tbh asian feminist tumblr and feminist communities on this website in general have a lot to be desired in terms of priorities
constant fetishization and othering is frustrating but not just because it ruins a night at the bar or your okc account but because it’s a dangerous form of oppression that literally leads to the rape, abuse, and death of Asian women worldwide
the submissive stereotype is not one that is frustrating only because of that annoying white douche hitting on you in your philosophy class that has a thing for asian girls but because it leads to the sexualization of young, many a time UNDERAGE asian girls, and the trafficking of them into the child sex industry
so many of our mothers and aunties and cousins are coming to this country as refugees, some who are well into their 70s and 80s and older, disabled, poor, and with no grasp of the English language, and being treated like shit
I don’t give a fuck about lucy liu or sailor moon or these constant images of stick-thin K-pop idols or Japanese street fashion models when your brand of feminism barely includes those who need it most; these aesthetics may be empowering and create a safe space/venting outlet for us young, able-bodied Asian women with access to myriad technologies but it shouldn’t just stop at us
our feminism must appeal to the disabled, the impoverished, the working-class, the displaced and disillusioned
Let’s talk about this quote for a second.
I remember I attended a college lecture about what feminism means in America and how imperial politics and economic gaps between the West and East render what women want and consider pivotal to their feminsim as conflicting and even antagonistic to each other.
My feminism, first and foremost, will always be anti-imperialism.
Imperial politics are dangerous and the very essence of narcissism. Imperial politics demonstrated within a feminist frame usually goes as follows: the most privileged women, ie. those who have access to technology, representation, occupy a particular media-friendly image or ideology and have access to those in higher slots in society are allotted platforms to speak about their experiences as women and without question, this gets presumptuously labelled “women’s experiences”. Being that women who are globally bestowed the highest tier are usually allowed such room to speak, their minimal struggles are then homogenized as the quintessential female experience and misogyny is wholeheartedly announced a tangible issue that can be easily eradicated out of modern Western society.
It’s no accident that women of color, women in occupied regions and those who face mass political or economic repression and their words which don’t satisfy neoliberal, imperialist gaze are deemed anti-progressive, race baiters, backwards, terrorist apologists, etc. Our complex, multi-faceted struggles within a white supremacist empire tap into too many accepted status quos for the average American moderate. It forces those who legitimize the war on terror and view racism as an entity of the past to confront their own unsightly prejudices and the systematic brutality their nations enacts on various global societies, as well as within its borders. It’s easier to find (and fabricate) any reason to demonize the likes of Trayvon Martin and his family for his own tragic demise or deem young Yemeni children necessary collateral damage for “the greater good” than to examine what other oppressions beyond misogyny exist that unquestionably burden the lives of otherized communities, including and especially the women in said communities.
Power feminism expects women to unanimously rejoice in the presidential election of Hillary Clinton, while her administration carries out the same murderous policies as her predecessors. Power feminism labels any legitimate criticism of influential women as inherent egregious misogyny. Power feminism devalues the loss of women’s lives abroad, while infantizling their independent resistance and stripping their agency by shamelessly declaring intervention as saving them. Power feminism within an imperialistic frame needs the hyper-demonization of otherized communities to justify its occupation. Power feminism can be even more dangerous than ruthless misogyny because of its insidious nature and lack of culpability.
We call ships ‘she.’ We call our war machines ‘women.’ We compare women to black widows and vipers. And you’re going to tell me it’s not ‘lady-like’ to scream, to take up space, to fight and demand respect and do whatever the hell I want. You’ve looked at nuclear bombs and been so in awe that you could only name them after women. Don’t try to down-play my power.
i understand the need to reclaim power and strength for women but i feel like this rubs me the wrong way because it’s just so de-contextualized as a statement?
first: we call machines “she” because they can be controlled and operated. we call them she because men see objects as things just like they see women as things. on a meta level, it’s easy to say that the need to call weapons of war she has to do with 1.) massive homophobia in modern industrialized warfare and militaries (and even every day society, like men calling their cars ‘girls’) and 2.) the idea that war is meant to de-masculinize and devastate the opponent. It is a humiliation that is understood on a subconscious level.
second: i don’t know what nuclear bombs you’re talking about, but the only nuclear bombs dropped onto people were called “fat boy” and “little man”. it doesn’t take a huge stretch to point out the phallic shape associated with nuclear warfare.
