taylor-swift-free zone

August 11, 2016 Roobs Leiser

whether we like it or not (and we shouldn’t) the face of feminism is white, cisgender, heteronormative, able-bodied, and middle-class. or, at least, it’s perceived to be. feminism is seen as being a hobby for privileged white girls who find themselves with a lot of free time as a result of not having to worry about being the target of racism, hate crimes, ableism, homophobia, police brutality, poverty, lack of resources, or centuries of race-based systemic inequality. this free time is therefore used to campaign for free chocolate when we’re on our periods and for the government to start development on a real-life-wearable snapchat puppy filter. i mean, i’m joking, but if we allow white feminism to define the cause then that may as well be the case. 
i’m gonna try & keep this one short - because intersectional feminism shouldn’t be difficult, or complicated, to define. at its core, it is simply the understanding that, yes, women as a whole have it harder than men but that, within our sphere of womanhood, there are women in multi-faceted scenarios who have it even harder. intersectionality was initially popularised by kimberle crenshaw, who described how the discrimination black women faced was more than just sexism and racism separately - but an entity that was a combination of the two. the theory has since been broadened to include the discrimination faced by anyone who doesn’t fit into the categories deemed to be normal or favourable by a patriarchal, heteronormative, white supremacist society. 
intersectionality is realising that the forces that cause injustice and inequality are not the same for all women. it is about recognising that these forces of oppression interact in different ways for different women, leading to a different experience of discrimination - which a ‘non-divisive’ approach to feminism does not accurately represent. playing the ‘non-divisive’ card does not make you a good person, and it certainly does not make you a good feminist. what it does, though, is leads to the erasure of the issues and concerns of certain people and their identities. it will also continue to guarantee that injustice which affects all women will only be solved for women whose sole source of oppression is her womanhood. a useful example is the decades-long gap between ‘women’ getting the right to vote in the USA, and women who weren’t white and upper-class getting the right to vote in the USA. 
white cis middle-class girls being made to feel uncomfortable upon the realisation of their own privilege is not the primary concern. a system built on division cannot be fixed if, at every turn, white people try to derail the momentum by labelling it as being socially divisive. 
one-size-fits-all feminism does not work. while we continue to subscribe to a notion of feminism that takes into account only the white, cis, able-bodied, middle-class perspective, the movement can only fail. how can we have allowed the voice of feminism to become so marginalised that a great number of women and non-binary people don’t think it even applies to them? as the wonderful rachel wiley (look her up) said: white feminism is about as feminist as dr pepper is a medical doctor. do not consider yourself a part of the fight for all women if your version of feminism does not fight for ALL women. 

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