“I remember my first women’s studies class at Stanford, when there was a conflict when one of the white woman students was talking about the Black maid at her home, and how much they loved her. And I raised the question, “But does she love you? What do you really know of what she says about you when she is home? What have you done to earn the right to talk about her?” Of course, I remembered that when my mother came home, the critique that she brought to bear on the white people that she worked for was fierce. They would not have been able to imagine it. She would come home and do a gendered critique, or do a critique of the idea of female freedom, of the white female leisure-class model in a way that the white people she worked for did not see because of their racism and classism.”—
bell hooks, in homegrown: Engaged Cultural Critique in the chapter “Feminist Iconography,” p. 39.
Funny I read this this weekend after hearing and reading so much about The Help.
I kinda feel like this when white people tell me they had a black nanny. I know the bond between nanny and child can be heaps strong…but when white people mention this, they usually say it to show they have some kind of understanding of blackness or that they love blackness. No, you love what blackness can do for you. Not for what and who the black person is.
“My husband, however, had this to say about it (and I’m paraphrasing): Men don’t like to consider that women may be viewing them as rapists. Jen’s post made it clear that any man, any time, could be viewed as a rapist, no matter what his intentions actually were.
That totally blew my mind. If you’re a man, not for the reason you think. You see, all men look like rapists to women. All of you, all the damn time. If you go out in public and you are a man, a woman has looked at you as a potential rapist. What blew my mind was the idea that men aren’t aware of this. Really, I thought you would be.
Here’s the thing, all women are always aware of the risk of rape. We all know how prevalent rape is. We’re all aware rape can happen to any woman at virtually any time and that no woman is entirely safe anywhere. Men may pass right over an account of a rape, but women do not. So we’ve heard stories of rapes in church bathrooms during services, in stairwells, elevators and parking garages, in changing rooms at department stores, in movie theaters, in cars, in planes, in parks, in airports, in buses, in our homes. We know that old women are raped, toddlers are raped, nuns are raped, pregnant women are raped, everyone is raped.
So, everywhere we go, we can’t help but think This is a place where rape happens. I am not unusually afraid of rape, by the way. This is a normal level of fear for a woman who has not been raped.