Are white women even oppressed?
Every time the topic of women’s rights comes up I’m like, which women are we talking about here? Where in the world? Are we talking women who live under rape culture in certain parts of India? Women who can’t leave the house without their husband’s permission in Yemen? Women who are paid 30 cents less for every dollar a man makes in the US? Where do I fall in this discussion? Hint: the racial wage gap is much more severe, and is not gender specific.
I, for one, am preoccupied with the “black” part of my identity. I don’t give much thought to being a woman and the distress it elicits, possibly because my brain is at capacity stress level with blackness. Guys are assholes, sure; I’ll be single till one who acts right comes along. Catcalling is annoying, true, “mansplaining”? — I just explain my point again, better than his.
To be honest, I’ve always felt like exclusive fixation on womanhood is a white woman thing. Maybe it’s the “women and minorities” phrase. Am I supposed to pick one? Do I just naturally fall into both categories? If I choose woman one day am I no longer a minority? If I’m a minority the next day, am I no longer a woman? Must be lovely for white women to see “woman” and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it applies to them, that it highlights their status as the doe-eyed, feminine ideal oppressed group.
Some Black women I’ve spoken to feel like it’s unfair that they should have to pick an identity to pledge allegiance to. White women get to be women first and foremost, but we are primarily “black” women. So it’s a reclamation of sorts to see yourself as “woman” first and ignore the “black”, or to be able to speak from that intersectional standpoint, of being both “black” and a woman. I can’t say I disagree with them. We have been denied our femininity and the ability to be our full selves for a long time, by white men and women alike. We have been pitted against white women and deemed faulty in so many ways. By all means, let us center and value and uplift our womanhood.
I simply go about it in a different way. Woman is who I am. It is the physical manifestation of myself on this earth at this time. I am pleased with it, the constant learning of the strengths and challenges that come with being the sex I was born into. I do not feel threatened in my womanhood because of men, but because of racism. I am acutely aware of the slights associated with being the antithesis of the “ideal” white woman. In that regard, I do not see myself as having anything in common with white women, except perhaps a vagina.
We do not have the same lived experience, even when we live in the same country. The social stratification of race is powerful enough to create that divide. Historically speaking, all the way up until today, their proximity to power, wealth and status has been based on the deprivation of mine. What drug would I need to ingest now to believe that empowering white women means empowering all women?
The one who seethed in jealousy as her husband raped me? Where was our sisterhood then? The one who also kept me as property, according to new research asserting that 40% of slave owners were women? The one who forced me to breastfeed and love and nurture her children while she despised my own? The one who falsely accused people and got them lynched? The one who gains the most from any and all diversity efforts, such as affirmative action and welfare benefits? The one who espouses feminism while completely ignoring their own internalized racism? The one who stands on my neck to break the glass ceiling then celebrates it as a win for all women? The one who sees themselves represented in every film, every porn, every book, every bloody cartoon and still has low self-esteem?The one who deceptively insists that we have the same lack of power? That precious creature?
It’s not hard to see that what white women truly want is equal white supremacy. They have never cared about us, yet they expect us to forsake all others and share in their gripes about the “patriarchy”, which, quite frankly, was built by their own men to subjugate ours.They know that they are as much a thorn in our side as their men are, yet they feed us all this propaganda to become allies with them only to strengthen their own socio political agenda.
All black women are welcome to do what they want with their minds. As for this black woman right here, I will choose my allies and my missions very carefully. The only thing worse than a wolf is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Unfortunately, such has been my experience of many white women to date, but hey, at least they no longer have us tortured for disobedience. Now they just call the cops on us for no reason.
What progress,what sisterhood, what feminism!