Invisible Families: Gay Identities, Relationships, and Motherhood among Black Women
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including the warning, “No caps, do-rags, or athletic wear: Dress to impress.” As part of my data collection, I hosted a weekly party for women of color at a lounge in Greenwich Village. A few of the women who attended each week wore athletic jerseys and fitted caps. Other than their style of dress, they did not stand out or behave in ways that were different from the other guests. Each time, however, a few patrons would invariably complain that I had “let those type of people” into the party.
piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity. They were understood to represent a certain type of womanhood to the world. Regardless of social class, Blacks were seen as lacking virtue, an essential characteristic of true womanhood. Indeed, true womanhood was often defined in opposition to Black and working-class women. Darlene Clark Hine, Paula Giddings, and other Black feminist historians have shown that in the generations after emancipation and throughout the first half of the twentieth
life: assuming responsibility for Andrew was, she says, “something that I have chosen to do, not something that was put upon me.” She explains: “That’s my nephew. That’s my blood. I fed him when I went to the hospital, and he had big, big eyes, and he looked at me like, ‘Don’t let her [Latrice] keep me. You have to help me. Think about your nieces. Think about my sisters.’ ” Adopting a child born to a drug-addicted mother has created more stress than Jackie had ever imagined it would, despite her
household bills, just 57 percent of them actually shared a bank account. Partners value self-sufficiency and autonomy, and these values get transmitted in the relationship through the maintenance of separate financial accounts. Control over their own finances allows both partners to claim a coprovider role even when their incomes are not equal. It also makes it easier for the partners to exit the relationship in case of dissolution. Family Life and Gendered Relations | 159 Consider the
households, both adults were working, and each parent retained authority over decisions regarding her own children. There was still 174 | Family Life and Gendered Relations some task specialization, in that one partner had the greater responsibility for the allocation of finances and the housework. Other factors determined who would take on the job of household organizer in these cases, however, such as flexibility of work schedule and the age and needs of each person’s biological child.