third: women are called vipers and black widows because uh…they’re constantly coded as malicious, treacherous, sexual, and murderous beings who pose a threat to men? last time I checked, the “black widow” who preys upon rich men, marries them, and then murders them for their money was not a flattering or empowering term.
this is why i was so upset that when discussions of weapons & women/the feminine came about it seemed to call this all positive and empowering instead of fundamentally identifying the societal coding of women and their sexuality as dangerous and evil (particularly in the west), and to identity how women in the media are coded as objects and tools of sexual/destructive force either to society, or men or masculinity in general. (see also: fragility of masculinity, the harlot, the madonna/whore complex, the black widow, the gold digger, the slut, the siren, the succubus, vagina dentata, bridezilla, dragon lady, welfare queen, the hairy lesbian, etc tropes/slurs/stereotypes ALL of which directly related to sexuality or lack thereof or coded “mis-used” sexuality.)
last: i do not want to be an atom bomb. i am not an imprint or an echo of the destructive forces of the patriarchy and have no desire to be associated with black widows or vipers or war machines. my interest in destruction of societal norms which harm people cannot be equated to an industrial military complex, neither can my sexuality or my being.
it is not the same kind of power, it is not the same kind of force.
we can be powerful without wearing the masks of men.
I just don’t get why ppl couldn’t hop on the feminist “trend” when Maya Angelou died or when Beyoncé released ***Flawless or any other time when someone support intersectionality like I’m happy that feminism gets mainstream attention but somehow it only does when it’s a petite beautiful white woman saying very abbreviated version of it
I am going to be fairly honest Emma Watson has never really interested me. I am not a Harry Potter fan and I haven’t seen much of her work as an actress. But I know deep down that the main reason why I have never really cared for Emma Watson is because she represents everything that I am not. I am not a white heterosexual middle class woman whose clean cut is adored by the public and the media and is what society wants me to be. Instead I am a poor black woman from Peckham who is solely just seen “ghetto”, “ratchet” and a “thot”. I am highly aware of 4chan threatening to leak nude photos of her because of her speech which I honestly believe is cruel and extremely misogynistic. However, I will not ignore the fact that the reason why feminists especially white feminists and the media are not criticising the problematic nature of her speech is because of her high power status as a white heterosexual cis middle class.
Lack of intersectionality
Emma Watson states when she researched the word feminism and she noticed it has become unpopular. According to Emma Watson she is “among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive”. In this case Emma Watson is extremely wrong. The idea of feminism being associated with hating men is soley rooted in lesbophobia. How many times have you heard “you are a feminist oh shit you must be a lesbian and you totes hate men lmao” from a random dickhead when you tell them you are feminist? Emma Watson speech continues to erase women who are more marginalised by her by simply not acknowledging that is black women who are constantly trapped in the one dimensional racist trope of being as a strong angry black woman. We have already seen how detrimental this trope is with the New York Times article about Shonda Rhimes. It is the strong angry black woman trope that silences us and dismisses our cries when we are sick and tired of everything that is a result of our double oppression.
“What about the Men?” Feminism
“What About the Men” feminism is a current trend within white/mainstream feminism. This type of feminism advocates that women should make spaces for men in feminism and should essentially pander to men. I strongly disagree with “What About the Men” feminism not only is this idea extremely patriarchal and kyrichal but as a black woman I do not see why I have to make the space for men especially for white cis heterosexual men when their spaces are virtually everywhere in all aspects in society. Black women have been constantly marginalized and not accepted in the feminist movement from the very beginning. Instead of white feminists trying to remove the overt racism in the feminist movement, creating spaces for black women and stop using intersectionality as a buzzword they would rather focus on praising male feminists and creating space for men. Emma Watson has been guilty of dismissing Beyonce’s feminism because it “pays too much attention to men” even though that is not the case and it is actually HER feminism that is male centric. This all just shows how feminism continues to fonder anti-blackness and further alienate black women.
Malcom X was asked by a journalist when he founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity if white people were allowed to join. Malcom X simply replied that white people were not allowed to join the organisation because as black people we had to sort out detrimental impacts that white supremacy has made on black people. The same rhetoric goes for feminism. Men should use their privileged position to make society accessible for women it shouldn’t be the other way around.
