Racism & Feminism 101

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Brazilian feminist movement began to grow in popularity. There had been several victories prior to that point, such as the freedom to vote in 1934. However, a dictatorship was created in 1964, which caused the feminist revolution to lose steam. Despite this, women began to speak out, winning the freedom to divorce in 1977 and half of the agronomy and veterinary positions in education. Despite the fact that this conquest marks a major step forward in comparison to what it was before, it leaves black people and aboriginal women behind. As a result, these people embarked on their own feminist journey. The Conselho Nacional de Mulheres Negras (National Council of Black Women) was established in 1959, while the Associa├žo de Mulheres Indigenas (Association of Indigenous Women) was founded in the 1980s.

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These groups aren’t even included in feminist white women’s courses, debates, classes, or speeches these days, despite the fact that they are extremely important, demonstrating that even inside a movement that is ostensibly equal, there is colour, race, and cultural oppression, with these white women facing the same prejudice created by not just a patriarchal structure, but also racist, homophobic, and standardial structures.

The Feminist Movement Takes On Many Forms

The Feminist Movement has taken on many forms in recent years, including political activity that opposes sexism, cultural oppression, racial injustice, and social laws. As a result, it became apparent that the issues that white women faced, such as not being allowed to vote, divorce, work without her husband’s permission, and pursue college at the same academic standard as men, did not affect these other women. Black people were not really called women because of slavery. This people wanted to be known as women first, as Sojourner Truth, an 18th-century black political revolutionary, put it, “Ain’t I a woman?” before they could have any privileges at all. Sojourner highlighted the vast disparity between white and black women, including the fact that it was just a single word. One was attempting to acquire further rights, and the other was attempting to acquire rights for the first time. This is why we don’t think “there is just one feminism,” but rather “there are many feminisms,” since there are several various types of people who are oppressed in different ways.

Feminisms of this kind have also arisen in Brazil. Since we are a country of immigrants from all around the world, there is a popular misconception that while we have too much variety, we don’t have ethnic prejudice. However, slavery existed in Brazil, and the repercussions of this time are still evident, much as they are in every other country that has experienced ethnic injustice in the past. In the case of black women, they were subjected to not only violations as a result of segregation, but also abuses such as sexual harassment as a result of a patriarchy culture that treated her as a woman while physically assaulting her and failing to accept her as a woman like white women in order to undermine the feminism concept.

The Issues Black Women In Brazil Face

One of the issues that black women in Brazil face (lower wages, demonization of black faiths, lack of acknowledgment of their scholarly texts and researches, etc.) is self-recognition. Many black women felt degraded as a result of the cult of the white woman’s body, leading them to conclude that they were not only unattractive but even unworthy of love. When this mentality is combined with the cosmetic business, it promotes a mindset that cosmetics aren’t created for black people or, whether they are, they are designed to “reduce” blackness, such as whitening creams, makeup abilities that make the nose appear thinner, and hair straightening strategies. One of the more popular issues is the colour base. The conventional wisdom is that national brands must take into account the fact that we have a diverse range of skin types in this country, and therefore create foundations with a larger shade range. However, this is not the case. If we went to a shop that sold national labels, we could see up to nine different shades of red. In contrast, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line offers 50 distinct colours.

About the fact that it can seem to be a minor point in a political statement, it is important to remember that we reside in a world that celebrates beauty. As a result, the introduction of colours that appeal to nearly any woman is a way to deconstruct the traditional makeup stereotype. It illustrates that a black woman does not need to wear a lighter hue to be attractive, nor does she need to “whiten” in order to fit in; she can be attractive in her natural skin tone. The acknowledgement of black beauty is a significant move forward in the struggle against prejudice.

Is The Criminal Justice System Racist?

Another issue is the criminal justice system and the prison system. Since these mechanisms are actually generated by this oppressive culture, they are likely to spread the same racism. Unfortunately, it is a common reality in Brazil that a black individual has a greater likelihood of being imprisoned over things that a white person does not, such as cocaine usage. It’s forbidden in principle, but it’s not a crime; it’s considered a small misdemeanour, so no one would go to prison for it; instead, they’d get a fine or be required to do community service. The law, on the other hand, did not create a boundary between the customer and the smuggler, leaving it to the police to judge. Having stated that, it is self-evident who will be imprisoned and who would not.

Black women are still affected by the system’s race discrimination. After the passage of the Drugs Act in 2006, the number of women in prison has increased by 560 points. The number of black women in prison accounts for 68 percent of the sum, and what’s most shocking is that all of them were imprisoned not because they were traffickers, but because they were the wives or daughters of smugglers; they hadn’t done something wrong, and they were jailed merely because they knew these guys. Another race-related issue of prison is the likelihood of seeing the days in prison shortened by days of service, with the easier the task being offered the better the schooling. When black women are granted these opportunities, they are assigned more difficult tasks than white women, owing to their educational deficiencies.

Let’s Talk About Indigenous Feminism

After discussing some of the issues that black women face, it’s time to move on to another form of feminism: indigenous feminism. Outside of the aboriginal women’s party, this is perhaps the least discussed kind of feminism. Indigenous woman’s feminism combats discrimination against women within tribes, as well as ranchers, fishermen, and large corporations that kill and seize indigenous territories. One of the more serious issues facing feminist indigenous women is that, since indigenous people are considered a “safe” species, the coloniser state would not extend the rule to them, allowing the tribe to deal with the majority of legal issues. Nonetheless, several indigenous groups have the same oppressive system, and, to make matters worse, women and girls in indigenous tribes have no legal defence against abuse, sexual assault, and other forms of violence. These feminists are attempting to demonstrate that, although their culture must be protected, there are certain cases in which they, like every other woman in Brazil, whether indigenous or not, need defence, rather than turning a blind eye to the abuse and claiming that it is part of their culture.

Indigenous people are subjected to double violence, which is practised by both indigenous and coloniser persons. They must liberate themselves from all oppressive institutions, which makes their struggle similar to that of black people, who are often subjected to double injustice, in this situation by both black and white males.

Anti-racism is an inseparable aspect of the Feminist Movement, as shown by these two forms of Feminism, which focus their expression specifically on ethnic issues. Being an anti-racist feminist entails not simply reading or experiencing the words of people of different backgrounds, but also recognising and debating the racial issues that occur within the Feminist Movement. After all, the only way to solve a dilemma is to admit that one exists.

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