White feminism: Explained

There are many women who consider themselves “feminists”. But feminism and sexism affect different types of women in all different ways. For example, women of color and White women experience sexism way differently.

“White feminism” refers to when feminism is seen and projected through the eyes and experiences of White women, and describes White women who claim to be feminists but don’t acknowledge sexism from the lens of women of color. These “White feminists” approach feminism from a White woman’s point of view, and fail to acknowledge how other women experience sexism and other types of discrimination.

The bottom line is: if you are going to call yourself a feminist, you need to address the forms of discrimination that affect women of color, and stand up for ALL women, not just White women.

Many White women who engage in White feminism also enjoy playing the victim and do not recognize their White privilege. They act as if they are so powerless and discriminated against by men in society because they are a women. While that may be true when looking at the White ethnicity in particular, there are other women who experience many more forms of discrimination, and when you look at feminism through an intersectional lens (see below), you can see that White women receive much less discrimination when compared to women of color.

Intersectional feminism, a term coined by law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, describes a more inclusive experience of feminism, discussing the ways that sexism affects women of color, along with the added systemic racism that affects people of color as well.

We should all aim to be intersectional feminists because White feminism is toxic and regressive to human rights causes as a whole. Black women who are LGBTQ experience discrimination differently than White LGBTQ women because they also face racism.

It is essential to pay attention and acknowledge the levels of discrimination that ALL women face in society because sexism is not the only form of discrimination. Unfortunately, there are many more. The more we fail to recognize and call attention to them, the longer these forms of discrimination will exist.

How straight White males can help change the world

You may think — what an interesting title considering most of the revolutionary figures who have had an influential impact on human rights challenges in history have been people of color. Yet, in this world where racism is as prevalent as ever, I think it’s beyond time more White people step up to the plate and use their place in society to provoke change.

Straight White males are the least discriminated against in society and they hold a lot of power and influence over this nation. Males don’t face sexism; Straight males don’t face homophobia; White males don’t face racism.

So, when you combine all of those attributes of a person, they have life pretty damn easy as far as lack of discrimination and heightened privilege go.

My theory is, if more straight White males would stand up for minority communities that are affected by discrimination and hate, wouldn’t other straight White males who are the root cause of a lot of the hate be more susceptible to listen? Because, clearly their sexism, homophobia and racism make them unwilling to listen to any women, LGBTQ people, or people of color.

So, straight White males — please stand up. Use your voice. Use your privilege. When you are surrounded by your White colleagues who are racist, homophobic or sexist, speak up for those communities and engage them in conversation. Make them listen.

Use your privilege and power in society to give a voice to those communities who have no voice.

I know that it can be scary and uncomfortable to talk about inequality, oppression and discrimination — especially as a straight White man. But, the reason why it’s so scary… is because no one talks about it. You’re worried that you’ll be judged and attacked, or possibly offend people who are affected by discrimination. So you avoid it. You play it safe.

Some of you feel that people are making all straight White men out to be complete monsters, who are all racist, homophobic and sexist. But, for one, why do you care so much about what others think of you? And secondly, nobody said “ALL” men; we are talking about SOME. Stop playing the victim, because you are far from one.

We know that most of you are not being sexist, homophobic or racist, but that’s just it…we need to talk about the ones that are.

Just because you may be one of the “good guys”, doesn’t mean we need to ignore the rest of the straight White men who are not “good guys”, simply to preserve your reputation and ego.

And even if you are one of the “good guys”, if you are not speaking up and using your privilege to shine a light on oppressed communities, that kind of makes you a participant in systematic discrimination anyways…so, you should start speaking up now.

Besides, if you did care about ridding our world of sexism, racism and homophobia, you would truly not give a damn what people say about straight White men…in fact, you would agree. Let’s not forget that I am a White women, yet I completely agree and don’t get all “sensitive and offended” when people speak truth on the hate coming from White people. Oh, I mean…some White people. Hope I didn’t offend.

To sum it up, 
Straight White men: speak up, or shut up.