In what universe is it possible for MEN to tell women what feminism should look like? Aren't men the cause of feminism? Isn't feminism about the sexism women experience from men?
Enter "Intersectional Feminism."
"Intersectional Feminism" (IF) is based on the idea that discrimination intersects, which is true. But instead of seeing them as separate issues, IF conflates issues such as sexism, racism, homophobia, transgenderism, ableism all into one. Feminism is placed in the center of all of this and to be a "real feminist" you have to agree with what IF says about all the issues that pierce the center.
But it doesn't end there.
In IF, feminism is no longer about sexism, it's about racism.
Susan B. Anthony, a feminist icon, is the villain in IF. There's a meme that goes around that cuts a quote in half, making her appear racist.
“I will cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work or demand the ballot for the Negro."
What is missing from the quote is, "and not for woman."
The other two quotes are genuine, but lacking an important context: they were both said in direct response to what she felt were attacks or insults from Frederick Douglass. The two had been friends and close allies for both abolition and women's suffrage since the mid 1840s, but after the Civil War the relationship was strained when Douglass adopted a gradualist position and wanted to concentrate on rights for African-Americans first. Douglass feared that trying to universal suffrage all at once would be too difficult. Meanwhile Anthony feared that progressing in steps would inevitably stop short of full universal suffrage, and viewed Douglass's stance as a betrayal of the cause. (read more here.)
Susan B Anthony wanted women to be included in the 15th amendment, something you'd think feminist women would have also wanted. But this quote is used to vilify her as a racist and therefore dismissible. Frederick Douglas is the hero of the story.
The same is true of Martin Luther King Jr. He is lauded as a great civil rights champion, which he was, and God bless him for his efforts. But he was also sexist. He was a Baptist minister and didn't allow women to preach - just because they were women. And his many affairs cast a dark shadow of sexism over him. But if you mention his sexism to IF advocates, you are told you are deflecting.
How can you deflect from sexism by talking about sexism?
Only if it's not about sexism, but about racism.
IF has created a feminism that allows men to publicly attack and harass women based on their perceived whiteness. If you're a white woman, you cannot be a "real feminist." Only black women are allowed to talk about feminism, because it's about racism. As a white women you cannot know anything about racism, logically, therefore you need to sit down and shut up and listen to black women talk about their experiences. You can't talk about the sexism you encounter, because it's not about sexism.
The logic behind this is as follows:
white = racist
If you appear to be white, you are a racist.
If you're a racist, you're white.
By this logic men who are racist - and sexist - are also "white feminists."
And this leads to the insistence that men can be feminists too - but only if they work against racism, because IF is about anti-racism. It's not about sexism. White women are the enemy in IF. Black women and men are the heroes. By vilifying feminist icons and white women, IF has created an ideology that allows men to remain sexist under the guise of feminism.
It's the perfect coup.
Sexism and racism are separate issues that must be fought separately and simultaneously. They intersect in people's lives, but the cause is different: sexism is caused by men, racism by white people. Because the cause is different, the remedy must also be different. We cannot fight sexism with anti-racism, because some women are white. Neither can we fight racism with feminism, because not every poc is a woman. When the two are conflated we create a situation in which women become the enemies of feminism and men become the heroes.
Feminism has been hijacked.
It's time to rescue her.