This is something that has been playing on my mind for a long time. This is only going to be a short update, because there is so much I want to say on this subject and I really need to spend time before fully addressing it in order to fully do this topic justice. That being said, I really need to say this:
Feminism is not pick and choose. If you abuse your family members, and spew racist comments, you should not be held up as a feminist icon. If you steal Asian roles from Asian women, you are not a feminist icon. If you bash black women for nude photography and yet do the same thing yourself in the name of feminism, you’re not a feminist icon. If you’re pro-choice, and yet contribute to racist, vile language on national television, you are not a feminist icon.
I am sick of seeing white women held up as icons while they take part in cultural appropriation, or the fetishisation of races or sexuality, or the blatant stealing of movie roles from women of colour. And as a white woman myself it is my duty to ensure that those women suffering the brunt of this are actually heard. Because they’re talking, but we are so obsessed with listening to those who do the bare minimum (and sometimes not even that) that we don’t even hear them.
Being a woman is a complex experience, with many identities intersecting. Hardly any woman fits into one box and not another. There are black queer women; there are disabled Muslim women; there are transgender women who’ve had abortions; there are poor women who have suffered sexual abuse. Feminism is not one-size fits all, and it is not a pick ‘n’ mix. To be a feminist does not mean bashing one group of women for their choices while holding another group on a pedestal. Feminism includes all women, from all races, religions, cultures, abilities, financial backgrounds, genders, sexualities… you name it. But do not call yourself a feminist, and do not claim that your actions are carried out in the name of feminism with one hand, while the other is silencing huge groups of women who find their voices taken from them.