In order to understand misogynoir, one must first understand the term ‘misogyny’
Disclaimer! The excerpts below are not the words of the author. Go to ‘Lorna Mabuku’s thoughts’ to see my review and thoughts on the topic.
Misogyny (dictionary.com) hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women, or prejudice against women.
Misogynoir (contributors: Eliza Anyangwe – theguardian.com, urbandictionary.com)
The term is a combination of the English word ‘misogyny’ and French word ‘noir’ (meaning black).
“London nightclub Dstrkt was accused of turning away two young black women for being ‘too fat’ and ‘too dark’, prompting a swift, strident response on social media. The club was quick to deny the allegations and the council equally quick to express its concern. News outlets went into overdrive, to find “voices” to give the incident context. DJ Edward Adoo discussed the pervasive racism of London’s nightclubs as a matter of fact… What is alleged to have happened at Dstrkt isn’t just about race; the accused promoter is black. It’s about gender too. Discrimination, prejudice and unchecked fear aimed specifically at black women now has a name: misogynoir.”
The term was coined in 2010 by gay black feminist American academic Moya Bailey, who defined it “to describe the particular brand of hatred directed at black women in American visual and popular culture”. Since then black women – and some men – predominantly on social media, have taken ownership of the term, using it to describe prejudice experienced in a range of contexts.
“Misogynoir provides a racialised nuance that mainstream feminism wasn’t catching,” says black feminist commentator, Feminista Jones. “We are talking about misogyny, yes, but there is a specific misogyny that is aimed at black women and is uniquely detrimental to black women.” She says it is both about racial and gender hatred and can be perpetuated by non-black people and by black men – it is the latter, Jones says, she experienced the most often.
Activists argue that the prejudice against black women is ignored by mainstream feminism. This is why misogyNOIR exists!!
Lorna Mabuku’s thoughts
Misogynoir has always existed and continues to exists in the entire world. I have indeed seen and experienced misogynoir in Namibia and South Africa countless times. I will share 1 encounter with you:
My friend and I were in long street (Cape Town) one evening looking for a place to hang out. We came across the famous African club called “Chez Ntemba” so we walked to the entrance. The bouncer asked us if we got free entry tickets around the corner as there was a black man giving away free tickets for entry into Chez Ntemba. We actually saw the man minutes before, not knowing what he was handing out. He had also seen us as we walked right past him but he did not give us any tickets. As we were talking to the bouncer explaining that the man did not give us tickets, the bouncer said that we should go back to the man and receive our free tickets since the ‘free entry’ passes were about to expire. As we were about to leave the subject and proceed to pay for entry, a young white man behind us in the queue overheard our conversation and in a heated tone, asked “why didn’t he give you tickets. That’s not fair! He gave my friend and i free tickets and we came after you. Come with me, let’s go talk to him. He cannot do that.” So we went with this guy to the (black) man giving the tickets. YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT THE MAN TOLD US after we asked him why we did not get tickets. He had the nerve to say “The remaining tickets are for foreigners only” foreigners AKA WHITE. We were in shock that he would say that. That statement angered the young white man we were with even more! He wasn’t entertaining this talk and told the man to give us tickets. The man actually gave them to us!
It was such a shocking experience because, it was not about getting free entry, but more importantly about principle. The man was also black but yet he discriminated against us. It was quite amazing how a stranger saw the injustice and helped the situation even though he did not have to. (Actually, yes. He did have to! When you see an injustice, please do speak on it and help. Never turn a blind eye. Help where you can.)
My question now is, if that young man that helped us was not white, were we still going to get tickets or no? Probably not. MisogyNOIR!!!
I also always wonder how a black guy can say things like “I don’t date black girls” and then have the audacity to back up this stupid statement by saying “it’s just my preference.” MisogyNOIR!!!
Moya Bailey is a genius for coming up with such a term! It is so real for black women. The definition, though, needs to be adjusted from ‘American visual and popular culture’ to WORLD visual and popular culture. I have started to notice that black American feminists are the first ones to call out white American feminists for not including them in mainstream concepts and definitions of feminism. but…. WHAT ABOUT US? African women, especially, are so often excluded in the mainstream conversation surrounding feminism. I am coining a new term: Afrika-misogyny, which is described as “A ‘misogynoir’ feminism branch based on the wordly hatred & exclusion of black African women” (Afrika is the swahili spelling for ‘Africa’.)