Misogynoir is the specific oppression many Black women face due to both their race and gender. This is an issue for many people in feminism because not every individual faces the same experiences of oppression that is caused by the patriarchy. As a result, many Black women have faced a type of misogyny that intersects between the oppression caused by race and by their gender identity. In this paper, I will reflect on how the material in this course changed my perspective about how many Black women experience misogyny.
Misogynoir is an issue that exclusively affects many Black women. Misogynoir is an experience that Black women face both interracially and intraracially through an anti-Black rhetoric spread by non-Black people that can be later internalized by Black men and women (Trudy). In other words, misogynoir is anti-Black misogyny. It is something that negatively affects Black women because it originates from non-Black people projecting their anti-Black beliefs onto Black people, which results in the internalization, or acceptance, of those beliefs within Black people. This internalization of anti-Blackness affects both Black men and women, however, misogynoir ultimately negatively affects Black women. This internalization of anti-Black beliefs can even be projected from Black men to Black women which contributes to misogynoir. This projection of anti-Blackness from Black men affects Black women as well because Black men still face some type of privilege in virtue of being a male in a patriarchal system. While Black men may be seen as equal to Black women in terms of racial identity, they still hold some privileges Black women do not have as Black women are both oppressed in a patriarchal and White dominant system.
What made me change my perception of my prior beliefs was Trudy’s “Explanation of Misogynoir”. When Trudy goes over a general definition of misogynoir, she claims that due to anti-Blackness, the experiences of Black women are inherently not the same compared to those of White and non-Black women (Trudy). This statement was a claim that I did not perceive until Trudy explicitly made this claim. Once she made this claim, I reflected on my own experiences, and realized that she was right. As a non-Black male, I did face some type of anti-Blackness because of my dark skin color in a system that valued lighter skin over darker skin, however, I was not exactly oppressed the same way Black people were, especially Black women. For example, while I may face some type of negative experience for being a darker skin tone, my experiences will never equate to a Black man as while I may be seen as dark skinned, I hold more privilege over him on a racial hierarchy as I am Filipino, and in many spaces not treated the same as a Black person. Also I still hold some privilege over many Black women as I benefit from a system of patriarchy as a male, and still having racial privilege of being considered Asian in a White racial system. In other words, my experiences of oppression will never equate to the experiences many Black men and women face as I do not share in their struggle, nor am affected in the same way in terms of anti-Black beliefs. As a result of this realization, I was able to understand that many people’s experiences of oppression are not similar because we are oppressed differently under various systems.
Another aspect that changed my understanding of misogynoir is that it can be practiced by other Black people too, which negatively affects Black women as well. In other words, many Black men and women can contribute to misogynoir. For Black men, Trudy claims, can still have male privilege, and be oppressors while also being oppressed (Trudy). This is different because in comparison to Black women, Black men can still be considered oppressors to Black women. However, this cannot be the same for Black women in terms of race and gender. For Black women, they cannot be above any other group in order to oppress them. Oppression requires one to be located above the hierarchy in order to oppress people below them. For Black women, they are the bottom. This is because they are disadvantaged by being Black in a racial hierarchy that benefits White people, and non-Black groups to varying degrees, while also being the bottom of the patriarchy due to Black women being women. As a result, even the oppression Black women face is inherently different from Black men as Black men can still oppress while being oppressed, while Black women will always be the oppressed.
Trudy. “Explanation Of Misogynoir.” Gradient Lair, 28 Apr. 2014.