There are some serious ideological problems in Rasta women confronting the sexism within society and within Rasta itself. Any criticism regarding the status of Rasta women within the movement has been discarded as a white construction of reality unsuitable to Black cultures and any mention of gender liberation berated as western, feminist ideology. While a feminist ideology may not provide all the ingredients for a holistic African liberation, for too long has there been little real strategic change for women in Rastafari. In the same way Black men, in negotiating their freedom, have rejected the patronising efforts of white liberals in favour of an innate desire to chart their own liberation, so too must women design their own path to empowerment. The fundamental hurdle to the solution is that racial oppression is more readily understood and addressed than gender oppression.
Black women’s liberation is already stilted by the time they realise that their oppression is tied to their relations with their own brethren. In my experience, Black men support women’s protests as long as they are aimed at the white middle classes. However, when the subject of gender oppression is revealed and the Black man himself is implicated in this oppression, their tones become hushed.
Found in: The movement of Jah people!
Great Black Warrior Queens: An examination of the gender currents within Rastafari thought and the adoption of a feminist agenda in the Rasta women’s movement
by LISA-ANNE JULIEN (2003) Agenda.
Image source: Meet the Most Feared Women in History