Fighting the Good Fight
Tips for white, intersectional, cis, and trans feminists on how to defend themselves from the Other Women…
I’m not talking to just any okey-dokey white woman. I’m talking to the true-blue intersectional cis and trans white feminists who have been putting in work. White women who live in rural towns, yet, are friends with women of color all over the country. Who speak on behalf of gender and racial equality for all of us, and, take over when they see women of color getting verbally attacked. The white women who have been reading, learning, and atoning for their past behavior. I’m talking to the white women who didn’t wake up woke, but, have vowed to never go back to the old them. We see you. Your work matters. Your growth is important. These tough conversations you’ve been having are making a difference. Sadly, the Other Women are trying to thrwart your efforts.
Because of the current racial, political, and sexist climate we’re living in, Other Women are popping up left and right, undermining the progress of hardworking intersectional feminists. Whether it’s about making sure every woman-centered space is trans friendly and welcoming, or, supporting their sister’s during the wave of sexual assault revelations, Other Women aren’t here for it. They don’t want to talk about race, they don’t understand LGBTQ issues, and they don’t Believe the Women.
The following are types of Other Women, or, things that Other Women are prone to saying, and solutions on how to engage with them — or, if you should engage at all. Results will certainly vary.
4. The Resistant Feminists
Resistant feminists can be really tricky.
On one hand, resistant feminists are quick to go over their ‘racist-proof’ resume, and mention how often they interact with people of color. There’s nothing they’ll admit to not knowing, and they’re likely to rehearse their responses to you while you’re speaking to them. Don’t get your hopes up in trying to win them over with facts and empathy.
On another hand, there are some resistant feminists would love to get more involved in the intersectional feminists community, they’re simply not in-the-know. Pair that with major cultural divides, and you’ll come across more differences than similarities.
Hint: Pay attention to their levels of passion and empathy. If they are willing to listen to you, and, show signs of empathy, you have a good chance of having a decent discussion.
Recommend books and articles, Facebook groups and pages related to the topic. Are they going to read it? Probably not. But, you know what? Long after you’ve forgotten that person or the article you suggested, you’ll get a notification from someone who liked your recommendation. You never know who’s reading.
Should their resistance be more prominent than their curiosity, disenage. I’ve learned not to invest emotional labor into a resistant feminist. If they’re unwilling to entertain any point of view other than their own, there’s no need in wasting time.
3. “You’re Attacking Me!”
This is a major go-to for Other Women. It’s a lazy move, but, often effective for them. ‘Attack’ is a trigger word, leaving people to assume you’re the aggressor, even if the Other Woman is provoking (and, she usually is). You have several options when you’re accused of attacking:
a. Without condescension or anger, ask the Other Woman how you attacked her. Apologize and continue with the conversation (this isn’t my favorite move, but, if I sincerely believe that the Other Woman is processing any part of my point of view, I’ll humble myself).
b. Tell them that you made a statement, not an attack. After that, avoid them like a plague. When Other Women pull the ‘attack’ card they know exactly what they’re doing. They don’t want to have a conversation, they want to prove you wrong and get you angry. Don’t give them the satisfaction.
c. Tell them that they’re letting their emotions get the best of them and suggest that they re-read your statement. Find out what triggered them (if you give a damn. I recently had an Other Woman tell me she felt attacked because I kept referring to white women. Once she said that, I turned her into Invisible Woman and became color blind to her bullshit).
2. “Not all white women!” or “Not this white woman!” or, my absolute least favorite that curls my stomach every time a Blanche or an Abby says it, “You’re painting white women with a very broad brush.”
When Other Women tell you, “Not this white women!” she’s centering herself. It is very important to call that out. Centering is a major defense mechanism for Other Women. You could be talking about nuclear bombs, and, somehow, Other Women know how to make it about them.
Solution A (if the Other Woman is worth the emotional labor):
Stick to the subject. Go into detail about the original topic and the people affected. The Other Woman will likely try to re-center herself in the conversation several times. Continue to focus on the issue at hand, and, ask her questions: “Do you think that it’s true?” “Do you think that this problem is wrong?” “Can you understand why people feel this way?” Throughout the conversation, carefully inform her that because she’s personalizing the topic it’s difficult for her to understand an opinion other than her own. Ask her to re-read the original topic, as well as the comments in the thread, and then tell you how she feels about it.
Solution B (if the Other Woman is not worth the emotional labor):
Cut to the chase and let her know about herself. White women who center the conversation around themselves are a cancer. They are a product of the patriarchal ‘I’ mentality that was given to them by men. So, there response isn’t a defense for feminists. It’s a defense for them. This revolution is serious, and, it’s getting ugly. As a white intersectional feminist, you should be spending your time reading, building strong authentic relationships with cis and trans women of color, and becoming the best modern feminist you can possibly be. You don’t have time to listen to Blanche defend her whiteness. Disengage.
1.“I feel so bad for men who have to watch their backs because of all these false allegations!”
There’s only one reason why a woman would say or think anything that sympathizes with men during a time when every women who breathes through her nostrils has a sexually offensive testimony. It’s because she’s programmed to believe and reiterate the male narrative. This has become. A. Major. Fucking. Problem.
Other Women will stand by sexual offenders with great conviction. As a matter of fact, Other Women will put all the women under the bus, in order to defend, rationalize, and support men. I have seen victims of rape and molestation pour their hearts out to in an attempt to wake up Other Women who stand by sexual offenders. Other Women don’t budge.
Keep it short and stand your ground. There are women reading in the dark, personalizing every syllable, too afraid to like or comment because it hurts her too much. You are no longer just defending your own rights, but, the rights of all the women in the dark. Whether you talking to family at the dinner table, or a former classmate on Facebook, make it known that you NEVER blame, shame, or attack the women. You Believe the Women. Make sure Other Women know that.
Tamela J. Gordon is a writer, intersectional feminist, and creator of the women’s empowerment group, Sisters with Aspiration, as well as SWA’s Intersectional Book Club. You can gift books for readers or send Tamela a monetary gift here: To contact Tamela for speaking engagements or creating your own women’s empowerment group, email firstname.lastname@example.org