There comes a time in moments of crisis when we need to just sit back and listen. Sometimes this request comes from a partner, a mother or a sister, but right now it’s coming from women worldwide. Al Jazeera reported recently that women from South Africa to Japan and the United States are demanding a diverse approach to feminism, or a fight for feminism that represents women of all cultural backgrounds.
The hashtag #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen was developed by Chicago-based blogger, Mikki Kendall, during a heated online debate about Hugo Schwyzer, a self proclaimed “male feminist” and academic, who was recently outed as an abuser of WOC. (There will be another time to talk about "male feminists" and public intellectuals who admit that they've tried to kill old girlfriends on their personal blog.) Since then, #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen has become a means for non-white women to point out the social and racial injustices they face on a day to day basis, including those prevalent in pop culture, as well as the problems that "mainstream" feminism seems to have with including WOC.
Clearly, not all women feel included in the movement for across-the-board equality. But even if #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen is uncomfortable to talk about, it's helping to open the necessary dialogue before anything can change.
One common critique of the HBO series "Girls" is that it doesn't show enough diversity to be deserving of the title "girls."
Feminism is about the fight to be whoever the hell you want without sacrificing respect. How can WOC be excluded from that fight? If an entire group of humans thinks a movement isn't doing enough to include them, all feminists need to listen. Feminism is nuanced but imperfect, but nothing has ever been perfect from the beginning. That's why we're sitting back and listening to #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen.
But like, right?
A sampling of tweets using the hashtag shows the discontent women from all over have with "mainstream" feminism (all tweets sic'd):
“#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen is when Femen gets to decide the Muslim women's attire.” - @RoadToPalestine.
“#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen when convos about gender pay gap ignore that white women earn higher wages than black, Latino and Native men.” - @RainaKhalek.
“Miley sticks middle finger up in pics, smokes & wears grills = just her being a kid. Trayvon does it = hes a thug #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen” - @mixdgrlproblems.
Truth is, there are so many different ways to fight sexism and there are just as many ways to be a feminist. All people of all races, colors and backgrounds can and should be open to diversifying the capital-F Feminist dialogue - if not, we're stuck with the same rhetoric we've been using for a hundred years.
Thanks to Al Jazeera
Photographs via Al Jazeera