Shit White Feminists Need To Stop Doing

8 Mar

I’m a white feminist, and let me tell you something: white feminism* is pretty bullshit. It’s exclusive, oppressive, and serves to further marginalize the people who are most impacted by misogyny. Unfortunately, white feminism is also the western status quo of feminism, meaning that white feminists have the biggest platforms, have increased access to resources and media, and are generally considered to be The Voice of Feminism. In theory, someone truly interested in equality would use these assets to amplify the voices of women of colour. In practice, white supremacy is a real thing and white feminists often seem to forget that their white privilege makes it easy as hell to trample over women of colour as they work to dismantle the patriarchy.

So, in honour of International Women’s Day, here is a non-exhaustive list of Shit White Feminists Need to Stop Doing:

1. Believing Their Experiences of Marginalization Are Universal

White feminists like to pretend that they get it. They get it because they’ve been there. They’ve experienced sexism. They’ve experienced misogyny. They’ve been passed over for promotions, whistled at on the street, and had to listen to boring dudes at parties who require approximately ten years of your time in order to explain how fascinating they actually are. These white women have been down in the feminist trenches for years, and like your world-weary Grandpa, they’ve seen it all. They understand the oppression of all women, ok?

Except not. Intersecting forces of oppression mean that women who are queer, racialized, disabled or trans will experience misogyny in very different (and frequently more deadly) ways than white women do. Saying that just because you’re a woman you totally understand all different ways that women are marginalized is not only wildly inaccurate, it’s also just plain ignorant.  Just because you don’t have male privilege doesn’t mean you aren’t the proud owner of a whole host of other types of privilege. And whether you like it or not, those various forms of privilege influence how people treat you.

White women don’t own womanhood, and they don’t get to explain it to women of colour. End of story.

2. Crying About How We’re All On The Same Team

Also known as: “Why are you being so mean to me?”

White feminists tend to have this fantasy that we’re going to tackle this giant, slavering beast called The Patriarchy, and then once that’s done everything will be magical and all of the world’s problems will be solved. They’ll vaguely explain that destroying The Patriarchy will also end racism, transphobia, homophobia and basically everything other societal ill, but they don’t seem to have any clear idea of how exactly that will happen. It just will! Because science.

These feminists will choose specific causes to back – often those that most benefit straight, white, cis-gender women – and will balk if anyone questions why they’re ignoring other types of marginalization that have a greater impact on, say, Black women or trans women. But we’re all on the same team, they’ll tweet frantically. I thought you were on my side. We’re all women, right? The subtext is: you should help me now with the things that directly hurt me, and then maybe one day I’ll help you.

They never seem to wonder why they get to be the ones who delineate the borders between “sides,” or why they get to constantly call the shots about who’s on what team.

3. Talking About Hijabs (Or Burqas, Or Sex-Selective Abortion, Or Anything, Really)

Literally I just want to see all the white feminists take a back seat when it comes to hijabs. It’s amazing that these women will talk up the idea of pro-choice when it comes to pregnancy, but flip out if a woman chooses to cover her hair.

Look, I get it. You think those women are being oppressed, even when they very kindly and patiently tell you they aren’t. You know better than them, right? Because you’ve thrown off the shackles of … something? You think their culture or religion is forcing them into something they don’t really want, and if they believe differently, well, that’s just their internalized misogyny talking.

White women: you literally aren’t more enlightened than everyone else. Stop talking. Go to bed.

Also, explain to me exactly how telling a woman that she shouldn’t wear a specific article of clothing is “empowerment.” It seems to me that limiting women’s choices is the opposite of feminism.

4. Thinking That All Sex Workers Are All Miserable Wretches Who Hate Their Lives

This one isn’t really white women-specific, but I’m going to include it because I’ve seen a lot of white feminists pull this shit and frankly it’s garbage.

Like, this is literally what you’re saying: “I believe women have agency and can make decisions about their lives except for when it has to do with sex work, at which point I will assume that either someone is exploiting them or else they are self-hating gender traitors only interested in the male gaze.”

