Feminism is evolving and it looks like it may be turning against itself. Not unlike another social justice movement, Black Lives Matter, where declaring "All Lives Matter" gets you accused of racism by implying black lives don't, being a white feminist will now get you chastised for being unintentionally racist.
According to a video by Now This and shared on The Huffington Post's Facebook page, White Feminism is proving problematic to the greater cause of feminism. As one participant in the video explains, "Basically, White Feminism is feminism that ignores intersectionality." And what that means is that although white women aren't the only ones who experience misogyny, they do so in a completely different way than women of other colors. And so the video blames the general state of mind of white people as a root cause of the difference: "White people just don't have to think about things like race on a daily basis."
Of course, the promise is made that they are "not just pulling the race card" but what they are saying is that "White Feminism excludes the experiences of basically, anyone who's not white, cis and straight."
Here's how this plays out in other scenarios, according to the video:
- White Feminism aims to close the wage gap between men and women, but what it fails to recognize is that most of the time, Latina and black women make even less than white women.
- White Feminism ignores the role whiteness plays in creating things like beauty standards.
Once black woman featured in the video lumps police brutality into the broader issues of feminism and uses one of its latest cases as an example:
If Sandra Bland had been a white woman, would a simple traffic stop have resulted in an arrest? Would she have been viewed as a loud, angry black woman? Would she be dead?
Also, the typical faces of feminism are white women; they list Tina Fey, Taylor Swift, and Amy Schumer. And though the video notes that these women "have been able to break into industries that have been dominated by cis, white men," black women have had a much harder time becoming rich and successful (think Beyoncé or Oprah Winfrey).
Critiquing White Feminism isn't about silencing those women, it's about opening up space for even more diverse voices to be heard and that's great for everyone.
But rest assured, "Being a white feminist doesn't make you a bad person, it just means you have a lot to learn," as one woman says.
And the last piece of advice doled out for white women in the video sounds more like what a misogynistic man might say to his submissive woman:
The most important thing any white feminist can do is educate herself and listen and engage with the experiences of women of color without silencing them. Because, sometimes, as white ladies, we just need to shut the f*** up.