... the other Black experience

"Hood Feminism": Feminism for Working-Class Women

Middle-class, white women have always been the poster children of feminism, and regardless of a woman's race it could always be a rich man's, err, woman's movement. Considering the wealth gap between families in the United States have been color-coded and broken down by race, let's not forget that there is a certain privilege to having the availability and resources to fight for equal rights and battle social disparities.
Writers Mikki Kendall and Jamie Nesbitt Golden created the blog Hood Feminism with the mission to share their personal stories about financial struggle, and discuss the lack of progress there is in feminism for women who are not white, educated and middle class.

By Niesha Miller, AFROPUNK Contributor

“Hood Feminism” opens the discussion to what mainstream feminists are ignoring when fighting and discussing freedoms in education, wealth and sexuality.

In the blog’s introduction, Golden states “While Big Name Feminists are debating The End of Men, women on the margins–women like me–are sleeping at train stations and working double shifts for paltry wages. They are buying school supplies with rent money. They are fighting for citizenship because they aren’t the ‘right kind of immigrants.’”

Kendall later adds, “This site is a place for the other hood chicks, for the ones living in the inner city and navigating poverty, as well as the ones in the country making a dollar stretch.”

A few months ago, the New York Times reported that a study published by the Institute for Public Policy Research argued that feminism “failed working-class women,” suggesting that feminists are more focused on combating men in the boardroom rather than helping out their fellow women.

I like the term “Hood Feminism” because it creates an additional vertical to the movement towards gender equality. Not all women have the same social issues. The word “Hood” isn’t exactly synonymous with a specific race or ethnicity, but when used, people of color usually come to mind.

Women of color have to simultaneously combat racism and sexism. Not that fighting for women's equality is easy, but many women have to battle the disparities that are caused by racism before having the luxury of solely worrying about how to make it in a man’s world.

The ideology of feminism stems from academia, and ironically many working-class women do not have access to education, especially many who are from the “hood.”

Education isn’t always an option, and not always a priority in many American households, but studies have shown that an education is the foundation to creating a better life for you and your family.

Attending the best schools are supposed to lead to the high paying jobs, that will create the financial stability needed to help a family prosper in a great community, and with all the resources needed to influence the next generation of stable adults.

Many individuals spend the early part of their lives preparing for college by attending the best prep schools, learning second languages, playing instruments and participating in other after-school activities.

While others help their parent(s) keep the household together by learning to be a family contributor at an early age. Working age students in lower-income families sometimes have to work to help pay bills, save for college and juggle after-school activities that sometimes have to be paid for out of pocket if they attend an inner-city school with limited resources. And that’s if students are afforded these “privileges.” Many children drop out of school to help take care of their families if that becomes a required sacrifice.

Women have come a long way fighting for equality in the home, and career and academic fields, however there is a group of young girls who will never get a chance to experience the progression because of these disparities.

Obviously, a group of mainstream feminists can not solve the issues that plague the women of the inner-city, and even if they could it would be a lose, lose situation.

If mainstream feminists continue to have little involvement in the progression of lower-income women, who have much more to lose in the sexist battle for fair pay and equal opportunity, there will continue to be a creation of sub-feminism categories from women whose issues aren’t being heard. But if there is such a thing as a caped, feminist crusade that fights for the equality of ALL women, especially those who might be brown, not the “right kind of immigrants” and/or living in lower-income communities, they’ll be looked at as guilted saviours.

Before any saving, or continued indifference can be given between the various feminists groups, dialogue needs to take place to bridge the gap. It’ll probably be long time before this happen, but communication will have a better chance at working once there there is a genuine concern for different problems that women face despite their individual struggle and background. Focused groups are great for combing through special interests, but unity for all women must be the main objective.

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Comment by QUEENKONG on October 13, 2013 at 11:42pm

I have been screaming this forever...thanks for the post.The Feminist movements helps women ..certain woman that is . I remember being in woman studies class and throwing a chair across the room in disgust at what these certain feminist thought about females of color

Comment by bel on October 3, 2013 at 6:16pm

Respect:~as I mention some Vets chords on past; present and future struggles daily on youth music mods to get hierarchical purported into collect, that all the drug, sex and riots idea on street addiction,..will be not a task of my in NYC, will be more anchest the term 'Narcis'-analie out of dual mingled categorys in support a literallied - in my case to safe a typo of family - determin,..and deep respectin support: I can imagine how tunnelin works without hormones ster:io ius chemical a watch behind toilet dif seizes...just smell prepare and jungelist grime at the design corner - my present trouser costs only 40,- Oikosis and steals the hood of fascist dom:fat arsis Stasi Angies self:hate- like it was and will be to floor:ch new breath...thanks a lot,..stances out BankdyNYC Albany preparin 'Deadbread' modest~speculations that European as political idea is nearly out of world trade.