So just to clarify, you think that women can make choices except when it’s a choice you disagree with, at which point you’re pretty sure she’s being coerced. You also think that sex workers need to be “rescued,” even if they’re happy with what they do. You would rather see women further marginalized by anti-prostitution laws than find ways to keep sex workers safe.

Again, explain to me how this is a pro-woman stance?

5. Arguing That All Other Forms Of Oppression Are Over So We Need to Focus On Women


Look, I know that her Oscar speech has been critiqued and analyzed to death, so I won’t dwell on this too much, but – come the fuck on. First of all, saying that we need “all the gay people and people of colour that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now” kind of insinuates that none of those gay people or people of colour are women, no? Second of all, literally read a book or something because racism and homophobia and transphobia are far from over. Third of all, you are a white woman who has benefitted from enormous privilege her entire life. You don’t get to tell other marginalized groups what to do.

I know that her remarks were well-intentioned. I get that. But that’s a huge part of the problem – white feminists toss this kind of shit off the cuff, then get huffy when they’re called out, and then we’re right back to number two on this list. Just own your privilege for a hot second and stop bleating about how mean everyone else is being when they point out how you’ve rightfully fucked up.

White feminists: this is a call for you to get your shit together. The point of equality isn’t to claw your way to the top so that you can treat other people just as badly as white dudes have treated you – we need to elevate each other, amplify each other’s voices, and maybe let someone else tell us if we’re allowed to be on their team. Because, as per Flavia Dzodan, if your feminism is not intersectional, then I’m sorry but it’s complete bullshit.


* by “white feminism” I mean a certain demographic of white women who are straight, cis and able-bodied and view their brand of “feminism” as being better and more “real” than that of anyone else’s.

263 Responses to “Shit White Feminists Need To Stop Doing”

  1. Bill March 8, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

    “…view their brand of “feminism” as being better and more “real” than that of anyone else’s.”

    Wow. Calling the kettle black much?

  2. Pat Fernandes March 9, 2015 at 1:31 am #

    Get the feeling some mysogynist is rubbing their hands in glee screaming divide the bitches and conquer. C’mon ladies you’re more clever than that!

    • kris March 12, 2015 at 2:10 am #

      Amen! I’m a white woman. I know I’m never going to understand what it is like to be a black woman or a Transgender. I’m not ignorant to that obvious fact. But at least I try to understand & speak out against what I can relate to & what I know is wrong. We’re all on the same team why tear eachother down? U would rather have these women fighting for our cause than doing nothing.
      I definitely have an advantage & it’s not something I take for granted. So why not help other women who regardless of race or gender, may not have the opportunities I have? I’m a DV survivor & I know there are women who appreciate other women standing up for them when they may not be able to because of danger, fear, children, etc.
      I have friends who are escorts & worked in the club industry. I think sex workers should be protected but from my experience it is ultimately male-dominance that is the issue. & these girls think they are safe bc their pimps show them love by taking their money & slapping them around. All for a nice pair of shoes and a few vacations. You didn’t add consumerism as a huge problem of high-end escorting & why these women think they are empowered and have a ‘choice’.
      Assuming all white, middle-class women are dumb, entitled robots isn’t fair. You could’ve written a great article discussing WHY black women need to be speaking for their own cause, WHY Transgenders need to be on the forefront & that white, middle class women need to understand this. But you took your opportunity to bash other women.

  3. Brenda March 9, 2015 at 1:50 am #

    so you could not “allow” my comment to your article? You just dissed another woman again,,,, or did you realize that I spoke the truth and you couldn’t let my comment be published. Thanks for your little way of stifling a woman — and again, shame on you for doing such shit to divide us.

  4. whitefeminist March 9, 2015 at 2:11 am #

    I am a white woman. Granted I’m queer, but none of these apply to me. This seems a bit hypocritical as you are generalizing a group based on their skin color and sexual orientation.

    • AmazingSusan March 10, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

      I agree.

    • Becky March 12, 2015 at 2:04 am #

      that was my response as well

  5. Hi There March 9, 2015 at 2:16 am #

    “Women of colour don’t own womanhood, and they don’t get to explain it to white women.” Works both ways, sister.

