Wednesday, June 11, 2014

White feminism's continued failures: A short case study

Last night I went to a local event hosted by KUT: Views and Brews, which covers all kinds of topics. I was interested because this one was called "The Future of the F Word: Feminism." Of course, I was pretty jazzed to check it out.

Unfortunately, I was epically disappointed.

It's not that the discussion was horrible (there were a few "Huh?" moments.) It's not that I didn't like the panelists generally--there were some really great anecdotes shared.

It was the glaring lack of intersectionality.

From the moment I walked into the room and looked on stage, I was disappointed. 5 white, cis, able-bodied women sitting around discussing feminism? Really? It was almost laughable from the start how much of a glaring problem that was. (And the discussion revealed that they all are economically privileged as well. I believe one of them identified as queer.)

During the audience Q&A section someone asked about intersectionality specifically, but it ended up as a missed opportunity to call this out. One of the panelists extolled the virtues of inclusion and the common goals of other anti-oppression movements, but no one ever said what I wanted them to say (which would have been something like, "I'm really disappointed that no women of color are on this panel.") And there was the fact that the moderator (arguably the worst part) only asked leading question that included such cringe worthy gems as, "What do you think about Beyonce claiming feminism while simultaneously repackaging female objectification and selling it back to women?"

It was an undeniable example of how white feminism continues to perpetuate its failures. We MUST change this. We MUST actively work against feminism contributing to other oppression, silencing, and marginalization. If I had been asked to sit on that panel, I hope I would have asked if diverse views were present, and if I learned they weren't, I hope I would have declined the invite and suggested they ask someone who doesn't share my same background.

I can't help but think how much more enlightening, educational, and rich the discussion would have been with some women who came at social justice topics from very different perspectives.

To be frank, the future of feminism presented last night is one that I'm not interested in at all and I 100% understand why women of color, trans women, and other women would feel marginalized by this movement as a whole. Totally disappointing.

Fellow white cis women: do better.

Please see the commenting policy before replying to this post.


  1. I agree with your thoughts here, but I have to ask--you say you were disappointed that no one said what you were thinking. Is there a reason you couldn't say it? If there are spaces were feminists don't feel safe voicing their opinions on the future of the movement, then what hope does it really have?

    1. I was there in the dual roles: an observer/attendee but also in a professional capacity and so providing criticism of the event publicly might have caused me professional drama (for lack of a better term.) If I didn't know several people there in that professional capacity I would have asked.

    2. Additionally, someone else might have wanted to ask that question, buy by my count they took about 4 questions of the 20ish hands that were raised.


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