Hi Bridget, thanks for being so candid to us, and I really appreciate how wholesome the aesthetics and contents of your blog are!
I'm a woman of colour and I enjoyed reading your exploration on feminism. I have asked my fellow white woman about the concept of 'white privilege' before, but they seemed offended about it. Where do you stand on this issue and what are your thoughts on intersectional feminism?
Hi! Thank you so much for your question. I love it and can’t wait to get stuck in 😀
First off – I have a confession. I had to google what intersectional feminism was. To me feminism isn’t feminism unless women of all color and backgrounds are represented. The concept of white feminism is ridiculous to me, how can equality exist for only one race of our gender? The whole point of feminism to me is equality. And that needs to include every single woman and her existence on this planet. To me racism, classism, ageism, ableism, homophobia and sexism are extremely entwined; they all feed off of each other and need to be treated as such. To focus on issues of the ruling dominant class is dangerously narrow sighted. Whilst I am disadvantaged as a white women when compared to a white man, a woman of color is at a double disadvantage. A homosexual woman of color is triply so.
And in that vein I think it is extremely narrow minded and self defeating to get defensive around white privilege. Because it is a thing. I have lead an extremely privileged life. I am a white, middle class, straight identified, slender, “pretty” human. And whilst I have dealt with my fair share of struggles to find myself in a male defined society, they are a drop in the bucket when compared to my sisters of color. My upbringing is not something to be resented, nor to hold guilt around, but it is something that needs to be acknowledged and recognized for exactly what it is. I love Gloria Steinem’s quote “it’s important for someone who could play the game and win, to say – the game isn’t worth shit”. Because the fact is, I could settle easily into the modeling world, where my appearance is all that is important. I could coast off the free “friendships” based around our societies adoration of “beauty”. As a white privileged woman, I could close my eyes and heart to the struggles of everyone around me, for an easy, albeit hollow life.
But what sort of life is that really. There has always been a part of me that rebels against the potential shallowness of modeling, and I am so thankful for that. I believe that it is in human nature to want to reduce suffering on our planet, and to ignore this desire is to cause pain on a spiritual level. Whilst we cannot change where we started on this planet, we can work together to change where we end up. The most important thing I have found coming into this realm of fighting for equality is listening. I have not lived the struggles of women of color in this society. But through talking and listening with empathy I am learning. I am learning to recognize where my white privilege has been at play. Or where my social class has blinded me to the issues of others. It has opened my heart in so many ways.
And my desire for equality through feminism grows only stronger.
Feminism will only ever work if women from all classes and backgrounds are represented. Whilst I do believe that equal pay is integral to equality, I feel that raising the minimum wage is more important for women, as nearly two thirds of the minimum wage workers are women. Women should always have the right to choose when it comes to their reproductive rights, but the financial availability of birth control and abortions should be center stage in this fight. Whilst I love the connectedness of social media and online conversation, keep in mind that in order to participate, you need to be a part of the social class capable of owning a phone with access to internet. One social issue tends to lean on others, and we cannot turn a blind eye to the issues that do not involve our background. That is the antithesis of feminism to me. Let’s not forget where groups for women began. They began with women of color.
Lead with love. Low ego, high impact. Move at the speed of trust.
So thankyou for opening my eyes here. I hope I have answered this effectively, and I really would love to keep the conversation going here. If anyone has anything to add about my response, please reach out via my email, or by the comments below.
Because, at the end of the day, we should all be feminists.
I am a feminist.
And feminism is not a fight for isolated members of society. It affects all of us. And through conversation, we will change the world by education.
Love to you all!