  6. Jane March 9, 2015 at 2:43 am #

    I think you should consider thinking in terms of white ABLE-BODIED feminists. Many of the concern you point out are the opposite of disabled feminists, white or otherwise. And feminists in general exclude disabled women.

  7. Matthew March 9, 2015 at 2:49 am #

    This article is a slippery slope. Power is the corrupter. When you start parsing your allies, check yourself. You continue to find isms to legitimize your narrow bandwidth. Henpeck away at your own risk.

  8. millieneon March 9, 2015 at 3:11 am #

    I’m a 67-year-old white feminist, and while I do understand the points this article is attempting to make, I think carving out yet another “all encompassing totalizing description” of a group of people to trash is exemplary of a problem. It’s as silly to assume all white feminists are cut from the same cloth as it is to assume all black feminists are cut from the same cloth. Feminism is informed by so much. Many feminists worked for all the liberation movements, not just feminism. In fact, one of the problems with the politics of the 60s-70s, was that all the different movements didn’t learn how to incorporate everyone. People were always saying “MY issue (Economic rights, Civil Rights, Anti-Semitism, LGBT rights, etc.). Everyone was dancing to the beat of a different drummer . . . there were always feminists in all those struggles, and they usually had to put feminism on the back burner. I wish they could have learned to dance to polyrhythms, where each pattern has it’s own voice, yet all the patterns fit together in a complex and gorgeous rhythm. And it’s really unfair to characterize white women who are feminists as being so shallow. The struggles for reproductive rights, healthcare and shelter for mothers and children, equal pay for equal work, proper care for rape victims (including taking their reports seriously), access to healthy food, shelters and better legislative protection for domestic violence victims — just to name a few issues. Not to mention the incredible tomes on theory and philosophy and women’s history that so many great writers have given us (white writers, black writers, Asian writers, Hispanic writers). And then there are the incredible artists. I see a lot of women who didn’t live through the the 1950s and before don’t really understand just how much progress feminists (white, black, yellow, red, brown) pushed through this culture. In my feminist world, feminists seek to unite not just women, but all those who seek progressive evolution of our culture. Are there white feminists who are as shallow as the ones described in this article? I’m sure there are. But to assume all white feminists are of one shallow cloth, well, what the frack is that about?

    • AmazingSusan March 10, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

      “But to assume all white feminists are of one shallow cloth, well, what the frack is that about?”


  9. captainglittertoes March 9, 2015 at 3:44 am #

    Hi, this is a great article except that you ignored the existence of non-binary people. We’re not men, and we face gender-based oppression.

  10. nikki darlin March 9, 2015 at 3:46 am #

    It’s interesting that you mention Patricia Arquette given you make the same mistake for which she got raked across the coals: Not understanding the concept of intersectionality. I realize you have made an annotation saying you are just talking about certain white feminists. But there is no way for you to know who those are. You might look at me and identify as a straight, cis able-bodied white woman but you would be wrong.

    Some white feminists are even Muslim. who possibly wear hajibs. Entire segments of the Muslim world are Caucasian and they’re not necessarily unfeminist. Albania and the former Yugoslavia for instance are countries with large populations of white Muslims. Lots of Eastern and some of Western Europeans are Muslim. In part Turkey and Iran and other parts of the Middle East are white too.

    What you have to realize, white feminists skate all lines of intersectionality except race and you can’t always tell. I recognize the privilege that invisibility affords me. I didn’t ask for it but there is literally nothing I can do about it. Sometimes it pisses me the hell off, actually because it leads people to make false assumptions about me and my life.

    Perhaps most importantly, white women who are willing to identify as feminist only constitute 20% of the population. It isn’t easy to claim feminism in American culture. I’ve been doing it since I was 12 and have been ridiculed, physically attacked and sexually assaulted. That may mean little in a world where my whiteness defines me but I felt the need to speak even though I perhaps should shut up. I’m ornery like that.

