Today in Blackness: Women of Color Go HAM on Mainstream White Feminism

 

unequal

Is Feminism just another extension of white privilege? According to the Twitter world, it may very well be. The hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen exploded today, in what Aljazeera calls a “Hashtag calling for a more diverse approach to feminism trends globally. The hashtag was created by blogger Mikki Kendall before trending today worldwide. Ironically, the hashtag arouse out of a critique that Kendall was making about white male academic and blogger Hugo Schwyzer, who deigned himself a male feminist, to much controversy. It seems that the issues of Modern Feminism are myriad.

@NANTICOKENDN sums up the spirit of #solidarityisforwhitewomen:

intersactions

Inter what???

Wikipedia defines Intersectionality as:

“the study of intersections between different disenfranchised groups or groups of minorities; specifically, the study of the interactions of multiple systems of oppression or discrimination. The theory suggests that various biological, social and cultural categories such as gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, species, and other axes of identity interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels, contributing to systematic injustice and social inequality.”

Basically one’s experience of “womaness” is a complex interaction of race, class, culture, sex and sexuality. And to the extent that women worldwide feel that mainstream feminism does not give voice to this complexity… well, global feminists will take to Twitter for a little public shaming. The gloves do come off, but as writer Keir Bristol mentions,

“To be clear though, this hashtag is about holding “allies” accountable. It should be self-explanatory! For too long, White, straight, cis, able-bodied women have been the face of feminism.”

Do you identify with the tweets below?

GIRLS2

https://twitter.com/alysha_chandra/status/367016603977658369

Did you check out #solidarityisforwhitewomen? Like it, Love it or Hate it, we want to hear from you in the comments.

The following two tabs change content below.

Staff

Here at Water Cooler Convos, we like to feature diverse voices who align with our nerdy, artsy, bourgie stances on blackness. Interested in writing with us? Email contact@watercoolerconvos.com.

4 Responses

  1. Matt says:

    I understand the frustration, but breaking down feminism into quirky outfits, hair-dying, and nerd culture represents a gross lack of understanding of what feminism really is, what it means, and what it’s accomplished.

    Although, I see validity in the comments regarding how women of color are perceived differently, I don’t see how the vast majority of these comments have anything to do with the true feminist movement.

    Feminism’s roots grow deep and the movement existed far before the United States was even a colony. I think it’s sad that people are breaking an important movement down to inequality regarding a few pop culture meems.

    Again, I understand you issues with the way women of color a perceived as I actually think many of those comments are completely accurate, but these are not feminist issues. Open a history book, and educate yourself. You’ll find, if you open your mind enough, that the idealism of feminism has done a lot to promote equality for all women on a deep societal level; although, it may have done little to equalize how hair dye is perceived across races.

    Do you see at all how the vast majority of these comments serve to hold all women back by selecting to focus on appearance and surface-level attributes? Women attacking women about the perception of the single mom, dying their hair, and wearing nerdy clothes…definitely not in the spirit the suffragettes had encouraged. How many of these Twitter comments are about outward appearances and not about actually deep-rooted, societal change.

    The criticisms with this hash tag are actually harmful to the feminist movement because they fail to delve deep enough into the social issues and chose to focus on all things surface-level.

    Let’s also remember that black men obtained the right to vote long before all women. Come on ladies, use your heads. I know you are all smart and capable….perhaps you just need to see it too.

  2. Alexis Pankey-Dickerson says:

    Matt,

    Your comments are well taken. I think it is an oversimplification to assume that because some of these issues “seem surface” that it is an affront to feminism. This has everything to do with the everyday lived experiences of women of color, which is inherently a social issue. These types of daily microaggressions accumulate to create an allostatic load on women AND men of color that leads directly to detrimental health outcomes. You can’t separate someone’s life and experience from their culture, they are embedded together, which is entirely the point of intersectionality. Feminism has a responsibility to speak to and for the lived experiences of women, globally, who are in fact dealing with these things, and it is not sufficient to say that the roots of feminism didn’t take these issues into account. Feminism, like anything else, has to evolve within its historical context. I presume that the very point of #solidarityisforwhitewomen is that women of color, both professed and would-be feminists, do not feel part of the decision making in what defines feminism today. I’m also not sure that I agree that criticism, neigh, critique, is harmful. Is it more harmful than silence, or letting the status quo go unchallenged? Because that is certainly counter to feminism.

  3. Matt says:

    Alexis,

    I definitely think a lot of what you say makes complete sense. Honestly, I’m happy to see debates like this happening. More people getting energized = actual change.

    Thanks for engaging me.

    Matt

  4. J says:

    #Facepalm at Matt’s comments. I can’t add anymore other than the fact that he truly doesn’t get it. It’s sad when people use a knee jerk reaction to reply to a piece and not see the entire contextual argument of the piece. Matt articulates himself very well and obviously threw some historical facts in there to remind us he’s an expert in this fiels, but by no means anything in your comments speak to what this article is trying to say. :::SIGH:::