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Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism

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It has been decades since women of color first turned feminism upside down, exposing the ‘70s feminist movement as exclusive, white, and unaware of the concerns and issues of women of color from around the globe. Now a new generation of brilliant, outspoken women of color is speaking to the concerns of a new feminism, and their place in it. Daisy Hernandez of Ms. magazine It has been decades since women of color first turned feminism upside down, exposing the ‘70s feminist movement as exclusive, white, and unaware of the concerns and issues of women of color from around the globe. Now a new generation of brilliant, outspoken women of color is speaking to the concerns of a new feminism, and their place in it. Daisy Hernandez of Ms. magazine and poet Bushra Rehman have collected a diverse, lively group of emerging writers who speak to their experience—to the strength and rigidity of community and religion, to borders and divisions, both internal and external—and address issues that take feminism into the twenty-first century. One writer describes herself as a “mixed brown girl, Sri-Lankan and New England mill-town white trash,” and clearly delineates the organizing differences between whites and women of color: “We do not kick ass the way the white girls do, in meetings of NOW or riot grrl. For us, it’s all about family.” A Korean-American woman struggles to create her own identity in a traditional community: “Yam-ja-neh means nice, sweet, compliant. I’ve heard it used many times by my parents’ friends who don’t know shit about me.” An Arab-American feminist deconstructs the “quaint vision” of Middle-Eastern women with which most Americans feel comfortable. This impressive array of first-person accounts adds a much-needed fresh dimension to the ongoing dialogue between race and gender, and gives voice to the women who are creating and shaping the feminism of the future.


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It has been decades since women of color first turned feminism upside down, exposing the ‘70s feminist movement as exclusive, white, and unaware of the concerns and issues of women of color from around the globe. Now a new generation of brilliant, outspoken women of color is speaking to the concerns of a new feminism, and their place in it. Daisy Hernandez of Ms. magazine It has been decades since women of color first turned feminism upside down, exposing the ‘70s feminist movement as exclusive, white, and unaware of the concerns and issues of women of color from around the globe. Now a new generation of brilliant, outspoken women of color is speaking to the concerns of a new feminism, and their place in it. Daisy Hernandez of Ms. magazine and poet Bushra Rehman have collected a diverse, lively group of emerging writers who speak to their experience—to the strength and rigidity of community and religion, to borders and divisions, both internal and external—and address issues that take feminism into the twenty-first century. One writer describes herself as a “mixed brown girl, Sri-Lankan and New England mill-town white trash,” and clearly delineates the organizing differences between whites and women of color: “We do not kick ass the way the white girls do, in meetings of NOW or riot grrl. For us, it’s all about family.” A Korean-American woman struggles to create her own identity in a traditional community: “Yam-ja-neh means nice, sweet, compliant. I’ve heard it used many times by my parents’ friends who don’t know shit about me.” An Arab-American feminist deconstructs the “quaint vision” of Middle-Eastern women with which most Americans feel comfortable. This impressive array of first-person accounts adds a much-needed fresh dimension to the ongoing dialogue between race and gender, and gives voice to the women who are creating and shaping the feminism of the future.

30 review for Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mwanabibi Sikamo

    I have been reading a lot of feminist texts and have struggled with the fact that as an african living in the UK I believe wholeheartedly in the empowerment of women but do not know how to square this with my traditional values. The book enlightened me to the fact that I am not alone in desiring a feminism that encompasses all religions and races rather than the predominant eurocentric view. It was like a call to arms for me in that I now appreciate that as a Zambian I need to strive for feminis I have been reading a lot of feminist texts and have struggled with the fact that as an african living in the UK I believe wholeheartedly in the empowerment of women but do not know how to square this with my traditional values. The book enlightened me to the fact that I am not alone in desiring a feminism that encompasses all religions and races rather than the predominant eurocentric view. It was like a call to arms for me in that I now appreciate that as a Zambian I need to strive for feminist ideas that are tailored to our cultures and traditions and would work in the context of my country. Feminism is not the dirty word it is precieved to be and if we can show people its practical applications specific to them rather than a lot of theoretical mumbo jumbo then we would be well on the way to achieving equal opportunity for all. A great read for anyone caught between cultures or disillusioned with current feminist debates.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    This is one of my favorites. I have read it a few times, but it never stops me from reading it again. Colonize This! is a collection of essays by young woman of color writing about their experiences. Identity is much more complicated then male/female when you live in a society in which you are not a part of the dominant culture. Often I feel silenced in Japan for being a woman, and more specifically being a woman of color. Not so much by Japanese people, but by the other foreigners who live in Ja This is one of my favorites. I have read it a few times, but it never stops me from reading it again. Colonize This! is a collection of essays by young woman of color writing about their experiences. Identity is much more complicated then male/female when you live in a society in which you are not a part of the dominant culture. Often I feel silenced in Japan for being a woman, and more specifically being a woman of color. Not so much by Japanese people, but by the other foreigners who live in Japan. How can I define myself, if I am constantly told it's against "Japanese culture" to do so. This book offers me comfort and support in a place where I find little. I am a woman of color and I am proud of it! I am not alone. The eyes in which I see the world cannot be explained, only experienced. Highly recommended for any woman of color and anyone else who knows what it's like to not quite "fit".

