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You’re Not a Feminist If You Only Fight For Cisgender White Women

I’m sorry, but it’s true. Time and time again, you hear someone claim to be a feminist and turn around and say something racist or transphobic. We need to learn, and we need to do better. Feminism at its core is about fighting and advocating for equality and rights for all, but especially women. Unfortunately, many feminist movements (the fight for birth control and abortions) were originally rooted in eugenics. 

If you're unfamiliar with this concept, eugenics is a belief that some people with certain identities, such as BIPOC, disabled folks, and impoverished folks shouldn’t have children. To me, it was incredibly disappointing to learn that the start of something I would fight to the death for was so full of bigotry. Even still, we see an alarming amount of forced sterilizations of women of color; any amount is alarming, really. Furthermore, we don’t usually even learn about forced sterilizations in school unless you take a class that talks about it in college. So, crash course in forced sterilization- the United States has a long history of controlling women and their bodies, but we really see a shocking amount of forced sterilizations in the 1960s and 1970s. Usually the doctors who committed these heinous acts were followers of eugenics themselves, and believed that their patients shouldn’t bring any more children into the world because they’d be a burden on society. Now, this bigoted abuse can be seen in the recent cases discovered to have occurred at the hands of ICE. 

Even more, we need to be fighting for transgender folks too. At least six transgender people have been murdered for merely being themselves this year already. How long will it take everyone to realize that everyone deserves respect and to be themselves at the very minimum? When will finally be the time that transgender folks can not be afraid to come out?  When will Black folks no longer need to be afraid of the police? When will America finally become the land of the free and actually give sanctuary to those who need it? It’s 2021, but the fight for equality for all is nowhere near over. Now more than ever, we need to be banding together to protect one another. Women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ* folks are all constantly abused and oppressed under the patriarchy, and excluding any of these identities from your feminism makes you no better than the oppressor. 

Kennedy is a senior at Stony Brook University studying Human Evolutionary Biology and Anthropology. She is a longtime feminist, which you'll often see reflected in her work. After graduation, Kennedy hopes to turn her passion into a career by pursuing a PhD in Women's and Gender Studies. When she's not in class or writing, you can find her reading her newest favorite book (Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman), spending time with cats in need of homes, or relaxing with her boyfriend.
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