Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks

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 girls 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 wanting groundbreaking, giving this e-book a serious position on each feminist scholar's bookshelf.

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

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The slaveowner’s encouragement of mating between black women and men led to the establishment of a black slave sub-culture. Within the black slave sub-culture a similar sexual politics emerged. Initially, slave women were compelled by their masters to mate indiscriminately. It was not uncommon for a master to grant a favored black male slave the privilege of marrying a slave girl or woman of his choice, even if she was a reluctant partner. This practice was not successful. Resistance to forced mating often led to such social upheavals that most masters deemed it wiser to allow black slave women and men to choose their own partners.

Moreover, they have all of them a most distinct and perfect knowledge of their value to their owner as property; and a woman thinks, and not so much amiss that the more frequently she adds to the number of her master’s livestock by bringing new slaves into the world, the more claims she will have upon his consideration and good will. Breeding was oppressive to all fertile black slave women. Undernourished, overworked women were rarely in a physical condition that would allow for safe easy childbirth.

Given the harsh conditions of slave life, any suggestion that enslaved black women had a choice as to their sexual partner is ludicrous. Since the white male could rape the black female who did not willingly respond to his 26 AIN’T I A WOMAN demands, passive submission on the part of the enslaved black women cannot be seen as complicity. 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.

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