8 & 9. In Defense of Black Women Against Misogynoir
Moya Bailey coined the term “misogynoir” in graduate school. Trudy Hamilton added context and understanding through numerous posts on her blog, GradientLair.com, such as an essay in spring and earlier post, which she describes “as only a start.” (See excerpts below.)
Over the past year or so, more sisters have embraced the word, using it to describe behavior and attitudes that threaten to turn them into the angry black women embodied in stereotypes perpetuated by misogynoir.
Bailey is a postdoctoral Fellow in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies and the NU Lab for Digital Humanities at Northeastern University. Her book project is Misogynoir: Sexuality, Gender, and Blackness in the Age of Digital Media. She is founder of Quirky Black Girls and was an inaugural blogger and Digital Alchemist at the Crunk Feminist Collective, where she first wrote about misogynoir.
Hamilton, or Trudy as she is known to many people, describes herself as a Jamaican black, womanist, writer, social critic and photographer. “Gradient Lair is a blog about the subjects that interest me (art, media, social media, socio-politics and culture) on an anecdotal, experiential and empirical level with regards to the experiences of black women,” she says.
mi•sog•y•noir, noun \mə-ˈsä-jə-nwär\
(Not etymologically correct? So what, Bailey and Hamilton say.)
- “Anti-black misogyny (which functions because of racism, sexism and white supremacy) makes black women ‘not human’ and thereby worthy of hatred and abuse yet white women the standard of humanity that black women should aspire to.”
- “Stereotypes and controlling images used to oppress black women via anything from appearance to sexuality.”
- “Why videos of black women being violently hit or abused are deemed ‘funny,’ why black women experience higher incidents of violence from intimate partners, why black women are believed to experience less pain in childbirth despite no evidence … and why cops regularly abuse pregnant black women.”
- Using Black women’s culture and bodies as costumes to be tossed once bored and reinforces stereotypes about black women’s sexuality as ‘deviant’” — i.e., Miley Cyrus twerking as “an ‘innocent’ white woman exploring her sexuality.”
- “Making black women’s bodies objects for breeding, sex or spectacle. It means open voyeurism” — from Sara Baartman to Serena Williams.
- “An expression of learned self-hatred or through binaries created because of the politics of respectability.”