Black Skin, White Masks, And Gender Essay

Black Skin, White Masks, And Gender Essay

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In her blog posting “ ‘Noting to Say’: ‘Black Skin, White Masks’ and Gender,” Emma Jeremie Mould discusses the double bind women of color find themselves in. First, they are overdetermined by the racist discourse of the Whites. Second, black women find themselves codified within the discourse of native men. In addition, she contends that some Western feminists analyze the plight of black women from the top down, through an approach that reinforces a racialized hierarchy among women.
In order to develop her argument, Mould relies on the texts of three authors and their contributions to the postcolonial discourse: Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks, Homi Bhabha’s foreword to the 1986 edition of this book, and Chilla Bulbeck’s, Re-Orientating Western Feminism: Women’s Diversity in a Postcolonial World, which was published in 1998.
As far as Fanon is concerned, Mould criticizes his work for reinforcing the rigid colonial attitude towards black women, as she contends that he is only interested in the liberation of black men. She particularly criticizes Fanon’s depiction of Capécia, stating that it would homogenize the experience of black women by presenting her life story as representative for all native women. Furthermore, she contends that contrary to his nuanced presentation of his male character Veneuse, Fanon depicts black women as caught up in a state of hopelessness – unable to ever overcome their inferiority and desire. For him, black women are merely objects that either help or hinder the black man’s struggle for agency, as he fails to see that they are locked in precisely the same struggle.
Mould points out critical aspects in Fanon’s work. There is no doubt that his analysis centers mainly on black man. However, parts of...


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...oach is more than a critique. She uses her criticism to develop a more inclusive approach, one that acknowledges the intersectionality of race and sex. However, we need to ask ourselves if the equation of black women and white women makes sense in this context. Generally, black women’s position in the “exchange economy” is distinctly different from that of white women. Acknowledging that difference does not preclude female solidarity, rather, it calls attention to the more than subtle differences of women’s struggles created by the politics of race. It might have helped if Bergner had used a broader array of sources, one that included the voices of women of color, not just those of black men or white feminists. That said, her summary of Fanon’s psychoanalytical approach and her gender sensitive reading of it provides a good basis for further research in this area.


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