Amy Alexander’s recent commentary, Today’s Feminism: Too Much Marketing, Not Enough Reality, attempted to critique flaws in third-wave feminism. We who call ourselves feminists should be open to constructive criticism in addition to celebrating our achievements as a movement, but Alexander did not offer anything substantive to the conversation.
First-wave feminism gave women the right to vote and own property – if you were white. Second-wave feminism championed equal pay and the dismantling of traditional gender roles – if you were white. Luckily, third-wave feminism has been defined by inclusivity, fighting for women of all races, religions, sexual orientations, and gender identities. The movement isn’t perfect by any means, but Alexander’s editorial was an unfulfilled argument built on unsubstantiated claims.
Alexander made many bold assertions:
2017 Feminism’s equality messages are superficial and don’t address real issues. The Women’s March was “tone-deaf” to working-class black women. Women of color who spoke at the Women’s March are “superficial and insufficient,” and asking them to participate is an opportunistic scheme created by white women to feign unity. Leadership does not consider intersectionality important when demonstrated by women of color.
These would all be important, scathing arguments if there were facts, quotes, or examples to back them up, but Alexander provided nothing to support her claims. Moreover, it would seem 2017 feminism can do nothing to appease her; if feminism doesn’t address black issues, but it’s also “insufficient” when black women speak to those issues in the name of feminism, how are black women supposed to have a voice and be heard?
Tearing down a movement without a justifiable reason to be holding the sledgehammer doesn’t solve anything. If feminists, both black and white, spent more time striving toward common goals instead of constantly criticizing each other, true intersectionality might be achieved.