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michi

    I found the essays difficult to get through, perhaps because I was looking for moments to exclaim, "this is how I've always felt and could never put it in words!" yet this never happened. I think the experiences of women of color are too varied due to culture, class, sexual orientation, and so on. I also felt a bit of a generation gap between myself and the writers (I was born 1984; I got the feeling they were all born around 1975). However, Rebecca Walker's Black White & Jewish had me laughing I found the essays difficult to get through, perhaps because I was looking for moments to exclaim, "this is how I've always felt and could never put it in words!" yet this never happened. I think the experiences of women of color are too varied due to culture, class, sexual orientation, and so on. I also felt a bit of a generation gap between myself and the writers (I was born 1984; I got the feeling they were all born around 1975). However, Rebecca Walker's Black White & Jewish had me laughing out loud, brought me to tears, and filled me with the familiar disgust at others' ignorance and the overall rich/complex sense of what it is to be biracial in America (even though I am neither black nor Jewish and my mother is not a famous writer).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I think this collection of essays is an excellent read for someone like me--a feminist looking to better understand the intersection of racism, classism, homophobia, and other factors with feminism. There is a wide representation of women of color experiences in these essays. This book was a hard read at times, because it is unapologetic in its criticisms of feminism, which in general still tends to focus on issues of white middle class women rather than the broader spectrum that includes women o I think this collection of essays is an excellent read for someone like me--a feminist looking to better understand the intersection of racism, classism, homophobia, and other factors with feminism. There is a wide representation of women of color experiences in these essays. This book was a hard read at times, because it is unapologetic in its criticisms of feminism, which in general still tends to focus on issues of white middle class women rather than the broader spectrum that includes women of color and their experiences with racism, classism, etc., altogether. I LIKED that it was unapologetic, because it was a good wake-up call to me. The rather narrow view of general feminism was something I understood at an academic level before reading this book, but this collection moved that understanding to a more practical level—how that general focus of feminism ostracizes a wide swath of women, and how it has affected the lives of the women who wrote these essays. The book manages to extrapolate the individual experiences described in the book simply because of the fact that each essay had an instance where the writer had been shunned from a feminist space by white feminists. So it manages to give personal accounts that piece together a larger picture when read together. I do think feminism has made some strides to rectify this since this book was published in 2002, but it's not my place, as a white woman, to try and say how much improvement on this front feminism has made, because I do not experience the ostracism myself. Each essay offered a different type of experience by a women of color (some queer, some not. Some grew up poor, some didn't. Etc.); it doesn't cover ALL possible experiences, but I think the editors did a great job of trying to cover as many as possible. This is a book I think white feminists should read to help educate themselves and better understand what women of color go through, but it definitely requires that we get over our knee-jerk reactions of criticisms of feminism.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Danika at The Lesbrary

