The womanist movement and the white feminist movement are similar, but contain points of tension. While both the womanist and feminist movement seem similar is in that their goal is to correct sexism and empower women, there are significant differences that separate the two groups. According to Elizabeth Johnston feminism is, “a worldview of stance that affirms the dignity of women as fully human persons in their own right, critiques system of patriarchy for their violation of this dignity, and advocated social and cultural changed to bring about just and mutual relationships among human beings and responsible relations between human beings and the earth.” The womanist perspective looks at women of color and how they overcome oppression and embrace women’s culture.
The feminist approach to liberation wanted to correct sexism. Feminists wanted equality by changing traditional and oppressing aspects of society. African American groups formed because the feminist approach did not really address issues of racism. Feminist Delores S. Williams acknowledged this in her statement, “There were still parts of my faith as a BLACK woman that needed more voice. I was determined that the blackness and the womaness and the freedom would not be separated.” Sojourner Truth also commented on this in a speech she gave in which she claimed, “That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditched and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mudpuddles, or give me any best place.” Both women address the issue that feminist movements are not directed at helping women of color. So while both feminists and womanist’s are concerned with correcting sexism, womanist’s also address racism and sexism.
Feminist’s where also concerned with empowering individual women, while the womanist approach is concerned with empowering all people. Womanist’s believe that both men and women should be empowered. This attitude is supported because womanist’s feel as though African American men can relate to the oppression which women of color face. Both movements strive for equality of women, but womanist’s strive for the equality of all people.
The role of women in society as individuals also has distinct differences from the two perspectives. According to Amy Kesselman, the feminist approach is concerned with the career advancement of women through, “the full integration of women into social, political and economic life.” While job opportunities and equality in the workforce are important to womanist’s as well, their main objective is basic survival. Womanist’s address the issue of the struggle minorities’ face for basic needs, such as feeding oneself and family, housing and health care.
Transforming the faiths of our fathers: women who changed American religion
Edward Collins Vacek
Feminism and the Vatican.
Women’s Liberation and the Left in New Haven