Watch This Slam Poet Unload On White Feminism
An activist for body positivity and, it would seem, intersectional feminism, Rachel Wiley called out white feminists in a slam poem you can’t miss. Wiley wastes no time in pretty much forcing viewers to ask the big questions, like, is feminism that doesn’t address racial and other social justice issues beyond gendered ones even feminism at all? Not to Wiley, who starts the poem with the line: “Intersectional feminism, a.k.a. actual fucking feminism.”
Wiley accuses white feminism of appropriating from women of color, but simultaneously excluding them by not considering the racial injustice and additional obstacles to equality faced by women of color but not white women. In one fiery line, she calls white feminism as feminist as “Dr. Pepper is a medical doctor,” “as Rachel Dolezal is black,” and “as an orgasm with Donald Trump would be real.” So, not very feminist at all.
White feminism “calls itself intersectional, still shows up to your Halloween party in black face though,” Wiley continues. Naturally, this reference to white feminism and black face reminds of controversy stirred by Kylie Jenner for experimenting with cornrows to direct attention to her new line of wigs, and allegedly sporting black face in an Instagram post.
Further, Wiley proceeds to brilliantly unload on the double standards famous black and white feminists are held to, from how many think “twerking is a revolution on Miley,” which might just be related to those mic-drop lines on appropriation, but wonder “why Nicki just won’t respect herself, though,” to how “Beyoncé is overrated, but Taylor Swift, that’s a feminist icon.”
White feminism may be a new phrase, but it’s hardly a new concept. For reference, consider how white suffragettes forced black women who also wanted voting rights to stand in the back at rallies and protests, or were motivated to demand voting rights by their resentment of black men being free after the Civil War.
And beyond issues of race, white feminism could also be defined as blinding privilege that prevents white people from empathizing with the struggles for equality of people of really any marginalized group. Exhibit A: Actress Lena Dunham and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s refusal to support the legalization of sex workers and the disproportionately poor women endangered by this. Exhibit B: “Feminist” Germaine Greer’s grossly transphobic comments about Caitlyn Jenner.
Naturally, this isn’t to say all white women who identify as feminists are atuomatically “white feminists” because of the color of their skin. At least one great example of a white woman capable of recognizing her own privilege and aspiring to help “as many people as possible feel seen, heard, and included,” exists in Emma Watson. See her excellent response to a question on white feminism back in October, above.