I am white, I am middle-class and I call myself a feminist. Have I hijacked feminism? Have women like me taken over the feminism label? I ask this because it seems to me that feminism has lost its way; that feminism is now becoming frivolous. 2016 saw feminism becoming fashionable. We have celebrities claiming that they are feminists, Taylor Swift and her squad are feminists. Feminism sells.
Has feminism become frivolous?
I am guilty
I have to hold-up my hands and admit that I am equally guilty of making it frivolous. I have lamented my lack of status on Jersey and I have shared my thoughts on manspreading. Yet, I have kept quiet on bigger more important matters. I haven’t shared my thoughts on how Trump got in, because I can’t get my head round it. I can’t understand how a man who was accused of being a sexual predator is running America. What I find even more disturbing is that 53% of white women voted for Trump and that many of them even declared themselves to be feminists.
Trying to make sense of it all
I tried to understand their motives, I tried to make sense of Trump. I tried to be optimistic. Yet, underneath it all I felt shame. Again, it seemed that white people had hijacked a positive movement – feminism and that they had twisted it to suit their own needs. At the core of feminism is the belief that our society is based on a patriarchal system that empowers white men and exploits the poor, and silences women and nonwhite people. However, a supposed feminists told the Guardian that she voted for Trump because “A feminist does not blindly do what she is told—she thinks and makes her own choices.” That voter tried to make her vote a feminist act. When a feminist is choosing a misogynist over a woman who was more qualified for the job, then we know that feminism has lots its way.
White and middle-class
Not only has feminism lost its way but it is now actively enabling patriachary. I don’t how to make sense of that, I don’t know what to do with that? A man is now running America and some feminists chose to put him there: a man who said that women should be punished for abortions. Feminists voted for a man who is now trying to enforce a muslim ban, sorry I mean travel ban. Again, the white narrative is the one that is dominating. America is hurtling backwards and we are seeing a return to an unequal society. America is now about discrimination. I can’t speak for those that are being discriminated against but I can speak as a feminist and I can say that feminism, true feminism wouldn’t have put Trump in power. Those white middle-class women who voted for him are not feminists. Feminism is not about white superiority. Feminism is about equality for all and a part of that means that we need to still be discussing race, gender and class.
We can’t let feminism lose its way. For the first time I am ashamed to call myself a white middle-class feminist. However, I won’t let that shame silence me. I will be using my voice, I will continue to write articles about feminism. Feminism is for us all, it is a shared struggle.
After hoping that he wouldn’t get in: he got in. After trying to be optimistic: he made me angry. We need to galvanise. We need to be heard. Those that voted Trump in are not feminists. Yet we shouldn’t waste our time blaming them. Nothing can be achieved from blame. We need to look to the future, we need to ensure that we return to the core of feminism. Just as America is attempting to silence certain corners of society, we need to empower ourselves and others; we need to make sure all voices are heard. Feminism has no place for self-interest. It’s not just about white women moaning about their lost of status, it’s not just about equal pay. It’s about all women: it’s about all of their struggles. We must continue the fight for all women. Trump won’t silence us.
What are your thoughts? Has feminism become frivolous?