    Despite being published in the early 2000s, this still felt very relevant. I was pleasantly surprised by how much queer content was included, and I liked the many different perspectives, but I do wish the same kind of attention was paid to trans and disability issues. Overall very readable and thought-provoking, definitely one I'd recommend. Despite being published in the early 2000s, this still felt very relevant. I was pleasantly surprised by how much queer content was included, and I liked the many different perspectives, but I do wish the same kind of attention was paid to trans and disability issues. Overall very readable and thought-provoking, definitely one I'd recommend.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    I bought this book when the second edition came out last year but only picked it up now because of the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. This book is a fantastic read for those who want to learn more about the importance of intersectionality in feminism. These powerful women of color emphasize that race, gender, and sexuality cannot be separated through short essays with very accessible language. While I would encourage everyone to read this book for themselves, here are a few of my I bought this book when the second edition came out last year but only picked it up now because of the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. This book is a fantastic read for those who want to learn more about the importance of intersectionality in feminism. These powerful women of color emphasize that race, gender, and sexuality cannot be separated through short essays with very accessible language. While I would encourage everyone to read this book for themselves, here are a few of my favorite quotes: From "Resisting Sterilization & Embracing Trans Motherhood" by Luna Merbruja: "I didn't defend my stances, but I stand by the fact that trans women have motherhoods that are different from cis motherhoods. Regardless of whether a trans woman identifies as 'pregnant' with sperm, we have reproductive issues. If we're being murdered at alarming rates, how can we live to be mothers? If we're being sterilized by the state, why aren't more people outraged and teaching trans people the truth about their bodies? Why aren't there more organized efforts to make sperm banking and egg freezing accessible for trans people?" (pg 49) From "Black Feminism in Everyday Life" by Siobhan Brooks: "Suffering and systematic abuse in communities of color was so normalized. We often didn't even know we were oppressed. Some of us thought suffering was just a part of being Black." (pg 111) "Women's studies classes do not have to be a struggle for power between white women and women of color, yet that is often what they are because of white women's racism. White women must understand that the anger some of color express in and outside of the classroom toward them is not an issue of 'hurt feelings' or 'misunderstandings.' To reduce our experience of that racism to 'misunderstandings' is both racist and reductionist." (pg 118) From "Bring Us Back into the Dance" by Kahente Horn-Miller: "It is worth remembering that the role of Haudenosaunee women did not automatically change after contact. Women continued to do the same things. We had a well-defined and important function in our culture. It is becoming more apparent to all of us that the church and the colonial state worked together to weaken indigenous societies. These colonizing institutions realized that our status had to be changed if they were to break our traditional worldview and teach us 'civilized' European ways." (pg 130) From "Becoming an Abortion Doula" by Sandra Kumwong: "Pro-choice is a language that never sits well with me, because many people don't feel as if it's their choice-- Mom, was it really yours? Choice assumes that a person has the autonomy to make a decision. This is not the case for those who have been subjected to systematic dehumanization and oppression." (pg 166) From "Heartbroken: Women of Color Feminism and the Third Wave" by Recebba Hurdis: "Feminism has been indoctrinated into the academy through the discipline of women's studies. It has moved out of the social and political spaces from where it emerged. Women's studies have collapsed the diversity that was part of the feminist movement into a discipline that has become a homogeneous generality." (pg 281) From "The Black Beauty Myth" by Sirena J. Riley: "As much as we get praised for loving our full bodies, many young white women would rather be dead than wear a size 14. They nod their heads and say how great it is that we black women can embrace our curves, but they don't want to look like us. They don't adopt our presumably more generous beauty ideals. ... I've never heard a white woman say that she's going to take her cue from a black woman and gain a few pounds, however. In a way it is patronizing, because they're basically saying 'It's okay for you to be fat, but not me. You're black. You're different.'" (pg 344) From "Can I get a Witness? Testimony from a Hip-Hop Feminist" by Shani Jamila: "The paradox of the Black middle class as I experienced it is that we are simultaneously affirmed and erased: tokenized and celebrated as one of the few 'achievers' of our race, but set apart from other Black folks by our economic success. It is the classic divide-and-conquer technique regularly employed in oppressive structures: in this case, saying that Black people are pathological- but you somehow escaped the genetic curse, so you must be 'different.'" (pg 349)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Viv

    “Feminism is comprised of values that are important to you as a woman, not ideals arrived at by forced consensus to which you should adjust your own life.” ― Daisy Hernandez, Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism 4.5 A wonderful series of essays from various perspectives (LGBT+, Muslim, East Asian, Native American, etc) and covering a wide range of topics (black women and eating disorders, mixed-race/heritage adoption, etc) that I have not been exposed to while on my journey to “Feminism is comprised of values that are important to you as a woman, not ideals arrived at by forced consensus to which you should adjust your own life.” ― Daisy Hernandez, Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism 4.5 A wonderful series of essays from various perspectives (LGBT+, Muslim, East Asian, Native American, etc) and covering a wide range of topics (black women and eating disorders, mixed-race/heritage adoption, etc) that I have not been exposed to while on my journey to learn more about feminism and what it means to me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mei

    So important and enlightening! A must-read for any person who wants to become more informed about the truths of modern feminism and the intersectionality we must fight for.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ciara

