[CW: homophobia, transphobia, mentions of rape, general TERF-ness]
Feminism is a great thing, right? It’s a movement that’s about equality for all, and works hard for all the marginalised people.
Except it doesn’t. At least, not all the time.
One of the biggest problems we have with feminism is “white feminism”. It’s so named because often, though not always, it is practiced by white, middle class, cishet women (who realistically yes are marginalised, but are still only slightly behind their male counterparts).
So why are these women a problem? They’re the ones who’re likely to say of, for example, an issue that the Black Lives Matter movement bring up, “Oh, but white women are marginalised too”.
Basically they are very good at centring themselves in all the problems, whether or not they are the most marginalised or not.
I’ll give you some examples, starting with the worst.
TERFs, or Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists are the ones who give feminists a bad name. They are the ones who give rise to the stereotypical “Man-hating dyke” image of feminists. They’re the ones who tell us that trans-women are just men who wants to get into women’s bathrooms to rape them, that trans-women aren’t women ever because genitalia (which speaks to the misogyny they claim to be against), and are just generally nasty, nasty people.
One of their biggest ringleaders is Cathy Brennan, who loves causing a fuss but not actually solving anything, and once wrote a hit piece on me that claimed I was a trans-woman, so apparently she can’t get her facts straight either.
Now, these women are not necessarily out to cause harm in the same way as Brennan and her cronies are, but again by being “white” feminists, do so anyway. They’re also the people who get a lot of the spotlight, and so feminism is distilled through the lens of what these women do, and that doesn’t do anyone any favours.
Caitlin Moran, who very much centres herself in much of her feminism, who openly admits she doesn’t care about WOC, and has been pulled up several times for open transphobia. Yet her books are still touted as “fantastic introductions to feminism”, and so young folx are introduced to this toxic brand of feminism.
The downright awful Julie Bindel, who is so full of herself and her unchecked privilege that she thinks she has a free reign on everyone. And several newspapers repeatedly pay for her input. No wonder people are losing faith in the media.
Then you have Lena Dunham, who in her own words sexually assaulted her younger sister, then went in a huff and quit twitter when called out on it. Yet she is still given money to make tv shows and given awards and attention like nothing happened. Because, to some, she is a great face for feminism.
That’s not to say this is an exhaustive list, or that people can’t like work by the women listed here. But we have to 110% acknowledge the fact that they do awful things, and be prepared to talk about that when it is brought up.
I am by no means a perfect feminist, I am aware of that, but I am also aware that for feminism to be effective it must be inclusive, intersectional, and absolutely not what these women tout.
It’s time we looked beyond the mainstream as common practice, and don’t just blindly believe and follow the white feminists offered to us by the media.