Embracing the Vision by Natalie Bullock Brown

I am a feminist. I’m kind of late to this designation, at least in my eyes. I’m less than five years south of 50, and I’ve only recently recognized the utility of feminism. The necessity. In fact, I firmly believe that as Nigerian author and feminist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, has written: “we should all be feminists.”

Way more often than I think we’d be willing to admit, however, women often fail to provide the support and nurture we want and require from each other. We fail to adhere to what seems to me to be a basic feminist principle, which is that women support each other on the basis of our shared oppression and struggle. But we don’t always do that. It’s not that we try to throw each other under the bus – not always. But in general, I’ve begun to believe that we harbor in our hearts so many of the lies that society has told us about ourselves that it’s nearly impossible for us to show up for each other when the time comes. We allow our belief in patriarchal notions about women (that we’re weaker, easily led astray, up to no good, after somebody else’s man or job or status, only defined and affirmed by the accomplishments of the men we are with, in need of a good screw in order for us to sit down and calm down, etc) to color our interactions with each other. As a result, our hearts and minds are really quite closed to the trouble, conflict and disappointment we all encounter. As a result, we can’t show up for each other because we erroneously believe that, somehow, “she deserved it.”

Did you know that black women suffer from depression many more times than women in any other racial group? There are multiple reason for the statistics – fewer black women have health insurance, many are misinformed about the realities of depression, and the stigma of mental illness in the black community carries too much shame and ridicule. And I’d like to suggest a fourth reason that we may suffer from depression: because in our heart of hearts, many of us believe that indeed, we “deserve” whatever “it” is that is causing us trauma in our lives. Whatever the oppressive forces that cause us to feel out of control, and that challenge even our faith. And as a result of that belief – that we deserve the hardships – perhaps we don’t feel that we deserve solution.

I think, however, that black women loving and caring about black women can go a long way in addressing some of the hurt and pain we experience, and carry, in our lives. We have to believe that are worth standing up for, and that belief must begin on an individual level. We have to shake off the sneaking suspicion that we are not good enough – because of what society, family, community may say and reflect back at us. We have to dig deep and do the work to undo the internalized oppression that would have us live beneath ourselves, defeated, just surviving, afraid. We should all be feminists because feminism reimagines women as victorious, capable, equal, strong. Because at the end of the day, that’s what we are. We have to believe it, though, and work to actualize that reimagining. We can help each other to embrace the vision of how amazing and worthy we all are by affirming ourselves, and each other.

 

 

NatalieBB bio Photo

Natalie Bullock Brown is an award-winning and Emmy-nominated producer and consultant, and is chair of and an assistant professor in the Department of Film & Interactive Media at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina.  For more than a decade, Natalie served as a co-host of Black Issues Forum, a public affairs program on UNC-TV, North Carolina’s statewide public television network.  Natalie was associate producer on Ken Burns’ 10-part series, Jazz, and recently produced a multi-part DVD series documenting the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Conference of Freedom Summer (2014) , and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) 50th Anniversary Commemorative Conference (2010).  Natalie is in the development phase of a documentary about black women and beauty.  She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Film Production from Howard University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Northwestern University.  She tweets at @nataliebb2.

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24 thoughts on “Embracing the Vision by Natalie Bullock Brown”

  1. “We should all be feminists because feminism reimagines women as victorious, capable, equal, strong. Because at the end of the day, that’s what we are. We have to believe it, though, and work to actualize that reimagining. We can help each other to embrace the vision of how amazing and worthy we all are by affirming ourselves, and each other.”

    That’s powerful…very well said.

  2. This is a wonderful post. I strongly agree with what she stated. Society and the media have created so much adversity for women about what and who they should be- we need to stand up, strong and together, and most importantly- we ALL should love each other despite age, size, race and any other differences that we might have. These differences simply make us stronger as a unified group. Thank-you for sharing this 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on Olive Branches and commented:
    True, I have often wondered why we women when called upon to support each other, instead we look at others’ progress a competition, and tear each other apart with jealousy, instead of strengthening the fragility that coats our freedoms and achievements.

    Even when we are the majority, we reject that strength and continue collecting weaknesses and conflicts. It baffles me.

    1. Thank you for the comment and reblog. It is a conditioning we must be aware of and then be proactive about! Being aware, we begin to re-thread our pattern of communication. Please find Natalie on FB and follow more of her work. She is a beautifully, talented and very intelligent woman!

  4. This is a wonderful, powerful post. I’m a few years north of 50, and little sister (metaphorically) to that generation of women who transformed the movement from “women’s libbers” to “feminists” — and I’ve never thought of myself as anything else. It saddens me to see the work done by my big sisters eroded and trampled on by younger women who claim they “don’t need” feminism; even as they enjoy the (albeit still incomplete) rights we fought for, and are simultaneously subjected to horrific sexualisation by popular culture and the mass media. We should all be feminists because only by standing together, with our arms around our sisters, will we ever be free to be who we are. Cheers, Su.

  5. Thank you for liking my post. I wanted to “see what you are up to” and was enthralled! Indeed, we should all be feminists. I found this to be powerful and decided to follow your blog.

    One of my favorite poets is the late Lucille Clifton. Her words… her words… I rest in the bosom of her words. I think I will feature some of her work on my blog.

  6. Hello! Thank you for sharing such a powerful piece. I also thank you for recently visiting my blog and following. I truly appreciate that and hope that you enjoy the content that you find there. I am returning the favor and am now following you also. I look forward to our new connection and look forward to reading more of your blog. Have a great evening!! 🙂

  7. Sometimes labels divide and the meaning of words like feminist gets confusing. But here’s something I can relate to: We can help each other to embrace the vision of how amazing and worthy we all are by affirming ourselves, and each other.

    Now, I’m off to affirm another woman…
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi! Labels always divide as they clarify meaning and provide structure for actionable platforms. Author Alice Walker found the term “feminism” confusing to her narrative as a woman of color and introduced the term “womanism”. The important thing is you related to something Natalie wrote in this blog. For that I am grateful and happy you set “off to affirm another woman!” Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I enjoyed your post…I was growing in the era that became the movement of feminism ….I took parts of it to heart because I trust my instincts on following my heart…
    Thank you for sharing ….all stories of travels as a human in this moment matters…
    Take Care…You Matter…
    )0(
    maryrose

      1. you’re welcome 🙂
        I had a lot more written but decided I rambling LOLs, I was in the last Battalion of WACS in the Army…we lived through the tug-a-war of integrating adult men and women…an experience I will not ever forget…
        yes I said alot LOLs..
        it was a wild and crazy time back then…
        Thank you again, I enjoyed your post
        )0(

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