teej: (hedgehog)
Newsweek takes on feminism on behalf of young white girls everywhere

I haven't read the original Newsweek article and didn't know anything about the ensuing discussion until now, but I found this blog post and discussion between Latoya Peterson and Thea Lim on Racialicious really worth reading. It's a really great dissection of the continuing harm caused by white feminism* exclusion of women of colour and universalising white middle class women's experiences. and how gross and predictable that when the authors were called on it, they pull the 'but we were talking about women not race', 'we all have to stick together' AND the 'here's our WOC friend who agrees with us' crap! 

i think when this happens in big media outlets (as it does over and over and over), there's even less chance of the people being called out being held accountable because they're the ones with big institutional privilege - they don't have to listen because they can assume that the vast majority of their readers will never hear the critique. Plus the mass dissemination has so much more power in terms of influencing people's understanding of what feminism is and should be. That Latoya and Thea had the energy to engage with this so thoroughly (again!) is totally commendable. i hope that the authors of the piece take the time to actually read, reflect and learn from it (but i won't hold my breath!)

And while i'm at it... On  this side of the pond, I've been fuming about the 'Women' documentary on BBC4 earlier this month where the filmmaker interviewed 8 big name white feminists to represent the entirety of 'second wave' feminism, a bunch of mostly white and all middle class heterosexual women, all in long term relationships with the fathers of their children, to represent the entirety of the experience of modern motherhood, and mostly white members of the London Feminist Network to represent contemporary British feminism.... And again the predictable excuses on how this excludes women of colour have been forthcoming from the documentary-maker Vanessa Engle - see her comments in this review on the F-word. Sigh. I just hope not many people watched it...

*Razia Aziz's definition of 'white feminism', which I like a lot.
teej: (Default)
I don't know how many times I have quoted this but it remains as relevant as ever.

“In attempting to shift the ground of feminist discourse, the adversary has at times appeared to be white feminists but is in fact, I would venture, white feminism – by which I expressly do not mean any feminism espoused by white feminists. I refer, rather, to any feminism which comes from a white perspective, and universalizes it.

I do not propose that white feminism is a clearly defined, coherent and internally consistent body of thought that feeds off conscious racist intentions. It is, rather, a way of seeing which, however inadvertent, leaves identifiable traces. It subsists through a failure to consider both the wider social and political context of power in which feminist utterances and actions take place, and the ability of feminism to influence that context.”

- Razia Aziz, "Feminism and the challenge of racism: Deviance or difference?", in Black British Feminism: A Reader (ed. by Heidi Safia Mirza, 1997)


August 2010

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