Revising the concept of black female sexuality in American literature
I evaluate the literary and historical discourses that have circumscribed black female sexualities (from 16th century English accounts with black African women to contemporary popular culture images) and contribute to three active and interesting critical discussions: the entrance and acceptance of sex in black literature, the current role of popular culture in the academy, and the evolution of black feminism. I predicate that ignoring or diminishing black female sexualities in academic discussions on account of societal perceptions forces one to ignore characters that, like The Color Purple (1982) and Push (1996) protagonists, negatively experience sex and are deficient of understanding for lack of critical conversation. Second, my project offers an intergenerational and inter-media approach to utilizing popular fiction and culture in the literary classroom. Finally, it provides what I call maverick feminism as an alternative critical lens for evaluating historical and modern texts. Maverick feminism recognizes the inability of an essential feminist theory to appease all scholars and suggests that inherent in modern black feminism is non-conforming, individualistic thinking that advises one to first fulfill self in order to wholly and attentively assist in the obliteration of racist, sexist, and classist oppression amongst others.