    • lesliehobson March 9, 2015 at 10:49 am #

      Right on

    • AmazingSusan March 9, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

      Thanks for saying so concisely exactly what I was thinking @nikki darlin

      I really think you missed the mark with this post @BelleJar…

    • lonesomeyogurt March 9, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

      This is a very good comment, thank you for making it. Too often the “white feminist” concept is really nothing more than a collection of anti-woman stereotypes (vapid, haughty, stupid, bitchy, too demanding, spoiled, etc.) dressed up as a political critique.

  11. Claire March 9, 2015 at 3:51 am #

    I think this article has made some really awesome points, and I agree with a lot of them. One of the points that I think needs more thought is your point about sex workers. I understand that you’re trying to point out the hypocrisy within white feminism to applaud women until they choose to do something that seems to challenge their traditional notions of what “empowered” means. However, I think you need to distinguish the fact that while there are a lot of sex workers who are empowered and who are making a choice, the majority of women in that industry are victims of sex trafficking, poverty, and coercion. It is important not to forget this issue and these women while we celebrate those who are empowered. In fact, I think “only caring about privileged (and predominantly white) sex workers and ignoring the issues of the majority of sex workers around the world” could be added to the list of Shit White Feminists Need To Stop Doing.

  12. Lily March 9, 2015 at 4:48 am #

    While many of these points have legitimacy, this is an incredibly condescending article, thus making it counterproductive. I suggest you reconsider the way you address your audience. Aggressively analyzing other womens very personal views on feminism is not feminist at all, it is also unkind

    • Benny Paul (@theBennyPaul) March 12, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

      “Aggressively analyzing other womens very personal views on feminism is not feminist at all, it is also unkind”

      How so?

  13. moehabibi March 9, 2015 at 6:40 am #

    Reblogged this on Scribbles of a Mere Existence and commented:
    On Feminism.

  14. ozma March 9, 2015 at 6:51 am #

    Overall in agreement–although it’s sort of an interestingly meme-ish list. I’ve seen so many Canadians with this exact set of concerns. There are really complicated issues here for white feminists, I think. So yeah, I guess the safe thing is not to try to make common cause with Muslim women or make common cause with sex workers or worry about them–so if you did this, you’d be like most white feminists in that respect since they don’t give shit generally. But if someone does think they have some responsibility or some solidarity to people unlike themselves then they have a trickier road to walk, I suppose–it’s not quite enough to shut the fuck up though it would be good if people would do that much of the time. You’re never a hypocrite, you’re never incorrect if you just stay in your little corner but it’s not necessarily ideal in all cases. A lot of this white feminist bullshit is talking anyway–It’s social media talking about ‘these people,’ and the white feminist doesn’t know them. It is not real activism, though with some it is–and that can still be annoying. So perhaps the real challenge mainly comes up when you actually know people and try to work with them and this comment is irrelevant. If it’s mostly social media blather, you can always shut up anyway.

    The only issue I’d have is that the use of the picture implies something about this white feminism you are criticizing–but in fact it fails to do that because it is a picture of someone holding a sign with a reference to speeches of Fred Hampton–and the sign she is carrying says nothing about all the issues being the same or all feminist experiences being universal. It’s a fairly unambiguous expression of collective political solidarity, which isn’t exactly what you are hitting at here. Collective political solitary is not equivalent to white feminist domination. And if you want to bash the second wave, join the very large club– but if Fred Hampton had not been murdered, we might be further down the road politically–and the feminist in the picture who we are all assuming is white isn’t taking on the baggage of all of white feminism by quoting Fred Hampton, I don’t think.

  15. Kim March 9, 2015 at 8:33 am #

    so tired…just don’t give a hoot anymore. At the end of the day it’s called basic human respect and not being an ignorant twat…

  16. Vic March 9, 2015 at 9:04 am #

    You are generalising white women so much it hurts. How does race come into play here? I think YOU’RE being racist here, generalising all white women. If anyone were ever caught saying “all black people”, they’d be shamed. And we are talking about feminism here, not race. And assuming that all white people who speak out for feminism have had enormous privileges their entire lives is just not right. Okay, they might not be racially marginalised, but many of them have still experienced gender inequality, sexual abuse, etc. Also – Patricia Arquette grew up below the poverty line and was a single mom raising a child at the age of 20 working at minimum wage. I think she’s experienced something. So get your facts right!

