Monday, 27 July 2015

White Feminism?

*straight off the bat, I'm going to tell you that yes, this may be controversial, but frankly it's something that people need to talk about because it's really getting on my nerves*

Feminism is the struggle of women, all women, to gain equal status to men. To no longer be put down or held back from achieving great things simply because of their gender. But recently, there seems to be the rise of a type of feminism which, intentionally or otherwise, excludes certain types of women. Like an exclusive club, so-called "white feminists" seemingly appear to be concerned about the struggles of women in the modern day - the pay gap, sexism, sexual harassment, female empowerment. Not that these aren't important, it appears to exclude the many struggles faced by black women and women of ethnic minorities. I've spoken recently about the problems with modern feminism a little (you can see my post on 'first world feminism' by clicking here).

But. And this is a big 'but' - why would these things trump the racism women of colour constantly face? Their struggle is twofold, at the least. Is the struggle for female racial equality lesser than the struggle for equal pay? It makes me sad to say that black women and women of ethnic minorities have it tougher. Because in this instance, people don't simply see a "woman" when she is walking down the street. They see a Latino, a Kenyan, a Nigerian. They see something which is etched into our faces and cannot be separated or hidden from our identities.

They see a group of people who, for so many years, have suffered from some form of racism at least once in their lives. And while we have come a long way from the days of slavery, simply looking at the amount of black women suffering police brutality on the news is enough to tell us that the struggle still continues.

Taylor Swift recently showed just what exactly is wrong with this so-called 'white feminism'. Many of you will likely have heard via twitter etc. that Nicki Minaj made various tweets stating how underrated talented black artists are overshadowed by traditional white artists. Though not directed at her, T Swift saw it as a direct attack upon her own VMA nominations and replied with a number of patronising tweets, comprising of how "I've done nothing but love and support you" and "you can share the stage with me".

First off, I'm not saying that Taylor is being "racist" by responding in this way. But I am saying that she obviously doesn't seem to understand that even if these tweets were about her, it doesn't make what Nicki Minaj said any less true.

Yes, the black music community is underrated. Yes, they are overshadowed by a myriad of artists who are "revolutionary" when they speak out about feminism - but do these white artists actually do anything to ensure that the female community, the entire female community, gains equal status to men?

Instead of looking at it as an attack upon herself, she should have seen that women of colour have it tougher. It is an undeniable fact. They not only struggle for equal rights as women, but also fight for their right as people of colour in a Western world to be treated the same. Why then, would Taylor Swift quickly centre herself in what is evidently a struggle not for her, but for black women?

Is it wrong to insist on the rights of women of colour to be equal to that of white women?

It's pretty apparent that Taylor's recent proclamations of her feminism have been fed to her by an array of white feminisms who seem to pick and choose what they want to gain equality in.

But the reality is this: If you're going to be a part of the feminist movement, you must want equality for us all - white and black. Taylor Swift needs to recognise her privilege, and fast. She needs to see that what Nicki Minaj did was highlight an endless struggle for WoC.

Rather than seeing it as an attack on herself, she should have actually listened.

what are your thoughts on this post? Comment down below

Zahra x

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