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Sunday, April 18, 2010

A white girl's response to Renee Martin

I’m a white girl. I am also a feminist. However, I am under no illusions that my experience with feminism, that it is representative of my personal experience as a woman, is widely-felt. I hear what Renee Martin is saying, and I have no “yeah, but…” response to her complaints. They are legitimate. Despite what white people may say… feminism can be hostile to women of color. Feminism, while striving to include all women (e.g. woc, trans, disabled, elders, youth, working class women, etc), is still a product of our flawed, society. You know, the one with all the systemic oppression in it. So it makes sense that other oppressions, like racism, would be present in most mainstream feminist spaces/theory. I personally believe that feminism is not really doing its job unless everyone is represented and welcomed to participate in this community. Intersectionality is a must, it is necessary, it is The Key to dismantling oppression and it is the only way any of us is gonna see true equality in our lifetime. Therefore, if our sisters feel the need to be a womanist or an un-feminist or something else because feminism is too restrictive and doesn’t account for their experiences of oppression, we white girls better listen up and maybe do something about it. How about stepping back, making room for those who don’t necessarily share our fair skin tone, maybe sharing the mic more often, maybe we need to get more involved with race issues in a direct way. Show support for issues and concerns that are all too often ignored by white feminists. We also need to acknowledge the vast contributions that women of color have made, and are still making, to feminism. Renee has aired her grievances about the status quo, now how is feminism going to respond? To be continued…

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