I ran across an article @ The Daily Mail by Rebecca Walker, daughter of Alice Walker. Alice Walker is best known as the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Color Purple.
I love reading The Color Purple like the next woman but as I got older and reread it I started to critique it more. The moving was amazing. It introduced the world to Whoopi Goldberg. Danny Glover was unforgettable as the character Mister.
In college, I was an Afro-Studies minor. In one of my classes we read The Color Purple. In the subsequent articles, there were many voices critical of the text and Alice Walker in general. The most striking being that she is an ultra-feminist with a disdain for men highlighted in the portrayal of the male characters of her novel.
When I first read these critiques, I was angered. How could these other black scholars criticize a cultural icon? Well, once I took off my Purple colored glasses, I began to see truths in these criticisms. I also read Walker’s Possessing the Secret of Joy. I saw some disturbing similarities in her portrayal of men. They are cast either as brutes or emasculated child-men incapable of truth, strength, and integrity. A woman viewing men this way is, frankly, disturbing. Then there were the lesbian rumors.
This brings us back to the article. Rebecca Walker discloses in her article that her mother basically abandoned her during childhood in favor of feminism, fame, and self.
Ironically, my mother regards herself as a hugely maternal woman. Believing that women are suppressed, she has campaigned for their rights around the world and set up organizations to aid women abandoned in Africa – offering herself up as a mother figure.
But, while she has taken care of daughters all over the world and is hugely revered for her public work and service, my childhood tells a very different story. I came very low down in her priorities – after work, political integrity, self-fulfillment, friendships, spiritual life, fame and travel.
Wow. Is this what feminism means? Abandoning your children? Is this revenge? What say you?