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Time’s up on white feminism

White feminism and what it means today

Abbey Kegley, Staff Writer

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Feminism is defined as the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. Feminist movements throughout history have come in “waves,” each advocating for more modern and timely issues with each movement.

Many celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey and Meryl Streep, spoke out against gender biases in Hollywood during the Golden Globes, helping to bring up topics like sexual harassment and racial biases. However, as there are two sides of a coin, there is also a side of feminism that edges on the side of exclusivity regarding minority women.

This type of feminism that shows favor to mostly straight, cisgender, white women has been termed “white feminism.” Many celebrities, such as Emma Watson and Taylor Swift, have come under fire for being white feminists, shown to speak out for the issues of those that are similar to themselves.

This type of feminism can come from two places: a place of ignorance or a place of prejudice.

White feminism from a place of ignorance is what most democratic white feminists suffer from. Ignorant white feminists may have good intentions but have not taken the time to inform themselves of the issues of minority women.

For example, you may hear a speaker discuss the issues of white women in the workplace but not the difficulties for transgender or minority women to get a job or the treatment of openly gay women in the workplace. The speaker did not intentionally exclude these perspectives, but they simply were not informed on these issues.

White feminism from a place of prejudice plays more on the side of republican white feminists. These types of white feminists display care only for how they’re being affected and can be seen to exhibit views that are more old-fashioned and conservative.

For instance, this type of feminist may look up to women such as Lena Dunham for being open about their sexuality, but will criticize women like Nicki Minaj because they act lewdly and have no respect for themselves.

Topics such as rape culture and sexual objectification, too, can make up a large sect of this kind of white feminism.

This is best exemplified when looking at women such as Beyonce or Cardi B who are very open about their sexuality. Prejudiced white feminists may say that acting overtly sexual is why men don’t treat women with respect, when in reality, these women may express themselves however they want and should be encouraged to, rather than criticized.

However, it is not impossible for a white woman to be more than just a white feminist.

Recently, movie star Jessica Chastain, set to star in a movie with Octavia Spencer and Jada Pinkett Smith, discovered that her coworkers were being paid significantly less. Chastain decided that rather than letting her coworkers be paid less, she was going to link their paychecks together to ensure that they would be paid the same.

Feminism has come a long way since the 1900’s, but still has a long way to go until equality for the genders is reached. However, for equality to be achieved, every feminist must be fighting for every woman, no matter sexuality or color.

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Time’s up on white feminism