  17. Natalie March 9, 2015 at 10:28 am #

    I’m a white feminist. I can’t escape my skin, or my privilege.

    I also don’t believe this is representative of any white feminist women I’ve met.

    And this quotation… Really?

    “The point of equality isn’t to claw your way to the top so that you can treat other people just as badly as white dudes have treated you”

    I must have missed that memo that explained this as the point of equality.

  18. angel March 9, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    Racist, arrogant and causing more divisions and negativity. Very poor. A broken arm hurts, but also a thorn in a finger hurts. There’s no competition on pain. We can be stronger together, or you can create more divisions & try handle it yourselves

  19. Juliet March 9, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    Is it really conducive to the overall agenda of feminism to classify, limit and denigrate a woman’s efforts simply because of the color of her skin? As a feminist I listen to everyone’s opinion. I respond respectfully. Because that’s the only way for people to understand one another’s experience and understanding. The tone of this article and the generalized statements within disrespecting women is NOT feminist. Is not in the mission of the movement. When you disrespect people they shut down. It’s shameful to minimize a persons efforts and intentions when you won’t take the time to inform. It’s sad that you’d prefer to elevate yourself by slamming someone else over choosing to see the common ground and work from there.

  20. Juliet March 9, 2015 at 11:48 am #

    …”view their brand of “feminism” as being better and more “real” than that of anyone else’s.”

    –how is this article and statement any different?

  21. Good Noose March 9, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

    Shit all “radical” intersectionalists need to stop doing: Pretending you are NOT bourgeois coffee-house ranters, just like your white “enemies”. Your discussions are like Democrats vs. Republicans. Quit your burlesque parties and join the workers instead of “empowering” them.

  22. david gilbert March 9, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    You are tilting at windmills. You have constructed this group of people. Or can you point us to some institutionalised expression of these ‘white feminists’?

    • david gilbert March 9, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

      And there is nothing especially ‘internalized’ about the compunction to wear hijabs. It is usually mandated. I think this is the salient point. Perhaps you should ‘literally’ read some books, which is my preferred method.

  23. Patrick March 9, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    This article appears to be both racist and stereotypical to me. If there are problems with a specific feminist message or argument, then it seems possible and preferable to address the specifics of it without unnecessarily injecting the social construct of race into the discussion. To call for silence from people based on their gender or skin tone color is abhorrent and ridiculous.

  24. lesliehobson March 9, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

    In this time of intersectionality to lump all “white woman” together is absurd. You have no idea if she is a lesbian, Muslim or mentally ill. Should we not work together towards inclusion – by looking at what brings us together rather than what sets us apart?

  25. wisewebwoman March 9, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    You lost me completely when you endorsed the belief that women are commodities to be purchased on the open market, enslaved or not.

    • mariko March 9, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

      Any kind of labor one chooses to practice is a commodity, it doesn’t make the person a commodity! If you choose to do a certain type of labor, if you enjoy it, you have a right to practice it safely and not be shamed for it. So frequently people equate sex work to sex trafficking. They are NOT the same and it is a waste of people’s efforts to try and a attack a line of work that is actually fulfilling for many people. Just because it’s not in your interests doesn’t give you the right to criticize it. Sex trafficking, however, is a real issue that absolutely requires our focused attention!

  26. vhbui101 March 9, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

    Arguing for their case is good. Being pro-woman is fine. Going overboard, to the point where its just one dumb complaint after another is not ok. I agree with this post. -John

  27. Bee March 9, 2015 at 4:25 pm #

    As a gay disabled white woman, I would really love to stop seeing “white feminist” as some kind of weird code for women with privilege, and nonwhite feminists people acting like white women can’t be oppressed based on being disabled or gay. You all need to let go of the buzzphrase of white feminist being some evil state of things when I’ve barely ever seen a nonwhite feminist address misogyny or homophobia amongst the men of her race – preferring instead to turn around and lob hate at other women, because we make safer targets. And other white women (especially the straight ones) support this weirdness out of self loathing and white guilt. Well sorry but I refuse to be some supposed paragon of privilege when I’m oppressed on 3 major axises.

