There’s been some media buzz, exemplified by but preceding the #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag on Twitter, about the ways in which some mainstream feminism fails to account for very important issues surrounding race and colonialism. This article on Jezebel talks about the term “white feminism” and uses this graphic to explain it. As you can see, white women and men are not necessarily perpetuating problematic “white feminism” and women of colour are not necessarily immune to it.
Some of the exemplars of this type of narrow-minded feminism that stood out for me are:
- Mindy Budgor, who lived among the Masai for three months, and upon her return, published a book in which she claimed to have become the first female Masai warrior. Inspired, of course, by feminism. (link)
- Some very problematic discussions about whether or not Beyoncé “counts” as a feminist. (link)
- This quote by Tina Fey that gives me a worrying complex of feelings. (link)
But the problem is, of course, that it’s easy to get defensive if you’re white, and a feminist, and you hear the term “white feminism” used pejoratively. Well, tough. I ask this of men when I talk about male privilege. This is asked of me in conversations about cis privilege. And so on. Feminism and work against oppression is not about who “wins” by being the most oppressed. I am completely behind the sentiment of “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit” because I don’t really see how we could call ourselves feminist (or anti-racist) if we ignore the oppression of others just because it’s not our own.