Truth behind feminism

Madeline Bruce

Feminism. Today, it’s more of a trend than a movement. Scrolling through social media, you see girls with feminist T-shirts on, feminist decorations in their houses and feminist stickers on their laptops. Walk into any store branded toward teenagers and you see a section with feminist apparel.
Feminism goes much deeper than stickers on a water bottle or a pair of earrings, though. It’s an ideology, a part of our history and, most importantly, a unifying example of the strength women possess. Dumbing it down to surface-level slogans is not feminism.
Feminism also isn’t completely going along with everything a woman says simply because she is a woman. If a woman complains about having to work in a job she wanted, and one of her friends tells her to stop complaining because she wanted the job, her friend isn’t being antifeminist. The subject of feminism doesn’t relate to the topic at hand in the least.
A big issue is the difference between intersectional feminism and white feminism. If I had to put it simply, I’d just say white feminism isn’t feminism and leave it at that. But, people would ask me why and tell me my argument is invalid, so allow me to explain.
White feminism ignores the differences among women and only acknowledges the oppression of women in general, placing the rights and issues white women face before those of women of color.
Take, for example, the suffrage movement in the early 20th century. White women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton acknowledged the plight of black women and their right to vote, but they prioritized the right of white women to vote over that of black women. In 1920, the 19th Amendment was passed, giving women the right to vote. Still, black women were restricted from voting.
A more modern example of this can be the “pussy hats” that were worn at the Women’s March in 2017. Sure, in theory, they were great. Wearing a pink hat with cat ears to symbolize womanhood seemed like the perfect way to stick it to the man — the man at the time being Donald Trump.
These hats symbolized strength and femininity, two things that have been mutually exclusive in the past. They were a unifying accessory for women at the March and around the world, but they left one section of women out.
When you look more closely at it, though, wearing a hat that symbolizes “pussy power” excludes transgender women. It becomes a symbol of trans-exclusionary feminism, of cisgender women who only care about their own rights and ignore the added difficulties trans women face.
It’s hard enough being a woman, try being a trans woman who has to face all of the stigmas that come with being transgender. Feminism that ignores those stigmas and hardships trans women face isn’t feminism.
I could go on about examples of fake feminism, because the list is endless, but my main point is that fake feminism can be easy to get caught up in. Behind the “girl power” T-shirts and “empowered women empower women” slogans is someone who is only a feminist on the surface.
Education is important, so if you find that you’re excluding a demographic of women from your feminism, do research. Learn more about the issues women of different backgrounds face in comparison to yours.

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