MIT News, January 2021
Q: You have said that when you first coined the term misogynoir, you had no idea it would go viral. It’s impossible to envision it not being a part of our lexicon now. We are currently at the intersection of two public health crises — racism and Covid-19. How has this moment highlighted misogynoir in the media and digital landscape?
A: It’s stunning to see the way misogynoir has exacerbated the dire outcomes for Black people in relation to Covid-19. Not only are Black people, Black women, more likely to die of Covid than their white counterparts, they make up the lion’s share of essential (i.e., expendable) workers who are on the front lines of infection because their occupations prevent them from working from home, or with little interaction with other people. I think a lot of people don’t even know that a Black woman was a key member of the Covid vaccine team, and I think knowledge of her labor could help with some of the healthy and perhaps overblown skepticism about the vaccine purported in Black communities. My book, “Misogynoir Transformed: Black Women’s Digital Resistance,” spends a good amount of time addressing how Black women’s health has been compromised because of the way misogynoir reaches into medicine. Even Black women physicians are at risk, as the recent Covid-related death of Dr. Susan Moore attests.