Feminism means different things to different people. KPFA re-aired our episode, Feminism for the 99 percent, last year, where we took a deep dive into this — unpacking how women’s issues intersect with class and race, what trickle-down feminism is, who’s included and precluded from certain forms of mainstream, American feminism, and why it’s important for feminism to be truly intersectional and inclusive.
In this Conversation, we take a deep dive into how the ideology of whiteness permeates mainstream, Western feminism, and how those on the peripheries are often left out — and even exploited by — feminism and certain feminists.
Rafia Zakaria is a columnist for Dawn in Pakistan and author, most recently, of Against White Feminism: Notes on Disruption, published by Norton and Company. Against White Feminism has made quite a splash since its publication in August, with a lot of positive reception, but also drawing the ire of many of those who it seeks to critique — namely, a certain cadre of feminists, often upper-middle class and white, who hold onto their very specific ideas about what feminism is, what it’s not, and perhaps most importantly — who gets to define it.
We explore how a certain liberal form of white-supremacy permeates much of mainstream feminism, how the white feminist savior complex and imperial feminism have been deployed throughout history — and well into our present times, such as in Afghanistan — to marginalize women of color and impose the “correct” form of feminism in non-consensual and harmful ways, what trickle-down or #girlboss feminism are, and more.