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How Intersectional Feminism Took a Back Seat for the 2016 Election

In probably one of the most white female dominated spaces on campus, Nancy Nicholas Hall, is the home of the School of Human Ecology, more commonly known as SoHe. In Nancy Nicholas Hall there are bathrooms, in those bathrooms are  chalkboards, on almost every one of those chalkboards you will find some form of pro-Hillary paraphernalia.

#ImWithHer   TrumpTRUMP   ReadyForHillary   #FightingForUs   #HERstory TheFutureIsFemale etc.

On a rainy Wednesday morning I walked into the bathroom expecting to see the excited, colorful sentiments about the woman that will most likely be our first female president. But that morning I was surprised to see some of the white feminist graffiti had been replaced with a simple:

“Hillary is evil too.”

It put a smile on my face.

Now, before you jump the gun and 1) assume that this automatically makes me pro-Trump or 2) assume that I don’t see the danger in a Trump presidency, I can assure you that as a middle class woman of color, neither are true. But while America’s feminists of all genders rightly obsess over how evil, dangerous,unqualified, sexist, greedy and annoying of a candidate and person Trump is,  Hillary Clinton although “qualified” does not have the most “woke” political history either. Hillary’s whiteness and juxtaposition to Trump protect her from being critically examined as a candidate.

A large part of her support comes from either a place of fear or a place of privilege.

But this post isn’t about Hillary’s imperialist, militaristic regime, violence against people of color world wide, allegiance to Wall Street or even her emails. It’s not about shaming those choosing to vote for her, I understand. It’s about the collective abandonment of intersectionally feminist values by self proclaimed intersectional feminists. As if the inevitable election of a president that will not serve the needs of people, specifically women of color, was not enough, white female supports of Hillary introduced a whole new genre of microagressions during the 2016 election year. These microagressions specifically served to defend their beloved candidate against any nay-sayer or valid criticism. What I hate Trump most for is being so openly bigoted and belligerent, that any decent person up against him looks like a saint. But ain’t nothing about this election holy.


Dragging those voting for a third party, making some blanket statement about how great & inspiring Hillary is, ignoring the legacy of Shirley Chisholm as the FIRST black woman to run for president and ultimately a trailblazer for Hillary, condemning women of color for exercising the right not to vote in a system that continuously fails them, using fear mongering tactics for your desired candidate, or saying “but Trump” include some of the various microagressions that have bed bred out of this beast of an election.

If I had a dollar for every time my opinions or thoughts about Hillary Clinton and this election were invalidated by a white woman that was a self proclaimed “intersectional feminist” or had “#blacklivesmatter”plastered all over her social media, I’d be moving to Cuba. Although not *as* scary as Donald Trump, Hillary still poses a serious concern for womxn, and people of color in America, and for good reason. A look at Hillary’s basic interactions with black women on the campaign trail will tell you why her feminism is not actually intersectional, why voices and lives like mine mean little to her besides an opportunity to pander:


I know how all of these women feel, it’s how many women of color that have ever tried to criticize Hillary Clinton feel when their valid concerns about her being our next leader are voiced.

If your feminism is scheduled to stop on November 8th with the hopeful announcement of Hillary Clinton as our president for the next four years, it was never intersectional.

The concept of intersectional feminism is that it’s a feminism that steps away from the intentionally exclusive roots of feminism  in America fostered by Susan B. Anthony, Betty Friedan and the likes. It’s feminism that does not center the white, American, female, middle/upper class, cisgendered, heterosexual experience. Although those are the only people genuinely parading in joy about this election. and it’s raining at the parade. and they’re the only ones with umbrellas. and they’re not even thinking about sharing.

It is important to note that although someone may be a member of a non-power group (i.e women, black, disabled etc.), that does not automatically make them a doer of good for members of that non-power group. White supremacist capitalist patriarchy, a term coined by the great bell hooks, is used to describe the system that is responsible for multiple oppressions (racism, sexism, etc.) this system maintains itself through members of the power and non-power group for each respective oppression.

Acknowledge that your ability to enjoy this election and be excited about Hillary as a nominee is a direct result of privileges granted to you at the expense of someone else. Acknowledge that because several groups of people sucked it up and said #GirlIGuessImWithHer, even when deep down they weren’t, your candidate has a chance of winning and making history, history that may be used to erase the legacy of others that came before her. Acknowledge that your candidates politics and persona are not one of an intersectional feminist. Acknowledge that for groups you claim to care about in your feminism, there is still a lot of work to be done.

“I don’t measure America by its achievement but by its potential.”

Shirley Chisholm


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