The Real Division In Feminism

Kids are at the park and all is calm in my world for a few minutes.  I thought, perfect time to celebrate the calm with green tea and slate magazine.  After reading, “We Need To Talk”, screaming kids somehow seems like a welcome diversion.  The point of the Slate article is that the true division that has become obvious due to the failed Clinton campaign is the generational rift between 2nd and 3rd wavers in feminism.  Mothers can simply not support their daughters choice to vote for Obama after all of their sacrifices. Yes Lithwick tells us, “If there is any reconciling to be done at this point in the Democratic primary, it’s between women and other women. The worst of the intergenerational bickering of the past months has resulted from a failure of empathy; a breakdown in our capacity to acknowledge that the experiences of others are as compelling as our own. In a sense, we have simply been doing battle over whose stories are more legitimate—the second-wavers or their Pottery Barn daughters— or whose perceptions of gender discrimination are more accurate.” Clinton has shown us that we don’t respect our mothers struggle, and they don’t accept our autonomy.  This is the lesson learned after months of struggle, bickering, angst, and tears.

Guess what Lithwick, I’m not buying your argument.  In fact I am irritated by it. Feminism as you define it means WHITE WOMEN. Oh my God, the white women are upset.  Everything must come to a halt while they work out their issues, and regroup. Feminism cannot possibly go on while white women are going through such emotional angst. How will they survive? They have barely gotten over Oprahs betrayal, her support of Barack Obama, and now Clinton finally had to concede defeat.  But Valenti of feministing fame is quoted as saying, we should work towards a “better, more forward-looking feminism.”… really does that mean that women of color will start to be more than an occasional blurb on your blog….Or that our issues will actually be treated with a measure of respect and seriousness?  I’m not holding my breath, my children still need their mama.   I still remember Feministings acknowlegement of the Bell verdict, announce it and move on quick.  Of course the fact that his mother was dealt an emotional blow that day was irrelevant.  She was only a black mother, so no need for any serious analysis of the effects of police brutality on black women.

Reports like like this one at Slate magazine explain why so many WOC are sick and tired of feminism.  Despite the fact that as women we are subject to sexism, rape, domestic violence, (the ultimate) glass ceilings etc feminism continues to make it clear that we do not have a place in it.  Reading this article describing the fissures in feminism that erupted due to the Clinton/Obama divide, one would believe that black women were not placed in a unique position wherein we had to ponder both race and gender.  We were never pulled in two directions, despite the fact that race and gender equally impact our lives. No the election was not used as some sort of litmus test of our loyalties. Weren’t you listening the problem with feminism is WHITE WOMEN and the AGE DIVIDE.  WOC weren’t going through anything at all.  Feminism in no way creates white woman as the monolithic representative, and this slate article isn’t narcissistic  in its approach. I am just one crazy, venom spouting woman of color who has lost her mind.  Is there some sort of special door that WOC should be knocking on to be recognized as women? Some secret handshake that we neglected to learn?  I thought having a vagina and or identifying as female was enough to be counted as one..apparently not.

Watching Michelle and Barack stand on stage and together in unity meant so much for people of color.  We have been afraid to dream for so long.  We have been told don’t push, things will come in time.  Barack dared to dream, he had the audacity to hope and beyond our wildest imaginations a significant part of our dreams were fulfilled.  The next morning I was able to tell my child, baby you can be anything you want to be, and truly mean it.  Not only did black men get an excellent role model in Barack, black women got one in Michelle.  You see WOC never forgot about her.  What would a black first lady mean to us?  We who have been stomped upon, abused, marginalized and silenced?  But then our reasons for voting for Barack are unimportant, because we don’t represent feminism. How can we represent feminism when we are barely acknowledged as women? 

The more whining and simpering that I read, the more incensed I become.  I want to ask these Hilary supporters who claim victim status, what does it feel like, because you know we WOC certainly cannot identify with what it means to be marginalized or made to feel invisible?  All you young third wavers who voted Barack while barely acknowledging what his candidacy meant for people of color, it amazes me how you never fail to make yourself the center of any story.  Both sides are narcissistic .  Both sides make me sick.  You can keep your feminist label because it is clear, it was never for, and never will be for women like me.  I will embrace womanism, because in that discourse I am a woman equal to all that surround me.  Perhaps one day when you can see beyond your own myopic needs and desires feminism might actually represent women for the first time ever, won’t that be a historic moment worthy of celebrating.

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