No Thanks: Black, Female, and Living in the Martyr-Free Zone by Keturah Kendrick


“If you are interested in reading a candid, courageous, feminist portrait of what it means to live as a free black woman, No Thanks is a must read. Keturah Kendrick explores a broad range of themes that are compelling and heartfelt—relationships, friendship, marriage, motherhood, living outside the US, resisting gender norms/scripts . . . and much more. Enter and savor the gift!” —Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at Spelman College and editor of Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought

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In essays written with humor and wit, Kendrick reimagines what it means to be “a good black woman”—from women choosing never to have children to mothers regretting their choice to have them, from being a lonely black atheist to conquering loneliness as a single woman in a foreign country—and, in the process, challenges the expectation that black women serve as noble martyrs or sacrificial lambs.

Through eight humorous essays, Keturah Kendrick chronicles her journey to freedom. She shares the stories of other women who have freed themselves from the narrow definition of what makes a “proper woman.” Spotlighting the cultural bullying that dictates women must become mothers to the expectation that one’s spiritual path follow the traditions of previous generations, Kendrick imagines a world where black women make life choices that center on their needs and desires. She also examines the rising trend of women choosing to remain single and explores how such a choice is the antithesis to the trope of the sorrowful black woman who cannot find a man to grant her the prize of legal partnership. A mixture of memoir and cultural critique, No Thanks uses wit and insight to paint a picture of the twenty-first-century black woman who has unchained herself from what she is supposed to be. A black woman who has given herself permission to be whomever she wants to be.

No Thanks: Black, Female, and Living in the Martyr-Free Zone by Keturah Kendrick
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