Is Feminism Truly Inclusive Of All Women? A Closer Look At Inequality And Intersectionality
Mikki Kendall, in her book Hood Feminism, highlights why feminism has left so many women behind.
Too often, the movement has failed at supporting those who are most disadvantaged: the poor and marginalized.
Although movements and campaigns have been launched to fight for some of their rights and recognition, they seldom speak out or feel heard in the battle of female empowerment.
Kendall’s view is that it’s time to broaden our focus by reconsidering what issues we need to prioritize within feminism ― from alleviating poverty to ensuring equal access to voting rights for all women.
Because true feminism isn’t just about speaking on behalf of privileged women but is also about speaking up for those who need more assistance and support from the rest of us.
In this groundbreaking book, readers will discover how poverty impacts one’s life journey; what it feels like to be immediately judged due to societal expectations; and why having women in positions of power doesn’t automatically result in better outcomes for other women.
The Need For Feminism To Include All Women: Advocate For Minorities In The Movement
The unfortunate reality is that too often, feminism does not look out for minority women.
Take Mikki Kendall’s grandmother for example; an inspirational woman who worked hard throughout her life both to earn money and later became a stay-at-home mother when she raised her four daughters.
While she wouldn’t have called herself a feminist, feminism was certainly dependent on people like the author’s grandmother, who took it upon herself to do domestic work even though it often came with pay inequalities and terrible working conditions.
However, what makes this worse is that many issues that affect minority groups within feminism continue to be overlooked.
For example, while reproductive rights are usually discussed, they rarely touch on healthcare or education access as well as food provisions.
This goes to show how feminists fail to understand the lived experiences of minorities who do not share the same level of privilege as white women.
Patricia Arquette’s speech at the 2015 Academy Awards further reflects this problem – surely it was admirable of her to call for equal pay for women, but her plea for “all the gay people and people of color we’ve all fought for” demonstrates how terribly misinformed she was about their continued struggles in today’s world.
It was a stark reminder that adequate representation in feminism remains a huge issue – there must be greater efforts towards true solidarity among all female groups; not just those from privileged backgrounds.
Feminism Needs To Address The Realities Of Poverty And Precarious Living For Women And Families
The realities of poverty are often overlooked in progressive thinking, which is why so many women and children across 42 million Americans suffer from hunger on a regular basis.
With more than 70 percent of Americans living below the poverty line being women and children, millions of individuals face food insecurity every day.
This is highlighted in Hood Feminism as the author talks about her struggles to feed herself and her child while trying to finish her college degree.
Although she managed to find success afterwards, she recalls the hunger pangs and tears shed when she couldn’t afford a Christmas tree.
These situations shape an individual for life, especially for American women of color who don’t get their due from feminism.
For instance, when it comes to food policy, some supposedly ‘progressive’ thinking actually makes life difficult for those struggling with poverty.
Soda taxes are one such example – they may be intended to combat unhealthy diets but they also put low-income families at even greater risk if soda is their safest option available.
Unsafe public water supply in certain cities (eg: Flint) deprives them of better options as alternative drinks are often found with fungicides or molds.
Therefore, instead of taxing such items, their affordability needs to be increased if we want people out of extreme poverty.
Housing policies also have negative impacts on those already marginalized by race in addition to gender income gaps – white women looking for houses end up moving into cheaper areas that are not affordable for other vulnerable groups leading to gentrification and uprooting people of color out of once-affordable places thus widening the wealth gap among them and further threatening eviction or homelessness situation among families with dependents on them too.
In any case, state playing field has long been tilted against minority communities putting them at permanent disadvantage without recognition or understanding from mainstream feminists perpetuating false equation that what is good for white women automatically benefits everyone else too without even regarding context before making positions level giving fair chance for all.
This brings importance that economic wellbeing shouldn’t be swept under mat by any means but rather addressed effectively recognizing unique complexities accompanying different socioeconomic statuses helping bring heads above water and be first steps toward progress!
Society Is Failing Young Women Of Color By Reinforcing Victim-Blaming, Putting Police In Schools, And Limiting Support
When growing up in an environment of poverty and limited resources, Black girls are rarely given the support they need to properly navigate their adolescent years.
Too often, they are labeled as “fast-tailed” or “fast” girls – without truly understanding what it means to be sexually precocious.
Oftentimes, this label is imposed on them for simply talking to boys or wearing makeup.
This ultimately results in irresponsible victim blaming when these same girls become victims of sexual assault and abuse.
This is a heartbreaking reality that many Black girls face due to lack of support.
Evidence shows that between 40 and 60 percent of Black girls in the United States suffer sexual abuse before they turn 18 – making this a significant problem that desperately needs addressing and supporting.
This is especially true when it comes to schools where bias from teachers can very easily lead to unfair punishments, criminalizing these young women rather than helping them build their own future.
Unfortunately, having police officers in schools does not necessarily mean that the safety of these students is increased either – as witnessed by video recordings of school officers wrongly body-slamming innocent Black girls who just want an education and a better life ahead.
It is high time that society takes responsibility for putting an end to this injustice towards young women of color who are failing to get the support they need while growing up under poverty.
This can only be done with persistent efforts from everybody involved – including parents, teachers and local authorities – so ensure that every single Black girl reaches her fullest potential despite difficult circumstances.
The Strength Of The “Strong Black Woman” Cliché Can Overshadow Black Girls’ Struggles With Body Image And Eating Disorders
Body image issues are a reality for girls and women of color, particularly those who identify as Black.
