Whitewashing Feminism

Hello readers, are you keeping dry?

One thing I’ve noticed bloggers/influencers painted as (and I can’t say I haven’t thought it myself) is vapid or at least not utilizing any massive platform for action more meaningful. It’s understandable– many blog for business and wouldn’t want to alienate any potential customers. So it’s refreshing and inspiring to see women who haven’t or don’t usually talk about “politics” embrace (some expression of) feminism and attend and share their experiences at recent Women’s Marches.

However, whether it’s just what posts/news I’ve seen personally or outlets trying to make 2018 the “year of the woman” happen, the general focus of “women” is too vague for me. I’ve said that unsavory characters are a part of representation and the existence of conservative women/other oppressed identities proves how people are multifaceted and don’t exist in vacuums (generally) where for example, black people are only fed Black Panther messages and women are given feminist history 24/7 and not all the harmful notions that permeate various cultures.

bell hooks quote

I don’t know if “danger” is the word I’m looking for to describe the kind of do-si-do of representation, but I think it’s certainly so to conflate “women” with women’s liberation. Because of that whole multifaceted thing, certain women can exert power over others (e.g., by race, class, ableism). Furthermore, since representation seems to be a process, people may think it’s exactly that– a woman candidate is empowerment regardless of policy– and the “represented” may assume that this is just what their group does.

These may just be anecdotes, but as a Filipino-American, I can’t tell you the hemming and hawing around Manny Pacquiao, a great big homophobe, just because he’s our one guy.  don’t think that I had cable when Occupy Wall Street was happening, but I’ve heard that The Daily Show would make fun of it as if those dirty hippies were the problem. Heck, even now, they call Antifa “vegan ISIS,” like, ok: let’s encourage our massive audience to mock those who haven’t killed 100 people.

Audre Lorde Quote

The Women’s March’s platform is actually quite good (IMO; I’m not a learned scholar or anything), but it’s interesting that “feminism” doesn’t appear anywhere on it. This could be for many reasons including everyone else not being learned scholars/having different opinions on what it is– such as the popular “choice” and “equality” ideas–  and/or trying to appeal to the broadest base of consumers. Although this has already led to controversy with anti-choicers and other groups believing that they have a place.

I haven’t spent enough time in the BLACK PANTHER FEMINIST VOID TUBE to have the answers. Perhaps working with people with whom you don’t usually agree or agree with 100% can work on smaller or local focused projects. But Ossie Davis said that representation impacts real life, so we should hold the community to a higher standard. Afterall, the attempt to appeal to both sides is why we’re here in the first place.

4 thoughts on “Whitewashing Feminism

  1. I’m not quite sure if I understand your post. However, I will point out, that some women of color feel that they are seen as Black first, then as a woman. Whereas, women of majority culture are seen as women. …. The Civil Rights Movement occurred from 1954 until 1968, the Women’s Rights Movement occurred from 1848 until 1920. That is a big difference in terms of “equality.” ….

    1. Thanks for your comment. I didn’t know about those dates. Would you like me to clarify anything? Differences like what you’ve mentioned is why I hope there’s more consideration of for example, candidate policy and how it impacts marginalized people rather than celebrating any woman who could support systems that harm other women.

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