only there to listen- Like any good mammy black women became great listeners in the feminist movement and just like a mammy there is never any return. We must listen to the rants and raves of white feminists about the white male patriarchy and how much the men (that they still marry/ mate/ birth mind you) are just oh so terrible. Meanwhile when black women complain they are told to hush or completely ignored. Really…. could you imagine if in Gone With the Wind the mammy (or any mammy who is supposed to be like family) took a seat and started complaining about her problems? Why I don’t think Scarlet O Hara character would know (or care) what to do. Instead black women would are looked at as if they are insane when they complain about sexist black men or told that they probably have less body issues because they don’t have to live up to standards (forgetting that the standards are racist and in their favor), or told that black men can’t be sexist because of racism, or simply shrugged at. As the mammy of feminism black women are there to listen while white women complain about white men (or whatever while male related problem of the month) until they go back and suck them dry (forgetting that they are benefitting greatly from such terrible men.) People only care about them because it is one sided, like a true fairweather friend they can have a living springboard but they don’t have to do anything. But imagine if the springboard started talking back or diminish their problems. Why… look out!
On to Womanism.
How black women became “womanisms” wet nurse…
I’ve always had a problem with Womanism. Simply because of the fact that it is basically is white feminism in a different name. Except in a way it’s kinda worse. Because now instead of black women trying focus solely on themselves, in an effort to be “inclusive” unlike that evil feminism. Black women have to include everyone. This includes black men (lol) gay white/black men (who despite what you think still have privilege because they are white and male or just a male) , white lesbians (who still have privilege because they’re white) “Women of color” who have shown time and time again that a lot of them can be more racist than white people, Men of color (who again still have male privilege),people who are able bodied, transgendered people, etc.
And I’m sure that these are worthy causes. Except that black women can’t handle it all. Nobody can. I sure don’t see white feminists attempting such a feat or black male activists for that matter. Because it’s simply NOT possible. Instead this movement becomes one big campaign to validate everyone. Except when the campaign is helping people who already have privilege, because of that privilege black women are again forgotten. Just like a wet nurse people line up to suck at the teat of black women’s movement where they get validation for all of the racist/ sexist / whatever bullshit that happens in their lives (without having to have the balls of calling out whoever(although usually it ALWAYS come back to Ye olde white man) instead of doing it themselves. Those same Asian/ white/ Latina/ women who may have treated you like dirt under feminism with their privilege can now come to womanism. Those same sexist black/ Asian/latino men who cat called and harassed you on the street are now protected… by you. Those same racist/sexist gay white men (it is possible) and the same (racist) white lesbians ( you’d be surprise at what I’ve seen…again it is possible) can come straight over to womanism and VOMIT ALL OVER YOU. Again. But Yay! “Inclusion”.
These womanist proponents are the same ones who don’t realize why it’s not fair to have biracial people be the SOLE speakers for the black experience. And let’s not even bring up the fact that there already is a movement that covers everyone. It’s called humanism.
Womanism fell under the great mistake (that may black women do) of trying to be everyone’s defender and ended up still in the mammy/ wet nurse role. Black women (at this point) don’t have the political power to protect everyone when race and gender already put black women behind. But like a wet nurse “womanism” allows everyone to get fed at the proverbial teat except black women.
I would have liked to have movement that focused on black women. (That is where BWE and the like usually come in because like others they don’t claim to be able to defend everyone and acknowledge that it’s simply not possible.)
Finally I would like to say in the case of Womanism/Feminsm the biggest way that black women became the mammy/wet nurse was because ultimately they settled into a toxic relationship that gives nothing back and in fact asks to give up benefits that ‘supporters” are benefiting from. And like I’ve said before I don’t expect people to give up privilege… nobody sane would. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be a Mammy/ wet nurse/ general all around girl friday. That’s simply insanity.