Feminist Facts: What is Misogynoir?

Misogynoir

As feminism continues to evolve, new terms are constantly popping up to describe the different forms of bias and discrimination that women face according to their social, racial, and sexual identities. One of the latest terms, coined in 2010 by queer black feminist Moya Bailey and further developed by Trudy of Gradient Liar, is Misogynoir.

What exactly is Misogynoir?

Definition: “Misogynoir is misogyny directed towards black women where race and gender both play roles in bias.”

It’s essentially a theory that comes under intersectionality, but refers more specifically to the misogyny that black women face in visual and popular culture with emphasis on how black men treat black women. Misogynoir recognises the tendency of hip-hop culture to present black women as either hyper-sexualised jezebels or easy to manipulate and abuse, mirroring society’s view of black women in general.

In her article, “4 Tired Tropes That Perfectly Explain What Misogynoir Is”,  Kisiena Boom writes about the tendency to bracket black women into 4 stereotypes: the sassy black woman, the hypersexual Jezebel, the angry black woman and the strong black woman. These stereotypes create a different oppression and devaluation of black women in society compared to white women, creating another hurdle for black women to overcome in their search for equality.

Misogynoir is when….

- Doctors treat black women differently because they are perceived as having a higher pain threshold.

-  Black women are depicted as twerk machines or sex goddesses with no other value than their bodies.

-  Black women are seen as threatening, loud and angry every time they try to make a point.

-     Black women are not allowed to show any emotion, distress, or pain because they’re meant to be strong and hold everything together for the sake of everyone else.

Misogynoir is an attempt to force black women into boxes and make us more palatable. It’s the idea that we should never scream, never fight, never take ownership of ourselves, because the minute we do, we’ll be painted as “angry black women” and dismissed.
— Logan Anderson

Some classic cases of misogynoir include the horrendous online abuse that MP Diane Abbott has received since becoming a key figure in the Labour party, the disgusting racist and sexist attacks that Serena Williams has endured and even the comments that Blue Ivy (A TODDLER!) received about her hair. Misogynoir affects women and girls of all ages.

Miosgynoir is a term that recognises that you can’t separate your racial and gender identity. It’s a term that needs to be used more in feminist discourse. It encapsulates the battle to eradicate racialized sexism, liberating not only white women, but black women too.

Article by Chanju Mwanza