Today’s feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others?
Author: Mikki Kendall
Genre: Nonfiction, Feminism
Final Rating: 4 Stars
I listened to this on audiobook and really enjoyed it.
This is a fascinating book on the concept of how mainstream white, cis feminism ignores or even sustains racism among women. I, like many feminists, think that mainstream feminism is one of the main reasons why the word gets such a bad reputation. The feminism that only supports white, cis and straight women isn’t feminism at all. It ignores marginalized communities and their issues, when instead it should be helping. My feminism, includes all humans that identify as women (or other), despite their of race, nationality, background, or economic/social class. Kendall focuses on these issues with a stunning clarity, and she will not hesitate to call you out.
Sometimes being a good ally is about opening the door for someone instead of insisting that your voice is the only one that matters.
This isn’t an easy read. The author points out issues that could make you uncomfortable, but racism and sexism are a topic that we should be having conversations about. Something we should be putting effort into knowing more about.
Mikki Kendall does an amazing job on connecting feminism and racism to issues like gun violence, poverty, hunger and more which are usually ignored by mainstream feminism. She dives deep into how these issues affect women, mainly black women, and how we can help. And, how we are increasing the issue. She takes into account many vectors of identity and diversity. This book will educate you on so many things, things that at first thought you wouldn’t connect to feminism.
Mainstream, white-centered feminism hasn’t just failed women of color, it has failed white women.
The author explains in rich, engaging essays how and why feminism needs to change so it can help all women. She talks about how feminism can ban many women, mostly women of color and trans-women. She shows how race, sexual orientation, class, and disability can and do create challenges for intersectional feminism.
Ms. Kendall explains how feminism needs to change in order to work for the needs of all women. She addresses the ways in which feminism tends to exclude and leave behind many women, especially women of color and trans-women, and shows how things like race, sexual orientation, class, and disability come together to create unique challenges and needs for women.
Ignoring the treatment of the most marginalized women doesn’t set a standard that can protect any woman.
We need to open our minds to new ideas and look at the disadvantages minorities are facing right in the eye. We can’t keep shying away from the idea that all women should have equal rights, not just white women. We need to listen to the minorities who have actually faced these challenges.
Why isn’t this being read in schools instead of Moby Dick? Students should learn about issues that we face today, not about some rich white guy from 200 years ago (no offense to people who like the book).
One of the biggest issues with mainstream feminist writing has been the way the idea of what constitutes a feminist issue is framed. We rarely talk about basic needs as a feminist issue. Food insecurity and access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. Instead of a framework that focuses on helping women get basic needs met, all too often the focus is not on survival but on increasing privilege. For a movement that is meant to represent all women, it often centers on those who already have most of their needs met.