For many, this can start at a very young age – Kendall, the author of Hood Feminism, was only three when her family attempted to change her hair with a lye relaxer, which burned her head and left her in tears.
Her natural hair wouldn’t be allowed to grow until she was 17.
This kind of conditioning also comes with the message that lighter skin tones are better than darker ones; this is called colorism and affects dark-skinned people the worst, leading to higher chances of discrimination and even longer prison sentences.
We can witness this with beauty products like bleaching creams still popular today – although damaging to health – serving as a reminder of how deep these issues run for Black people.
Sadly, traditional feminist discourse often overlooks how these challenges specifically affect Black women’s sense of body-image.
This means that topics such as eating disorders or unrealistic beauty standards remain largely absent from conversations about Black women, despite them being deeply affected by white-centric beauty norms from a young age.
These issues underscore the way patriarchal structures fail to recognize Black women’s vulnerabilities due to stereotypes like ‘the strong Black woman’ which undermine the severity of mental health difficulties and subsequent treatment for these struggles.
Systemic change must be actively worked towards in order for this crisis to be addressed properly so that all girls and women can enjoy feeling comfortable in their bodies regardless of their skin color.
The Reality Of Parenting And Reproductive Rights In Marginalized Communities: Understanding The Difference Between Privilege And Necessity
The debate surrounding parenting and reproductive rights takes on a different outlook depending on your background, especially in the hood.
Experiences like that of author Kendall, who at 8-years old saw her uncle come to her family home with a gun while her grandfather was out highlight how basic safety and security are greater concerns than providing organic food or boycotting certain stores which more privileged parents tend to prioritize.
Reproductive rights often subject those in poverty to greater risk; despite being invited to speak at rallies and testify before Congress, Kendall knew that she couldn’t rely on the legal system due to the lack of trust between law enforcement and people of color.
This could explain why indigenous women were reportedly sterilized up to 6 times more frequently from 1970-76, while 150 female inmates were allegedly sterilized in California prisons from 2006-2010.
All of these issues further amplify the need for privileged individuals to lend their support towards those most affected by them.
Carceral Feminism Is Not Enough: We Need Real Solidarity Across Race And Gender To Address Issues Of Sexual Violence
Hood Feminism inform us that when it comes to issues of sexual or gendered violence, policing and law enforcement may not actually be the best solution – especially for women of color.
Citing the story of CeCe McDonald, a trans woman who defended herself against an attack only to be charged with second-degree manslaughter, we can see how even what appears to be justice on the surface often leads to more trauma and suffering for those affected.
And without proper support from the system, many Abused women can find themselves facing poverty if they have to report their abuser – not to mention those who never make it out alive.
Statistics reveal that Black Americans make up around 34 percent of all missing persons cases – but only constitute 13 percent of the population.
Indigenous women in particular find themselves at even greater risk, with murder rates that are often over ten times higher than average in some areas of the US.
Clearly, relying solely on law enforcement as a means of protecting vulnerable people is not always enough – and fails particularly when this system is biased against certain ethnicities or backgrounds.
What we need instead is real feminist solidarity between communities in which every woman’s needs are supported equally.
The Problematic Truth That White Women Often Vote In Ways That Hurt Other Women
It’s hard to ignore the fact that some white women have abused their power in a way that has ultimately caused harm to women.
This is especially alarming when we look at how feminism had played such a key role in helping these same women rise to positions of public and political office.
Take Sheryl Sandberg for example, who supported Facebook’s position on the alt-right; or Phyllis Schlafly who, throughout the 70s, strongly campaigned against the Equal Rights Amendment.
More recently, Megyn Kelly was praised by feminists for her stance against Donald Trump’s use of misogynistic language – but lost her job at NBC after defending blackface.
Kendall emphasizes an important message: voting rights should be an issue that every feminist takes seriously.
It’s not simply enough to pick the right candidates at election time – something made difficult due to an often limited selection.
Beyond this, states are actively discouraging potential voters of color with voter ID requirements or reducing access to polling stations with less stations available overall.
Without true voting rights for everyone, it will become increasingly harder for women of color and other marginalized groups to make meaningful changes – regardless of who they decide to vote for.
It’s Time To Get Angry: The Need For Accomplice Feminism
It’s no longer enough to identify yourself as an “ally” and simply say you support and fight for the rights of marginalized people.
That’s why, according to Hood Feminism, it’s time for us to become accomplices instead.
Instead of just talking the talk and appearing to have the interests of disadvantaged people at heart, an accomplice is somebody who takes real action and stands up for marginalized communities even when they don’t have a direct stake in them.
It may be more difficult than identifying as an ally since it involves understanding issues from different perspectives, recognizing our own biases, and going out of our way to actively challenge white supremacy wherever we encounter it.
Rather than blindly thinking we’re saving anyone by coming into a situation as privileged people, being an accomplice means that we commit to helping those who need it most – whether through emotional support or tangible efforts that lead to concrete outcomes.
So let’s step away from the idea of allyship and start taking responsibility in making sure that feminism really and truly encompasses the realities of all women.
Let’s be angry (in a productive way) when necessary, let’s challenge injustices whenever they arise – let’s be accomplices!
The primary takeaway from Hood Feminism is that the feminist movement needs to take steps to recognize and value the experiences of disadvantaged women and girls in the US, who suffer from issues like poverty, education, health care, and law enforcement.
White people need to open their eyes to racism that still exists all around us, from within our own families and friends’ circle no less.
We can do our part by calling out racism when we encounter it instead of letting it slide.
It’s only with a unified effort that we can truly make progress toward creating a better understanding of racial issues.