Essays, Feminism & Women's Issues, Fighting White Supremacy

The Problem With White Feminism

white feminism

noun

  1. a brand of feminism centered around the ideals and struggles of primarily white women

  2. feminism that doesn’t understand western privilege or cultural context.

  3. feminism that doesn’t consider race as a factor in the struggle for equality.

  4. a set of beliefs that allows for the exclusion of issues that specifically affect women of color.

While not outright exclusive, the failure of white feminism to consider other women and its preoccupation with Western standards and the problems faced by the “average woman” is often alienating to women of color, non-straight women, trans women, and women belonging to religious or cultural minorities.

White feminists do not consider themselves as such; they just consider themselves “feminists.” The problem lies with white feminists not understanding the struggles of women of color and erasing or diminishing those struggles for *white* women’s rights. I’ll give you an example: I’m sure you’ve seen everywhere that women make $0.77 to a man’s dollar in discussions of the wage gap problem. That’s the statistic you see everywhere and get angry about and share. And it’s true – women *do* make less than men. However, The $0.77 to a dollar statistic only includes *white* women. Women of color make even less than that. Black women make about $0.68 to a man’s dollar, and Latina women about $0.58 to a man’s dollar. These aren’t statistics you tend to see parsed out. And this is an example of why intersectionality matters. I’ll venture a guess that you probably didn’t even know those statistics about Black and Latina women. Herein lies the problem with white feminism.

If you want to combat this, the best thing to do is educate yourself and be willing to confront your own internal bias. The list of articles below is a good start to getting to know white feminism better so that you can combat it, both within yourself and with others. Listening to the voices of women of color is the only way we will fight white supremacy and create a truly intersectional, equal world. Happy reading!

  1. This Women’s History Month, I Refuse to Celebrate Your Feminism by Barbara Sostalta

  2. How Feminism Continues to Fail Women of Color by Erika L. Sanchez

  3. Why We Need to Talk About White Feminism by Zeba Blay

  4. Powerful Comic Perfectly Captures the Hypocrisy of White Feminism by Jessica Eggert

  5. Stop “White Feminism”: Feminism Without Intersectionality Isn’t Really Feminism by Maria DiPasquale

  6. The Clash Between “White Feminism” and WoC from Unveiled & Unweaved

  7. How to be a White Feminist Without Practicing White Feminism by Leia Smoudianis

  8. Feminism’s Ugly Internal Clash: Why Its Future Is Not Up to White Women by Brittney Cooper

  9. Feminism Has Conquered the Culture. Now Comes the Hard Part. by Rebecca Traister and Judith Shulevitz

  10. Why is ‘White Feminism’ Such a Dirty Phrase? A History of Feminism and Exclusion by Natasha Noman

  11. How Understanding Intersectionality is Making Feminism Better by May Lui

  12. Feminism 101: What is White Feminism by Rebecca Vorick

  13. 7 Things Feminists of Color Want White Feminists to Know by Gina M. Florio

  14. 10 Signs You Have White Privilege – According to Someone Who Has It by JR Thorpe

  15. Understanding White Privilege by Francis E. Kendall, Ph.D.

  16. To White Feminists Who Don’t Want to Discuss Racism: Here are 7 Things You Need to Know by Britni de la Cretaz

  17. Why Our Feminism Must Be Intersectional (And 3 Ways to Practice It) by Jarune Uwujaren and Jamie Utt

  18. Saying Feminism Shouldn’t Discuss Race Doesn’t Make Any Sense – Here’s Why by Megan Rose Gedris

  19. What Trans-Exclusionary Feminism Really Looks Like by Barry Deutsch

  20. Why the Feminist Movement Must Be Trans-Inclusive by Laura Kacere

  21. True Solidarity: Moving Past Privilege Guilt by Jamie Utt

  22. The Discomforting Truth About White Feminism: Meryl Streep, Amy Poehler & the Movement’s Long History of Racial Insensitivity by Eesha Pandit

  23. Women of Color and Feminism: A History Lesson and Way Forward by Anthea Butler

  24. Here’s Exactly How Intersectional Feminists Are Challenging the Status Quo by Madhuri Sathish

  25. Get Intersectional! (Or, Why Your Movement Can’t Go It Alone) by Kristin Moe

  26. White Feminists: Please Stop Using the Race Card by Ijeoma Oluo

  27. 5 Reasons Intersectionality Matters, Because Feminism Cannot Be Inclusive Without It by Suzannah Weiss

  28. Dear White Women: This is Not About Us by Rosie Campos

  29. Bridging the Gap Between White Feminists and Women of Color by Beth Bartlett

  30. Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham and The Trouble with White Feminism by Keisha Hatchett

And a bonus:

When White Feminists Respond to Anti-Racism Like Men Respond to Feminism by Alli Kirkham

 

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