Every roundup I’ve seen to the effect of “The Worst of the Women Against Feminism Tumblr” has struck me not for its infuriating misconceptions surrounding the undoing of centuries-old systems of oppression, but for how fucking white, and thin, and long-haired (ie., traditionally feminine), and hetero, and married, and baby-having everyone is. Like, o rly? You don’t need feminism because INTERSECTIONALITY DOESN’T APPLY TO YOU? Tell me more.
I clicked through a backlog of about 3 weeks’ worth of posts on the Tumblr itself, and found perhaps a dozen women who weren’t white or white-passing. (If this sounds like a lot, you have no idea how popular this Tumblr is or the sheer volume of posts it accumulates every day.) I found only two who addressed anti-feminism from a queer perspective. And I found a disturbing number of 14-year-old girls.
Leaving out the obvious factual errors, logical fallacies, and general slut-shaming these women engage in, the biggest issue seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of privilege and how it restricts opportunities, benefits, and social and economic mobility for people who don’t have it. Of course you don’t feel the effects of misogyny, you, suburban white woman, with a husband and children, and financial stability. Of course you feel like you have equal opportunities with men, and that the pay gap is a myth.
Do you walk and/or take public transportation alone through an urban area to get to work, where you make less than a male counterpart, which may necessitate you living in a rougher neighborhood, and/or taking public transportation in the first place, where you are then subjected to catcalling and street harassment on a daily basis, which leads you to obsess over your wardrobe choices each and every time you leave the house, weighing your outfit’s likelihood of drawing attention instead of just wearing whatever you goddamned feel like? No, because you’re a housewife in an affluent suburb? Cool.
And pay inequality, street harassment, and rape culture are only three facets of female oppression. The issues become more complicated when considering women of color, and the disproportionate amount of burden they must carry. Or queer women and the struggle they face. Or transwomen and their pain. All because of social frameworks designed to systematically fuck them over while privileging straight white cisgender men.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that everyone has to have the experience of oppression to be a feminist; but refusing to acknowledge the experiences of women less privileged than you is textbook poor allyship.
It’s easy to claim that you don’t need feminism when you’re in a place of privilege and agency. Feminism isn’t about victimizing you, if you don’t feel victimized. Or about “blaming” your husband/boyf/dad/pastor specifically because they are men. It’s about acknowledging that there are systems of oppression in place that make life harder for women who choose not to conform to traditional gender roles. And that only becomes more difficult and more complex the more marginalized identities a woman accumulates in her lifetime.
It’s fine if you don’t personally feel like you need feminism because you don’t feel the effects of misogyny. But there are absolutely women who don’t have that privilege and who deserve it just as much as you do. And refusing to acknowledge that makes you pretty shitty at being a human.