White Feminism Is Toxic To The Actual Feminist Movement

White Feminism Is Toxic To The Actual Feminist Movement

There seems to be a very mixed opinion about feminism, this might be why.
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Have you heard the term "white feminism" being used lately? Maybe you have heard it being used when people describe celebrities like Taylor Swift, Amy Schumer or Lena Dunham. White feminism is dividing the whole feminist movement and actually making the movement have a bad image. Here is why:

What is White Feminism?

White feminism is used to describe the feminist movement that only focuses on white, cis-gendered, straight women. Their fight usually focuses on rape culture, equal pay and diminishing patriarchy. Although these are great objectives for the movement, it is still problematic that they ignore the issues that plague women of color, women with disabilities and LGBTQ+ women. Although the feminist movement is trying to close the wage gap between men and women, it does not recognize that Latina and Black women make even less than white women do. Ideally women in the movement would also bring these facts up, but they fail to do so. This happens especially when it comes to some women who are given a platform. So, the media gives the spotlight to white feminists like Taylor Swift and Jennifer Lawrence, and takes it away from feminists who don't fill the category of being a white, cis-gendered, straight woman. This type of movement takes a "one size fits all" approach, meaning that that typically mostly-middle class white females can fit the mold. This only allows the movement to be seen through one perspective.

The goal for feminism is for it be intersectional. Meaning that it should be inclusive to other female minorities. The ideal look for the movement would be them bringing up issues not just based on sex, but also including race and sexuality. An example of using intersectional feminism would be acknowledging that an African American Woman not only faces sexism in her day-to-day life, but also faces racism. In an ideal world, intersectional feminism would not need to be a separate movement from feminism. This might be a reason that people feel so confused about the movement. There are people who feel good about it and people who think they have the wrong idea of what it is. Either way, feminism, in my opinion needs to start being inclusive to everyone in order to progress .

What Part does the Media Play in this?

It is actually not a very complex role the media plays into white feminism. Almost all media plays into white feminism, instead it just calls it feminism. We see examples of this through shows like HBO's hit Girls or Comedy Central's Broad City. Both Shows about females in their mid 20's who are unapologetic about their sexual lives and their bodies. There is little to no inclusivity though when it comes to race. The situation only gets worse when they add an obvious token minority (when a minority is added to a series with no backstory, they are one of the only minorities added to a series.) The great thing about media is that it still has a chance to progress with issues. For example, in an episode of Broad City from the past season, one of the main characters, Ilana, was called out on cultural appropriation. This is not much, but it still gives me hope that shows that are known to be feminist can begin or continue to be more inclusive.

Cover Image Credit: Mic Identities

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.

bethkrat
bethkrat
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I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.

bethkrat
bethkrat

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