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Misogynoir

What are you doing to uplift the voices of Black women and girls?

Anti-racism includes uncovering the various ways in which anti-blackness reveals itself in our daily lives. Intersectionality is a crucial part while attempting to comprehend a person’s experiences. Intersectionality, a word coined by scholar Kimberle Crenshaw, was first described as the various types of oppression experienced by Black women. Now, the term has become more mainstream and is conceptualized as the experiences faced by those with intersecting identities. Moya Bailey invented the term misogynoir to characterize:

“the specific hate, dislike, distrust, and prejudice directed toward Black women.”

Misogynoir, how it appears, and how it might be alleviated, must be explored in anti-racism education and activities.

Photograph of Moya Bailey

Misogynoir is pervasive in ways that may not even be realized at first glance. For instance, the hashtag #SayHerName was created in 2014 to emphasize misogynoir and how stories of Black women and girls are often left unnoticed and untold. These experiences vary from police brutality to sexual assault and end up going unreported. Two very apparent examples of misogynoir in the public sphere can be found in the experiences of musician R. Kelly’s victims and most recently, the events that ensued with rapper Megan Thee Stallion.


During R. Kelly’s long-lived, 30 year career, a number of women and girls, mostly underaged and Black, have made claims that R. Kelly has sexually abused them. Despite the increasing number of accusations that have been made, it wasn’t until recently when the 2019 documentary Surviving R. Kelly came out that these stories were given credence. Black women and girls who share stories of abuse, trauma, and assault are largely shunned, criticized, and overlooked. These experiences are, instead, questioned, scrutinized, and dissected way more than any other group.


In July 2020, a video surfaced featuring Megan Thee Stallion with what appeared to be injuries to her foot as she was apprehended by law enforcement. The next month, in August. Megan Thee Stallion went on record to say that she received a gunshot to the foot by rapper, Tory Lanez.

Photograph of Megan Thee Stallion

Immediately after Megan Thee Stallion shared her experience, she was bombarded with criticism from all directions on social media, with many questioning the validity of her story. Despite the wealth, fame, and infamy that she has amassed, the amount of vile and insensitive comments directed at her is a harsh reminder that misogynoir is alive and well, even in the music industry. It is apparent that no amount of prestige, wealth or fame can help you avoid it. Contrary to what one may believe, money doesn’t isolate Black women from coming face to face with misogynoir.


Many people are still unaware of misogynoir and how it unfolds to damage Black women collectively. The first step in deconstructing and destroying misogynoir is raising awareness about it. Misogynoir should be discussed in anti-racist education to increase awareness and comprehension. Read books like Minda Harts’ “The Memo and Mikki Kendall’s Hood Feminism”, which go into intense detail on intersectional experiences and can expand one’s awareness on the topic.

Photograph of Minda Harts

If you want to fight misogynoir, the most crucial aspect is to actively listen to Black women. When Black women share their stories with you, it is critical to listen rather than disputing or engaging in racial gaslighting or tone policing.


During these discussions, it is also imperative to avoid behaviors such as white centering and defensiveness.

Black women’s voices are frequently muffled, suppressed, and silenced.
Reflect and ask yourself what you are currently doing to uplift the voices of Black women.
Lastly, consider how you are using your privilege, access, and opportunity to uproot misogynoir anytime it rears its ugly head.

 

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