Audre Lorde Essay

1267 words - 6 pages

Audre Lorde's conference took place in 1979 in a university in New York, America. She talked about difference, differences between women in American society she discussed differences in race to the differences in the class of a woman she talked about how these differences and others affect feminist theory. She also articulates that there is a problem that needs to be dealt with.

Lorde a black, lesbian radical feminist believes that feminist theories tend to be created on the basis of a white, middle class women's experience these women also tend to be heterosexual. Feminist ignore the other types of women in the world, women of different ethnic backgrounds, class, age and sexuality. Due to the failure of recognising these differences according to Lorde can lead to change not being possible:

What does it mean when the tools of a racist patriarchy are used to examine the fruits of that same patriarchy? It means that only the most narrow perimeters of change is possible (Lorde, 1984: 366).

Lorde believes that white feminists argue about patriarchy and want it to be diminished from society, but how can it when it is white women that are doing the same to other women. How can gender equality be achieved if there is a patriarchal structure within one specific gender? Feminists need to recognise what is happening what it is that’s being ignored. ‘Both white feminist theory and practise need to recognize that white women stand in a power relation as oppressors of black women’ (Carby, 1982: 46) feminisms main arguments and belief all revolve around equality for women, but with a racist patriarchy amongst women this isn’t possible, there is a very visible patriarchal structure within society white men have dominance over black men and they are then both more dominant towards women. White middle class women oppress black working class women; essentially they have dominance over all women that are not white, middle class and heterosexual.

In a patriarchal world women do have a form of power which is to do with the social aspect of society (Lorde, 1984: 367) women have social power society primarily child bearing and motherhood. They have a form of power within the family but that too has a glimpse of patriarchy, the male playing the role of a breadwinner and dominant decision maker. A world full of oppression only provides one form of power for women.
She talked about what black women went through in the past and how it affected the way black people women in particular have to live they are the ones that are involved in slavery and prostitution they are also the ones that work in the houses of white women to clean and look after their children (Lorde, 1984: 367)

Lorde talks about power and social structure in a metaphorical way, ‘For the master’s tools, will never dismantle the master’s house’ (Lorde, 1984: 367) it is very difficult to point what she may actually have meant by this quote, as the ‘master’ can be related to anyone and ‘tools’ can be...

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