I am at odds with feminism and my conflict is a “race issue.”
For White women, defining oneself as feminist is pretty simple. The need to advance a female political agenda — while dismissing male oppression — makes sense in a world where White men maintain the highest position and power. I understand that.
However, as a Black woman, I do not share that same freedom or privilege to so easily align myself with gendered politics. I elaborated on that notion sometime ago in a piece that I wrote about intersectionality. In summary, my existence is plagued by both White patriarchy and racism. Neither of those plights outweigh the other, though both do have their own implications that are divisive and confusing. Therefore, I, as well as other women of color, am constantly at odds with the struggle against racism and patriarchy. It’s a predicament where I must constantly defend my position as a woman who cares about women’s issues to Black men– and the Black community– who claim that the main political focus of any Black individual should be tackling racism and White supremacy. And, similarly, I must constantly defend myself to White women who expect that women will readily adopt a White feminist agenda that does not account for the particular position that women of color occupy.
This is my statement to both of these demographics: I care not for your acceptance or approval. I stand upon the platform built for me by my foremothers, the Black women who understood the various struggles that plague women of color and the truth that advancement for us cannot be realized without the release of our community — and men — from the shackles of racism. I stand beside Alice Walker, bell hooks, Clenora Hudson-Weems and the myriad of women who understand my struggle and advocate for progress for the Black community. Keep reading »
Recently, Tara Kennedy-Kline, a mother of two boys, took to the internet to proudly declare that she cannot (and will not) support feminism. If the title of the piece didn’t send up a bevy of red flags, the fact that it appeared on Thought Catalog should have clued me in to the fact that it was most likely suspect. And suspect it was. In fact, the piece was so completely obtuse, it almost feels as if it’s pure linkbait from one of Thought Catalog’s resident trolls. Yet, even if it’s 100 percent trolling, the sad fact remains that there are actually still people out there who think like this “mom.” Keep reading »
The feminist movement began as a struggle for basic rights: women’s suffrage, reproductive rights, access to work and education, and equal rights within those institutions. Through the hard work and dedication of our foremothers, many of those feats have been won. As a result, our culture has become dominated by a narrative that is not representative of the country’s reality: A progressive picture of fairness and equal opportunity regardless of sex or race. One where the fight for Civil Rights eradicated racism and feminism ushered in an era of “equality” between the sexes.
Yet, in reality, not much has really changed where gender relations are involved. Though a small percentage of men and women have entered fields that they were once barred from participating in because of their sex, most work fields are extremely gendered, many of the most dangerous occupations are still dominated by men and society still has very restrictive gender ideals. Keep reading »
Finally, a social experiment I can get behind: Australian morning news anchor Karl Stefanovic decided he was going to test viewers’ differing attitudes toward him and his female coworker, Lisa Wilkinson, after she did a segment on the negative feedback and unsolicited advice she gets about her wardrobe. He wore the same suit for a month and no one noticed, so he told Wilkinson and their producer about his idea, and decided to extend the experiment for a whole year.
The grand total of comments he’s received on his wardrobe is a whopping zero. He says he does get other feedback, though: “I’m judged on my interviews, my appalling sense of humor — on how I do my job, basically. Whereas women are quite often judged on what they’re wearing or how their hair is.” Keep reading »
TIME managing editor Nancy Gibbs tacked an apology onto the magazine’s “Which Word Should Be Banned in 2015?” article this weekend, expressing regret for including the word “feminist” in the poll. She writes:
TIME apologizes for the execution of this poll; the word ‘feminist’ should not have been included in a list of words to ban. While we meant to invite debate about some ways the word was used this year, that nuance was lost, and we regret that its inclusion has become a distraction from the important debate over equality and justice.
I so would like to be pleased with this apology. I so don’t want to say, “This is not an adequate apology.” I hate to be that person, and I get tired of taking issue with the details of the language we use, especially if that language is contained in what looks to be a genuine attempt at apologizing. Keep reading »