In the Black feminist literary tradition, gender has become an important transnational issue. In other words, the same problems which confront women in one nation affect women in all nations. Those problems focus generally on the exploitation of women by men, by whites, and by the patriarchal systems which control most countries, their governments, and their socioeconomics. Accordingly, as in Alice Walker's novel Possessing the Secret of Joy, addresses problems in a global context, recognizing that women, especially black women, will be able to achieve more justice if they work together, transcending national and cultural borders.
Walker's novel focuses on male brutality against women across cultural lines, specifically in the act of the "circumcision" of the clitoris. This is an act which is an expression of the male fear of women's sexuality, of his fear that she is capable of sexual pleasure without his presence, and his general, pathological need to control women in all aspects of life but especially in sexual matters:
Man is jealous of woman's pleasure . . . because she does not require him to achieve it. When her outer sex is cut off, and she's left with only the smallest, inelastic opening through which to receive pleasure, he can believe it is only his penis that can reach her inner parts and give her what she craves (Walker 182).
The American black female writer who does not appreciate that such hideous brutality against women is a transnational issue, and not merely limited to the "Third World" cultures where it is sanctioned by patriarchal societies and governments, cannot call herself a true feminist. Clearly, Walker's work, focusing on the cruelty and injustice of this practice, is a clear literary argument that the brutalization of women through such a practice is indeed a call to arms for all women everywhere.
Walker's message "is that the breaches and violations must be mended for health and continuity...