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Womanism

  • By: Linda Bowles-Adarkwa
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Womanism is a perspective that encompasses gendered, racial, cultural, and class identities as a method to critically assess the experiences of black women and women of color in the United States and elsewhere. Whereas feminism is focused primarily on addressing sexism and gender disparities, womanism provides an alternative framework to analyze and articulate issues important to women equally oppressed by racism, sexism, and classism.

The term womanist was coined and introduced to the general public by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker in her collection of essays, In Search of Our Mothers Gardens: Womanist Prose (1983). In the preface, Walker gives a brief but complex and poetic description of the term. A womanist is a “black feminist or feminist of color,” who fights against racism, sexism, and ...

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