About a year ago if you asked me “Are you a feminist”? I would, with no hesitation scream to the top of my lungs “YES”. But if you were to ask me that same question today, I would quickly tell you “no”; but such an answer would be followed by a very detailed explanation.
Disclaimer: My lack of support for the Feminist movement is not rooted in my lack of support for women’s rights; I wholeheartedly have and always will support the global advancement of ALL women’s rights. My lack of support for the Feminist movement is rooted in the fact that the movement has yet to acknowledge and accommodate the efforts to cater to the various experiences of women around the world.
From the beginning of its birth, the Feminist movement has practiced “White Feminism”. White Feminism is a type of feminism that strictly advocates for the “womanhood” of white women while falling short of advocating for the “womanhood” of other women who don’t identify as white. This type of feminism advocates for one kind of woman: the white woman. To me, if the mission is “women” oriented and solely fights for one specific group of women then what exactly is the fight achieving?
It isn’t achieving the rights of all women, but only a select few. Feminism isn’t feminism if it fails to acknowledge the multitude of identities, structures, and institutions that impact women everywhere.
Race, age, class, sexual orientation, gender identification, ability, language religion, education level, nationality, ethnicity, government system, economic system, culture, values, experiences, etc.. these are all unique constructs that influence the everyday lives of women all around the world, thus formulating a variety of experiences.
Each unique construct listed above, and some more, shapes one’s reality, one’s experiences, and one’s own understanding of one’s rights. This is what intersectional feminism works to acknowledge; it works to acknowledge the variety of unique experiences that different kinds of women can experience throughout their lifetime.
The movement tends to generalize women and lacks the simple acknowledgment of a diversity of experiences within “womanhood”. A white, suburban, middle-class, Christian woman’s “womanhood” will clearly differ from the “womanhood” of a latina, suburban, middle-class, Christian woman.
Being white means one thing and being a Latina means another, being a white middle-class woman means one thing and being a Latina middle-class woman means another, etc…just from this observation, I hope you can see and acknowledge that there is a clear difference between the two identities: they are far from experiencing the same kind of “womanhood”.
For the Feminist movement to be successful in its mission to empower, uplift, and bring about change for women, it must learn to acknowledge the unique experiences of various women and be able to acknowledge how such experiences can alter the lives of various women.
I always have and always will support the general effort to secure and advance the rights of women, but I will no longer support the way that white feminism isolates its advocacy to only benefit the white woman.