I struggle to identify with the mainstream feminist movement. The flaws in the mainstream feminist movement particularly the maintenance of White supremacy, capitalism, colonialism, imperialism and lack of diversity in leadership, transphobia, racism have put me off from the banner of mainstream feminism.
I acknowledge that there will be flaws and gaps in this essay as I am one person writing, editing, and researching the information for these works. As I am an anthropologist (in training), it’s important that I recognize my positionality in writing this piece. I write this essay from my position as a Black womxn from a low-income background with disabilities. My critique and disappointment with the feminist movement is grounded in my identity and the racism, sexism, classism, and ableism I have faced in my life. This series of essays will be grounded in contextualized historical and academic texts to support my argument that mainstream feminism is not good enough to exact meaningful, collective change.
This is part two of my four part series on Feminism in the United States, if you haven’t already read part one, check out A Brief History of First Wave Feminism for some background! If you’ve enjoyed this series and appreciate the intellectual labor (8 hours of research and writing and 2 hours of finishing touches) that went into its production, please consider supporting Noire & Co. on Patreon! This section will cover the social movements that influenced the second wave of the feminist movement in the 60s and 70s in the United States, consciousness raising groups, and disintegration of the intersectionality in the second wave feminist movement.
Influences, Movements, & Women of Color
The 1960s marked an incredible time for social change in the United States. Hegemonic feminism focuses primarily on the anti-war movement, free love/hippie movement, and the publication of the Feminine Mystique (we’ll get to that later) as starting the women’s rights movement. However, this understanding of the feminist movement is ahistorical at worst and racist at best. It is difficult to discuss the second wave feminist movement because if you split the dialogue into women of color and white women, it makes invisible the multiracial coalitions between women of color and anti-racist White women. I’m going to try my best to give some focus to both facets of the movement, but I recognize that there are gaps in my knowledge.