  28. therealoschwald March 9, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

    Reblogged this on The Real Oschwald and commented:
    Give this a read. All white feminists, including myself need to be reminded of the real cause.

    • Anna March 11, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

      What is the “real” cause? Intersectionality for everyone except for white people?

  29. Kris March 9, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

    Alright so I have a question. And maybe I don’t know enough about the issue, if that’s the case then enlighten me. I don’t understand why some feminists want prostitution to be legalized. And it has nothing to do with the prostitutes themselves or their lifestyle choices. The reason I am so against it is because Stds are not make believe. They do actually exist. And most people do not seem to understand that stds are VERY common. By legalizing prostitution, which would therefore make it an acceptable practice, it opens up a breeding ground for disease. It is not about women, it is about public health.

    • Benny Paul (@theBennyPaul) March 12, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

      Read about the laws in any country, or in any US state, where prostitution is legal, and you will learn. Google “prostitution law netherlands,” or “prostitution law nevada” for example.

  30. Concerned March 9, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

    Nice article and good points.

    Look up the definition and uselage of “literally”. Grammar is tedious, but there are people who will dismiss arguments that contain blatant oversights.

    • bellejarblog March 10, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

      Nah, I like using literally when I actually mean figuratively because I think it’s hilarious when people get riled up over that.

  31. Pixie2015 March 9, 2015 at 7:14 pm #

    I never heard of white feminism before reading this article, sounds like another patriarchal splitter splatter to get us fighting amongst ourselves again and not focussing on WMP (ya know, White Male Patriarchy).

    • KDC March 10, 2015 at 2:11 am #

      I am quite sure you meant to say White Male Privilege…..way easier to take on than “patriarchy or kyriarchy”. And of course, we’re not just talking about WMP, but also Male Privilege, because. Feminism. Intersectionality.

    • ClaraRosa March 10, 2015 at 4:39 am #

      If you never heard of it – you’re probably white.

  32. Mounir El Harim March 9, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

    If there wasn’t a single place in the world where the Hijab is mandatory (or worse, a burqa), then your argument about personal choice might hold some water. But as long as there are women in the world who can’t choose whether or not they want to cover their heads in public, there are going to be people like me who call the whole concept of “forced modesty” bullshit. Get used to it.

  33. Carly March 9, 2015 at 9:04 pm #

    This is absolutely ridiculous. You’re saying that white straight women can’t possibly be “good” feminists because we’re all racist/homophobic/etc. Generalizations really are great, don’t you think? Also, you’re belittling my experience as a woman. Yes I’m white and straight and I have privilege, but as a woman I have struggled regardless of my race or sexual orientation or religion. You cannot say ones experience is worth less than another because of the privilege I may have in one aspect of my life. I’m disgusted that a woman would write something like this, putting down other women who are fighting just as hard for equality.

  34. Noneofyourbusiness March 9, 2015 at 9:04 pm #

    As a white woman whose life was torn apart by prostitution do NOT tell me I don’t get it, okay? In fact, you don’t get to tell me anything. You don’t get to dictate my thoughts on the prostitution debate. You don’t get to tell me that my oppression wasn’t bad enough to warrant having a voice. I get intersectionality. I have privilege in some areas, but that does not detract from the severe (and very deadly) oppression I have experienced in my life. Suck it.

  35. viedevee March 9, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

    I don’t necessarily agree with the hijab thing, most white feminists I know are very pro choice but I do agree with the fact that women of different ethnicities have different and most of the time more severe experiences with misogyny but we are all fighting for the same thing, equality. So I’m not going to bash a white feminist because they haven’t struggled as much as myself.

  36. derb March 9, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

    “Do we ask all white women to be quiet – even though they have the largest platforms?”