    this book was predictably awesome. i'd been wanting to read it for quite some time, but it was always checked out at the boston public library. eventually i realized it had been lost or stolen & wasn't listed as such in the system, so i inter-library borrowed it from another branch. it's a few years old (published in 2002), & i would be interested to see what a similar book of young women of color writing about feminism would look like now that the political landscape has changed a bit. but it's this book was predictably awesome. i'd been wanting to read it for quite some time, but it was always checked out at the boston public library. eventually i realized it had been lost or stolen & wasn't listed as such in the system, so i inter-library borrowed it from another branch. it's a few years old (published in 2002), & i would be interested to see what a similar book of young women of color writing about feminism would look like now that the political landscape has changed a bit. but it's still definitely worth a read. there were a few things i wasn't totally psyched about, like how some of the contributers seemed to twist reality a bit to fit a certain political narrative. for example, an essay on black women & body image takes apart the myth that black women don't have bodily insecurities. the author writes something about how black women do have body image concerns, "even in a black middle-class metropolis like washington DC." the context seemed to imply that women living a relatively comfortable lifestyle, class-wise, ought to be less likely to have hang-ups about their body images, which is patently untrue, & i'd also hesitate to refer to DC as a "middle-class" metropolis when there are such enormous numbers of people (mostly of color) living below the poverty line there. it was a very weird statement to make. i also could have lived without the essay about one woman's experience with RU-486. every woman has her own emotional reactions to abortion, & some women certainly consider it emotionally difficult & even traumatic, especially when they feel they have been backed into a corner & unable to make an unhindered choice because of things like the financial burdens of unplanned parenthood. but it still read like anti-abortion propaganda, & in general, i have little patience for people who fantasize about what their "babies" would have been like, going so far as to guess at genders & give names & even assign physical characteristics like hair color. i guess everyone has their own way of dealing with shit, but that kind of nonsense is a little insulting to those of us who have had to deal with the real deaths of born & very imperfect, sometimes deeply unsympathetic friends & family members. & then there was the essay by the woman who pretty much just wrote about her relationship with feminism through the prism of having found a good boyfriend who supported her feminist beliefs. on their first date, he told her that she didn't "seem like a feminist" because he thought of feminists as being very "self-involved," while she seemed to value the "concept of family...above that of the individual." & she was excited by this, even moreso when he said, "why does there have to be a choice between feminism & family? i think a woman can have both." well, thanks for that insight, captain amazing. who the fuck is making it a choice between feminism & family? not feminists. that was very weird. in the same essay, the author writes about getting angry in a women's studies class that was discussing housework & the devaluation of women's labor in the home. she dropped a little science on them: "if women don't clean & men don't clean, who does? other women you hire to come in & clean your house for you?" um...zing? i mean, yeah, stamping your foot & refusing to clean your own home because you're a feminist & therefore you hire a housekeeper (probably female) is problematic, but there wasn't an indication that anyone was proposing that. i think an awareness that women's labor within the home continues to be unvalued & unappreciated, & that women with jobs outside the home continue to do more housework that men with jobs outside the home are all valuable areas of concern & attention. that's why the goal should be to teach all people, male & female, that maintaining a clean environment is everyone's job, regardless of gender. seriously, if you are a lady, go live with a dude for a few months & see which one of you more often washes dishes, takes care of pets or children, etc. i don't know. but there was a lot--a LOT--more to like about this book than dislike. sorry to focus so much on the parts that aggravated me. like the fact that like half the contributers, at least, wrote about coming into feminism through women's studies classes in college. surely there are more women than just me who actually identify as feminists & have read a lot of feminist literature (like this book, & bell hooks, & such forth--not just jessica valenti & inga muscio) & DIDN'T come to it through academia? maybe don't even have college degrees at all? or high school diplomas (i don't)? what the hell? because if it turns out that i've been kidding myself for the last fifteen or twenty years & feminism is really just an academic circle jerk as it so often appears, i think maybe i'm out.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Keish

    The collection of essays by Women of Color definitely helped me check the (still) white feminism I learn in my college course. I connected with most of the essays and appreciated the honesty from the writers. Through the essays, I was able to learn the different lessons of feminism that is not from the set of certain ideals or theories, rather the values that are important to you as a woman. It is about empowerment of yourself, not fitting into some wave of feminism that shape around the status The collection of essays by Women of Color definitely helped me check the (still) white feminism I learn in my college course. I connected with most of the essays and appreciated the honesty from the writers. Through the essays, I was able to learn the different lessons of feminism that is not from the set of certain ideals or theories, rather the values that are important to you as a woman. It is about empowerment of yourself, not fitting into some wave of feminism that shape around the status quo. One of the best part about the collection of essays was how accessible the language was. Unlike a lot of academic writings around feminism (the class and race privilege), Colonize This! was readable and it was easy to connect to the voices of the writers. I really appreciated that you didnt have to be aware of all the academic terms to understand feminism. And that is how it should be all the time.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rodrigue Ronald

    Reading this book, reminded me of the women that help raise me, my mom, my aunts, and my sisters and how often feminism in the western world do not include people like the women in family because of their race, religion, social economic situation and culture. This book does a great job of explaining the dynamic of these two worlds and presents the argument that is often portrayed that women in these countries are not as strong as the feminist in the western world. I will recommend this book to a Reading this book, reminded me of the women that help raise me, my mom, my aunts, and my sisters and how often feminism in the western world do not include people like the women in family because of their race, religion, social economic situation and culture. This book does a great job of explaining the dynamic of these two worlds and presents the argument that is often portrayed that women in these countries are not as strong as the feminist in the western world. I will recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a different approach to feminist movement that is too often associated with the western world.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Phoebe

    This book started off slow, but I eventually realized it's worth. In the end, I found great value in reading the stories of all the (mostly young) women who are trying to make sense of their experiences as people whose life experiences are pushed to the margins of the greater social eye. I found the article on sexual harrasment (in the streets, not in the work place) particularly powerful. This book started off slow, but I eventually realized it's worth. In the end, I found great value in reading the stories of all the (mostly young) women who are trying to make sense of their experiences as people whose life experiences are pushed to the margins of the greater social eye. I found the article on sexual harrasment (in the streets, not in the work place) particularly powerful.

