womanist readings: for black girls considering womanism because feminism is not enuf.

i was introduced to womanism my sophomore year of college. i was lucky to have a black woman who mentored + nurtured me through this learning process. i think it's important that black women + other non-black women of color understand that feminism is not the only option. there are other ideologies, politics, thoughts for us and by us. we do not have to stay on the margins of feminism. 

below i've created a short list of womanist readings that will help you understand what womanism is. 

two important things to keep in mind:

the term womanism is not interchangeable with black feminism. womanists are not seeking equality. we are seeking to deconstruct all forms of oppression. not to be equal with oppressors / men. 

happy reading loves. 

"Womanism is a social change perspective rooted in Black Women's and other women of color's everyday experiences and everyday methods of problem solving in everyday spaces, extended to the problems of ending all forms of oppression for all people. Unlike feminism, and despite its name, womanism does not emphasize or privilege gender or sexism; rather, it elevates all sites and forms of oppression, whether they are based on social-address categories like gender, race, or class, to a level of equal concern and action." - Layli Phillips

1. From womanish.  (Opp. of “girlish,” i.e. frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.)  A black feminist or feminist of color.  From the black folk expression of mothers to female children, “you acting womanish,” i.e., like a woman.  Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior.  Wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered “good” for one.  Interested in grown up doings.  Acting grown up.  Being grown up.  Interchangeable with another black folk expression: “You trying to be grown.”  Responsible.  In charge. Serious.
2. Also: A woman who loves other women, sexually and/or nonsexually.  Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility (values tears as natural counterbalance of laughter), and women’s strength.  Sometimes loves individual men, sexually and/or nonsexually.  Committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female.  Not a separatist, except periodically, for health.  Traditionally a universalist, as in: “Mama, why are we brown, pink, and yellow, and our cousins are white, beige and black?” Ans. “Well, you know the colored race is just like a flower garden, with every color flower represented.”  Traditionally capable, as in: “Mama, I’m walking to Canada and I’m taking you and a bunch of other slaves with me.” Reply: “It wouldn’t be the first time.”
3. Loves music.  Loves dance.  Loves the moon. Loves the Spirit. Loves love and food and roundness.  Loves struggle. Loves the Folk.  Loves herself. Regardless.
4. Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.  | Alice Walker

The Womanist Reader

Who Can Be A Womanist? | Trudy

When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America | Paula J. Giddings 

What's in a Name? Womanism, Black Feminism, and Beyond | Patricia Hill Collins

In Search of Our Mother's Gardens: Womanist Prose  | Alice Walker 

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color

Africana Womanist Literary Theory | Clenora Hudson-Weems

Womanism and African Consciousness | Mary E. Modupe Kolawole