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The Dangers of White Feminism

Rina Cakrani, Columnist

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I consider myself a feminist but I often find that the feminist movement is heading in a problematic direction nowadays. Modern feminism is often not intersectional; it leaves out many of the women’s voices that need to be heard but are not due to the domination and privilege that white feminism has enjoyed since its beginnings. White feminism originates from the second wave of feminism and has unfortunately always prioritized gender over race, with many contradictions.

The major problem that comes from white feminism as a movement is that it fails to acknowledge many of its privileges, and even when it does so, it keeps exercising those privileges. And when those privileges are in danger, the white feminists react in their defense. During the Women’s March in January, we saw millions of women around the country protesting for gender equality, but another major reason was Trump’s election. It remains unseen whether white feminism would have been angered if the new presidency didn’t directly affect them as well. The truth is that white feminists have hardly ever stood up for feminist women of color, who clearly have a more difficult place in society. For example, hispanic women earn 54 cents to the dollar and black women earn 64. Not only do they suffer as women, but they also suffer due to their race.

White feminists haven’t been concerned with protecting those that suffer daily oppression and survive against a system that has been designed to bring them down on the basis of their race. Seeing white women as spokespeople for the movement without acknowledging the struggle that their fellow women of color undergo daily is disrespectful and humiliating. After all, according to the National Election poll, it was white women who helped elect Trump. While 57 percent of white women voted for Trump, 91 percent of black women voted against him.

The truth is, in this society, women of color are the ones that truly deserve to be called feminists because of the fight they carry against a system that emphasizes beauty standards that idolize white women, and that prefers to employ white women for certain jobs just because of the color of their skin. They have to endure how the media under represents them, like the Hollywood movie that would rather choose Scarlett Johansson for an Asian character rather than an actual Asian actress. The true feminists are immigrant women of color who have started from the bottom and have managed to raise their kids and support their families despite these circumstances.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “The Dangers of White Feminism”

  1. Kiki on April 26th, 2017 4:46 am

    Hi. I agree. It seems as though white feminists have too much time on their hands, sometimes. Their feminism seems stagnant as with Lena Dunham, who was waving flags and applauding in impassioned support of Clinton, but never once spoke of the harm Clinton had and would cause BW and WoC. They laud WW like Amy Schumer for breaking boundaries, but that Beyonce, she sexualises herself way too much-and don’t dare challenge them, they’ll throw in a ‘bell hooks’. White feminism ignores BW, Trans Women, WoC and poor women, absolutely including poor white women. White feminist writers often saturate “liberal” newspapers; articles ruing their husbands for leaving the toilet seat up. They lead with sentiments like “stop stripping, you are oppresing yourself” (cause so many economically privilaged women strip) without properly considering the demographic of women and intersectionality. It’s control, they often seem to want, and most attention to narratives outside of their own seem only to be taken into account in order to manipulate them and use them to further their march for the White well/wellish-to do lady, knitting and drinking almond milk in her sunny, culturally appropriated Brooklyn garden.

  2. Margaret on May 3rd, 2017 6:24 am

    White feminist men too, not just women.

  3. Opal on August 12th, 2017 4:49 pm

    i am unsure of anything anymore. everything is getting more and more twisted. white feminism is dangerous when it comes from uneducated, right wing conservatives and (just as) dangerous when it comes from the white bourgeois; they know how to say a lot of anti racist stuff, but dance the dance of elitism, classism and pro whiteness underneath it all. classism = capitalism = hurting poor black (poor all) mothers. i fear for the planet and for our babies. a

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The Dangers of White Feminism