  13. 5 out of 5

    ONTD Feminism

    LJ user pachakuti: Many of the books on feminism or by feminists are white-washed or brush aside the concerns of POC within the movement. This book is BY those POC, women of myriad cultures and backgrounds writing and discussing their lives, on their terms, from their point of view. LJ user pachakuti: Many of the books on feminism or by feminists are white-washed or brush aside the concerns of POC within the movement. This book is BY those POC, women of myriad cultures and backgrounds writing and discussing their lives, on their terms, from their point of view.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cristina

    4.75 stars! Was hoping to have more East Asian and Native American representation, but the ones highlighted were very moving and eye opening, like the rest of the essays by other women of color! ♥️

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah :)

    Sort of repetitive after a while. It could have benefitted from some comics or poetry. Lots of discussion of religion, but only one really delved into it sufficiently .

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Dandridge

    The original version was on my “to read” for years, so when I saw the new edition I knew I had to pick it up. Excellent reflections on race and gender from young feminists of color.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Megan Farve

    Along my feminist journey I realized I was missing the perspective of intersectionality. How could I have been so ignorant!? This collection of essays was eye-opening to how feminism should encompass so many more issues than just women’s rights. We need to fight for ALL women and against the discrimination they face.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ruby

    "After many late night talks, we chose the title of Cristina Tzintzun's essay for this book in order to acknowledge how the stories of women and colonization are intimately tied. But when we first sat down to write this introduction and looked in the dictionary, we found that colonize means "to create a settlement." It sounds so simple and peaceful. We rewrote the definition. To colonize is "to strip a people of their culture, language, land, family structure, who they are as a person and as a p "After many late night talks, we chose the title of Cristina Tzintzun's essay for this book in order to acknowledge how the stories of women and colonization are intimately tied. But when we first sat down to write this introduction and looked in the dictionary, we found that colonize means "to create a settlement." It sounds so simple and peaceful. We rewrote the definition. To colonize is "to strip a people of their culture, language, land, family structure, who they are as a person and as a people." Ironically, the dictionary helped us better articulate the meaning of this book. It reminded us that it's important for women of color to write. We can't have someone else defining our live or our feminism." "For the young women in this book, creating lives on their own terms is an act of survival and resistance. It's also part of a larger liberation struggle for women and people of color." "Many of us have been negotiating identities from the time we first step out of our parents' homes. When our parents came here with stars in their eyes and fear in their guts, they didn't realize all they would have to give up." "Growing up, I dreamed of that chosen political fam that would last my whole life, with some departures of years or decades. There's this trope that repeats itself in the books you and I read to save our lives: that if where you grew up is killing you, you can leave and make a chosen, identity-based fam that takes up where your bio-fam left off. That's usually the straight-up white lefty/queer thang. The coloredgirl one I read about in Chrystos, Gloria Anzaldua and Cherrie Moraga said somethin' more: that if the reason my bio-fam was killing me was because they were trying to destroy the brown, the poor in me, bleach out to American, I could run to the girls who were not trying to forget. I wanted that. I grew up surviving because I believed in that. It's hard to let go." "Revolutionary change happens through laws and guns, tear gas and tablas, but it also comes through the families and communities we build to replace the dead life we want to flee." "For all our everyday fucked-up trauma, we need to carry around a video camera to document our lives, cuz things happen so fast and ain't nobody gonna believe it otherwise." "If you didn't have privilege, shit happened and you had no fucking cushion. Without a hell of a lot of luck, you wound up on lockdown, stuck in prison or poverty or the psych ward. No second chances for us (broke/crazy/nonwhite/nonnormal)." "If we keep reaching back and fighting like hell to fix what they fucked up in us, the people you desperately need may leave. But they will also keep coming, in new forms. The world is chaotic and uncertain, but not all of it is our parents' house." "I struggle to make my voice heard so that she and people like her will learn that there is more than just a white experience." "I find it frustrating that when most books mention womyn of color, that "color" and "gender" are presented as something separate. I am not just a womon or just a person of color-I am a womon of color." "I started to understand that family means everyone involved doing their part to push forward, to get over the common hurdles and help each other overcome personal obstacles." "Gentrification is a premeditated process in which an imaginary bleach is poured on a community and the only remaining color left in that community is white...only the strongest coloreds survived." "Given the history of oppression women have suffered at the hands of patriarchs who no doubt claimed to love them., it is not hard to imagine why love would be thought of as suspect." "So often women of color leave white environments because of fear. They feel like their presence doesn't matter, that if they speak they will not be listened to." "The anger of women of color is a rational response to our invisibility. It is a rational response to a racist, sexist, capitalist structure. It is not constructive for white women to tell us that our anger is making it hard for them to relate to us, that our anger makes them feel uncomfortable, that we are not willing to find common alliances with them. This is a classic example of white women's racism. They fail to realize that in telling us there is no place for our rage, they are becoming a part of what is colonizing us-the denial of our reality. They have to accept the fact that they