Until a few days ago I was an avid supporter of the pop culture wave of feminism. Young women who can do all the moves to ‘Single Ladies,’ and quote scenes from ‘Girls’ have been using the ever growing power of social media as a cathartic pin board, expressing disdain and hatred at a society that they feel is still geared against them. And I feel that, in ways, some of these projects are beneficial. Sites like ‘Everyday Sexism,’ have highlighted that despite the almost police-state levels of surveillance that we have in the Western world today, women still feel highly vulnerable when going about everyday life.
Yet the more I read about this new push for ‘equality,’ the more I realised how much it excluded me. I’m 20, a student and mixed-race, I identify strongly with my Asian roots and do all I can to embrace my ethnicity. I believed that other women who called themselves ‘feminists,’ would be from a range of ethnic, financial and intellectual backgrounds, but be united in a call for equality. This was idealistic thinking.
This modern wave of feminism is a middle class white woman’s tea party. They gather, usually on Twitter, talk about what a dick Robin Thicke is and punctuate the conversation with calls for gin and cake. It’s an exclusive, hipster collective that would knit a tapestry to Caitlin Moran if they weren’t so busy worshipping the Great British Bake Off. What angers me the most is that these women seem completely oblivious to problems outside theirs. They call and campaign for an end to Page 3 and the Daily Mail’s side bar yet never comment on the over sexualisation of Asian women on the internet. Why are boobs more important than the image of an underage girl being leered at whilst in a school uniform? Because one is white and the other not. Why do these women complain about ‘poor role models’ when women of colour are described as ‘sassy,’ or ‘fierce’ when they speak out just because of their heritage? Asian females severely lack role models as Western media fails to include them in television shows or films, and when they do they are usually stereotyped as mental tiger-women or kooky harajuku girls who look as though they’ve just stepped out of a video game. As I am not hispanic or African I do not want to speak for these women, but from what I have seen from articles and the #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag, women from a range of minority backgrounds feel that feminism, a movement founded by rich, white women, still hasn’t evolved to accommodate to the differing histories of women across the world.
White feminists need to realise that not every woman has grown up in the safety and comfort of the microcosm that comes with looking Caucasian. There are histories across the world of strong women that are often forgotten within Western society. Lets put away the ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘Girls’ box sets and realise that a woman eating cake on a toilet isn’t the voice of women everywhere. Let's stop greeting people of colour with ‘oh, I know another (insert country here) person, you should meet.’ Let's stop this new wave of feminism being a Cath Kidtson papered bake sale that completely accepts white girls wearing native American dress, yet throws the table over at side boob.
Agree? Disagree? Tell Rachael @RachaelKrishna