Am I a Feminist or a Womanist?



I’m trying to think of the first I time I was like, “man, I totally want to be a feminist.”


English: Alice Walker, Miami Book Fair Interna...

English: Alice Walker, Miami Book Fair International, 1989 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I can’t remember.

Sorry, bro.

I remember sophomore year high school when I was like, “I’m totally not a feminist, I’m a womanist because I’m for equality for both men and women.”

And now I realize that somewhere between sophomore year of high school and sophomore year of college, I’ve changed again. And strangely, I can’t remember why.

Womanism (created by Alice Walker)  is a term used to describe “black feminism,” or really feminism that is inclusive to the hardships of minorities–as the first and second waves of feminism generally ignored them.

I was recently (okay, it was more like 2 months ago) asked by a reader why I call myself a feminist instead of a womanist, as the ladder has generally been a better label compared to the former.

Honestly, I don’t have an answer. I’ve read both womanist and feminist literature–and I love and criticize both. Feminism, in all of it’s glory–is just a label. It’s a label to describe the passion a person has for the rights and success of women.

I chose the label because it was the one I most closely related to at the time. And when I think about my blog being called, “Black Womanist Rising,” it frankly doesn’t sound catchy enough. The term “Feminism” carries all of the history, badassness and controversy that I wanted to discuss in my blog–much how Gloria Steinem is for the feminist movement–a label to attract the audience.

And when it comes down to it, I’m a just a normal person who has just happened to live a life in which inequality, injustice and misinformation is completely unacceptable.


am I a feminist or a womanist?

I’m a feminist, I’m a womanist, I’m a humanist, I’m a sometimes-vegetarian, who sometimes pays her bills on time–I’m an activist, a journalist, a potential-psychologist and a slam poet at night.

I’m everything and I’m nothing…

and it’s really the only thing that makes sense.


Before my university days, when I refused the notion of higher education and wanted to get dreadlocks, start smoking and be a slam poet in New York, I drank in every poetry piece I could find. Chinese-Jamaican poet Stacyann Chin is still one of my favorites.

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