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Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  324 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Originally published in 1978, this book caused a storm of controversy as Micheke Wallace blasted the masculinist bias of the black politics that emerged from the sixties. She described how women remained marginalized by the patriarchal culture of Black Power and the ways in which a genuine female subjectivity was blocked by the traditional myths of black womanhood. In 1990 ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published April 17th 1999 by Verso (first published 1978)
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Audrey Schoeman
I’ve been going round my circles in my head trying to work out how to review Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman, Michelle Wallace’s 1978 tract on Black Power, masculinity, and the sexism internalised by the African-American community. How does a white girl born 6 years after this book was published critique such a deeply personal, passionately written and important book? Perhaps the safest route to take is to say that she doesn’t really. She reads. She admires. She learns. There are flaw ...more
May 24, 2015 L.A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are a number of editions of this seminal book floating around out there; this one includes an introduction from Wallace, written from the benefit of hindsight. She talks about what she would have done differently, how her feelings have changed on certain topics, and - sadly - how she minimized the abuse patterns in her family at the request of her publisher. This created a good framework for a critical second reading of this book, which I actually read for a class a long time ago.

Mar 09, 2016 Jam rated it did not like it
I OFFICIALLY GIVE UP! What the flying fuck did I just read?!?! How in the world is this a landmark of black feminist text???? I could actually write a dissertation on how fucked up this book is, but I don't even want to put enough effort into writing a proper review on how much I hated this!

DNF @ 75% when Wallace essentially says: yes black people were stolen and forced into deplorable slavery but white people were also sold as slaves so like.......

We're lucky I wasn't near a fireplace or someth
Mar 23, 2011 Sydney rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school
This is possibly the nonfiction book I've most appreciated/enjoyed reading for school. I'm writing an essay critiquing 'traditional' (ie, Christian) marriage from feminist and economic perspectives. I didn't see how the book applied to this subject at first, but the second half of the book ('The Myth of the Superwoman') focuses on the family. I realized I was coming at my subject from a very white-feminist place, and that is not at all a good thing...

Wallace balances the personal and political b
Feb 16, 2009 John rated it really liked it
In the course of an essay I'm writing I refer to the Myth of the Black Superwoman. I've been aware of the term for a while, but I didn't know it's author or origins, so I thought I'd better go to the source.

Wallace is a good writer and her history of life under slavery is informative and persuasive. The subject of black male-female relations in the 1960s is beyond my expertise, but Wallace tends to make sweeping generalizations that invite some skepticism.

Just how prevalent were black male-white
Lee Ann
Aug 05, 2008 Lee Ann rated it really liked it
This is an intersting read, as the version I had included a new forward by the author, who was able to revist some of her ideas. At the time of its original publication, Wallace received a lot of flack for her theories/views, and she admits in the forward that as time as passes (older, perhaps wiser), her views have changed, but not so radically that she no longer believes in the core of this work.

I think this book begins to scratch at larger conversations about relationships and community. Too
Pat Cromwell
Feb 12, 2009 Pat Cromwell rated it really liked it
I don't have this version, I have a paperback that is nearly 30 years old! I read it back in the late 70's or early 80's but I remember it well. The book was considered a controversial examination of the UNEVEN relationship between Black Women and Black Men. I purchased the book after reading an article in the black male oriented magazine Ebony (no that is not a typo). The article was critical of the author and her convictions. As a matter of fact, check out Ebony of the 70’s and 80’s and you’ll ...more
Ralowe Ampu
Sep 14, 2011 Ralowe Ampu rated it it was amazing
this book is fun. i'm taking my time with it. it's very enjoyable.

it definitely lives within the idea that "rape in the black community is the rape of the black man." it is troubling thinking of diaspora, considering how definitions of gender roles maintain this continuum through the fetishization of blackness in struggle. this is one of the more enjoyable things i've read. i like somewhat anecdotal divergence in the trouble girls home that led to michele becoming a feminist through glimpse of a
Apr 12, 2016 Leigh rated it really liked it
Fascinating as a historical document. Read the intro both before and after...
Mar 15, 2014 Amber rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favorites
Michele Wallace presents an interesting interpretation of black men, black women, and black male/female relationships. I learned a lot from this book that I didn't know.I'd highly suggest this book to all interested in black power rhetoric, the black male position as oppressed and oppressor, an in-depth understanding of the "Strong black woman" stereotype and a different take on black male/female relationships. Definitely worth the read.
Feb 24, 2012 Nakia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though this book is centered more on my mother’s generation, it was extremely helpful in understanding why Black feminism (or womanism) is needed... (full review at
Sep 04, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-for-class
I just read The Myth of the Superwoman.
Too long ago to remember!
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Michele Faith Wallace (born January 4, 1952) is a black feminist author, cultural critic, and daughter of artist Faith Ringgold. She is best known for her 1979 book Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman. Wallace's writings on literature, art, film, and popular culture have been widely published and have made her a leader of African-American intellectuals. She is a Professor of English at the ...more
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