The frontiers of sisterhood: representations of black feminism in Spare Rib (1972-1979)

Donna Chambers, Rob Worrall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In 1996 Hazel Carby in a chapter titled ?White Woman Listen!? argued that ?most contemporary feminist theory does not begin to adequately account for the experience of black women?. This chapter recognises the utility of black feminist theory as a framework for undertaking a critical interrogation of the (her)story of the black woman and how she has been represented in the most iconic British feminist magazine of the 20th century ? Spare Rib. Through critical investigations of the first 8 years of the magazine 1972-1979, a period which was central both to the emergent women?s liberation movement and also to the development of radical black activism in Britain, we problematize the way in which the black woman has been portrayed both in terms of textual and visual narratives. The questions which we seek to explore include what is the extent of (in)visibility of black feminist issues during this era ? What key concepts/issues are seen as central to the lives of black women during this initial 8-year period and how and to what extent did these change? Who was invested with the authority to speak about black women?s issues? To what extent are the issues in Spare Rib reflective of movements in the wider media and society with regard to black feminism? It is hoped that the explorations in this chapter will shed light on the treatment by Spare Rib of issues of intersectionality between race and gender during this period, one which was of importance for the emergence of a movement dedicated to expressing the differentiated voices of women.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRe-reading Spare Rib
EditorsAngela Smith
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9783319493091
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'The frontiers of sisterhood: representations of black feminism in Spare Rib (1972-1979)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this