BLACK MACHO AND THE MYTH OF THE SUPERWOMAN by Miehele Wallace

BLACK MACHO AND THE MYTH OF THE SUPERWOMAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Muscular formulations about the development and impact of black macho--culturally destructive and politically suicidal, though not without a historical basis. Wallace, a young (26) black feminist, writes thoughtfully and temperately, although an unbecoming testiness surfaces when she tries to escalate her subtler perceptions into argument or when very personal history shapes her point of view. Her voice has a special authority because she doesn't shy away from criticizing her peers; her security is exceptional in a middle-class black from ""Sugar Hill"" in Harlem, who summered ""on the Cape"" or abroad and attended an integrated private school. She forsook the survivor's guilt-trip into the ghetto mainstream, opting instead for realism and the commitment that motivates her book: ""The future is something we can control. . . . Either we will make history or remain the victims of it."" ""We"" is black women, the biggest losers in the macho-Movement: the sexual constructs that had become metaphors for black power were translated literally by Cleaver and Carmichael; complement became adversary (the Moynihan Report ""legitimized"" the distortion), and black male dominance spelled black female submissiveness at best. ""The Black Movement was unable to provide me with the language I needed to discuss these matters. I had no alternative but to become a feminist."" She uses her own background as a resource, a springboard, and draws also on literary representations of the black experience (slave narratives on up through Baldwin) to put the macho/superwoman debacle in perspective. A worthy start.

Pub Date: Feb. 7th, 1979
Publisher: Dial