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Allow me to paint you a picture—you walk down endless aisles of children's toys, shelves laden with white Barbie dolls, fake pastel makeup, and toy kitchens, tell me—what might your young daughter consider about herself? What would a WOC and her child consider about themselves? I imagine the interpretations would be entirely different, and it's that perception of difference between us which is why I need modern feminism.
When I say that I need it, it's not so much for my personal benefit, but more so for the people who slip under the radar simply because of lack of education and awareness of them.
There is a quizzical question that surrounds women's rights in modern day society, which is, why do we even need it anymore? Was feminism not a movement for the women of yesteryear who demanded the vote and equal pay? I get bombarded with adamant refusals in media that the western world no longer has a need for it. Women and men are so much alike nowadays that even pondering the separation between our human rights is ridiculous.
I bite back with my own question—what about other women? Does a transgender woman share the same social benefits and equalities as I do? What about WOC? Or disabled women? Immigrant women? LGBTQIA+ women? I could go on forever, and the reason my list is endless is because the latter are so undermined and unrepresented that they are rarely a consideration. The phenomenon of White Feminism is a genuine problem, that's not been created for the purpose of insulting or diminishining the struggles of white women, but to force us to come face to face with the radical notion that women's rights do not begin or end with us. The subjects of women's rights, race, gender, and sexuality are all delicately intertwined, with the latter often being overpowered and suffocated by the discussion.
I can sit and watch television, and I am beginning to see women emerge who in the past have been disregarded completely; however, the media and advertising alike are still entirely disillusioned about what equal representation looks like. I'm sure that the head honchos at gigantic corporate companies think, "well, we've begrudgingly added a woman to the mix, that oughta do it!" But when that woman is an upper class, supermodel-esque Aphrodite (which there is nothing wrong with), does that represent a minority or majority?
Don't get me wrong, in the last five years we have made leaps & bounds in slowly dismantling a patriarchal society. Celebrities are discussing sexual assault, transgender models are being hired by fashion companies, we are discussing gender and sex more than ever before, and this progress is being talked about by both baby boomers and millennials. This is possibly why it may seem that we've done enough. But we still do not often, if at all, include child brides in the conversation, or women in developing worlds who're modern slaves, WOC who are suffering the gender pay gap significantly. I myself am still learning how to be a "good" feminist, and I readily invite critique or questioning if it means that I can broaden my ideas of what feminism is, and empathise with the people who are involved with it. I try to remember my privilege in that, despite my biological femaleness, I am still top of the pecking order with many other women trailing behind me.
In essence, we must continue our journey in accessing mutual respect & opportunities, because intersectional feminism is all inclusive, not just for those favoured for their silver spoons and social class.