On 4 March, 2019 ACP YPN Policy Expert and Youth Ambassador, Kelly-Ann Fonderson presented at the Feminist and Gender Equality Group Lightning talks in Bath, UK. The Feminist and Gender Equality group at the University Bath hosted an event on feminism featuring 12 student leaders. Fonderson’s presentation on “Black Feminism and Radical Self Care” included a brief introduction to the Black feminism, key contributions to contemporary feminist literature.
Fonderson’s presentation introduced the audience to major thinkers within the Black feminist tradition spanning across two centuries. The presentation traced the genealogy of intersectionality, a term coined by African-American legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw. Introductory remarks began with the 19th century Black Feminist Sojourner Truth, an abolitionist, women’s rights activist, and author of “Ain’t I A Woman.” Truth’s interventions in both spheres were never fully embraced due to racism or sexism. The term intersectionality was coined in the 1980s and is common term in mainstream feminism today. While the term has since been adopted in sociology, education and even EU policy, it was originally used to describe how multiple forms of discrimination overlapped or intersected.
The presentation elaborated on thinkers such as Audre Lorde and bell hooks and their contributions to feminism and theorizing inequalities from a structural standpoint. A reconceptualization of what feminism meant for them which was overcoming the oppressive nature of sexism for all people. This definition incorporates women and men across class, age, and ethnicities. One of their various approaches to challenging structures of discrimination is summarised in Audre Lorde’s quote. Audre Lorde famously wrote “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” This notion was unpacked and linked back to self-care, self-esteem and living consciously as a practical way of incorporating feminism into everyday life.
In summary, the “Black Feminism and Radical Self Care” talk amplified the overlooked yet crucial voices to contemporary feminism that have shaped women’s rights, the fight for equality and society as a whole.
By Kelly-Ann Fonderson – Get in touch via Linkedin
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