Okay, let me just start this off right now by saying that probably for the next four years I’ll find some way to make a Hamilton reference. Sorry not sorry. Also, if for whatever reason you don’t like the topic of social justice, well…sorry not sorry.
Yesterday, I participated in one of the many Women’s Marches happening throughout the country and the world. I have never been to something like that before, save a few accidental run-ins to some protests when I was studying abroad in Greece and visiting Vienna. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure if I wanted/should go.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the equal rights of women and having the new administration truly hear our anger and frustration in regards to some critical laws that they plan to implement. However, as an African-American woman I was really unsure if this was something that I wanted to attend.
Defined in a 2015 Mic article by Julie Zeilinger, white feminism is “prioritizing the experiences and voices of cisgender, straight, white women over women of color, queer women and those who fall outside this narrow identity”. Cate Young, feminist blogger and author of Batty Mamzelle, describes white feminism as “any expression of feminist thought or action that is anti-intersectional,”.
Essentially, white feminism fails to take in the experiences, stories, and needs of queer, disabled, and/or women of color. And that’s a problem.
So yeah, I was a little unsure if I wanted to go to something that was based on the Women’s March in Washington DC that had initially excluded women of color from their leadership. Also, if you look at past women’s rights movements in U.S. history, you can see that the needs of white middle to upper class women were usually put before the needs of other women who didn’t fit that category. (Here are some links if you’re interested about learning more about this: Vox, Brittany T. Oliver Post 1, Post 2. Please know that this is a far from extensive list and I really encourage you to do your own research into all of this.)
Note: Let me clarify. I’m not saying that all white women who identify as feminist fall into the category of white feminist but they need to have realize and acknowledge that they have privileges that women who identify as queer, disabled, and/or of color do not have.
Despite past women’s right movement exclusion faux pas, I decided to go to the march in my city with some friends of my program.
Despite the trains and streets being packed with people, it was amazing to see women, men, children, young and old with pink “pussycat” hats and signs with various declarations and sayings. Getting over my usual discomfort with large crowds, it was great to see so many people there – 250,000 people, way more than they initially planned for. Though I overall had a positive experience – not including having to play “Where’s Waldo” phone tag to locate one of my friends who arrived to rally location later than we did – the momentum and solidarity that many people in that crowd felt must continue.
The marches are over. So now what?
Well, the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington have come up with the 10 Actions for the first 100 Days , the first action being sending postcards to Senators about issues that are important to you such as gun control laws or funding Planned Parenthood (because they do A LOT of other really important things besides abortions).
Another way to make a change is to get involved in local politics. It’s not just the Orange One in the White House you have to worry about. I’m constantly learning that knowing about and getting involved in local politics is super important.
You can also donate and/or volunteer with local organizations serving populations that will be affected by the new administration.
Whatever you do – and I’m saying this to myself as well – don’t become complacent. Don’t stay neutral. That’s just as bad.
“WHAT ARE YOU READING?”
Unfortunately, this has been a super busy last few weeks. I haven’t done much reading for pleasure because I’ve been swamped with readings for grad school which I doubt you want to know about. So, unfortunately I have no new current books to highlight for this week.
THE SONG I JUST KEEP REPEATING…
“Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” by Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin
Well, that’s all for now, folks! Until next time!
This is my own version of the Sunday Post by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. Don’t forget to check out the posts of others there!