“Ain‟t I A Woman?” by Sojourner Truth and “Sister Outsider”

Ain't I a Woman? is a speech delivered by Sojourner Truth in 1851 at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio. Truth highlighted her experiences as a woman living in a male-dominated culture, as well as as a black woman. In this context, Sojourner's repeated usage of the phrase "Ain't I A Woman?" captivates me. The term is used to accentuate her point; her ethos allowed her to stay steady as a woman and endure all trials. She used both her personal experience and biblical references to link with her audience, in an attempt to provoke them either emotionally or personally. In her speech, she advocates for equal rights for both men and women, especially the rights of the black American women who have been forced to slavery. She identifies the existence of hypocrisy among men, for example, she says that women are stereotyped as delicate people hence are supposed to be assisted into carriages and given the best places but those had never happened to her (Brezina 46). She had done as much work as men and eaten as much men too. She wanted to find out why women treated with such amount of respect were so different from her.

She points out how men view women; they have more privileges that the women. She also appeals to her audience about the idea of motherhood; no woman would be happy seeing her children being taken away to work as slaves. According to Truth, many people believe that the brainpower was a factor that showed the level in which people should be respected, in combination to the religious interpretations which depicts women as weak and evil. She uses an analogy to vote against the idea that women should submit to men because of their lack of intelligence. Women never received education as much as the men did. Her reference to the Bible to point out why women are no different from men is so appealing. Christ came from women and God alone; no man was ever involved, therefore if the woman was strong enough to bring out a savior, women could be able to restore their place in the society.

“Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches”

“Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches” is a collection of pieces of essays and speeches by Audre Lorde, an activist, a poet, and a feminist. In the piece selection “Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference” that she wrote in 1984, Lorde explore the notion of women being inferior because of age, class, race, and sex. As I read the essay I thought her essay would just be about gender inequality as a whole; her work is rather exceptional. The way she uses personal experience increased my level of understanding about the content of her essay. Lorde points out the various kinds of oppression that women especially the black women have experienced and endured over the years. She goes further to explain the difficulties that women have faced in the society. According to Lorde women face discrimination because of two main reasons because they are women and because they are black.

At the beginning of her essay, she notes that the European history has influenced people to view differences in the society based on opposites i.e. right or wrong, superior or inferior and dominant or subordinate (Lorde 37). The community scales goodness and superiority according to profit and money. She felt inferior and urged the oppressed to stand up and fight for their place in the society. Her argument is that the society must be taught to change the way they view differences. The black woman’s literature materials are not being used as a reference in literature classes, basing their reasons that they were difficult to read and understand. This notion is in fact just an excuse. Lorde’s reason was that white women do not read black women’s materials because they are different from them. Black women are not only discriminated by the white community but also within the black community.

The most resonating point Lorde brings out is the idea of the “mythical norm” which is the picture of an ideal American. The power of the American society depends on the mythical norms such as white, thin, male, Christian, heterosexual and financially secure. Some of the black women have not yet known that they are oppressed as women, sexual harassment against black women is not only practiced by the white racists but also the blacks.

Lorde was a lesbian, and she describes how challenging it was to be a lesbian in the society. She felt lonely, marginalized and alienated in the society. Men are afraid of lesbians because they believe they will lose their power over women which can destroy the social relations (Lorde 42). The whites had thought that lesbianism does not exist in their society; therefore, the black lesbians were forced to hide their sexual identity. In her conclusion, she points out that it is our in the ability to recognize differences in the society that is bringing about the separation of women. Lorde’s personal experience has highlighted, the oppressions women face in the society because of their danger. Her experiences can also relate to the modern-day women especially the Black American women.

Works Cited

Brezina, Corona. Sojourner Truth's "ain't I a Woman?" Speech: A Primary Source Investigation. New York: RosenCentral Primary Source, 2005. Print.

Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Trumansburg, NY: Crossing Press, 1984. Internet resource.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price