Black Macho And The Myth Of The Superwoman (Verso Classics)

Overview

Originally published in 1978, this book caused a storm of controversy as Michele Wallace blasted the masculinist bias of the black politics that emerged from the sixties. She described how women remained marginalized by the patriarchal culture of Black Power and the ways in which a genuine female subjectivity was blocked by the traditional myths of black womanhood. In 1990 the author added a new introduction examining the debate the book had sparked between intellectuals and political leaders; an extensive ...

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Overview

Originally published in 1978, this book caused a storm of controversy as Michele Wallace blasted the masculinist bias of the black politics that emerged from the sixties. She described how women remained marginalized by the patriarchal culture of Black Power and the ways in which a genuine female subjectivity was blocked by the traditional myths of black womanhood. In 1990 the author added a new introduction examining the debate the book had sparked between intellectuals and political leaders; an extensive bibliography of contemporary black feminist studies was also added. Black Macho raised issues and arguments that framed the terms of current feminist and black theory and continues to be relevant today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Serious, well-written, effective in its demystification, valuable as a model of hardheaded but caring analysis, principled in its criticism ... Wallace’s fearless presentation of her analysis quite takes the breath away.”—Toni Cade Bambara, Washington Post

“Courageous, outspoken, clear-eyed.”—Publishers Weekly

Sacred Fire
At just twenty-six, after working at Newsweek and teaching writing, Michele Wallace thrust herself into the literary and feminist spotlight with her first book, Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman.

In Black Macho, Ms. Wallace analyzes, from a feminist perspective, the sexual dynamic of the transition from civil rights to black liberation. There is a profound distrust, even hatred, between black men and black women. It has been nursed along not only by racism on the part of whites but also by an almost deliberate ignorance on the part of blacks about the sexual politics of their experience in this country.

Wallace suggests that in the seventies the black man was feeling put off and put upon by the black woman’s successes and began to believe in the myth of the black superwoman. He started to view her backbone, strength, responsibility to the family, success at finding and keeping work and generally getting ahead as her battling him “for his male prerogative as head of the household. And that she was as much to blame for the assault on black manhood as the white man.

Black Macho is bolstered by passages from the work of James Baldwin, Sojourner Truth, Norman Mailer, Daniel Moynihan, Eldridge Cleaver, Donald Bogle, Richard Wright, Susan Brown Miller, Tom Wolfe, and LeRoi Jones, as well as from historical documents on slavery. The book is so exhaustively researched and engaging that even if you don’t fully agree with Wallace’s argument, you will appreciate the passion with which she delivers it.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859842966
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 3/1/1999
  • Series: Classics Series , #26
  • Edition description: Verso Classics
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 268
  • Sales rank: 484,901
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Michele Wallace earned her Ph.D. in Cinema Studies at New York University. She is a professor of English at the City College of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center. Her seminal book Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman is also available from Verso.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction: How I Saw It Then, How I See It Now
Pt. I Black Macho 1
Pt. II The Myth of the Superwoman 87
Selected Bibliography 179
Index 225
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