A book about feminism from the perspectives of those often left out of the conversation.
Kendall (Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women's Fight for Their Rights, 2019) takes a magnifying glass and megaphone to the plights of marginalized women, many of whom are criminally overlooked or erased in mainstream feminist discussions of the hardships women face. The author frankly highlights how issues like race, food insecurity, gun violence, and poverty, among others, are all feminist issues, with many of them overlapping or serving to exacerbate others. Using history, pop culture, and statistics along with personal stories, Kendall demonstrates the problems with mainstream feminism’s lack of consideration of intersectionality. She purposefully shifts the focus to women who are generally treated as a footnote and holds up a mirror to feminism’s usual spokespeople by pointing out blind spots in a movement that claims to be for all women but which has shown itself to be exclusionary of most. A military veteran, wife, mother, and ardent opponent of respectability politics, Kendall shows how several talking points used by mainstream feminists and policymakers cause more harm than good to the groups they are trying to serve, and she supplies practical suggestions for ways to make worthwhile and sustainable changes. While acknowledging that no one is without flaws, Kendall also notes that we have a responsibility to make society a safer, more equitable place for women of all backgrounds. Sometimes, that involves stepping aside so someone more suitable gets the platform and support to do so. Kendall is a highly knowledgeable and inspiring guide, and she effectively builds on the work of black women who have, for ages, been working to better the lives of themselves and their communities. The book is an authentic look, from the perspective of a black feminist, at the ways mainstream feminism must be overhauled, from the personal to the policy level, and a demand that its practitioners do better.
A much-needed addition to feminist discourse.