White feminism (n): A definition of feminism that is based around the issues that affect White cisgender heterosexual able-bodied Christian or non-religious middle or upper-class women.
1. You’re silent when it comes to issues that do not directly affect you or your loved ones.
Let’s assume you and all of your loved ones are of Christian faith. This would mean that you and all of your loved ones have never experienced any type of religious discrimination due to the fact that Christianity is the religious “standard” in the United States. So, when the sitting president mentions anything about a Muslin ban, you do not actively speak out against it because this issue does not directly affect you or your loved ones. It may not be on purpose, but one way you are “doing feminism wrong” is by ignoring an issue that does not oppress you or any of the people you love. In order to be an intersectional feminist, you must be an ally to victims of any kind of oppression, so no more of that, “I’m only a feminist when it comes to equal pay because our generation’s feminism is far too radical” mess.
2. Your feminism is not intersectional.
The most commonly overlooked intersections are based around issues within the LGBTQ+ community, classism, racism, ableism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and any other marginalized groups. If your feminism does not include literally everyone, it is not intersectional, meaning it is invalid. For example, if you go to a WOMEN’S march ONLY to speak out against bras, tampon tax and anti-abortion laws, you are erasing the struggle of many transwomen who are not included in the reasons that you came to a WOMEN’S march. Make sense?
3. You don’t consider yourself problematic, but fail to correct problematic rhetoric.
Congratulations, you’ve educated yourself on feminism and its many intersections and no longer consider yourself “problematic.” However, your non-Black friends still use the ‘N’ word, your male friends slut-shame women every chance they get and your White friends still ask how you got your hair “like that.” Don’t be so quick to talk about how problematic you used to be, sis. You still are. Obviously, you cannot change everyone’s mind, but you can try and you can definitely drop friends based on their own problematic beliefs. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.
4. Your feminism is centered around the hatred of men.
You can honestly look at the history of the world and see why anyone would hate men. However, there is a word for that and it is not feminism. Intersectional feminism especially is not a place for the hatred of men. It is, however, a place to recognize the economic, political and societal privilege that men have for just being, well, men. This is obviously after realizing that the White Christian or non-religious cisgender heterosexual able-bodied middle or upper-class American man has, is and always will be at the very top of the patriarchy.
5. Your feminism is just plain off.
We all know one of the most famous uneducated feminist lines, so we’ll use it as an example. “Muslim women are forced to wear a hijab!” Stop right there. Educate yourself. You will never be a valid intersectional feminist without doing research first. This also goes for the non-Black “dread-head” feminists. You’re appropriating someone’s culture. Again, research. Other ways to be “off” include but are absolutely not limited to looking up to problematic people from the past because you think that they were on the forefront of the women’s movement. Please, for the love of all things equal, do your research.
6. You don’t know your place.
There are often times where “allies” don’t really know how to…ally. Let’s put this into perspective. As a White ally at a #BlackLivesMatter protest, your job is to support the cause. That’s it. It’s easy. Just don’t erase the voices of Black people. Don’t be louder than the voices of Black people. Do not try to lead a protest that you should only follow. Be mindful that with destruction of property comes a consequence that is much more severe for Black people than it is for you. Black people are your surroundings. They will be blamed.
7. You aren’t active in private and in public.
Anyone can be an intersectional feminist on Twitter, but what are you doing for your community? What organizations have you joined? What organizations have you started? What protests have you walked in? What protests have you lead? How have you educated the public on the issues that matter to you?