    I think there’s an important distinction to be made between times when white women speak “in support of” vs. “on behalf of.” For instance, if a friend or ally asked me to push my workplace to expand their EOE statement to include more identities then I could (and should) go to my boss and speak “in support of” women who may not be like me. On the other hand, If I blithely proclaimed that, “The most important issue for all women everywhere is XYZ.” then I have over-stepped and should be called out as practicing very poor ally-ship.

  37. lonesomeyogurt March 9, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

    It’s so odd to hear someone talk about “white feminism” and then use that critique to condemn efforts to dismantle prostitution, which is of course a system where privileged white women are essentially the *only* ones capable of making the “choices” you’re talking about. If “white feminism” means seeing things only through the lens of the privileged, then the best possible example of that would be supporting an industry that is pleasant for an incredibly small, largely white and middle class minority while it subjects largely poor, largely non-white women to horrible abuse. If you want to bring feminist analysis out of the purview of a strictly white, strictly able-bodied, strictly middle-class, strictly American leadership, then consider rejecting a defense of prostitution that applies only to white, able-bodied, middle-class, American women.

  38. Kelly March 9, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

    This whole article is just inflammatory and as judgmental and belittling as the people it is talking about. Why waits until the very end to truly define “white feminism” , because really you could apply this crappy attitude to any gender , race or sexuality. The thesis here is, “you are twit if you think your life experience defines everyone’s struggle.”

  39. S. N. Smith (@smithottawa) March 9, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

    Thanks for this very thoughtful and passionate article. I have share it with many people.

  40. Nikki March 9, 2015 at 10:54 pm #

    When are we able to start calling some of you “feminists” outright racists/bigots? It’s getting to the point now, to where you’re only a “true” feminist, if you happen to be of a different race, and if you happen to be white, have to be a lesbian, transgender, able bodied individual. I get it, you’ve “suffered more”, so nobody else has a say, unless they’re exactly like you. Do you understand how crazy some of you are sounding?

  41. David Zerkler March 9, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

    There are many ways that nearly all of us step on others to stand tall. It is a base element of our psyche. It doesn’t define us, but it is a part of most (all?) of us.

    Is the white trans woman unable to speak because she isn’t black?
    Is a black gay woman unable to speak her truth because she is able bodied?
    Is a wheelchair bound (gasp) unattractive woman voiceless regarding her discrimination because her parents are doctors and loved her warmly?

    No one truely knows the pain of another. We do our best. Knocking white feminists is not the way to build solidarity. Woman as a group are frequently disparaged. If you want to stand tall, it’ll take all of you (all of us) to stand tall together.

  42. izzy82 March 10, 2015 at 1:41 am #

    So many good points as always! Good reminders for me to keep my privilege in check – I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve been ignorant about sex workers before… being in the DV field, I tend to hear more about sexual exploitation when it comes to the sex industry BUT I need to check myself and remember what I see at work, while awful, is NOT representative of the overall sex industry.

  43. trynda March 10, 2015 at 2:11 am #

    The problem is not that they’re white, its that they’re feminist. The universal mangina that implodes onto itself.

  44. AllVoicesMatter March 10, 2015 at 3:23 am #

    “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”
    ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  45. Jm March 10, 2015 at 4:29 am #

    Thank you so much for #4. Most feminists completely ignore or demonize sex workers or people in the adult industry.

  46. Colleen March 10, 2015 at 4:34 am #

    “If I were to make a real list of things that feminists don’t do, there would only be one item on that list: tell people how to be feminists. Because when an individual begins dictating what a movement looks like, then it stops being about what’s in the best interests of women everywhere (spoiler alert: very few things are in the best interests of all women everywhere) and becomes about that person’s biases and opinions. And that? Is pretty unfeminist.”

    –your blog “The Consolidated List of Stuff that Isn’t Feminist”

  47. ClaraRosa March 10, 2015 at 4:36 am #

    I love this post – I would just love to add the dimension of class to the article, because the feminism you describe is most of the time very middleclass.


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