I think it may be an unfortunate testament to my race that I only first heard this term a week ago. However, contrary to how it appears, white feminism isn’t about being white. I’m white, but I’m not going to get defensive, it doesn’t apply to me. I know where I stand. But we’ll address that point later. White feminism is all too familiar to all of us, even if we don’t realize it, and it makes it a lot more difficult for equality to be achieved at any level.
It started with Taylor Swift. Perhaps you heard about the whole Twitter showdown between her, Katy Perry, and Nicki Minaj. Nicki Minaj was just doing her, tweeting about how you’ll only get nominated for a VMA if you’re song or video was about skinny white women. It seems shady, but really, Nicki has just been trying to promote body positivity, especially for women of color. Then, Taylor Swift had to steal the show. She replied back to Nicki, assuming that the tweet was about her, getting defensive and telling her that it’s not like her to pin women against each other. The conversation immediately became about Taylor and her tweet, instead of about Nicki and the important point she was trying to make. This is white feminism.
White feminists will fight for “equality”, as long as it doesn’t jeopardize their privilege. I recently found an article that explained every aspect of this goddamn perfectly. This woman said that often when WoC try to discuss white feminism within an appropriate context, the white feminists will swarm, getting defensive, insisting that they are not like that, and that it’s rude to generalize. She explains this example of white feminism as being an insisting that a conversation created to facilitate discussion about the issues of WoC, still be centered around the feelings of white women. The woman then goes on to make several brilliant points. The best one, the one that this all boils down to, is about privilege. I can’t state it better than her: “It can be very off-putting to feel attacked for a transgression that you know yourself not to be guilty of. But in the context of social justice and movement building, if you’re feeling attacked, it probably means you’re having your privilege challenged, not that you are a bad person. As I always say, “‘If it doesn’t apply to you, then it’s not about you. If it’s not about you, then don’t take it personally.'” Get this woman to the White House, she’s figured it all out. She also made this beautiful chart. White feminism isn’t about white people, it isn’t about white women, it’s a colorless feminism. It ignores the fact that race is a part of feminism, part of equality. People who feel privileged, regardless of their race, get in the way of that. They don’t realize, or don’t recognize that WoC face different, and more, issues and that we need to make them everyone’s issues if they’re going to get solved.
I, and Nicki Minaj, don’t have time for white feminists.
Neither does this woman, who wrote the incredible article I quoted.
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