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The way people clothe themselves, together with the traditions of dress and finery that custom implies, constitutes the most distinctive form of a society's uniqueness, that is to say the one that is the most immediately perceptible. Within the general pattern of a given costume, there are of course always modifications of detail, innovations which in highly developed societies are the mark of fashion. But the effect as a whole remains homogeneous, and great areas of civilization, immense cultural regions, can be grouped together on the basis of original, specific techniques of men's and women's dress.
It is by their apparel that types of society first become known, whether through written accounts and photographic records or motion pictures. Thus, there are civilizations without neckties, civilizations with loin-cloths, and others without hats. The fact of belonging to a given cultural group is usually revealed by clothing traditions. In the Arab world, for example, the veil worn by women is at once noticed by the tourist. One may remain for a long time unaware of the fact that a Moslem does not eat pork or that he denies himself daily sexual relations during the month of Ramadan, but the veil worn by the women appears. with such constancy that it generally suffices to characterize Arab society.
In the Arab Maghreb, the veil belongs to the clothing traditions of the Tunisian, Algerian, Moroccan and Libyan national societies. For the tourist and the foreigner, the veil demarcates both Algerian society and its feminine component. 1) In the case
of the Algerian man, on the other hand, regional modifications can be noted: the fez in urban centers, turbans and djellabas 2) in the countryside. The masculine garb allows a certain margin of choice, a modicum of heterogeneity. The woman seen in her 3) White veil unifies the perception that one has of Algerian feminine society, Obviously what we have here is a uniform which tolerates no modification, no variant.
Frantz Fanon on "Algeria Unveiled"
From "A Dying Colonialism"
Fanon: Conflicts & Feminism
Fanon: Modern Theories & Sexism
Belle Hooks and Frantz Fanon
Two years ago I was finishing a work on the problem of the colored man in the white world. I knew that I must absolutely not amputate reality. I was not unaware of the fact that within the very entity of the "Negro people" movements could be discerned which, unfortunately, were utterly devoid of any attractive features. I mean, for example, that the enemy of the Negro is often not the white man but a man of his own color.
This is why I suggested the possibility of a study which could contribute to the dissolution of the affective complexes that could oppose West Indians and Africans.
Before taking up the discussion we should like to point out that this business of Negroes is a dirty business. A business to turn your stomach. A business which, when you are faced with it, leaves you wholly disarmed if you accept the premises of the
Negro-baiters. And when I say that the expression "Negro people" is an entity, I thereby indicate that, except for cultural influences, nothing is left. There is as great a difference between a West Indian and a Daktarin as between a Brazilian and a
The object of lumping all Negroes together under the designation of "Negro people" is to deprive them of any possibility of individual expression. What is thus attempted is
to put them under the obligation of matching the idea one has