Date of Award
UG Dissertation (Restricted)
Dr. Chan Wing Chun Julia
There is a growing tendency to turn to the intersectional framework to reflect on social phenomena. In the past decades, with intersectional feminism continuing to expand on its theory and usage, with the public being more conscious of the complexity of gender and race issues, and with the younger generations being more passionate about the fight against social group-based inequalities, on the other hand, womanism is increasingly being rejected by intersectional feminist critics due to its more spiritual and idealistic, thus seemingly less practical approach. Moreover, womanism is increasingly conflated with feminism by both the academics and the public due to its lack of prevalence. Despite the differences between womanism and intersectional feminism, however, this essay argues that their respective identity politics and spiritual politics are, in fact, compatible with one another, and that womanism should be brought back into discussion in our contemporary society as it can complement what intersectional feminism cannot achieve.
This essay focuses on Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple. It explores through this work how womanism and intersectional feminism look at concepts like oppression and agency differently, yet how these two perspectives are complementary to each other. I then compare this fictional work with Walker’s several other works, to investigate how womanism could be applied effectively, and how that is related to womanism’s spiritual nature. This essay would come to the conclusion that whereas intersectional theory provides us a foundation to conceptualize multi-dimensional social inequalities, womanism suggests a possibility for the human species to outgrow the generational and intersecting systems of oppression. Thus, bringing back womanism in the present days can open up an alternative path when addressing contemporary issues.
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Chau, H. C. N. (2022). New possibilities brought by "Purple": Reintegrating womanism into contemporary feminist discourse (UG dissertation, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from https://commons.ln.edu.hk/eng_fyp/83