ATR 77- Feminism and Women of Color – 08/07/2007 – Submit an Audio Comment: 206-203-3983

Carmen and Latoya discuss why women of color sometimes feel ambivalent about feminism.

Overly opinionated and a prime candidate for MAA (Media Addicts Anonymous), freelance writer and blogger Latoya Peterson lives, learns, loves, and blogs – and then wakes up each morning to do it all over again. She currently contributes to online gaming magazine Cerise, and contributes weekly posts to Racialicious.com. She is also the head of content development at www.entersoundbooth.com, and blogs about hip-hop culture as PlentyProphylactics. Latoya also maintains two blogs of her own housed through her website, www.alteregomaniacs.com. Skilled in interviewing, creative non-fiction, and editorial content, Latoya Peterson spends her time researching trends and obscure connections between topics. Current projects include Messaging in the Media (an analysis of gender messaging through magazines), a project that analyzes the global influence of hip-hop culture, and a short project on trends in manga.

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7 thoughts on “ATR 77- Feminism and Women of Color – 08/07/2007 – Submit an Audio Comment: 206-203-3983”

  1. LaToya,

    Don’t be traumatized by the constraints on gender roles that find support in the bible. Here’s a link to a site that lists religious quotes that support patriachy and also lists bible quotes that support equal treatment of women.

    The site is on a domestic violence page because abusive partners can enforce rigid gender roles as a means to keep women under control. This oppression of women can also occur in a church setting.

    How Religion is used to control and abuse:
    http://www.angelfire.com/ms/domviol/bible.html

    Scripture that backs up male and female equality. http://www.angelfire.com/ms/domviol/equality.html

  2. so much to say about this ATR episode, especially considering all the blogging we have been doing this week about roles for women of color. . .

    BUT

    i will stay on task! eu prometo

    1. i think some people are afraid to touch feminism with a ten foot pole b/c of homophobia. a rejection of patriarchy is connected to not only hairy armpits, but a complete denial of males–from their role in our lives to the very act of procreation, sex, and heterosexual marriage. and in a society when a same sex couple still solicits giggles or angry stares, despite how cute and cuddly they seem on tv (another article), a lot of women have their own set of feminismo (my name for the lady version of machismo) they don’t want to disturb by being associated with lesbians and the like.

    2. i am really glad u touched on the class issue here. i think the listener’s comments showed a disregard for this as well as single parent households. my father died when i was one year old, so my mother, in only her 3rd year of marriage, found herself in a very trying situation. she was a widowed newlywed mother, and had no other choice but to work. it was no longer a feminist statement or an assertion of motherhood. it was a existential choice she made at the bottom to make sure that i lived. there should not be a “SHOULD” for women. we, as human beings, have a right to choices, so i cringe when i hear people say what women SHOULD be doing…we SHOULD work, we SHOULD stay in the home, we SHOULD be married, we SHOULD blah blah blah. how about, we CAN? whatever happened to choice, and at that, choice without blind judgment that, quite frankly, forgets a lot of different scenarios?

    3. i’m also glad you touched on domestic workers. my great grandmother, ironically, felt the negative side of intergration in the south as she lost her job as an elementary school teacher when schools were desegregated and had to resort to housekeeping and childrearing in the homes of wealthy white families to supplement her family’s income. she and my greatgrandfather farmed on top of their day jobs, and when he went blind at an early age, she defied a lot of norms for women at the time as she became the breadwinner, once again emobdying feminist ideals, but out of circumstance more than a frivolous choice or out of a need to make a political statement. she somehow managed to raise my grandmother and exist as a very very positive role model and pillar in our (very large) family unit.

    so with that said, i see absolutely nothing wrong with women not staying home to raise their children if the other alternative means showing that they are strong and can persevere despite pretty heavy adversity that comes their way. to suggest that women like my mother and great grandmother were not fulfilling their roles as good women is, at best, a pretty weak argument.

    it was in their struggling that they proved they were excellent mothers, and to this day, i am proud to say i descended from them.

    thanks for this podcast :-)

  3. Great podcast as usual. I’m glad Wendi addressed much of what I wanted to address so I’ll add some additional thoughts to Angela’s initial voicemail response & a little about my experiences with feminism.

