Feminist Perspectives on Slavery, Segregationand Genocide
“Feminism is the radical notion that women are people”.Cheris Kramarae & Paula Treichler
In plain terms feminism can be defined as,....“
a movement for social, cultural, political and economic equality of men and women. Though the issues of feminism might vary fromculture to culture but they are globally tied together in their campaign to end gender-based discriminatory practices against women
No singular feminist perspective or unifiedtheoretical framework exists around. The most prominent ones’ are radical feminism,socialist, modern, post-modern and liberal feminism. But this distinction hardly matters todiscuss and underline feminist contribution to our understanding of genocide, slavery,segregation and apartheid that this article is meant for. Most feminists agree that sociallyand culturally institutionalized patriarchy and unequal distribution of power between men andwomen are the source of violence, discrimination and exploitation of women.
Feminist Perspectives on Slavery:
It was Harriet Stowe’s novel, ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ by that first brought the issue of slavery topublic in America and even contributed to the civil war and later on public policies in the1830s. Likewise Francis Wrights’ radical ideas that made her notorious non conventionalideas influenced the public mind. Anti-slavery and women rights campaign in the same eraby the two sisters Sarah Grimlke and Angelina, beginning by their hatred for slavery for being severely reprimanded by their parents on teaching a slave companion, an illegal actthen. Refusing marriage and conventional life they joined Quaker society in Philadelphia andfound it too conservative. Both organized women for ‘American Anti-Slavery Society’delivered fiery speeches, prepared pamphlets and profoundly influenced public conscienceand national agenda surmounting general disliking and attempts on their lives (BecomingHuman, HRQ, p.10,11).Ms. Deborah G. White describes the plight of women slaves and the general effect of slaveryon American society and culture, much neglected by male historians, in her landmark work,
Aren’t I a woman?: Female slaves in the plantation south (1985).
Both black and white mentreated female slaves as a sexual substance, she observes. The role of slave woman andher significant contribution in the plantation economy and the division of labour based onage health and fertility status was understudied. She was grossly misunderstood as a (slave)child-breeder, a nurturer and an asexual mother (earth). Her relationship to other women,and her role in the black family and culture was rarely taken into consideration. She revealsa startling fact that post-child-bearing-age women were most often assigned heavier tasksthan men. She believes that occidental, white, racist, imperial, slavocratic, and masculinementality misrepresented female slaves under their preconceived patriarchal notions. (Deborah G. White 1985 in Thomas, G. 2005).
Definition of Feminism, See: http://ezinearticles.com/?Definition-of-Feminism&id=1697184