Why feminism is a ‘white women’s movement’

The oxford dictionary defines feminism as being “Advocacy of equality of the sexes and the establishment of the political, social, and economic rights of the female sex.”

Let’s break this down, feminism itself was birthed within the West. In 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention it the abolitionists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.“We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal.” Often referred to as the First Wave of Feminism and the Second Wave erupting during the 1970s. As I mentioned Feminism itself came to fruition within the West hence why it is a ‘White Womans movement.’ Even early feminism had its own glass ceiling, it was mainly centred around middle-class white women, with women of POC often being ignored and still being seen as inferior. This was the poster for feminism if you will. So Feminism from the start had an elitist mentality that it was only white middle-class women who were ‘allowed to be equal’ to men.

It’s only recently that we have been this perception starts to change and the Feminist movement itself being more inclusive. The birth of difference feminism, for instance, has helped to establish more inclusivity and diversity within the feminist movement. Difference feminism is the idea that woman is both oppressed by the patriarchy and by racism, therefore, leading to a double bind of oppression. We often try to separate the issue of gender inequality and racist inequality however these ideas are both deeply rooted within each other. Black woman, for instance, makes 61 cents for every dollar that a white man makes, which is a larger gap than the one for white women. More than 4 in every 10 black women will experience domestic violence from an intimate partner during their lifetimes. And black mothers are 243% more likely than white mothers to die from pregnancy-related complications.

When we remember the achievements of women and the advancement of women's rights throughout history that have helped to this day. We forget about the hidden glass ceiling. We forget that POC still suffered from depression and inequality despite these advancements. We must ensure, that every woman, whatever colour, size, the shape gets representivity, gets a seat at the table.

To conclude my thoughts, feminism is a ‘white woman’s’ movement because it was birthed in the West. It is and was based around the issues that affect white middle-class woman such as not being able to work, equal pay and voting rights. Hence leading to an ivory tower of female rights. Not looking at the wider issues that affect all woman, more pressing issues such as domestic abuse and the entrenched misogynistic attitudes within our society.



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Hiya! My name is Maryam and welcome to my space! I usually write about anything that comes to my mind! Mostly sociology related!