#Womanifesto: Embracing Womanism; Rejecting The Status Quo

I am black and I am a woman.

I reject the notion that I can or should, ever separate the two, because my experiences as a woman are modified and amplified by my blackness, and vice versa.

I reject the notion that my sexuality does not exist on my own terms. My pleasure exists for me and I use it and claim it however and how often I see fit. I will not be judged for excercising the sexual freedom that follows inherently from bodily autonomy.

I reject the notion that I am inherently sexual or sexually available because of my black womanhood. I take it upon myself to be sexual when and with whom I wish, and reserve the right to refuse to be sexual or sexualized against my will.

I reject the notion that my sexuality is a commodity to be fetishized or demonized by virtue of my blackness. My sex is not deviant because it is not white.

I reject the notion that my body is not my own. I will refuse to be subjected to physical contact that is unwanted or unsolicited, whether it be the petting of my dreadlocks or the squeezing of my ass. I am not an exoticism that exists for the entertainment of others.

I reject the notion that there is a "right way" to be a black woman and I will not tolerate the projection of other people's ideas of black womanhood being used to police the display of my body, or my expression of myself.

I reject the notion that my chosen expression of self is a comment on my self worth. I reserve the right to be whomever I decide is my best self, without having my self esteem devalued because of its proximity to my tattoos, piercings or ample behind.

I reject the notion that my body's natural state is unfit for public consumption because it does not conform to Eurocentric ideals of beauty. I will not be forced to straighten my hair in order to be considered worthy of respect, or diminish the visible curves of my body in order to be deemed virtuous.

I reject the notion that my intellectual perspective is less valid because of my black womanhood. I will stand up for myself and voice my concerns whenever it is apparent that my mind is being devalued by virtue of being housed in a black female body.

I reject the notion that I must comply with or be deferent to, white womanhood. I will not measure myself against ideals that I have been genetically excluded from and therefore cannot ever fully achieve.

I reject the notion that I am worthless by virtue of my refusal to comply with the patriarchal ideals of white womanhood. I deserve the same protection, respect and reverence that is automatically conferred unto white female bodies.

I reject the notion that I must comply with or be deferent to black manhood. I will not ignore or accept the sexism or misogynoir I am subjected to by black men simply because they are also black.

I reject the notion that I am not allowed access to the full spectrum of human emotion. I will not deny my rightful anger or occasional weaknesses, nor allow them to be dismissed or invalidated because of racist ideas of black female strength and stoicism.

I reject the notion that I am responsible for my own victimization. I will not be told that I could have avoided the pain that was inflicted upon me by another person if I had been better at expressing the right kind of femininity.

I reject the notion that I have a responsibility to be a representative example of black womanhood. I am an individual with unique thoughts and feelings, and I am allowed to dissent from the mainstream perspective.

I reject the notion that I must be silent in the face of my oppression, or that my concerns are less valid because they are specific to black womanhood. I refuse to accept violence in the form of sexism or racism.

I reject the notion that I should wait my turn to have my intersections of oppression addressed. I will continue to fight to be included in spaces that expect support from me, but do not expect to support me in turn.

I reject the notion that I should stop being vocal about the issues that affect me, or that I am "speaking too much" about the oppression that I face. I will not be silenced by the systems of white patriarchal power that seek to make me fall in line.

"If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you liked it." -Zora Neale Hurston

I am a black woman.
I will not be silent.
I exist for me.