So much Westernisation…
Let us all remember that this speech and the HeForShe campaign is for the United Nations. The UN (like IMF and WTO) promote the strong fundamental idea that the West is civilised and any country that is not Western is deemed as uncivilised, savage and barbaric. These racist and imperialistic stereotypes of the Global South is inherently linked with the idea that people of colour in the Global South need to be saved and most importantly saved by white Westerns. The white saviour complex allows white Westerners to get away with not taking responsibility for the fact colonialism is the main reason why the Global South is suffering. Emma Watson’s speech and campaign does not acknowledge the fact it is capitalism and neo liberal policies that has constantly harmed women of colour in the Global South rather than benefited them. For instance in the past the use of modernization theories in development polices actually created gender inequality and contributed to the oppression women in the Global South face today. Emma Watson does not even pay any respect to African feminists and African women who have continued to fight for their own liberation which is deeply rooted in black womanhood livelehood. At the end of the day it was African Women in the Congo who had to fight against modernisation theories destroying their agricultural livle. Why didn’t she use her privilege and platform as a celebrity to reaffirm African women and African feminists who have fought for their liberation rather than Hilary Clinton?
I am so done with this type of feminism getting praised all the time. I am not here to educate/pander to men or let white feminists dismiss me and other black women’s feminism simply for the fact we are black. The more this continues to go on the more I think I should follow down the path of womanism because at least my struggle to exist in a white supremacist, kyriarchal and capitalist society with be fully understood and I will be accepted with open arms.
The other reproductive rights:
- The right to not be sterilized against your knowledge
- The right to not be sterilized against your will
- The right to not be coerced into sterilizing yourself in order to gain citizenship, relief from imprisonment, change a gender marker, etc.
- The right to determine how you will give birth
- Placeholder for rights regarding adoption which I don’t have the ability or energy to articulate right now
- The right to not be forced/coerced/tricked into selling your child? How about that one?
I throw around the phrase “intersectional feminism” around a lot, and I think a lot of other people do too. I just want to make a quick post/guide if you have ever been confused about what that means.
- intersectionalism is associated with 3rd wave feminism (some argue it is post-3rd wave)
- yes, there are different waves of feminism: the first is best associated with women that fought for basic rights like voting, land ownership, etc. second wave is about 60s-80s (some argue 90s) with more militant activists, that challenged sexuality, gender roles, etc.
- it’s important to note that generally first and second wave feminism more times than not, excluded women of color. this is why you see black feminism.
- third wave feminism is relatively new. this wave introduced intersectionalism which looks at the way in which sex, gender, class, race, disability, etc can interact with each other and create or enforce institutions of oppression.
- if you are a white intersectional feminist then you should also be a white ally because you recognize that WoC face different oppression than your own. You should also seek education and ways in which you can stand with WoC rather than speak for WoC.
- if you are an intersectional feminist then you also challenge the ways in which already withstanding institutions of oppression can be connected to other social issues (i.e. michael brown: class, race).
If you have any questions or anything to add than feel free to ask/message me. And more importantly if you would like to open up a dialogue on any of these topics, I’d love to! It’s really important to know what you stand for.
Intersectionaility/intersectionalism was named by Kimberlé Crenshaw who studied intersectional theories and is a prominent figure in critical race theory. It’s important to know that this term came from a black woman.
First and second wave feminism excluded women of color, disabled women, and trans women.
Many black women and other women of color are involved in Womanism. Not just black feminism. Womanism centers black women and was created by Alice Walker. Womanism looks at issues of race, class, disability, and sexuality in white feminism. White women cannot be womanists. White women already have feminism and do not need a second movement that includes them. Non-black women of color can be womanists but must consistently check their anti-blackness and deconstruct their prejudices.
Striving to be an ally to women of color, trans women, disabled women, and nonbinary people is great and necessary, but it needs to be remembered that the term “ally” is individually given to you and not one that you can place upon yourself.
If white American feminist theory need not deal with the differences between us, and the resulting difference in our oppressions, then how do you deal with the fact that the women who clean your houses and tend your children while you attend conferences on feminist theory are, for the most part, poor women and women of Color?
What is the theory behind racist feminism?