Feminism could be good if only white feminism ceased to exist.
Explaining the problems of white feminism and how it is affecting the society we live in today
Feminism is great. It is amazing, but there is a problem with it. The feminism we see today is white feminism. The movement of white feminism obviously didn’t start just recently, it goes way back but we still see it today. Today, when with all the diversity that exists in almost every country of the world, white feminists still dictate what they think feminism stands for.
Fighting for equality? What’s the problem?
Sure feminism fights for equality, or better yet, equity as it was once discussed in my Gender Theory class, but when we talk about this feminism we are talking about the real feminism. So, what does white feminism fight for? Equality? Equality for who? For the white women, of course. Now, what happens to all the other women in the world? Not all of them are white. So then, do they not deserve equality?
The problem with white feminism is not that it fights for equality, but that it is not intersectional when fighting for that equality, becoming in a sense hypocritical as it is not inclusive. As stated by bell hooks, in chapter 5: Comrades of Struggle, of her book Feminist Theory: from margin to center, white feminism reinforces the oppressive structure but does not include women of color or men. To add to the group of people white feminism leaves out there is also trans women.
White feminism only focuses on white women getting equality leading to the feminism we know of today as the “men-hating feminism.” The feminism that every man is so judgmental of, and in a sense have every right to, is the feminism movement that is leading today.
What happens to those women that don’t support the putting women at a higher power than men? Well, they are not considered feminist but rather anti-feminist according to white feminism ideology. Like Shailene Woodley said, there needs to be a balance of power between men and women, between every group of people.
The patriarchal society we still live in leads to the yearning for the women to search for the power they feel they lack. But this leads to the problem white feminism has become. The reason why some women decide not to join the (white) feminist movement is because it to the battle between men and women that already exists.
“… women refuse participation in feminist movement because they felt an anti-male stance was not a sound basis for action. They were convinced that virulent expressions of these sentiments intensify sexism by adding to the antagonism which already exists between women and men” — bell hooks
One example of how white feminism is leading the feminist movement is the Women’s March. This march was suppose to be be about women marching to get rights, to be heard, and to be acknowledge. Instead, it became a men-hating rally as many women marched with pink, pussy cat ears in response to Donald Trump’s comment of “Grab them by the pussy.” As inappropriate as this comment was from Trump, the women’s march derailed from its purpose and became a rally where things were said not only against Trump but also men in general.This is the problem with white feminism. And the worst thing is that some women of color participate in it thinking that white feminism includes them.
What about women of color in the eyes of white feminists?
As said before, white feminism is not inclusive. It has many flaws and one of them is that it has western eyes. According to Chandra Mohanty, in her essay “Under the Western Eyes”, white feminism silences third world and global south women by naming their oppression for them. The issue with this is that it becomes a way of colonization of the women of color.
Part of the problem with white feminism viewing through western eyes is that it lacks to acknowledge the fact that there is different levels of class and culture in women of color. This makes women of color to be placed living under one huge problem, the problem or oppression white feminists believe they, women of color, live under. For instance, under the western view, we might think that women wearing the hijab are being oppress, yet we don’t realize that it is part of their culture.
The real feminism
We need to realize that feminism is not bad. the only problem is that the feminism we are using now is a feminism that is not intersectional. if we were to make it intersectional and include every group of person in it then we will have the real feminism. A feminism that would benefit not only all women but also men and other groups that are often left out when fighting for equality.