don't understand our experiences and have an opportunity to learn something, maybe even about themselves, as opposed to wanting to shut us up. Only then can any true understanding result among us." "We love our mothers. We want to be there for them and want them to feel comfortable in knowing and relying on that. What is problematic is the double standard; the patriarchal definition of what it means to be a "good" woman; the reproduction of superior-inferior power dynamic via culture and religion; the marginalization of women, in particular women of color, in the economy; and the emotional dimension of guilt. These factors are all intertwined to produce a situation that deserves a space for conversation and reflection." "The issues of class and economic are rarely divorced from any aspect of our lives. Most of my friends struggle to pay their rent, living expenses and student loans. We're not affluent women who can support another person's entire financial needs or hire attendants and housekeepers. Our mothers, approaching their retirement years, find themselves out of the male-as-principal-breadwinner structure to which they were accustomed. Our mothers also find their role of caretaker disappearing. What do you do when what you have based your identity on-caretaking-is no longer a need? How do you become emotionally and economically independent? How do you carve your own identity? How does a buena daughter help out of choice and love, not guilt?" "As a daughter, she was expected to shoulder responsibility without questioning. As a wife, she was expected to serve without resenting. As a mother, she was expected to sacrifice without looking back. To demand that of people is to shortchange their potential as human beings. But what effect does that have especially on women, and on a woman like my mother? What does it mean for her entire sense of self to revolve around referents, for her to identify as a mother because she has a daughter, an employee because she has a job?" "In their survival we discovered strength; in their sacrifices, boldness. Their accomplishments as women had been colossal when measured across generations. Through their individual silences they gave us a collective voice." "It is difficult to predict what the future holds for me, since I a very much in the middle of the two worlds that have molded me into who I am today. I have decided that I will go anywhere destiny takes me, provided that I have primary control over my life and that my opinions count, despite my gender. Anything less would not be a life for me. I have worked and struggled very hard to become the intelligent, independent and strong woman that I am today. I absolutely cannot ignore all that I have endured and achieved by settling for a passive life as Adam's Rib. Some may choose to call me a rebel, but I am simply a woman searching for a happier life. One in which I am allowed to love myself, and not sacrifice that love in favor of a society's values." "My mother says you have to make home wherever you are. This is what she did. And she thrived. I think of this whenever I hear anyone call Indian women "weak." "In a two-tone world where people are only allowed to act either black or white, I am proudly checking the "other" box." "Part of learning feminism for me has been about learning that you can't be what people want you to be and learning how to do better than just survive when you fall." "Critics of affirmative action rally around equal opportunity as an acceptable goal, ignoring the fact that no opportunities are equal if one of us doesn't have enough to eat. I am appalled at the gulf that separates the vast majority from the privileged few." "Just as the victors write the history, those in power establish the stereotypes. The distortion they establish suits their interests, one that serves them and enjoys it." "I am not society's fear but I am not yet a friend. The anger born of pain and the awareness of the history that flowed before me still motivate me. The bonds of passing and the entrenchment of expectations shape our shared landscape regardless of gender, color and class. I constantly struggle with what people are conditioned to see. The weight of brown skin, female features and memories of poverty intensify my fight. Feminism has historically empowered women to create their own definitions of femininity and what it means to be a woman. But what does feminism offer a woman in South Asia who considers becoming a mail-order bride her best option? Does feminism undermine or reinforce the depiction of men of color as dangerous predators? How does feminism address the availability of meaningful opportunities across classes, the social safety net or the fact that most of those detained or incarcerated are brown, male and poor? For feminism to speak to people of color, it must not only acknowledge the various manifestations of oppression but also draw attention to their interconnectedness."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dalia

    Very influential reading it as a 16 yr old curious about the world of "community organizing" and the complicated community, personal, professional, core connections between (queer) womyn of color within that world. I feel like I should read it again, not with some 'older more experienced' eye, but yeah, with a little more under my belt now, I feel I would be more capable of being critical, of maintaining myself and my opinions while also absorbing it. Before I just sucked it all in as truth with Very influential reading it as a 16 yr old curious about the world of "community organizing" and the complicated community, personal, professional, core connections between (queer) womyn of color within that world. I feel like I should read it again, not with some 'older more experienced' eye, but yeah, with a little more under my belt now, I feel I would be more capable of being critical, of maintaining myself and my opinions while also absorbing it. Before I just sucked it all in as truth with little to use (as I saw it) as basis for critique, for an analysis that questions. [However, I will say, what sticks out to me the most now, that I remember not understanding AT ALL when I read it back in the day,is the recurring confusion and feeling of loss at how personal dramas and friendship/lover complications could not be separated from the work, but more importantly, could not be worked through and incorporated in a healing way. I'll never forget the last line of one of the first stories, about a woman who felt she always had to move, had to up and leave whatever community she was trying to create with her people, whenever broken love reared its ugly head.]

