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Misogynoir is misogyny directed towards black women where race and gender both play roles in bias[1]. The term was coined by queer black feminist Moya Bailey, who created the term to address misogyny directed toward black women in American visual and popular culture.[2] Trudy of Gradient Lair, a womanist blog about black women and art, media, social media, socio-politics and culture, has also been credited in developing the lexical definition of the term.[3]

The concept is grounded in the theory of intersectionality, which analyzes how various social identities such as race, gender, class, and sexual orientation interrelate in systems of oppression.


Bailey coined the term misogynoir in 2010 while she was a graduate student at Emory University. She first used it on the Crunk Feminist Collective blog to discuss misogyny toward black women in hip hop music.[4][5] Misogynoir combines misogyny and noir to describe anti-black sexism faced by black women. Bailey considered other terms, such as sistagyny, before settling on misogynoir.

The media connotation of noir factored into Bailey's decision. In 2013, an article by Bailey on misogynoir and gender oppression in hip-hop was published in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society.[6] The concept of misogynoir has been accepted and used as a term by many black feminists and cultural critics, especially in the blogosphere.[7][8][9] In a foreword to Michele Wallace's book Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman, Jamilah Lemieux wrote that misogynoir "can come even from those who are black, who were raised by black women and profess to value black people."[10]

In an article in the Albany Law Review, authors Aimee Wodda and Vanessa R. Panfil write that trans women of color experience violence at a greater rate than other populations. This transmisogyny towards black people has been characterized as "transmisogynoir".[11]

The term transmisogynoir was created to refer to the intersection between transmisogyny and misogynoir, meaning the oppression of black trans women. Transmisogynoir encomposes transphobia, misogyny, and antiblackness. It was coined by Trudy of Gradient Lair.[12]


Though misogynoir can be perpetrated by anyone, the term most often refers to the misogyny experienced by Black women at the hands of Black men. As the plight of the Black man in America remains at the forefront of society, Black feminist work as well as the issues similarly facing African American women are erased and ignored. The Black Lives Matter movement, created in 2012, was founded by three Black women: Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors. The fact that women started the movement is little known throughout the wider community and while the movement specifically states it advocates for the lives of the entire black community, protests and activists groups invoking the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and mission are disproportionately rallying cries for justice on behalf of African American men. Incidences where police wrongfully kill or assault Black women (as well as transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming Black people) receive significantly less attention, as evidenced by the lack of media attention surrounding the 2015 case of Officer Daniel Holtzclaw who used his authority to prey on and assault upwards of 13 Black women[13][14].

On a broader scale, misogynoir is also characterized by the tropes projected onto Black women. Some of these common stereotypes include the "Strong Black Woman" and the hyper-sexual "Jezebel". In her article "4 Tired Tropes That Perfectly Explain What Misogynoir Is – And How You Can Stop It", Kisiena Boom describes these common tropes and why they are damaging.[15] For example, while the "Strong Black Woman" stereotype seems to be complimentary, it ignores the racialized physical and mental trauma that Black women have had to endure. Perpetuating the idea that Black women can handle anything justifies the situations African American women are forced into, such as the "Mammy" role for white families, the heteronormative head of household when Black men are lost to the prison-industrial complex, and sexual abuse. This justification eliminates the need and desire to rectify the real problems. Furthermore, this trope forces Black women to bury their issues and put on a "strong" face for all of those who expect it.

Some further applications of misogynoir can be assessed through the use of unfair and unjust assumptions of women, particularly women of color, is the practice of doctors, or other physicians, refusing certain safe practices to Black women because they are believed to possess higher pain tolerance.[16]

In music

Misogynoir has been cited by scholars to address black sexual politics in hip hop music and culture at large.[17] Respectability politics is one such issue. Coined by Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, respectability politics refers to the tactics black people employ to promote racial uplift and obtain broader access to the public sphere.[18]

Misogynoir is shown in the lyrics and in the videos that are released to promote popular songs and better publicize certain songs. In recent years it was found that music had more sexual content than any other media outlet.[19] In hip-hop music black women are often depicted as only being good for abuse or sex.[19] These videos and lyrics reflect the way society sees black women and their bodies. Music videos are important because they are a way to better publicize hit songs especially on television. Television shows became significant because they aired music video. Examples of these are BET, MTV, and VH1.[20][21]

See also


  1. ^ "Feminist Facts: What is Misogynoir?", VERVE TEAM September 4, 2018
  2. ^ Anyangwe, Eliza (5 October 2015). "Misogynoir: where racism and sexism meet". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  3. ^ Trudy (22 October 2013). "Farryn Johnson Blonde-hair Hooters Fired". Gradient Lair. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Word of the Day: Misogynoir". Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  5. ^ Bailey, Moya Zakia (2013). Race, Region, and Gender in Early Emory School of Medicine Yearbooks (Thesis). p. 26.
  6. ^ Bailey, Moya (2013). "New Terms of Resistance: A Response to Zenzele Isoke". Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society. 15 (14): 341–343. doi:10.1080/10999949.2014.884451.
  8. ^ "Anita Hill: 'We can evolve.' But the same questions are being asked". Washington Post. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  9. ^ Macias, Kelly (March 30, 2015). ""Sisters in the Collective Struggle": Sounds of Silence and Reflections on the Unspoken Assault on Black Females in Modern America". Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies. 15 (4): 260–264. doi:10.1177/1532708615578415.
  10. ^ Wallace, Michele (2015). Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman. Verso Books. ISBN 978-1-78168-823-6.
  11. ^ Wodda, Aimee; Panfil, Vanessa R. (2015). ""Don't Talk to Me About Deception": The Necessary Erosion of the Trans* Panic Defense" (PDF). Albany Law Review. 78 (3): 927–971.
  12. ^ Trudy. "Explanation of Misogynoir". Gradient Lair. Trudy. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ 4 Tired Tropes That Perfectly Explain What Misogynoir Is – And How You Can Stop It
  16. ^ "Feminist Facts: What is Misogynoir?", VERVE TEAM September 4, 2018
  17. ^ Durham, Aisha; Cooper, Brittney; Morris, Susana (2013). "The Stage Hip-Hop Feminism Built: A New Directions Essay". Signs. 38 (3): 721–737. doi:10.1086/668843. JSTOR 668843.
  18. ^ Harris, Paisley (2003). "Gatekeeping and Remaking: The Politics of Respectability in African American Women's History and Black Feminism". Journal of Women's History. 15 (1): 212–220. doi:10.1353/jowh.2003.0025. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  19. ^ a b Cunduff, G (2013). "The influence of rap/hip-hop music: A mixed method analysis on audience perceptions of Misogynistic lyrics and the issue of domestic violence". The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications. 4 (1).
  20. ^ Weitzer, Ronald (2009). "Misogyny in Rap Music: A Content Analysis of Prevalence and Meanings". Men and Masculinities. 12: 3–29. doi:10.1177/1097184X08327696.
  21. ^ Easterling, Michael (2006). "U.N.I.T.Y. Addressing Misogyny and Transcending the Sista-Ho Dichotomy in Hip Hop Culture". All These Dissertations. 5939.

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