“Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender” Alice Walker
If you must label me please let it be – womanist.
Alice Walker coined the term and as explained on the blog – A Feminist Theory Dictionary – “it is a reaction to the realization that “feminism” does not encompass the perspectives of Black women. It is a feminism that is “stronger in color… A Womanist is a woman who loves women and appreciates women’s culture and power as something that is incorporated into the world as a whole…”
This preface was necessary to lead into an item of ‘news’ that caught my attention yesterday.
Pick Your Battles Wisely
The last time my angst was so high that boycotting was my best reaction was a few years ago. After months of depriving myself of one of the best products for my skin, realizing that the loss of my monthly purchase was having no effect on Company X’s bottom-line – I gave up.
Did I sell out? Some might say that was the case. However, after months of crappy skin my thought was, there must be another way. Indeed, there was and exercise my right to register my dissatisfaction with the reported disparaging and the seemingly racist statement I did.
One thing life has taught me is this: If something affects me negatively, reacting equally or more negatively will not improve the situation. Another lesson that the good old Universe imparted the hard way was that burning my bra and hating on men – whatever the colour of their skin – does not bring about change either.
Growing up in the 1970’s in Jamaica where black, women and every kind of power-to-the-people fever was running high, I spent my early years fighting against every “puss and dog.” I have enlisted in wars against sexism, racism, tribalism, heterosexism and even fundamentalism and lost everyone. Yes, small gains were made but little changed at the core because change cannot come through warfare. History has proven that over and over.
Angel Soft – What Were You Thinking?
Tempers run high and quickly when it comes to people’s ego. Combine that with a sentimental occasion or special day and you will unleash a firestorm. That is exactly what happened with Angel Soft this week.
According to Esquire: “Angel Soft brand toilet paper released an internet-only Father’s Day ad honoring the women who, whether due to death or abandonment, have had to raise their kids on their own. In the commercial, attractive men and women who were raised by single mothers offer teary testimonials over a bed of soft piano music, concluding in a warm ‘Happy Father’s Day, Mom’ to the women who have had to be soft but strong, just like septic-safe, 2-ply Angel Soft brand toilet paper.”
All is fair in love and war you say but really?
At a time when fatherlessness is a growing epidemic, why would a company deliberately or inadvertently alienate or shame men? This culture of shame is something that I have written about before, granted in a different context. Shaming one group in the name of empowering another – in this case absentee fathers vs single mothers – is still shaming.
Feminist, woman-centric or not, it was an ill-advised move. The core message – “Thank you, Mom for doing a great job” – was delivered at an inappropriate time. Black men – referring specifically to the country where I grew up Jamaica – are notorious for being absentee fathers. That is a ‘fact’ that one cannot deny. However, the last thing that would be on my agenda to do – as a womanist – is to use Father’s Day as a prime-time to shame or bash them.
Give Fathers Their Day
Yesterday, my post was on the issue of fatherlessness in general. While the point was made about absenteeism, I hope it was balanced by my honouring those who were and are present not only for their children but the community’s children.
Wheel and come again Angel Soft. While there is power in our pocket books, not every single mother is so angry that she is blinded to the issue of personal responsibility and moving on. Not every single woman is an old school feminist, ready to burn her bra at the hint of a “battle of the sexes.”
Many of us have matured – in age and in spirit – and are choosing to make our cases in other ways.
Please do not stop our progress, for the sake of your own pocket books, and drag us back into battles long fought, won and moved on to other ways of influencing change.
TGIF and so on to the lighter news.
Next to Sean Connery, Roger Moore was the best “James Bond” ever!
And now he is back – not as James Bond but still inspiring peace and a sense of safety to children all over.
“Moore was appointed as a Unicef goodwill ambassador in 1991, with his role including promoting fundraising campaigns but also visiting its work around the world. In 2012, the charity presented him with a lifetime achievement award,” reports The Guardian newspaper.
Now he has joined forces with UNICEF further, and with the help of friends Stephen Fry, Dame Joan Collins, and Ewan McGregor, participated in developing a free app of fairy-tales. This app includes “Moore’s rendition of The Princess and the Pea with other stories available as in-app purchases. 30% of the revenues will be donated to charity UNICEF.”
Read the full story and enjoy this clip of the Giving Tales with Roger Moore:
It’s Friday, time to unwind and relax for the weekend. If you just found this blog, be sure to check out the archive and see what you have missed.
One of the interesting posts here is the seven-part short story series: “The Unfortunate Life of An Interesting Woman.” Read Part One here and Subscribe to receive the continuation next week Wednesday in your inbox.
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Photo sources: pixabay.com and albumarium.com