The term “white feminism” is a term that probably confused you just as much as it confused me. Before, I was only really familiar with the term “feminism” which is described by Urban Dictionary as, “The belief that women are and should be treated as potential intellectual equals and social equals to men”. In fact, the term “white feminism” only really occurred to me after reading an article on a 13 year old Disney star bringing this topic into media discussion. In her Instagram post discussing why we should be talking about white feminism, she says that “Issues that are commonly thought of as feminist issues include, sexual assault, rape, abortion, planned parenthood, domestic violence, equal education and the wage gap”. She goes on to say that this typical form of feminism excludes other female societal groups that face gender oppression and other issues due to their racial origin. Other issues that she says that “traditional” feminism tends to exclude include police brutality and trans-women violence. She implys that these “white feminists” need to obtain a more “intersectional feministic” view. Blanchard states Kimberle Crenshaw’s quote defining intersectional feminism as “The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only inter-related, but bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Example of this include gender, race, class, ability and ethnicity”. Blanchard raises a fair discussion topic because the current media today does show a very “white feminist” view point:
However, from reading this article and educating myself about the term “white feminism”, I couldn’t help but question if this is just a ploy to create victims out of nothing when the issue is far greater than what is being discussed. After finding an article by The Huffington Post on “white feminism”, the statements I found about traditional feminists or “white feminists”, to me were quite ignorant. If you watch the video at the beginning of the article, pay particular attention to some statements such as “they have a lot to learn” and “…but, most white feminists are white”. I find both these statements quite ignorant and ludicrous because they are basically saying that it is unusual to have a non-white female standing up for traditional feminist values and that “they” have a lot to learn about being a “better feminist”. I think intersectional feminism has been around for a very long time, but I think that the women that wrote that article expect white feminists to have a sign up saying “I’m an intersectional feminist” plastered to their forehead. Some comments from readers such as “the oppression olympics is still in full swing I see” and “Wow that’s another sub sub sub group I need to care about when I used to care about all, but now your here to tell me that I never really did at all and to shut the F up. I’m enlightened…” show that these kinds of discussions regarding feminism could existent just for the sake of there being something to discuss. You be the judge.
Saul, H 2015 “Rowan Blanchard: 13-year-old Disney star sparks debate about ‘white feminism’ with engaging Instagram essay”, The Independent, 24 August
Blay, Z & Gray, E 2015 “Why we need to talk about white feminism”, The Huffington Post, 10 August