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Starshine & Clay

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

“...Both nonwhite and woman/ What did i see to be except myself/ i made it up/ here on this bridge between/ starshine and clay”

-Lucille Clifton, “won’t you celebrate with me”[1] (1933)



Nina Simone's "Four Women":

Erykah Badu's "Bag Lady":

Starshine and Clay: An Artistic Criticism of Nina Simone’s “Four Women” (1966) and Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady” (2000)

Feminity is typically understood through its relationship with masculinity. In Simone de Beauvoir’s famous 1949 work, The Second Sex, de Beauvoir founds her exploration of defining “what is woman”, by establishing that in the status quo men typically define women. With de Beauvoir being one of the most highly regarded feminist theorists, this understanding has been the dominant thought of many feminist writers who strive to understand how the concept of “woman” or rather, femininity, has been fashioned. By giving men the role of the Subject and women the role of the Other, de Beauvoir writes how “it is not the Other, who defining itself as Other, defines the one; the Other is posited as Other by the One positing itself as One” (de Beauvoir). We see with de Beauvoir that women as “Other” are not given the tools