Allyship Recommendations: 'Feminism, Interrupted' by Lola Olufemi
Personally, I got a copy of Olufemi's book after attending a panel she was a part of at The Edinburgh International Book Festival. The panel was titled 'Critical Reflections on Feminism', in which she was joined by the Nigerian-Finnish feminist writer, Minna Salami. Both were both questioned by the feminist historian, Jade Bentil.
This book was a great introduction to black feminism and the way it can be used by governments, legislatures and businesses to make society more equitable and compassionate. Therefore, our communities can be more sustainable, but also more just in all kinds of ways; socially, economically, environmentally and politically.
Each of the chapters of Olufemi's book gave an excellent analysis of the topics listed below. Olufemi reiterates that we still have a long way to go before we are all equally treated and respected by each other. But, most importantly, by the law-makers and enforcers.
The chapters are titled as followed:
1. Know your history
2. The sexist state
3. The fight for reproductive justice
4. Transmisogyny: Who wins?
5. The saviour complex: Muslim women and gendered Islamophobia
6. Art for art’s sake
7. Complicating consent: How to support sex workers
8. The answer to sexual violence is not more prisons
9. Feminism and food
10. Solidarity is a doing word.
Each of the chapters above offers an incredibly radical call to action because these issues, and the individualism, greed and discrimination that fuels them, cannot go unanswered for. Our societies cannot continue as they are in respect to the above issues because we need to go about governance and citizenship in a more holistic and human-centred way. A new way forward that prioritises, understands and empathises with the lived and ongoing experiences of people, particularly people of colour, LGTBQIA+ people and disabled people. Each of these groups and the overlapping have been nothing but let down and forgotten.
Our respected societies and countries cannot continue as they are. This book and the many more by black intersectional feminists, such as Angela Davis, Audre Lorde and Minna Salami, are illuminating because they highlight the interconnectedness of these issues. They propose well-considered ways in which each of them can start to go about being reduced and eradicated. This is because society would've shifted the prism in which we see these issues. A prism that adopts black feminism and the much-needed emphasis it places on intersectionality. It can help us assist those above groups of people who have been left behind and disregard time and time again.
In this age of racial strife and worrying times with the Coronavirus pandemic, this book serves as a great introduction to anyone who must be a reliable intersectional feminist. This, in turn, leads to us being more meaningful and reliable allies to the LGBTQIA+ community and the anti-racist movement with the #BlackLivesMatter Movement. Finally, we shouldn't need to know that we can be useful allies through intersectionality. Instead, allyship should be entirely intrinsic because its the most decent thing to do. We can finally decide what kind of people we want to be and the example we want to set for our future friends and families without a shadow of a doubt.