Living a Feminist Life
Willfulness and Feminist Subjectivity
This chapter explores how and why in becoming feminists we are often designated as willful subjects: as being a problem because of our will. Returning to folklore and fictional fables of willful girls, it explores how willfulness is used to diagnose disobedience and dissent as deriving from character flaws. The chapter offers a feminist history of willfulness in which a diagnosis becomes self-description. The chapter argues that willfulness matters especially for black women and women of color and draws specifically on Alice Walker’s definition of womanism.