Courtesy of this facebook page. So excellent.
this is one of those posts i try hard to ignore. real hard. half the people on my dashboard who i’ve seen reblog it have been critical, the other half have been loving it. it’s hard to ignore THIRTY THOUSAND NOTES but hey, it gives me a great occasion to map out how this is pretty representative of what is wrong with “third wave” feminism.
heeeeeeeeeeeey look! it’s a bunch of white ladies using quotes from white first wave feminists who were classist and racist! margaret sanger allied herself with the klu klux klan. yes, she made important steps towards access to birth control, but namely because she didn’t want the “wrong kind” of people making babies - disabled people, first nations people, black people, poor people. susan b. anthony was hardly perfect either.
i could go on, but i’m going to stop myself there: this is not a criticism of the people who made these posters. or their choice to protest. it’s more that this is the kind of pervasive “feminist message” that gets out there and sticks. it’s something that made me really tune out of the “feminism lite” that i see going around on tumblr - there is so much space for posts like these ones, of relatively little substance, celebrating white cis women, and very little space for real conversations about MY FEMINISM WILL BE INTERSECTIONAL OR IT WILL BE BULLSHIT. i’m talking about bell hooks’ definition of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, because these posters really only seem to be challenging the “patriarchy” part of the formula. which needs to be challenged, of course! but it’s not enough to JUST do that, over and over and over.
i know i’m holding my breath if i’m waiting for the days i’ll see sherene razack quotes challenging islamaphobic racist feminists getting thousands of notes on tumblr, but that’s not the point. the point is what resonates. what pretty packaged feminism makes the ‘rounds, and what earth-shaking, mind-blowing, absolutely essential and important feminism stays in books and the ivory tower.
it just reminds me of how young third wavers who are so into social media who will always have their sacred cows of feminism, when criticisms of kathleen hannah or courtney love or jessica valenti or fuck, even madonna, are seen as “mean, personal attacks.” why riot grrl wasn’t, and isn’t, enough. when your version of feminism constantly erases trans people, is heternormative, but loves dan savage.
when your version of feminism tokenizes poc on the rare occassion it includes them.
when your version of feminism will use ableist slogans without batting an eyelash as to whether you’re making an effort to challenge how accessible your movement, events, or protests really are.
when your version of feminism will villify chris brown ad nauseum, while giving white musicians and actors who have done equally horrific things a passing grade. aren’t we working to end gender and racial violence?
when your version of feminism will pass around reading lists of middle class white women.
even my own criticisms here are still centering the white feminist experience. i could go on and on and talk about the incredible people who have worked, and are working hard to dismantle this version of feminism in people’s minds. midwives in rural regions who won’t ever get statues in major cities celebrating the work they did to give women autonomy over their own bodies. women who passed down traditional knowledge of reproductive systems, and whose stories have been largely erased by voices like margaret sanger.
we shouldn’t have to ask you to work on this. this should be a given. i’m getting increasingly fed up with having to challenge people on this shit. my feminism will be fucking intersectional or it will be bullshit.