bridge called my back

To the white female poet who says, “Well, frankly, I believe that politics and poetry don’t necessarily have to go together,” I say, “Your little taste of white privilege has deluded you into thinking that you don’t have to fight against sexism in this society. You are talking to me from your own isolation and your own racism. If you feel that you don’t have to fight for me, that you don’t have to speak out against capitalism, the exploitation of human and natural resources, then in your silence, your inability to make connections, are siding with a system that will eventually get you, after it has gotten me.”
—  Letter to Ma, Merle Woo.
But it is not really difference the oppressor fears so much as similarity. He fears he will discover in himself the same aches, the same longing as those of the people he has shitted on. He fears the immobilization threatened by his own incipient guilt. He fears he will have to change his life once he has seen himself in the bodies of the people he has called different. He fears the hatred, anger, and vengeance of those he has hurt.
This is the oppressor’s nightmare, but it is not exclusive to him. We women have a similar nightmare, for each of us in some way has been both oppressed and the oppressor. We are afraid to look at how we have failed each other. We are afraid to see how we have taken the values of our oppressor into our hearts and turned them against ourselves and one another. We are afraid to admit how deeply “the man’s” words have been ingrained in us.
To assess the damage is a dangerous act. I think of how, even as a feminist lesbian, I have so wanted to ignore my own homophobia, my own hatred of myself for being queer. I have not wanted to admit that my deepest personal sense of myself has not quite “caught up” with my “woman-identified” politics. I have been afraid to criticize lesbian writers who choose to “skip over” these issues in the name of feminism. In 1979, we talk of “old gay” and “butch and femme” roles as if they were ancient history. We toss them aside as merely patriarchal notions. And yet, the truth of the matter is that I have sometimes taken society’s fear and hatred of lesbians to bed with me. I have sometimes hated my lover for loving me. I have sometimes felt “not woman enough” for her. I have sometimes felt “not man enough.” For a lesbian trying to survive in a heterosexist society, there is no easy way around these emotions. Similarly, in a white-dominated world, there is little getting around racism and our own internalization of it. It’s always there, embodied in some one we least expect to rub up against.
—  Cherríe Moraga, “La Güera” in This Bridge Called My Back
In Honor of #InternationalWomensDay

Some Recommendations for Books Written by Female Authors:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
This Bridge Called My Back edited by Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherríe Moraga
Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Passing by Nella Larsen
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
Henry and June by Anaïs Nin
Emma by Jane Austen
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Silas Marner by George Eliot
The History of Mary Prince by Mary Prince
My Ántonia by Willa Cather
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Oroonoko by Aphra Behn
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett 
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Awakening by Kate Chopin 
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Feel free to add your own :)

In academic feminist circles, the answer to these questions are often “We did not know who to ask.” But that is the same evasion of responsibility, the same cop-out, that keeps black women’s art out of women’s exhibitions, black women’s work out of most feminists publications except for the occasional “Special Third World Women’s Issue,” and black women’s texts off of your reading lists. But as Adrienne Rich pointed out in a recent talk, white feminists have educated themselves about such an enormous amount over the past ten years, how come you haven’t also educated yourselves about Black women and the differences between us—white and black—when it is a key to our survival as a movement?
—  The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House, Audre Lorde.

Colonize This! Young Women Of Color On Today’s Feminism — Daisy Hernandez

“As young women of color, we have both a different and similar relationship to feminism as the women in our mothers’ generation…The difference is that now we talk about these issues in women’s studies classes, in classrooms that are multicultural but xenophobic and in a society that pretends to be racially integrated but remains racially profiled.”

Redefining Realness — Janet Mock

“When I think of identity, I think of our bodies and souls and the influences of family, culture, and community - the ingredients that make us. James Baldwin describes identity as ‘the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self.’ The garment should be worn “loose,” he says, so we can always feel our nakedness. ‘This trust in one’s nakedness is all that gives one the power to change one’s robes.’ I’m still journeying toward that place where I’m comfortable in this nakedness, standing firmly in my interlocking identities.”

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches — Audre Lorde

“Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness.”

Feminism Is For Everybody — bell hooks

“Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression…Practically, it is a definition which implies that all sexist thinking and action is the problem, whether those who perpetuate it are female or male, child or adult.”

This Bridge Called My Back: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment — Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa

“We are challenging white feminists to be accountable for their racism because at the base we still want to believe that they really want freedom for all of us.”

Literally anything by Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term “intersectionality” in 1989. From her article “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color”:

 “Contemporary feminist and antiracist discourses have failed to consider intersectional identities such as women of color…I consider how the experiences of women of color are frequently the product of intersecting patterns of racism and sexism, and how these experiences tend not to be represented within the discourses of either feminism or antiracism.”

Want more recs? Another Round host and glorious human Tracy Clayton compiled a list of 13 more books on feminism and intersectionality by women of color

I am talking about what is happening to us right now, about our nonsupport of each other, about our noncaring about each other, about not seeing connections between racism and sexism in our lives. As a child of immigrant parents, as a woman of color in a white society, as a woman in a patriarchal society, what is personal to me is political.
—  Mitsuye Yamada, “Asian Pacific American Women and Feminism” from This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color

anonymous asked:

Do you know of a list of essential reading for baby radfems? Sorry if this has been asked before....

I can give you a few recommendations - these books were instrumental in my understanding of radical feminism, and they are widely available as PDFs.