    My first real involvement with feminism came when I was about 20 years old (1995) & a my college writing professor turned me on to a book called To Be Real edited by Rebecca Walker (Alice’s daughter). Since the editor of the book was a queer, mixed race, woman of color like myself I let the book open my eyes to 3rd wave feminism & recoginized perspectives from women of color and bisexual/lesbian women & also men. Through that book I began to investigate the history of feminism & saw the good, bad & neutral in the movement & after much thought decided to identify as a femme-inist. A woman who enjoys femininity & equality for all women. That identity was & is still important for myself in the face of sexism from male & female chauvinists that I occasionally encounter.

    So there are some key things that I agree with Angela on. Children I believe do need more time with parents than some get. As Wendi mentioned with her experience, circumstances do happen where a parent passes or leaves & a kid is left without as much time with a parent(s). But if it’s possible, I think it’s best for a child to have as much time with one or both parents growing up. It is a class issue so I don’t believe that less time with a parent means a child is doomed. It’s just the ideal in my mind.

    And I really loved what Angela said about women being equal to men no matter what we do. Yes!

    Also I agree that the “women’s” movement was initially for white women. And that as a whole for all women feminism in and of itself was not beneficial.

    Where I disagree is the notion that the feminist movement got women equal pay. White women still don’t get the same pay for the same work as white men. So women of color really get the short end of the stick.

    Also using Dr. Laura as a role model or supporter of families & (all) women is to me erroneous because LGBTQ families are not equal to heterosexual families in her mind. http://www.rslevinson.com/gaylesissues/features/collect/drlaura/bl_drlaura003.htm This includes queer women of color who she considers not equal. Queer women of color deserve families too and to believe that Dr. Laura was addressing these women of color is I believe a disservice.

    The last thing I wish to note is that I believe it is the Civil Rights movement & the feminist movement combined that has made life a little safer for lesbian/bisexual/queer women of color to live, love and work. Without both I don’t think I’d be able because of my skin color, gender expression & the sex of my partner, to be a good citizen of this country and the world. I think I’d be mighty unhappy & worse, unable to do the things I can to be of service to others. Because I’m almost free (not completely-I still can’t marry my partner) to live in the way that works for myself I can be a better friend, partner, mother & daughter without having to second guess my existence every minute of every day. Peace!
    ~F

  4. It’s amazing how little has changed since I was in college 20 years ago and my friends were talking about the “female, overeducated, and black” problem (if not quite in those exact words). Though after a disastrous first marriage with an MD/PhD, my best friend from Brown refused even to look at educated black men. She met her current husband, a lawyer, at the gym, and he pretended to be a blue-collar worker for the first several months they dated.

    I heard an expression yesterday that made my eyes pop out, in the context of a TV show that wanted someone “ethnic”. Candidates were being evaluated based on their “White Acceptability Quotient.” Yikes!

    BTW, there were some auditory oddities in this episode–possibly artifacts of noise removal. And I was getting serious podcast stereosis having Carmen in one ear and Latoya in the other.

  5. Hey Sallie, yeah sorry for the audio issues. The usual software I use to record Skype decided to uninstall itself spontaneously so I used a new one I downloaded very quickly. Couldn’t figure out how to mix both sides together.

    Episode 78 will suffer from this issue too, but starting with 79 we’ll be back to normal.

  6. I was surfing the web and came across this company that sponsors jobfairs for women. The main image on their homepage, which displays what appears to be three white women, illustrates one reason why women of color may not feel included in activities that are meant to support women.

    http://www.womenjobfairs.com

  7. am i a woman first or a person of color first? how can i measure my experience as both simultaneously?

    these are questions i always raise when i think about my position as a feminist…and i am not really sure how to articulate them to people who have not experienced one or the other..

    so f r u s t r a t i n g

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