Leslie Jones, star of this year’s remake of Ghostbusters and featured player on Saturday Night Live, recently quit Twitter after being trolled and bullied by basement dwelling dude bros. In a disturbing series of tweets, Jones gave us a look into the racist and sexist comments filling her mentions since the release of Ghostbusters. Understandably distraught, Jones tweeted “I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart. All this cause I did a movie. You can hate the movie but the shit I got today…wrong’’ Supporters created the hashtags #LoveforLeslieJ and #LeslieJones. As usual, Black Twitter was the most vocal, jumping in Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey’s mentions. He later tweeted Jones. The next day, Milo Yiannopoulous, the man who started the attacks against Jones was banned from Twitter.
Over week ago, social media exploded with the news that Kim Kardashian released a Snapchat story, supposedly exposing Taylor Swift as a fraud. This ongoing feud between West and Swift has shone a spotlight on West’s penchant for misogyny. But it’s also shone a spotlight on the protection that Swift receives because she is always defended and protected against West’s attacks. Jones wasn’t afforded the same protection from those who attacked her. If we’re being honest, West has perpetuated misogynoir for as long as I can remember, and no one has said anything because of course, it only impacts Black women. Ironically, that’s the one thing he and Swift have in common with white feminism. Neither gives a fuck about black women.
This is often the case with many of Hollywood’s white feminists and their brand of feminism; too often It prioritizes whiteness and privilege over black women time and time again. They understand they experience misogyny, but never consider those of us who experience both misogynoir and racism. Our struggle is optional for them. I have yet to read a supportive think piece, tweet, post, or see an interview where they have chosen to ‘’opt in’’ and show up for Jones’ very public trauma. Your favs are problematic and their white feminism isn’t here for Jones.
Where is Taylor Swift? Lena Dunham? Amy Poehler? Kristen Wiig? Melissa McCarthy? Kate McKinnon? Tina Fey? Or Hillary Clinton? How about Emma Watson? Where are any and all visible white feminists with a platform, who could rally around and support Jones?
Mainstream feminists have never risked their platforms or sponsorships to defend and protect black women. Not one. So why are they lauded for their activism? Who are they helping and uplifting other than other white women? Poehler and Fey often discuss the barriers they’ve had to overcome to achieve their success. Watson gave a speech to the UN about feminism, that was widely praised. She founded #HeforShe, a rally cry for white feminists. Clinton is presumably the first woman nominee of a major political party, who spends a great deal of time pandering to black women. So, if these women are champions of modern feminism, why have they sat silent while racists bully Jones?
Simple. They don’t care. White feminism and its champions are not here for black women. White feminism is only interested in dismantling the heteronormative patriarchy that oppresses white women. It is not interested in intersectional womanism, which would require them to concern themselves with matters that don’t impact the lives of cisgender white women. Our struggle is optional for them. I’ve yet to read a supportive think piece, tweet, post, or see an interview where they have chosen to ‘’opt in’’ and show up for Jones’ very public trauma. Your favs are problematic. Those who perpetuate white feminism are too afraid to risk their platforms and their success to speak out against misogynoir and racism. And at this point, any public offer of support would be the white liberal equivalent of the GOP’s thoughts and prayers during times of crisis.
Jones is a black woman. Jones is a forty-eight-year-old tall, dark black woman. She’s dealt with a significant amount of overlapping discriminations and I don’t believe anyone, including myself could imagine the obstacles she’s had to overcome to get to where she is today. Jones’ very existence is something mainstream feminism can’t address, understand, much less support.
If you didn’t understand white feminism before, this incident should make it crystal clear. White feminism only helps white women. But for black women like me, who have to witness other black women experience very public trauma while also dealing with our own trauma, It’s a reminder… all we have is each other.