Misogynoir is a term referring to misogyny directed towards Black women, where race and gender both play roles in bias. It was coined by queer Black feminist scholar Moya Bailey, who created the term to address misogyny directed toward black women in American visual and popular culture. Trudy of Gradient Lair, a womanist blog about Black women and art, media, social media, socio-politics and culture, has also been credited in developing the lexical definition of the term.
Bailey coined misogynoir in 2010 while she was a graduate student at Emory University. She first used it on the Crunk Feminist Collective blog to discuss misogyny toward black women in hip hop music. Misogynoir combines "misogyny" and "noir" to describe anti-black sexism faced by black women. Bailey considered other words (including "sistagyny") before settling on misogynoir.
The media connotation of noir factored into Bailey's decision. In 2013, an article by Bailey on misogynoir and gender oppression in hip-hop was published in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society. The concept of misogynoir has been accepted and used as a term by many black feminists and cultural critics, especially in the blogosphere. In a forward to Michele Wallace's book Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman, Jamilah Lemieux wrote that misogynoir "can come even from those who are Black, who were raised by Black women and profess to value Black people."
In an article in the Albany Law Review, authors Aimee Wodda and Vanessa R. Panfil write that trans women of color experience violence at a greater rate than other populations. This transmisogyny towards people of color has been characterized as "transmisogynoir".
The term "transmisogynoir" was created to refer to the intersection between transmisogyny and misogynoir, meaning the oppression of black trans women. In it, it composes transphobia, misogyny, and antiblackness. It was coined by Trudy of Gradient Lair.
Though misogynoir can be perpetrated by anyone, the term most often refers to the violence, mistreatment, and erasure experienced by Black women at the hands of Black men. As the plight of the Black man in America remains at the forefront of society, black feminist work as well as the issues similarly facing Black women are erased and ignored. The Black Lives Matter movement, created in 2012, was founded by three Black women: Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors. This fact is little known throughout the wider community and while the movement specifically states it advocates for the lives of the entire Black community, protests and activists groups invoking the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and mission are disproportionately rallying cries for justice on behalf of Black men. Incidences where police wrongfully kill or assault Black women (as well as transgender, non-binary, and non-conforming Black people) receive significantly less attention as evidence by the lack of media attention surrounding the 2015 case of Officer Daniel Holtzclaw who used his authority to prey on and assault upwards of 13 Black women.
On a more broader scale, misogynoir is also characterized by the tropes projected onto Black women by all members of society. Some of these common stereotypes are the "Strong Black Woman" or the "HyperSexual Jezebel". In her article ''4 Tired Tropes That Perfectly Explain What Misogynoir Is – And How You Can Stop It, author Kisiena Boom breaks down the most common tropes and why they are damaging. For example, while the "Strong Black Woman" stereotype seems to be a compliment it ignores the racialized physical and mental trauma that Black women have had to endure. Perpetuating the idea that Black women can handle anything justifies the situations Black women are forced into such as the "mammy" role for white families, the head of household as Black men are lost to the prison-industrial complex, and sexual abuse. This justification eliminates the need and desire to rectify the real problems. Furthermore, this trope forces Black women to bury their issues and put on a "strong" face for all of those who expect it.
Bailey first used misogynoir to describe misogyny in music. She discusses Young Money's 2009 single "BedRock." In the song, Lil Wayne raps, "I knock her lights out / but she still shine." The lyric references physical violence. Bailey also mentions Travis Porter's version of "All the Way Turnt Up," which include misogynistic and lesbophobic language.
Misogynoir has been cited by scholars to address black sexual politics in hip hop music and culture at large. Respectability politics is one such issue. Coined by Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, respectability politics refers to the tactics black people employ to promote racial uplift and obtain broader access to the public sphere.
- African-American culture and sexual orientation
- Black feminism
- Misogyny in hip hop culture
- Bailey, Moya (27 April 2014). "More on the origin of Misogynoir". Tumblr. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
- @thetrudz, Trudy (22 October 2013). "Black Men and Patriarchy, Intraracial Sexism, and Misogynoir". Gradient Lair. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
- "Word of the Day: Misogynoir". Meta-activism.org. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
- Bailey, Moya Zakia (2013). Race, Region, and Gender in Early Emory School of Medicine Yearbooks (Thesis). p. 26.
- Bailey, Moya (2013). "New Terms of Resistance: A Response to Zenzele Isoke". Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society (Columbia University) 15 (14): 341–343. doi:10.1080/10999949.2014.884451. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
- "ON MOYA BAILEY, MISOGYNOIR, AND WHY BOTH ARE IMPORTANT". THE ViSIBILITY PROJECT. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
- "Anita Hill: ‘We can evolve.’ But the same questions are being asked.". Washington Post. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
- Macias, Kelly (March 30, 2015). ""Sisters in the Collective Struggle": Sounds of Silence and Reflections on the Unspoken Assault on Black Females in Modern America". Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies 1 –5. doi:10.1177/1532708615578415.
- Wallace, Michele (2015). Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman. Verso Books. ISBN 1-78168-823-0.
- Wodda, Aimee; Panfil, Vanessa R. (2015). ""Don't Talk to Me About Deception": The Necessary Erosion of the Trans* Panic Defense" (PDF). Albany Law Review 78 (3): 927–971.
- "Explanation of Misogynoir". Gradient Lair. Trudy. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- Durham, Aisha; Cooper, Brittney; Morris, Susana (2013). "The Stage Hip-Hop Feminism Built: A New Directions Essay". Signs (The University of Chicago Press) 38 (3): 721–737. doi:10.1086/668843. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
- Harris, Paisley (2003). "Gatekeeping and Remaking: The Politics of Respectability in African American Women's History and Black Feminism". Journal of Women's History (Johns Hopkins University Press) 15 (1): 212–220. doi:10.1353/jowh.2003.0025. Retrieved 10 May 2014.