By bell hooks

A vintage paintings of feminist scholarship, Ain't I a girl has turn into a must-read for all these drawn 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 severe position on each feminist scholar's bookshelf.

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

Example text

They valued them as wives and mothers, they sentimental­ ized over them; they congratulated themselves on their enlightened attitude toward them. But they did not (and they do not) particularly like them. The shift away from the image of white woman as sinful and sexual to that of white woman as virtuous lady occurred at the same time as mass sexual exploitation of enslaved black women— just as the rigid sexual morality of Victorian England created a society in which the extolling of woman as mother and helpmeet occurred at the same time as the formation of a mass underworld of prostitution.

Commenting on her mistress’ attitude toward the sexual exploitation of black women, Linda Brent wrote: I was soon convinced that her emotions arose from anger and wounded pride. She felt that her marriage vows were desecrated, her dignity insulted; but she had no compassion for the poor victim of her husband’s perfidy. She pitied herself as a martyr; but she was incapable of feeling for the condition of shame and misery in which her unfortunate, helpless slaves were placed. The Grimke women sympathized with the plight of black females but Victorian social convention governing behavior did not allow them to graphically expose many of the cruel acts inflicted upon black slave women by white men.

Although it in no way dim­ inishes the suffering and oppressions of enslaved black men, it is obvious that the two forces, sexism and racism, intensified and magnified the sufferings and oppressions of black women. The area that most clearly reveals the differentiation between the status of male slaves and female slaves is the work area. The black male slave was primarily exploited as a laborer in the fields; the black female was exploited as a laborer in the fields, a worker in the domestic household, a breeder, and as an object of white male sexual assault.

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