Written by Stephanie Amaya
When woman of color address white feminism, we aren’t talking to those who are simply white and a feminist. It’s not a personal dig at white people or us trying to “pit women against each other”, we are addressing those who don’t recognize intersectional feminism. Let’s face it, sexism is a multifaceted oppressive system, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution because different women experience different forms of oppression. Intersectional feminists recognize this, as well as recognizing white privilege.
A white woman, although below the white man in society, will still have an advantage against people of color, and yes that includes the men. When you say “not all white women are like that” you are derailing the issues WoC face and prioritizing your white feelings. We get that, we know all white women aren’t like that; but if you’re feeling attacked by being called a ‘white feminist’ it probably means you’re having your privilege challenged. Being a good ally sometimes means you input is not wanted or need; for example, with issues like racism, and transphobia. If you’re white and cis, you need to let those who actual face these forms of oppression to speak for themselves and to let their voices be heard.
Women of color can also be white feminists if they are non-intersectional, meaning if you’re feminism is superficial aka the feminism that focuses on makeup, body hair, and changing your married name, that kind of thing. Not to say that these issues aren’t worth mentioning, because yes women should be free to do what they want with their lives; but there are bigger issues faced by women of color around the world.
The feminism that denounces “Twitter Feminism” as useless while ignoring the fact that twitter is the main medium which less economically privileged women can use to get their voices heard. The feminism that promotes forced sterilization, while not considering the fact that this was a method used as a tool of genocide against Black and Native American women. The feminism that thinks barging into a Maasai community to ‘break barriers’ is a good idea while not acknowledging what the actual Maasai women are doing to advance equality for themselves.
The feminism that insists “Muslim women need saving” while ignoring the fact that a different culture will have a different approach to feminism. The feminism that sweeps the LGBTQA community under the rug. I’m talking about the feminism that disregards the fact that whiteness is a privilege that is not afforded by all women. In other words, if your feminism doesn’t acknowledge the struggles faced by all women (no I don’t mean everyone with a vagina i mean all who identify was a woman), you my friend are a white feminist.