Is Solidarity for White Women?
This is not the post I was originally going to write. My original post was going to be something along the lines of There Is a Problem With the Miley Cyrus Performance, But its Not What People Are Talking About. Which is a ridiculously long title, so it's a good thing I got pushed in another direction.
Originally I was going to write about how the fetishization (yes that's a word I've been using a lot lately, but it's fucking apt), and dehumanization of Thick Black Women by Thin White Women has been kind of a Thing lately and why isn't anybody talking about that part of the Miley Cyrus performance? And also the music video? And also this one by Lil Debbie?
Thanks to a link that was shared by one of my friends, I learned that people were talking about it. People like NinjaCate and Korra who have been able to articulate far better than I can hope to on what is problematic in this performance. So instead of being the proverbial White Man (I am a white woman after all) I'm just going to direct you to the words of these magnificent women of color. Read what they have to say on the subject, then come back to me.
NinjaCate's article is what introduced me to the phrase Solidarity is for White Women, and as I read her article my first reaction was to get defensive. As I continued to read I found myself in this weird schism of mind where I found myself agreeing with almost everything she was saying but still feeling defensive about it. So I paused in my reading, and did something very important.
I stopped making it about me.
As a feminist, and as a white feminist, I was reading her words and though I felt her critique of Miley Cyrus's performance was almost spot on, I was fighting against her other words because I'm Not Like That. Which great, what do I want, a cookie? This isn't about my feelings- it's about something more important. The fact that often women of color don't feel included or represented in the feminist movement is a Real Fucking Problem.
The feminist movement is ultimately about bringing equality to all people, yes? So that brings us to the important question of what do we do? How do we make women of color, queer women, differentially abeled women, and any other group of women that is not the majority voice in the movement, feel as though they belong? Women of all backgrounds and identities need to feel as though their voices matter.
So, what do we do? I don't know what the answer is, but here's a thought- why don't we start listening to the voices we are trying to include?
I just wanted to quickly add that I feel more than a little embarrassed by this. "Hey, maybe we should listen to what women of color think?" should not warrant a blog post. I'm trying my best to understand where I may have been shortsighted in the past, in hopes to not make the same mistakes in the future.
Also edited to add, for further reading on the VMA performance:
Cross posted from my blog at:
Please check it out!