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kelley

    I finally went mad with nothing in the house to read, so we stopped at the Virginia Beach library Sunday since we'd always wanted to check it out. Yeah. We consider going to the library or bookstore a date. Valentine's Day? We walked to MacArthur and sat around reading at B&N. Alas, R was impatient, worrying about frozen food in the car and wanting to get to a convenience store to pick up ice. So, basically, I cruised the shelves and snatched up whatever caught my attention. Since I didn't finis I finally went mad with nothing in the house to read, so we stopped at the Virginia Beach library Sunday since we'd always wanted to check it out. Yeah. We consider going to the library or bookstore a date. Valentine's Day? We walked to MacArthur and sat around reading at B&N. Alas, R was impatient, worrying about frozen food in the car and wanting to get to a convenience store to pick up ice. So, basically, I cruised the shelves and snatched up whatever caught my attention. Since I didn't finish a couple of essays, let alone write about them, in _Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism_, I decided to check it out again, along with bell hooks' _We Real Cool_, her 2004 book on black masculinity. I appreciate hooks' politics, but I don't care for her writing. But more on that in my review of that book. More anon....

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jarrah

    There are definitely some useful lessons in here for white feminists and institutions. Listening to the diverse voices that make up this anthology reveals how feminism has helped and alienated women of colour and how big feminist issues like eating disorders, rape, and street harassment require analysis from more than just white middle-class women. I can't speak to how much this book might resonate with young women of colour today but I know it struck me since the book is 10 years old that I was There are definitely some useful lessons in here for white feminists and institutions. Listening to the diverse voices that make up this anthology reveals how feminism has helped and alienated women of colour and how big feminist issues like eating disorders, rape, and street harassment require analysis from more than just white middle-class women. I can't speak to how much this book might resonate with young women of colour today but I know it struck me since the book is 10 years old that I was not the same generation of the writers, most of whom seem to have been born in the 1970s. It would be interesting to see an updated collection that might include a reflection or two on recent developments in technology, media, and feminist internet culture. At times Feminism For Real shares these younger voices but one book every 10 years isn't enough.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    I appreciated hearing from a wide variety of women about what feminism is or isn't to them. It helped me to understand that for one, there truly isn't one correct way to define feminism. Many of the essays point to the strength of women that is somehow often perceived as weakness. Often people, especially white feminists, have overlooked certain ways of life or have judged or even belittled them because the women are still conforming to some traditional gender roles. I learned a lot from the book I appreciated hearing from a wide variety of women about what feminism is or isn't to them. It helped me to understand that for one, there truly isn't one correct way to define feminism. Many of the essays point to the strength of women that is somehow often perceived as weakness. Often people, especially white feminists, have overlooked certain ways of life or have judged or even belittled them because the women are still conforming to some traditional gender roles. I learned a lot from the book, but also was pointed to other sources that explore feminism from many perspectives rather than from the traditional white feminism that many of us have been exposed to here in the U.S. for our entire lives.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ioana

    This book is a collection of women's essays on their personal experiences with sexism, racism, heteronormativity, patriarchy, exploitation and oppression--as well as stories of overcoming these pressures and finding voice. The essays are touching, poignant, poetic, and insightful, and come from a range of women--Indian, African-American, of mixed-heritage, of all religions and many nationalities, and so on. They show how sexism is only one axis of oppression that many women experience every day, This book is a collection of women's essays on their personal experiences with sexism, racism, heteronormativity, patriarchy, exploitation and oppression--as well as stories of overcoming these pressures and finding voice. The essays are touching, poignant, poetic, and insightful, and come from a range of women--Indian, African-American, of mixed-heritage, of all religions and many nationalities, and so on. They show how sexism is only one axis of oppression that many women experience every day, that instead women's issues are really also race, gender, class issues as well. (i.e., what is typically referred to as "intersectionality" in critical theories of identity).

