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This Is White Feminism

Intersectional feminism recognises that not all women experience oppression at the same frequencies and intensities.

As stated by the UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson:

"No country in the world can yet say that they have achieved gender equality."

Within gender inequality, women of colour often face further discrimination in comparison to caucasian women, and within that you'll find colourism—where women of colour who have darker completions, are still treated unequally in comparison to women with lighter-skin.

Colourism is an important issue, present not only in society, but also amongst communities of people of colour, that many people are blind to. People of colour who have darker complexions are not only unrepresented in the media and the beauty/cosmetics industry, but are constantly being portrayed to be less desirable in comparison to lighter-skinned women. We're constantly reminded by society that the standard for feminine beauty are thin, blonde, caucasian women. This idea has been ingrained into us and society for centuries. It has caused a multitude of effects such as the growing popularity of skin bleaching products in Asia, as well as the dehumanisation of dark-skinned black women, who are endlessly compared to animals and even insects.

Many people do not realise that the term "feminism" is broad and not inclusive. Beneath the fighting for equal pay and paid maternity leave, there's a much darker corner to female oppression that isn't as frequently addressed. The reason why? It's because these issues effect the minority groups of women: The women of colour, the women from lower incomes, the women with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ women who aren't often given the platform to discuss their oppression.

"White Feminism" is the term that refers to caucasian feminists who fail to acknowledge the oppression of all women, focusing primarily on white women's experiences. A caucasian woman's experience can't be compared to the experiences of other women; nevertheless, this doesn't eliminate the oppression that white women also face. However, how can one call themselves a feminist, or an activist for equality of the sexes, when they don't fight for the rights of all women? I'm not saying it's intentional—chances are white women are inadvertently promoting white feminism, simply because they have never experienced the same discrimination as other women. This, however, is by no means an excuse to not be educated on the matter. Emma Watson addresses the issue of white feminism here.

Intersectional feminism is a form of feminism that recognises that not all women face oppression in the same ways, or to the same extent, and that this is influenced by factors such as gender identity, race, and income. Not all women face discrimination at the same frequencies or intensities and this fact is often ignored by white feminists. Whilst there is a significant lack of women in many high paying jobs in relation to men, many black women are denied work under the pretenses that their names are "too ghetto." Many women whose sex doesn't match their gender identity still don't have the rights to use the bathroom that they're most comfortable using. Many women and young girls across the world living in less economically developed countries, don't even have access to education, basic healthcare or feminine hygiene products.

I'm in no way measuring one woman's inequalities against the other as if this were the oppression olympics (well, that's kind of what I'm doing)—but only to highlight the fact that women from minority groups are often neglected in feminist discussions, and aren't even invited to the table to shed light on their differing experiences. White women have the biggest platforms to discuss feminism, meaning they should be knowledgeable on feminism in all of its forms, and should be as eager to discuss these matters as they are about the ones that affect themselves.

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