As Purple is to Lavender

Alexandria Montgomery Delves into Womanism and Feminism


Artwork is courtesy of Yahoo Images.

Alexandria Montgomery, Staff Writer

“Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender”, wrote Alice Walker, in her 1983 book In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens. She coined this definition of womanism which, thirty-two years later, is still gaining ubiquity in the online (and offline) social justice communities. This widely quoted definition still, however, aggravates confusion in many.

Womanism is a very potent form of feminism (purple is stronger than lavender), as it is much more diligent in acknowledging the needs and struggles of women of color, particularly Black women. Womanism is practiced by Muslims, transgenders, Latinx, Blacks, etc.

(Mainstream) Feminism is a very diluted form of womanism (lavender is weaker than purple), as it typically denounces the struggles of women who aren’t white, cisgendered, and middle class. Also called “white feminism”, the ideology is exclusive and counterproductive.

Womanism, of course, does adopt ideals that are present at the core of Feminism: solidarity amongst women, solidarity amongst women and men, female empowerment, etc. Where Womanism and Feminism differ, though, lays in their acknowledgment and acceptance of struggles others may face.

In short, womanist truly is to feminist as purple is to lavender.