Don't Only Advocate For The Causes You See Yourself In
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Politics and Activism

Don't Only Advocate For The Causes You See Yourself In

On white feminism, Facebook, and the problem with the way we protest in Trump's America.

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Don't Only Advocate For The Causes You See Yourself In
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Lately, every time I seem to go on Facebook, it's to a bombardment of political articles, primarily advocating against Donald Trump, sharing the endless list of dangerous and careless actions he is executing, everyone collectively worrying over the fate of our country- I myself included. There is no problem wth this- the shared panic creates a sort of community, and I very much appreciate feeling that I am not alone in my beliefs. But in the wild mix of articles I've seen shared and posted, there are a few things that stand out.

In the days following the women's march, all I saw were constant posts about how amazing it was- once again, myself included. The sense of acceptance and equality that I felt walking through the streets of New York was something I had seldom felt before; I felt safe and protected in a way that I have not often before.

But take this with a grain of salt. It is easy for me to say this as a young white woman, looking around at all the signs fighting for gender equality and abortion rights. I was not one of the trans women marching amidst signs which center feminism around having a vagina. I was not one of the immigrant or African American women watching white women hold up signs fighting against the wage gap or idolizing feminist "icons" who historically only advocated for equal rights between white men and white women, knowing that the African American woman makes even less than the white woman, and the Hispanic woman even less than her.

We can't forget the historical discrimination associated with feminism. An inherently white movement, feminism began largely as a way for white women to fight for their rights while unknowingly supporting industries and practices which consequently harmed women of color. So many of the feminists idolized today fought only for the rights which would benefit them rather than the entirety of women. And while feminism is changing to better adapt to the modern age, we cannot forget about its roots.

I'm a proud feminist, but I can't imagine how it feels to be a woman of color marching and knowing that 52% of white women voted for Trump- that because his election wouldn't infringe upon their rights, they would be willing to sacrifice the protection and safety of your rights. I did not vote for Trump, but on behalf of white women, I'm sorry. I can't imagine feeling that my rights are more important than yours, and I can't imagine voting for someone who would readily take that away. I cannot blame you if you're angry; you have every right to be angry.

In the week since the march, I've seen a lot of things shared on social media. I've seen people who proclaim themselves to be feminists posting only about abortion and reproduction rights, and nothing about DAPL or the loss of funding to the EPA or to how Trump threatens immigrant and LGTB women. This, the sharing only of articles which affect you, the advocation only of policies which affect you, is the definition of white feminism. It's fighting only for your rights, rather than the rights of every woman. And it's not feminism; or at least, it shouldn't be, not in this day and age.

If we're going to advocate, we have to advocate for everyone. We have to attend protests and marches beyond the women's march, protests which fight for rights other than equality between white women and white men. Call your senators. March in every way you can. Protest through your words and your voices, but raise that voice for those that you may not readily see yourself in. Disassociate femininity with having a vagina, and stop using the saying "no uterus, no opinion" as a way to promote feminism. Feminism in the 21st century has to be more broad-reaching than it was historically. It has to fight for women of all backgrounds and races, and it has to show figures such as Donald Trump that we will not bow to his xenophobic, racist, and misogynistic visions. And the only way to do this is to expand upon it- to fight for things we might not fully understand yet. Even if we don't, we have to try to understand them. We have to stop fighting only for a vision that we can easily picture ourselves in. The world is much larger and more diverse than we believe it to be- and we have to start recognizing that.

So share your Facebook articles. Write your Instragram posts. Fight, fight, fight. Keep fighting. But fight for all- because if we don't advocate for everyone, then it's not really activism at all.

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