I’ve discovered I’m a womanist

I was watching an American comedy yesterday called one on one and heard the word “womanist” used. I thought it was a term to describe a woman interested in empowering other women but it turns out its actually a term used to describe black women… here’s some info I found from


Womanist Theology: Black Women’s Voices by Delores S. Williams

What then is a womanist? Her origins are in the black folk expression “You acting womanish,” meaning, according to Walker, “wanting to know more and in greater depth than is good for one — outrageous audacious, courageous and willful behavior.” A womanist is also “responsible, in charge, serious.” She can walk to Canada and take others with her. She loves, she is committed, she is a universalist by temperament.

Her universality includes loving men and woman, sexually or nonsexually. She loves music, dance, the spirit, food and roundness, struggle, and she loves herself. “Regardless.”

Walker insists that a womanist is also “committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female.” She is no separatist, “except for health.” A womanist is a black feminist or feminist of color. Or as Walker says, “Womanist is to feminist as purple to lavender.”

3 thoughts on “I’ve discovered I’m a womanist

  1. Let me get literal then because I didn’t think I needed to be. The word womanist is used to describe black women who can relate to the ideology of what being a womanist is. Please excuse the generalisation.

    What any woman cares to label herself is her own choice which is why this is called “I’ve discovered I’m A Womanist” and I’m also a black woman. So by saying it is used to label black women I actually meant that it was a term I could use to label myself.

    As for “a womanist is a black feminist or feminist of color” – someone said it and there are women who decide to make it true. That’s their choice just like this is my choice. I made it true for me.

    Being a womanist is about loving yourself, your family, your man, your community and working towards the empowerment of them all.

    This post was about me personally and what I have chosen to label myself. I am not talking for black woman-kind.


  2. Hi there!

    I have to make a correction to the statement that “womanist” is a term used to describe “black women”. That statement is false and it is a bit….. uninformed.

    There are PLENTY of black women who do not label their ideologies as ‘womanist”.

    The term “feminist”…..hmm…. is this a term used to describe “white women”??

    You said that “a womanist is a black feminist or feminist of color ” but just because some black women SAYS that in an essay doesn’t make it true… there are women i know who are labeling themselves “womanist” who do not associate with feminism in the way that white women have framed it.

    I know black women who label themselves “feminists” who DO NOT label themselves “womanists”.

    Just thought I would make that clarification.


  3. What an interesting word and description of one who possesses “womanist” attributes. I had an “aw, shucks” moment when I realized I was disqualified because of my Caucasianness. I mean, who wouldn’t want to describe themselves as someone who love people, music, dance, the spirit, food, roundness, struggle and herself. I was particularly grateful for the “roundness” being thrown in there too.

    Seriously, the word grows on me. It has a holistic feel – as though all the most positive things about being a woman are emcompassed in the definition. So I shall celebrate you being a womanist, Diane, and all the black women who also claim it as their own.


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