The Trouble with White Feminism: Whiteness, Digital Feminism and the Intersectional Internet
37 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2015
Date Written: February 16, 2015
In August, 2013 Mikki Kendall, writer and pop culture analyst, started the hashtag #SolidarityisforWhiteWomen as a form of cyberfeminist activism directed at the predominantly white feminist activists and bloggers at sites like Feministing, Jezebel and Pandagon who failed to acknowledge the racist, sexist behavior of one their frequent contributors. Kendall’s hashtag activism quickly began trending and reignited a discussion about the trouble with white feminism. A number of journalists have excoriated Kendall specifically, and women of color more generally, for contributing to a “toxic” form of feminism. Yet what remains unquestioned in these journalistic accounts and in the scholarship to date, is the dominance of white women as architects and defenders of a framework of white feminism – not just in the second wave but today, in the digital era.. In this chapter, I offer a critique of white feminism as it plays out on the intersectional Internet. To do this, I critically examine three examples of white women’s feminist activism: Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and “Ban Bossy” campaigns, Eve Ensler’s One Billion Rising, and The Future of Online Feminism report. I end with a discussion about the difficulty of challenging white feminism, how necessary it is to move forward, and how crucial the Internet is for sustaining such a critique.
Keywords: race, whiteness, feminism, digital activism, popular culture
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