Yet another garbage article came out today by a white woman crying about the mean intersectional feminists on Twitter and Tumblr. “Feminist infighting takes our eyes off the real struggle.” “Feminist infighting isn’t getting us anywhere.” By “infighting” they mean “valid criticism” and “the real struggle” they mean “the struggles that matter to me.” By “getting us anywhere” they mean “getting to a place where my concerns are the first ones addressed and where my words are the most important.”
I realize that I occupy a complicated place in feminism. I’m a white woman. I’m a cisgender woman, I’m a generally able-bodied woman, I’m an educated woman, and I’m a woman who has never known real poverty. I’m a happily married woman who’s never had children. I work in the media (and I’m not counting this blog). Books like “Lean In” speak directly to me.
I have been criticized on this site, repeatedly, for ignoring issues facing people of color, trans people, disabled people, and other marginalized groups. And maybe the first couple of times it happened, years ago, I dissolved into my white woman’s tears and felt like I was being attacked, and wrote and deleted long posts defending myself. And then I realized that these people were actually doing me a fucking favor. I needed to be told to check my privilege. I needed to be told to keep the needs of women who aren’t like me in mind when I write. I needed to be reminded of issues that don’t directly affect me.
This “infighting” that these writers are talking about isn’t infighting at all. It’s feedback. Desperately, desperately needed feedback. Us white women have been running the show for too long. It’s long past time to actually LISTEN when other women talk to us.
The idea that being criticized “isn’t getting us anywhere” makes me wonder where “we’re” going. I don’t want to be along for that ride. I’m 100% uninterested in a feminism that only cares about white women’s troubles. I’m 110% uninterested in a feminism that puts the delicate feelings of professional writers and organizers above the lived experiences of marginalized people. I’m 120% uninterested in any sort of movement where Karnythia and RedLightPolitics are easy targets for mainstream media white feminists (they were called out by The Nation and The Guardian, respectively).
If you can’t handle negative feedback about your work, you do not belong on the internet. If you can’t take criticism about your writing without crying that it’s “toxic,” you aren’t ready to be a professional writer. If the place your feminism is “going” is “away from the needs of marginalized people,” then I don’t want to be involved.
Everybody has something to contribute to feminism. Even white ladies! But some of you need to take a biiiiiiig step back and think about what kind of feminism you want to contribute to. If it’s one free from discourse, accountability, and criticism, count me out.