Culture

Can't Touch This: American Feminism's Racial Ignorance

cloudbuster

My recent article “Chicks Dig Porn” garnered a series of interesting comments. The one quoted above stands out, not only as a Top Rated comment among the bunch, but as a clear (if anecdotal) illustration of precisely how ignorant the feminist West truly is regarding female success that falls outside the boundaries of standard feminist narrative.

Spurred on by Cloudbuster, I Googled “African women, politics, feminism” and my first hit provided rather keen insight into the racial gap apparent in modern feminist thinking. Titled “African women are blazing a feminist trail – why don’t we hear their voices?” the Guardian article detailed some amazing statistics:

  • 64% of Rwandan parliamentary seats go to women, who have held the gender majority in parliament since 2008
  • Both Malawi and Liberia have female heads of state
  • Senegal recently elected its first female Prime Minister, Aminata Toure
  • The current African Union chair is female

The bottom line: African women are organizing for and securing their own political success. This reality flies in the face of Third Wave Feminist notions regarding the impact of patriarchy and post-colonialism on racial identity. Perhaps this is why we are more comfortable discussing Miley Cyrus’s twerking and Lena Dunham’s lack of black friends; their stories better suit the narrative of inherent white racism that has informed feminism since the 1990s. In America, it is an accomplishment when white and black feminists can unite over hairstyles. Celebrating female political leaders abroad, well, that’s a bit much, don’t you think?

hair2

Of course, the perception of inherent white racism isn’t totally without legitimate cause. An entire political party fought to secure slavery, established the KKK after losing the war, and continues to filter every political conversation through a race-baiting lens. Yet, instead of confronting the reality of racial manpiulation, stories like “White Women With Black Hair” play into the effects of this social engineering, twisting harmless ignorance into perceived hatred.

Take, for instance, the fact that “White Women With Black Hair” was inspired by a bunch of male computer geeks who were “fascinated” by the 5’10” African-American female artist’s “big, red afro”. I could make any number of statements about how women in general fascinate men who stare at coding all day, but then I’d sound like the bigot. The story itself clears up the matter quite well: After finding out that her hair was cause for fascination, the artist set up a camera and invited her male colleagues to come touch her hair while she filmed the experience. She even encouraged them to “tug” at it. How did they feel about the experience? “Weird.” That’s an understatement, given that they were unofficially cast in an “art film” that could also qualify as fetish porn.

American feminism is obsessed with “othering” – the act of being or pointing out The Other, the outsider, the outcast in the crowd. It’s a term that has made its way down from Marxist-informed cultural theories (post-colonialism, women’s studies, etc.) along with that nasty term “minority” that pairs so well with political correctness. Instead of rejecting a term that values people as numbers, feminists embrace it; public institutions, in fact, live by it. The same goes for Othering. Being The Other is now tre hip; just ask Miley Cyrus. And feminists fight over who gets to be The Other at the intersection of race and gender. Sans this Marxist-fueled racism the feminist movement loses its charge.

So, while Rwandan women, who suffered through a genocide less than 20 years ago, are busy making huge political strides, the MSM dwells on celebrities in blackface and American feminists contemplate their hairstyles. Now that’s what I call snubbing your nose at the patriarchy.