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Faux Feminism, African Women & “Girls Who Run The World”

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Mauvais Foi

“Feminism never offered me any help, for it fails to address the power of women as well as their powerlessness.” ~Gillian Rose

On beauty…

Where to begin. Well, nah, nah, nah. We need to rephrase that “it’s a pity that people don’t appreciate black people” nonsense — who cares…that’s up to them. Thing is, it’s a new day, and it’s time for African women to perceive it, and quit chasing waterfalls. Especially, in terms of redressing the balance when it comes to notions of beauty. African women have been taught to negate their own self-worth in pursuit of an ideal of beauty that is killing us all actually. Time to flip the script. In order to do that, there will have to be a process of re-education –a corrective to address the miseducation that has resulted in ‘African self- loathing’. We have lessons to learn from the Negritude movement on this front, and as one of it’s major proponents – Aime Cesaire asserted:

“I have a different idea of a universal. It is of a universal rich with all that is particular, rich with all the particulars there are, the deepening of each particular, the coexistence of them all.”

Moreover, as Cesaire wisely observed:

“No race holds the monopoly of beauty, of intelligence, of strength, and there is a place for all at the rendezvous of victory.”

As for eurocentric notions of beauty – here’s a hand grenade for that dominant narrative: Mene, mene tekel upharsin…GAME OVER.

Here’s another. A very interesting White Perspective on anti-Black Racism by Irish Singer Sinead O’Connor:“For those out there who believe black people to be less than pure royalty, let me inform you of a little known, but scientifically proven, many times over, FACT. Which after reading, you will hopefully feel both very stupid and very sorry. For you dishonor your own mothers and grandmothers.
EVERY human being on earth, no matter what their culture, creed, skin colour, or nationality, shares one gene traceable back to one African woman. Scientists have named it ‘The Eve Gene’. This means ALL of us, even ridiculously stupid, ignorant, perverted, blaspheming racists are the descendants of one African woman.”One African woman is the mother of all of us. Africa was the first world. You come from there! Your skin may be ‘white’.. because you didn’t need it to be black any more where you lived. But as Curtis Mayfield said.. “You’re just the surface of our dark, deep well”. So you’re being morons. And God is having the last laugh at your ignorant expense. If you hate black people, its yourself you hate. And the mother who bore you. If you kill or wish ill on black people, its yourself you kill and wish ill on. As well as the mother who bore you.When you dishonor the the utter glory and majesty of black people, you lie. Your heart lies to you and you let it. Despite seeing every day, all your life, how you and your country would be less than wonderfully functioning and inspiring to the world, without the manifold and glorious contributions made by the descendants of African slaves, who did not by the way actually ask to go to America and leave their future families there to be disrespected for eternity. What are you doing hating yourself by hating your brothers and sisters who daily show you nothing but inspiration and love, despite having NOTHING, in their own country? Despite having barely a chance of anything, because of racism. Despite being granted no ‘permission’ for proper self-esteem.”

On faux feminsim and mauvais foi…

Furthermore, the simplistic notion that all women are good, and all men need their ass-kicking, is undermining the goal of genuine women’s empowerment. Many blacks who embraced theaudacity to hope that Barack Obama — who had become in the eyes of the besotted, a sort ofMessianic leader, who’s loyalties would be unquestionably and deeply bound up, not only with African-Americans, but with Africans everywhere, have been sorely disappointed. So too, have such lofty expectations been thrusted upon the shoulders of women by women — especially those in prominent positions of power. Equally troublesome, is the role women play in colluding with, and promoting vacuous notions of women’s empowerment. Ultimately, there is no genuine women’s empowerment, without a process of conscientization that addresses power and gender inequality.

A Photo of a Black Person Looking at Photos of...

A Photo of a Black Person Looking at Photos of Black People (Photo credit: Arty Smokes (deaf mute))

It is one thing to espouse the rhetoric of liberation, and another to seek transformative justice for all, that challenges the simulacrums, endemic to neo-liberal paradigms — including womens internalisation of patriarchal structures. Also included, would be internalised dominant western notions of ‘beauty’ by African women and women of color. We should not negate the fact, that women too have power -that the exercise of power is not exclusively negative or positive, rather it is a complex network of relationships, which calls for a nuanced analysis of ‘difference’ as it relates to the intersectionality, of race, gender, sexuality and class. It’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff and on this I concur with Foucault:

The strategic adversary is fascism… the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us.”
Mary Sibande is a South African artist based in Johannesburg. Her recent series ‘long live the dead queen’ was featured within the city on the side of buildings and other structures as large, photographic murals. the series, like Sibande’s practice as an artist, ‘attempts to critique stereotypical depictions of women, particularly black women in our society.


  1. That’s a quick-witted answer to a difficult question

  2. Mahesh says:

    on 20.05.2012 HiMy name is Dave Theron I sell a paraffin water hateer and feel if you give us an Agency for the Potos it will be sold to the same market .If you agree to this please get in touch with me.

  3. Edwin says:

    Friday. It makes for good headlines Mr Chihuri but the real truth is that this i far from the TRUTH. More hwiueosves, women, girls and minors are raped in Zimbabwe now and before than women on men rape. These are outlier cases, probably instigated by the same gang of women and that won’t change the trend. I get worried when a Police Commissioner who sits on a committe known as JOC (Joint Operations Committe), a military and security cabal responsible for so much rape of women in the name of campaigning for the true nationalist principles of Zanu PF, I am seriously worried and Chihuri needs to be challenged on his assertions. Chihuri should sort out his corrupt police who specialise in rape, armed robberies by his own admission and ignoring victims of political campaign rape when they came to report their ordeals, sometimes with names of the perpertrators. Beware of some of these headlines. They are meant to divert your attention from much bigger atrocoties in our beloved Zimbabwe. I feel sorry for the men who were raped by these women and should they be caught, the full wrath of the LAW should be applied without measure (anyway the Laws needs amending to reflect the new reality of women raping men). How I would love a mixed jail full of rapists, both men and women rapists in one complex zvipfidzisane ikoko.

  4. Achmad says:

    I really fail to see what all the fuss is about? This is the guy that Jimmah Cartah, Andrew Young, and every other cimmunost totalitarian in the world WANTED to take over from the “evil” Rhodesians. Now that they have got their wish, why should it be anyone else’s problem? The Zimbabwean people wanted a “comrade-hero of the revolutionary struggle”. That’s what they’ve got, why shouldn’t they live with it?When people choose to rule in Hell, rather than serve in Heaven, why should anyone feel sorry for them, especially when they inherited Heaven and turned it into Hell all by themselves?We are going to have to face the same issue here in a few years in South Africa. We can’t simply allow everyone a do-over funded by taxpayers in the West, unless they will cede political power back to those who built their civilization. As that is unlikely, why waste the time and effort?

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