A Female Mason Perched High above Berlin (c. 1910)
With the rise of industrialization, the number of German women who worked outside the home also increased. This usually meant factory work. But in some families with their own businesses, daughters also learned a trade so that they could help out: here, we see a master-mason’s daughter during the renovation work on the old city hall tower in Berlin.
TFW: What have you learned as women about the way you are perceived in the movement and how do you hope to empower other women?
Brittany Ferrell: I have never experienced such blatant sexism. I’ve always known for it to exists and I’m aware that at some point have been a victim of it, whether my socially conditioned mind had noticed it or not. But this movement has really put sexism directly in front of me, everyday, and since has built an intolerance within me. As women are the majority in the movement here in St. Louis, it puzzles me as to why we have to make sure we are heard and seen for the work we are doing, rather than just pretty faces. I’ve had to check so many brothers for coming at me as if I’m out here to look pretty and waiting for them to hit on me. One night while out at Ferguson Police Department, a place we frequent at night to ensure things are running smoothing, I was walking back to the car and this older man yelled at me “Ay, you, ay, come here. Let me touch your hair. Let me touch your hair.” Now, mind you, he was suppose to be a “protester” yet he is more worried about me and my hair rather than his purpose for being there at that time. That same night I had a brother ask me if my clothing I had on were my “activist clothing” because I looked way to beautiful to be out there at night.
Zakiya Jemmott: Gender inclusion is a major issue that we have all faced since our involvement. When we go out to protest or even speak at town hall meetings there is a lack of support from a majority of the men and we are treated as if we’re invisible and haven’t been the most vocal since the movement mobilized. We have reached out to our men and asked them to stand with us and not for us because this is our fight just as much as theirs. Personally I have been chastised by black men that claim they love black women and was even told that I’m only good for twerking by one of these men. He’s a well-known misogynist so I won’t hold that against all of our black men that have been supporting and fighting with us.
TFW: What has the media left out in regard to the important role that Black women have played in Ferguson?
Brittany: The media has left out that if it were not for Black Women, there would be no movement. We have seriously carried this to where it is now, not to say there are no men out here doing their thing because there are. What I am saying is that women have been here since day one, we are willing to lay our lives on the line to keep up the good fight without the support from anyone or any organization, hence why we built our own.
Zakiya: The media is excluding the fact that the police brutality and harassment in our communities impacts the women just as much as the men. They’re highlighting black male lives and pushing the black female lives lost to police violence to the side. I want for the media to understand that ALL black lives matter.