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Wearable Art: Adornment as a Form of Womanist Resistance and Self-Identification in the African Diaspora

Cherise Charleswell


Adornment, a visual expression of culture, may be utilized as an instrument for Womanist resistance. In the creation and selection of adornments, women of color exhibit agency over their bodies, and more importantly, over the types of images of womanhood and idealized beauty, that are accepted as being authentically their own. Here, the assertion of aesthetic tastes, the rejection and the resistance against sociocultural norms and Eurocentrism are brought together by the simplistic and mundane act of selecting adornments, which are essentially wearable forms of art. Finally, the most critical aspect involved in wearing adornments or creating these pieces of material culture, is that of choice; and those choices are guided by historical traditions and intersecting factors in the built environment, which help to impact, influence, and shape the experiences and thus worldview and aesthetic preferences of women in the African diaspora.


adornment; aesthetics; black; feminism; womanism; resistance; intersectionality

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ProudFlesh: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics and Consciousness. ISSN: 1543-0855 (online).
Editor: Dr. Darlene V. Russell.

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