  • Beauty and Misogyny: Harmful Cultural Practices in the West, Sheila Jeffreys
  • Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism, Sheila Jeffreys
  • Intercourse, Andrea Dworkin
  • The Lesbian Heresy, Sheila Jeffreys
  • Pornography: Men Possessing Women, Andrea Dworkin
  • Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, Audre Lorde
  • This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Colour, ed. Cherríe L. Moraga
  • Woman Hating, Andrea Dworkin

anonymous asked:

Hey! I'm looking to become a better feminist (i'm just starting with this) and I'm wondering what the best books are to read.

Hello! I have SO many favorites. I’m an academic and a book geek, so I’ll separate them by level in hopes of giving a potential order for you. Please reblog and share your faves too, crew!

Beginner:

Intermediate:

Advanced:

whitewickerchair  asked:

Hello, I was wondering if you could recommend me any literature on chicana feminism/xicanisma. Side note; thank you so much for this blog its very eye opening and helpful!

Thanks! Here’s a classic: 

“This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color is a feminist anthology edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa. The anthology was first published in 1981 by Persephone Press, and the second edition was published in 1983 by Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. This Bridge centered the experiences of women of color, offering a serious challenge to white feminists who made claims to solidarity based on sisterhood. Writings in the anthology, along with works by other prominent feminists of color, call for a greater prominence within feminism for race-related subjectivities, and ultimately laid the foundation for third wave feminism. This Bridge has become “one of the most cited books in feminist theorizing.“ 

More info: 

Where Were the Chicana Feminists? Right Here

Chicana Feminist Thought: The Basic Historical Writings

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicana_feminism

8 Latina Feminists Who Deserve More Recognition

You can also check out my posts here: http://profeminist.tumblr.com/tagged/latina-feminist

Hope that helps!

Aurora Levins Morales (born February 24, 1954) is a Puerto Rican Jewish writer and poet. She is significant within Latina feminism and Third World feminism as well as other social justice movements.

Levins Morales was born February 24, 1954 in Indiera Baja, Maricao, Puerto Rico. Her mother, Rosario Morales, was a Harlem-born Puerto Rican writer. Her father is an ecologist who is of Ukrainian Jewish heritage, born in Brooklyn. She has two brothers, Ricardo and Alejandro.

Levins Morales became a public writer in the 1970s as a result of the many social justice movements of that time that addressed the importance of giving a voice to the oppressed. At fifteen, she was the youngest member of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union and co-produced a feminist radio show, took part in sit-ins and demonstrations against the Vietnam War, guerrilla theater, women's consciousness raising groups and door to door organizing for daycare and equal pay.

She attended Franconia College in Franconia, New Hampshire. Levins Morales also studied at Mills College in Oakland, California, and holds a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies and History from the online Union Institute & University.

In 1976, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she worked at the KPFA Third World News Bureau, reporting on events in South Africa, the Philippines, Chile, Nicaragua and what was still Rhodesia, and on environmental racism, housing struggles, and the movement to get the US Navy to stop bombing Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Levins Morales became part of a radical US women of color writers movement that sought to integrate the struggles against sexism and racism. She began doing coffeehouse readings with other women, organizing poetry series, producing radio programs, publishing in literary journals and anthologies, and eventually becoming one of the contributors to This Bridge Called My Back, where she focuses on depicting the race, class, and gender issues that together shape Puerto Rican women’s identities and historical experiences. Some of her major themes are feminism; multiple identity (Puerto Rican, Jewish, North American), immigrant experience, Jewish radicalism and history, Puerto Rican history, and the importance of collective memory, of history and art, in resisting oppression and creating social change.

In 1986, Morales and her mother and wrote Getting Home Alive, a collection of poetry and prose about their lives as US Puerto Rican women. In part as a result of response to this book, Levins Morales decided to go to graduate school to become a historian. While her dissertation focused on retelling the history of the Atlantic world with Puerto Rican women’s lives at the center, she also did extensive research on the history of Puerto Ricans in California, collecting several dozen oral histories, and preserving early documents of the San Francisco Puerto Rican community. From 1999 to 2002 she worked at the Oakland Museum of California as lead historian for the Latino Community History Project, working with high school students to collect oral histories and photographs, and create artwork and curriculum materials based on them.

In her collection of essays Medicine Stories: History, Culture, and the Politics of Integrity (1998) Levins Morales questions traditional accounts of American history and their consistent exclusion of people of color. She argues that traditional historical narratives have had devastating effects on those it has silenced, and oppressed. In an attempt to “heal” this historical trauma of oppression, she designs a “medicinal” history that gives centrality to the marginalized, particularly Puerto Rican women. Levins Morales strives to make visible those who have been absent from history books while also emphasizing resistance efforts.

In her book, Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriqueñas (1998), her goal is “to unearth the names of women deemed unimportant by the writers of official histories”(Levins Morales, p. xvii). Short pieces interspersed throughout the narratives describe medicinal herbs and foods that symbolize the healing properties of the narratives that follow those sections. In this manner she treats historical erasure as a disease that a curandera historian can heal through “home-grown” herbal history. The histories she portrays in the text demonstrate the strength and resistance of Puerto Rican women and their ancestors.

Levins Morales is one of the 18 Latina feminist women who participated in the gatherings of the Latina Feminist Group, which culminated with the publication of Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios in 2001.

In 2011, following the death of her mother and co-author Rosario Morales, Levins Morales moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to live with her father.

In 2013, she self-published Kindling: Writings On the Body through her own Palabera Press.