Dear White People: The Feminists We Need To Be
Politics and Activism

Dear White People: The Feminists We Need To Be

Why we need to be intersectional feminists.

148
Dear White People: The Feminists We Need To Be
Everyday Feminism

As silly as it sounds, for a brief moment I thought I had all this feminist-thing figured out. I had decided on a major in Women’s Studies, and tacked with my second major, English, I would spend my life writing about social issues. My books would be on Gloria Steinem’s bookshelf.

That was, until, I got the rude awakening I needed. On February 3rd, a few friends and I went to an event put on by the Women’s Center at the University of Minnesota, “Claiming Intersectional Feminism in a New Political Reality.” (In short, Intersectional Feminism is the idea that issues of race, class, religion, ethnicity, sexuality and more intersect to form one united smorgasbord of love and empowerment.)

In the span of an hour, my smile went from enthusiastic to barely there. I expected to walk away with the afterglow of a massive, feminist group hug. Instead, I walked away disheartened and discouraged. For most of the discussion, I found myself nodding along to the panelists, agreeing but making mental notes to google things.

It was when they addressed what advice they would give to white women who felt oppressed for the first time after the presidential election that my heart sinked. I scoffed at that and thought of course this isn’t the first time that I have felt pushed down. It took me a week of thinking to understand what they meant. I’ve experienced the wrath of the patriarchy, but never in such an established, systematic platform as the presidency. But others have (Jim Crow Laws ring a bell?)

The panelists, 6 amazing, kick-ass activists in the Twin Cities gave white people what we need to hear. Essentially, their message was one of humility, solidarity, and openness. Although at the time it just felt like a slap on the face and a “Shut up”, looking back it wasn’t harsh at all. The reason I felt hurt was because of my own internalized racism. Some sort of instinct flared inside of me when they suggested that white feminists need to step back and listen to marginalized communities. The notion that intersectional feminism maybe isn’t about white people, made me instinctually hiss. None of my experiences up to that point had suggested that. And I am embarrassed of that sickly state.

But us white people need to seek out discomfort- read a book, watch a documentary, go to an event on campus, or have a meaningful discussion with that person who shares fox news articles on Facebook like candy - and lean into that feeling of discomfort. (Side note: marginalized communities are not responsible to teach you- you are.) I know it feels gross and yucky, but it is better to embrace it than to plug your ears and scoff. That feeling will fade, and the afterglow of stretching your mind and preconceived notions will replace it. And that is how we will learn how to be better allies to marginalized communities. Equality is not a threat to our existence. To quote Paul Wellstone, "We all do better when we all do better."

After this event, I came to the conclusion that just as I will never be perfect, I will never be a perfect feminist. I don’t find that discouraging- I find it liberating. Now I can just focus on learning and honing my voice in my writings. I have written about feminism before, but that was before intersectionality entered my life. But that’s okay- I learned. Just as we have to.

That’s not to say that our perspectives and experiences are not valid. Rather, we have to accept that marginalized voices need to be heard, right now, more than ever. And our job is to step back, and hand them the microphone- or part of the Grammy.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Caribbean is a place where people go for vacation, but if you set out from a cruise ship you miss out on all the beautiful culture. Their exotic beaches are nothing without their zinging food and hospitality. Locals in the Caribbean are warmhearted with a zest to live life to the fullest.

This is exactly where most of their words and phrases come from, having a good time. I definitely enjoyed myself living in the Caribbean, but it's not always about lounging. They get work done too and I've learned proper phrases for accomplishments.

Keep Reading... Show less

According to Urban Dictionary, a "simp" is defined as "a man that puts himself in a subservient/submissive position under women in the hopes of winning them over, without the female bringing anything to the table." There are many other definitions for a "simp," but basically it's shaming men who are kind to women without getting anything in return.

Let's just stop attacking nice men. Work out your own issues, don't project your shortcomings onto another man. What happened to the brotherhood? Y'all can lie for each other, but can't raise each other up? You guys can encourage murder, gang rape, and violence against women — or at least stay silent about it — but can't let your brother know it ain't cool when they bring you down for being nice to women with no expectation?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Self-Love Is The Best Love, That's Just How It Is

Do you ever feel like you can't please everyone? Self-love will do the trick.

I've been feeling a little down lately, with the understanding that friends don't last forever and that I can't always please my parents. Life has been rough for everyone lately and it's not easy to stay happy and optimistic during these times. But I promise you, you are on this earth for a reason. You are here because God formed you, to love, and to be loved.

When things are tough, realize that you have yourself always. No one can take that away from you. You will always be you. No matter who you are, what you believe, or where you've been in life, at the end of the day, you are you. You can love you, therefore giving you one reason to stay here on this Earth.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Nobody Wants To Grieve, But That's The Price We Pay For Love

Grief never comes when you think it should. It comes when a certain song comes on or the sun shines through the window just right.

Death always seems to come when life is good and everything starts to be going alright. And then out of nowhere, you're reminded of how cruel life can be. The stages of grief don't always go in order, they come in waves or all at once. Grief never comes when you think it should. It comes when a certain song comes on or the sun shines through the window just right. I take comfort in the fact that everyone experiences grief, even when you feel all alone knowing that everyone goes through a process that helps a little bit.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

What's Coming To And Leaving Netflix In August For Your Summer Viewing Pleasure

Just in time for another your end of summer binge-watch list.

Flower Films, Warner Bros, New Line Cinema

August is here, which means we will be losing some of our Netflix favorites but gaining some new ones. Here is a list of TV shows and movies we will be losing and gaining on Netflix during August.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Living With Bipolar Disorder Is An Everyday Battle, But I'm Fighting It

I went from depression, to anxiety, to bipolar disorder.

I've thought about how to write this since my diagnosis. I've thought about what kind of feelings it might bring up from my mom, former friends, and even myself. I've rewritten it a thousand times in my head, but never could quite get the words onto my notepad, but tonight I'm going to sit down and write it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

There's No Reason To Delay The 2020 Election Because Mail-In Votes Count Just The Same

Plus, Trump can't actually the delay the election even if he tried.

Donald Trump started Thursday out in a fury, taking to Twitter to suggest the 2020 election be delayed.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

I'm A Black, Gay Fashion Lover Who Grew Up In The South, And I Want To Be A Beacon For The Future

Giving your life story is never easy, but it can be, if you want to make a difference.

Jacorey Moon

Growing up in Georgia was not always the accepting place we know it to be today thanks to Atlanta. Let me preface this by saying, I had a pretty good life growing up. I was raised by a single mother who sacrificed so that I could live the life that I lived. I was spoiled rotten. One way that my mother spoiled me was through clothing.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These 10 Black Women Were Our 2000s Fashion Icons — We're Still Replicating Their Looks Now

We recollect on some of the Black stars who served as fashion icons during the 2000s.

When we talk about the 2000s, it's always filled with nostalgia. For most of us, we grew up during that era with the razr flip phones or sidekicks, and decade staple designers like Juicy Couture, Von Dutch, and Ed Hardy. It was time of daring fashion choices and red carpets that we now look back on and say, "what were they wearing?"

A sector of people that exemplifies the fashion icons who ruled the 2000s, were Black women. So, I feel as though it's my duty to shine light on these fashion icons. Here they are:

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

As a college student (really as a broke person with no cable,) Netflix is my go-to for solitude- style entertainment. My favorite types of shows to watch on Netflix by far, are dating shows.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments