I’m involved with a feminist activism group. In our meetings, attended almost exclusively by white, straight, able-bodied, middle-class women, talk often turns to how we can be more “diverse.” This conversation is always framed as a question of “How can we get women of color, queer women, women with disabilities, women who aren’t middle class to join our group?” I think the problem is right there in the question: why is it “our” group and why should other people “join us”? The assumption that the goals and priorities of our group of privileged women should be the same as the goals and priorities of all women is the very essentialism that mainstream feminism gets accused of perpetuating, and in our case, rightly so. As women of privilege, I think what we should be doing is offering our assistance to women without these same privileges who want allies and joining their groups, if they want us there. We ought to let go of the leadership, let go our “our group” and offer up our privilege as a tool that other groups of women can use as they see fit.
I’ve been kicking these thoughts around in my head lately, but I was inspired to try and write them down (not very well or very fully, I admit) by two blog posts:
That’s all. Just some thoughts.