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Fellow White Ladies, We Need To Talk...

There's a lot of rights at stake in the next four years, but most of what's at stake has nothing to do with cis white women. 53% of white women voted for Trump and we have a lot of work to do. Here's some ideas on how ensure your feminism is intersectional.

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Let's talk about feminism and our current role within it.

It appears a new mass feminist movement has begun, and we can’t and shouldn’t be the ones that lead it. We have oppressed to many marginalized voices in the past century (and forever) and we don’t deserve this one. This needs to be an intersectional (look up Rebecca Walker) movement, and we have yet to prove we are capable of leading movements that are inclusive of all voices.

That being said we can still, and need to be a part of it! But we need to listen, validate, and amplify the voices of women of color, men of color, queer people, trans people, people who are disabled, immigrants, Muslims, economically disadvantaged people, houseless people, and so many more marginalized identities.

Don’t expect marginalized groups to educate you about their identities! It is exhausting and draining work to have to constantly prove that your life matters, and they don’t own that time to us. However, if you do get the opportunity to listen to someone’s life experience of being part of a marginalized group in America, hold onto their truth, learn from it, respect it, and let it inspire your feminism (also keep personal narratives confidential unless they say otherwise, treat it like a gift that you can’t give away).

But if you go to a majority white school and basically have all white friends (as I did the first 18 years of my life) I recommend that you READ A LOT!!! Read feminist books, articles, social media pages etc. by women of color, men of color, queer people, trans people, people who are disabled, immigrants, Muslims, economically disadvantaged people, houseless people etc. etc. Trust me they’re really easy to find. What are you interested in? Climate Change? Coo! Google “how climate change affects _____.” Income inequality? Awsome! Google “how income inequality affects ____.” Reproductive rights? Wonderful! Google “how reproductive rights affect ____.” I could go on all day, but I will leave you to the rest.

I messed up. In my early years as a feminist I read and absorbed media that were mostly by and for white women. To say the least, my feminism really suffered and I made (and continue to make) countless mistakes. But I am learning and unlearning a lot, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life, and I encourage you all to do the same.

Most importantly we need to keep talking to each other and educating one another. We may not be the leaders of the movement, but we are a part of it and we need to hold each other accountable to practicing intersectional feminism.

Photo of marchers from The Women's March on Washington: Portland
Mackenzie Hilmes

Photo of marchers from The Women's March on Washington: Portland

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