What is White Feminism?

If you have ever been involved with, or at least have seen, a discussion about feminism in social media, the term “white feminism” is one that will likely come up. So, what is white feminism? White feminism is a term that is used to describe the beliefs of white, heterosexual, and cisgender feminists. In other words, feminists who only focus on the struggles white women face and who ignore, does not care, and/or minimizes people who do not have their privilege.

You will recognize white feminists anywhere because they mostly just talk about the patriarchy, misogyny, sexism, equal pay, among other things. They do things like only emphasizing white women who have come forward during the #MeToo movement, while erasing the stories of other people, especially those of women of color, who do not have their privilege. When called out for their white feminism, they will tell you that you are not "empowering" women because you are telling them that the behavior, actions, and/or language are contributing to the oppression of other women. They cannot accept that they are being oppressors too, as they spent their time being too focused on their white, heterosexual, cisgender, and able-bodied feminism to care about the struggles of others. A white feminist can often be someone who voted for Trump, a man who has been accused of sexually assaulting women and who has literally been recorded on tape bragging about assaulting women. They sometimes choose to label themselves as “allies” or say they are “woke” and “progressive”, but then do absolutely nothing to try to inform themselves about what other women are going through. Also, they often don’t hold oppressors accountable (See the many stories of white women like Lena Dunham defending a man after he was accused of sexual assault, see how most white women in the U.S presidential election of 2016 voted for Trump, etc.).

While many of the topics white feminists enjoy talking about are very real, and often valid, problems, they do not consider that women of color, LGBTQ+ women, women with disabilities, etc. face those problems too and it can be even worse. White women still do not get paid as much as men and that’s a very big problem, but minority women make even less than white women.

Privilege can make people oblivious to the struggles others face. It can help erase the experiences of those who are not white, heterosexual, cisgender, etc. However, it doesn’t need to be this way. This is where intersectionality comes in.

 

 

Intersectional feminism recognizes the different experiences that different women have. It considers that things like race, sexual orientation, gender, disabilities, class, ect. are not separated from being a woman, instead they include intersections that reinforce each other.

Feminism cannot be feminism if it is only looked at through the lens of a white, heterosexual, cisgender woman’s experience. Do not make the same mistakes suffragettes made, when during their fight they excluded anyone other than a white woman. While a white woman will not be able to understand what a black woman, a trans woman, a latin woman, an asian woman, a woman with disabilities, a woman who is not heterosexual, etc. experience in their everyday life; they can learn about the issues that affect all kinds of women. They can use their privilege to truly become allies; by listening to other women, by recognizing the mild contributions that have been done in the past and changing that, by accepting the wrongs that have been done, and by using the privilege they possess to hold oppressors accountable.

White feminism is, in very simple words, the worst. Feminism can only be effective when it recognizes the struggles and problems of every woman and not just a single group. It’s effective and it only works when every woman is represented; as this is what feminism truly means.