Rudolph Hess has ,..bla,..bla, British Empia custody...rape: Mahala Malie 'UN' core~

Comment by the outsider on October 3, 2013 at 12:50pm
I just took a look at the website and it appears to be informative and interesting and most importantly, something that I can relate to. For me, some parts of feminism can hard to relate to because it's geared to upper-middle class white women that seem to have no interest in helping any other women that does not look like them. They refuse to recognize and understand the real issues that working class, immigrant women face or completely dismiss them entirely.
Comment by bel on October 3, 2013 at 7:16am

At first, I don't read working class women in abstracts to explain, how movens could be prepared into income and literallied around a globe mess, when 'Interdisciplinary' is driven by anthropocentric and womens with Mum's bread must chnage their mind, on clinical standarted 'Kinderzimmer' for gardening a perspective for stable monthly.

When such women philosophia medi:terrain is antisemitism on how to exspell male violence 'genital fx' and some steps further under:age as tool of 'unity' prevent only tunnel a hormonical debate how to get deepen on 'trans' a sorrow media bluff, when 'radical queer' means nuttin more that 'bi'-sex on media 'ng' art and fasc:io siu poverty as so called real income of street style warz 1988s.....I have read so many so called feminist stuff through out Nederlands publishin,..rotten sum Pat Califia am/pm porn subj:prae~rightz..and what strives,..yeah what strives to told women in thier working place at first low minded into mirror inner childs tunnels with 'other:in and out' and prom money as only way to get a dream of hood out scale a ~ "I'mo aeth:ape' - colonial bad and ugly,..hungry babes of Abou Freake~chruch ill church surgens,..I mean, that propaganda, that Urban areas filth only the 20 percent of Europe-America, to whole explizit music scenes of youth DIY, nothing more, that a next academic chord should be prepared into an income, and these women at front of daily labor surveye another damme apple around only for sum goth:ips on and out ando:..bla,..bla,..hall of fame a templest next prom ~ is hate standarted by seekin a whole viewsight on how to prepare women on political struggles into coman comercialis against trustworth com:sys and joint honor up the bodypolitical into warm and self-defense.

At the end,..a penetration is autistic and no one is interested in, then the own birth giving child mess around on street fights genderless, by analysing all the whole feminsit scholars bank accountz for never have a radical clear choice to suppor so called working class women, when at the next step 10 tons green coca is rulin..abled..

We,..and me and my bois up to critical mens sciences, where there already through at the FAP 1990 Rome disavoe, and what all the theory describes into 'gender/sex ol:queer Kunst' bla, bla,.is that aesthetics on how and why on genital tunnelin get rid off support as donor noir visuelle again..

Thanks, for me means that supportin women into portfolio stocks trusted.

Your futuer bneighbor in Bronx-East...

Good bless DC of color, color, color,..

God was a she:male! Fight fascism..

Comment by AFROPUNK on October 3, 2013 at 3:19am

Hello Marilyn, thank you so much for your comments and for sharing all this information with us. It is much needed in our communities.

Regarding the phrase "Hood Feminism": this is the name of the blog we're talking about in the article. This is how the feminists we're mentioning in the piece decided to call themselves. You may not agree, but this is their name and we cannot change it.

All the best to you

Comment by Marilyn Louis on October 2, 2013 at 3:50pm
Thank you for writing this article.

First and foremost, there are plenty of black and brown women who identity as feminists and are doing the work to help lower-income women survive, if not, overcome their disparities. They, unfortunately, are not highlighted in the mainstream press.

I strongly suggest that you check out, Black Women's Blueprint, they're the only nationally recognized black feminist organization helping women and girls of African descent from immigrant and working-class/poor backgrounds. They provide resources such as free counseling, economic justice and tools to overcome sexual violence. They are based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and are doing amazing things.

Also, the term "hood" is very offensive, derogatory and problematic. As a young black woman of Haitian immigrants from a working-class/poor background who's grown up in urban/inner-city communities, I'm offended that you would claim that word to describe a population of ppl who do NOT see themselves in that way or how we have been talked about. The issues you bring up in "Hood" feminism is no different than the ones brought up in black feminism or feminism centered on black women/women of color and our concerns.

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