Black Feminism

Why don’t Black Feminists (and Black women who are feminists) talk more about Black Breastfeeding?

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Of course this is a question that has been in my mind for a while. I’m interested in exploring this area more so I wanted to take an independent study on the topic. That morphed into me doing one on Black LGBTQ breastfeeding instead, for now because I know there are some conversations about Black Feminism and breastfeeding, even though they’re not so easy to find I don’t think, whereas those about Black LGBTQ breastfeeding are absolutely hidden which why I’m doing the switch for now.

When I say Black Feminists and Black women who are feminists, and even Womanists, I’m mean even though I know the discourse and theory regarding these perspectives vary quite greatly, being a Black woman in society means you share commonalities and certain outlooks regardless of where your viewpoints may land on this political spectrum. One of the best compliments I have ever received is from someone who recognized the Black Feminist theory embedded in my presentations on Black breastfeeding. Oddly enough this one time someone noticed (or, the only time someone actually let on that they noticed anyway — many people do not know what Black feminism is) it was a white woman, who was getting a PhD researching breastfeeding and knew about Black feminism and then she and I talked about the few others who also discuss breastfeeding — so I know there are some stories out there. But when I look up popular blogs and such by Black women and hear about the critiques on masculinity, patriarchy, gender division, racism, class and all of the other ‘interlocking systems of oppression’ that Black women have been subjected to, why aren’t there conversations discussing whether or not you have a child breastfeeding is inextricably linked to our lives? Why didn’t Audre Lorde ever discuss Black breastfeeding? Why hasn’t Angela Davis ever presented on this topic? Barbara Smith? Beverly Guy-Sheftall? Patricia Hill Collins? The Crunk Feminist Collective? Your Black feminist friend down the street — or across the country? bell hooks? When Melissa Harris-Perry just recently ‘owned’ the white woman who called First Lady, Michelle Obama a ‘Feminist nightmare’ and sent a lengthy (and AMAZING) Black Feminism Syllabus, why didn’t it include The Black Woman’s Guide to Breastfeeding?

If you don’t know what Black Feminism is, then I recommend doing some research so you can increase your knowledge in this area and begin to understand more about the history of this important way Black women have participated and ways we have resisted, and then maybe if you are not too sure of where I am coming from right now, you will get more of why I’m asking why these conversations aren’t at the forefront, intertwined with ways we explore a greater picture that deals with injustice — how we’re represented in the media, family relationships, sexual identity, health, empowerment, along with a slew of other areas that are impossible to separate from our lives. And how breastfeeding helps save them. Why are these perspectives harder to find? Or, do you think it could it be that I am just looking in the wrong places?

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