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Top 5 Feminist Movements

Black Feminism
A 1969 women's liberation march in support of the Black Panthers.
A 1969 women's liberation march in support of the Black Panthers.
David Fenton/Getty Images


­The Women's Liberation Movement was criticized by some feminists -- both black and white -- for its exclusion of nonwhite, working class women. Although the omission wasn't intentional, this fracture spurred the rise of black feminism. Since Women's Lib platforms focused solely on gender without the context of race and class, they weren't entirely relevant to all black women. The struggle of black feminist Bell Hooks (Gloria Watkins' pseudonym) between choosing to affiliate with the male-led Black Power Movement or the white female-led Women's Liberation Movement exemplifies the philosophies behind black feminism [source: Tandon]. In response, some black feminists formed their own groups, such as the National Black Feminist Organization and the National Alliance of Black Feminists.

­Womanism is one offshoot of black feminism that also developed in the 1970s, coined by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker. In the gap between white feminism and black feminism, womanism sought to provide a theoretical bridge by examining society as a universal whole rather than the problems and issues unique to its separate parts.

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