I get many emails especially from young women asking about feminism, and who inspired my feminism.
In another post I quoted the poet Jessica Horn about her mothers influence on her feminism. And personally, her words resonate.
I was raised by a woman that I have come to recognise as a revolutionary mother, who used the act of mothering as a process of education and aﬃrmation for the minds and sensibilities of her children. From this upbringing I learned that the real catalyst for liberation is neither force nor discourse, but the revolutionary power of love.
However, people wondering who inspired my feminism are not looking for my mother.
Truth is, it was a man that made me realise that I already was a feminist. He was my professor in ‘Gender and Popular Media’ in university in Sweden, I believe the year was 2001, I was in my early 20s and in need of a devoted feminist like him to utter the magic words.
But anyway, people are not looking for him either.
They are looking for these women and for feminists such as Angela Davis, Amina Mama, Simone de Beavouir, bell hooks, Shirin Ebadi, Anais Nin, Ifi Amadiume, Gloria Steinem, Oyeronke Oyewumi and Ntozake Shange and many more.
One of the prominent black feminists is the legendary poet and author Ntozake Shange and I’ve just watched this discussion with her and Michaela Angela Davis. The women speak of of Shange’s ‘for colored girls’ who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuff, its adaptation into the film For Colored Girls, black feminism and plenty more recently at The Brooklyn Museum in New York. Shange has suffered a stroke and her speech is uneven but it’s so worth watching anyway. Read the rest and watch the clips @ Parlour
In conclusion, it’s not ‘who’ as much as ‘what’ because feminism is not about ‘you’ as much as it’s about ‘all of us’ and about critically engaging with patriarchy as a system that oppresses ‘all of us’.