A critical look at the terms feminism, Feminism, and womanism and the applicability, or not, of each in conversation with Toni Morrison’s First and Last Novels The Bluest Eye and Home


  • Lauren Malotra-Gaudet Barnard College, Columbia University
Keywords: feminism, white feminism, woman of colour feminism, womanism, Toni Morrison

Abstract


For the purpose of this paper lower-case-f feminism is used as the umbrella term for the organized activity in support of women's rights and interests founded in the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.  Hegemonic Feminism, aka Radical Feminism, has historically left out women who face issues alongside oppression based on gender, namely women of colour.  Capital-F Feminism represents this hegemonic Feminism.  Alice Walker’s womanism creates a type of feminism specifically for black women and women of colour.  In this paper I explore and contrast three different types of feminism, hegemonic “Feminism” and “womanism”, to show how Toni Morrison’s first and last novels The Bluest Eye and Home are definitely womanist texts but are not necessarily considered feminist under the constraints of hegemonic Feminism.  I look at the differences between the three terms to show how these novels can and do slip through the cracks and are not labeled as “feminist” texts because they do not comply with “Feminism.”  Through plot and character examples I show how these novels are womanist, and because of that they are not able to be considered examples of Feminist texts and are therefore not regarded as canonical Feminist literature, though they do exemplify feminist principles, themes and ideals.

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Author Biography

Lauren Malotra-Gaudet, Barnard College, Columbia University
Undergraduate student graduating from Columbia University in May 2015 majoring in Urban Studies and Women and Gender Studies
Published
06-03-2015

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How to Cite
Malotra-Gaudet, L. (2015). A critical look at the terms feminism, Feminism, and womanism and the applicability, or not, of each in conversation with Toni Morrison’s First and Last Novels The Bluest Eye and Home. Journal of Student Research, 4(2), 7-12. Retrieved from https://jofsr.org/index.php/path/article/view/235
Section
Review Articles