  24. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    I loved this book. I was a little nervous because a previous commenter said it was angry. It didn't read that way to me at all. I've read so much white feminism that it's so refreshing to read feminism from women of color. What makes this book even more special is that it offered feminism from Arab and Muslim women of color, and I very rarely (if ever) read essays by young Arab and Muslim women. There were also essays from Black women, Asian women, Latina women, Native American women (and more t I loved this book. I was a little nervous because a previous commenter said it was angry. It didn't read that way to me at all. I've read so much white feminism that it's so refreshing to read feminism from women of color. What makes this book even more special is that it offered feminism from Arab and Muslim women of color, and I very rarely (if ever) read essays by young Arab and Muslim women. There were also essays from Black women, Asian women, Latina women, Native American women (and more that I feel like I'm forgetting). But for me the gem was the essays by the Arab women. This book is just so brilliant and I'm so glad I read it. It's so worth it

  25. 4 out of 5

    Summer

    It took a long time to finish this book. It's kind of big. The nature of a collection of essays kind of makes it easy for me to sit it down and ignore it for a while. This book is 14 years old now. There are a few dated references. I would EAT UP a new edition. In each essay a lady just basically talks a little about her life. She highlights one or two things that relate specifically to feminism. Most essays talked about how the authors came to learn about feminism. Each essay was interesting an It took a long time to finish this book. It's kind of big. The nature of a collection of essays kind of makes it easy for me to sit it down and ignore it for a while. This book is 14 years old now. There are a few dated references. I would EAT UP a new edition. In each essay a lady just basically talks a little about her life. She highlights one or two things that relate specifically to feminism. Most essays talked about how the authors came to learn about feminism. Each essay was interesting and well-written (although sometimes a wee bit meandering). The book as a whole provides a multi-faceted portrait of some of the many faces of feminism.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Corinne Horne

    I first picked up Colonize This! at my College Bookstore. This book was a required book along with my textbook for my Developmental Patterns of Women (Psych.) class. I thumbed through it casually at first, but once I started actually reading I couldn't put it down. I can associate with and understand the women that wrote each piece. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to further themselves in womenofcolor feminism, if you're looking to enhance your knowledge of ethnic women, or even if I first picked up Colonize This! at my College Bookstore. This book was a required book along with my textbook for my Developmental Patterns of Women (Psych.) class. I thumbed through it casually at first, but once I started actually reading I couldn't put it down. I can associate with and understand the women that wrote each piece. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to further themselves in womenofcolor feminism, if you're looking to enhance your knowledge of ethnic women, or even if you're just curious about feminism period. It's a terrific read overall.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Avory

    As a white feminist, I found this anthology particularly revelatory in the ways that it speaks to WOC experience in white-dominated feminist communities. Many of the authors focus on dual experiences with family and/or country of origin and mostly white US women's studies departments. This collection uses personal narrative to communicate the political realities of these experiences and hold white women accountable, while also providing something WOC of diverse backgrounds can relate to. Stron As a white feminist, I found this anthology particularly revelatory in the ways that it speaks to WOC experience in white-dominated feminist communities. Many of the authors focus on dual experiences with family and/or country of origin and mostly white US women's studies departments. This collection uses personal narrative to communicate the political realities of these experiences and hold white women accountable, while also providing something WOC of diverse backgrounds can relate to. Strong themes include motherhood, immigrant experience, and WOC feminism.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chutima

    What I hoped this book would impart me with is a feeling of empowerment and a long list of reading recommendations. Check & check. I didn't expect it to enlighten me or answer any of the deeper questions that have been troubling me recently, which is why I'd class this book as "introductory" literature. For one reason, I'm not even sure what answers I'm looking for. And for another reason, I had simply hoped that this book would help me re-orientate myself within a neglected feminist context and What I hoped this book would impart me with is a feeling of empowerment and a long list of reading recommendations. Check & check. I didn't expect it to enlighten me or answer any of the deeper questions that have been troubling me recently, which is why I'd class this book as "introductory" literature. For one reason, I'm not even sure what answers I'm looking for. And for another reason, I had simply hoped that this book would help me re-orientate myself within a neglected feminist context and frame the right questions. Check.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    One of those books where parts were assigned for a college course, but I always told myself I'd read the whole thing eventually--and I just did. The first hundred pages or so I wasn't so much into it--there was a bit of non-constructive bitching about silly white girls (SWGs). The rest of it was really great, though, especially the essays about mothers and families. I'm really glad I took the time to read it now. One of those books where parts were assigned for a college course, but I always told myself I'd read the whole thing eventually--and I just did. The first hundred pages or so I wasn't so much into it--there was a bit of non-constructive bitching about silly white girls (SWGs). The rest of it was really great, though, especially the essays about mothers and families. I'm really glad I took the time to read it now.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lyana Rodriguez

    While the book's issues can sometimes be dated to the early 00's and held back from a lack of discussion on gender identity and the trans spectrum, I really enjoyed this anthology. More than any other feminist body of work, I have felt so empowered reading so many essays centered on Latinx immigrants. I definitely recommend this as a starting point for discussing the intersection of gender with race, culture, class, and sexuality. While the book's issues can sometimes be dated to the early 00's and held back from a lack of discussion on gender identity and the trans spectrum, I really enjoyed this anthology. More than any other feminist body of work, I have felt so empowered reading so many essays centered on Latinx immigrants. I definitely recommend this as a starting point for discussing the intersection of gender with race, culture, class, and sexuality.

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