Definition: A black feminist or feminist of color; someone who is committed to the wholeness and well-being of all of humanity, male and female.
Origins: Alice Walker introduced the word “womanist” into feminist parlance in her 1983 book In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose. She cited the phrase “acting womanish,” which was said to a child who acted serious, courageous and grown-up rather than girlish. Many women of color in the 1970s had sought to expand the feminism of the Women’s Liberation Movement beyond its concern for the problems of white middle-class women. The adoption of "womanist" signified an inclusion of race and class issues in feminism. Alice Walker also used "womanist" to refer to a woman who loves other women, whether platonically or sexually.
The term “womanist” is thus both an alternative to and an expansion of the term “feminist.”