cover image De Facto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland

De Facto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland

Judy Juanita. Equidistance, , $19.95 ISBN 978-0-9716352-1-0

The essays in this collection from poet and novelist Juanita (Virgin Soul) provide a dynamic and illuminating take on a distinct subset of feminism nurtured by Oakland, Calif.’s community, as well as the story of Juanita’s coming of age as an artist. She provides vivid glimpses into her childhood in the 1950s in East Oakland and describes becoming aware of the “high status of light skin and non kinky hair,” along with her experiences in the Black Panther Party while attending S.F. State University in the 1960s and how it all came to inform her identity as a black woman activist. Juanita presents a slew of cultural factors including TV and the Beatles as contributing to the black revolution, the black arts movement, and the rise of black women’s feminism as a distinctive movement. She uses the term “de facto feminist” to describe herself, and black women in general: “De facto feminism is like de facto segregation, which remains the way our nation is organized. De facto segregation is the practical reality of separation of members of different races, not by law... but in practice by various social and economic factors.” Personal reminiscences (“We were the first family on the block to visit Disneyland”) mixed with pop culture details (“At a Beatles concert in Plymouth, Great Britain, in November 1963, police used high-pressure hoses on screaming fans, a show of authority that matched the hosing of demonstrators in Birmingham six months earlier”) create a rhythmic and unforgettable portrait of an artist and activist coming of age. (BookLife)