Change Your World-NOT your Body

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Doing Woman Different: Audre Lorde

“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”

Audre Lorde was a black woman//mother/lesbian/radical feminist/civil rights/warrior/poet/activist. Lorde diligently worked at each and every one of these descriptors, individually and collectively. Lorde braved onslaughts and alienation from leading radical (including lesbian) white/academic feminists by calling attention to their white privileges/non inclusion of women of color/ignor(ance) of women of color herstory and lesbians of color

I'll keep my own words short for this post because Lorde had so beautifully and with deep insight summed up the feminist issues facing ALL females, then now and in the future.

“For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. Racism and homophobia are real conditions of all our lives in this place and time. I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives here. See whose face it wears. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices.” 

“Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.”  

“The white fathers told us: I think, therefore I am. The black goddess within each of us - the poet - whispers in our dreams: I feel, therefore I can be free.” 

“You cannot, you cannot use someone else's fire. You can only use your own. And in order to do that, you must first be willing to believe that you have it.”  

“To go to bed and to wake up again day afte day besides a woman, to lie in bed with our arms around each other and drift in and out of sleep, to be with each other not as a quick stolen pleasure, nor as a wild treat but like sunlight, day after day in the regualr course of our lives. I was discovering all the ways that love creeps into life when two selves exist closely, when two women meet.”  

“It is not the destiny of Black america to repeat white america's mistakes. But we will, if we mistake the trappings of success in a sick society for the signs of a meaningful life.”

“I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We've been taught that silence would save us, but it won't.” 

Lorde died in 1992 at the age of 58 from a long battle with cancer. Audre Lorde did all aspects of her woman differently. No matter where white patriarchal forces struggled to cage her in, Lorde broke free. But she didnt merely escape and forget about all the other black/poor women, black/lesbians, or all the other women suffering in the private patriarchal cages of hell. Lorde opened as many of those cages as her hands could free for the short time she was here. Nor did Lorde stop when she died, her words remain as keys for us and future women to use to free ourselves with.




  1. Audre Lorde is awesome!

  2. Thank you dirt for posting this!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Kate: Well said dear.


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