#MyFeminismIs Is A Feminist Movement For Everyone

October 22nd 2015

Laura Donovan

The Ms. Foundation is trying to create an all-inclusive movement with the hashtag #MyFeminismIs.

With the notion of "white feminism" making headlines and oftentimes creating division in feminism at large, #MyFeminismIs aims to give all feminists a voice and "paint a broad, inclusive and intersectional picture of the Feminism as we continue to challenge and change the conversation around equal rights," according to the Ms. Foundation's site. The Ms. Foundation also released a video including people of all backgrounds explaining how feminism has fit into their lives. Many reveal they've had a fraught, complicated relationship with feminism because of society's control over the term and the undercurrent of white privilege in mainstream feminism, among other issues.

All of this points to a feminist movement for everyone, and that's what the Ms. Foundations wants to foster with its hashtag.

"[Feminism] was oftentimes defined in the media by white men," Ms. Foundation president Teresa C. Younger says in the clip below. "At the end of the day, when I look at myself in the mirror, I'm a Black woman, and I didn't quite know where I fit in that."


Aisha Moodie-Mills, the president of the LGBT Victory Fund & Institute, reveals she was previously hesitant to identify as feminist because the movement seemed full of white women.

"I guess the images I had of what a feminist was growing up were really these images of white women and privilege," she says.

Many who have shared the #MyFeminismIs hashtag seem to share this sentiment and want to promote intersectionality, which UCLA professor Kimberlé Crenshaw defined in the late 1980s as “The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society.”

Here are some social media mentions of #MyFeminismIs:

The Ms. Foundation isn't the first group to highlight that there's no "one size fits all" approach to feminism. United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador and HeForShe founder Emma Watson has famously done a lot of work for the feminist movement, but as a wealthy actress, she was recently asked whether she considers herself a white feminist since she's more privileged than most women. She said that she is well aware of her white privilege, which she mentioned during her UN address in 2014:

"White feminist implies an exclusion of black women from the movement which I find surprising because my bosses (and the people who gave me the job) are two black women," she wrote. "It implies that I am not aware of my own privilege but I mention my own good luck/fortune/privilege something like five times in my UN speech and my wish to make sure other women have access to the same opportunities that I have. It implies a willful ignorance or neglect of the issues surrounding intersectionality."

Though she admitted that she could not speak on behalf of intersectional feminists, she did say she intended to use her platform and celebrity to "give those that do have personal experience a spotlight."

Two months ago, Watson celebrated 13-year-old "Girl Meets World" star Rowan Blanchard for writing a powerful, viral essay about white feminism. Blanchard was responding to a fan question on "how common feminism might exclude women of color and non cis/queer women." Blanchard mentioned the gender pay gap and noted that women of color tend to face an even larger pay gap than white women.

"[W]ith as many issues as feminists have succeeded in adopting, many of us seem to have not accepted the fact that police brutality and race issues are our issues too. 'White feminism' forgets all about intersectional feminism. The way a black woman experiences sexism and inequality is different from the way a white woman experiences sexism and inequality. Likewise with trans-women and Hispanic women. While white women are making 78 cents to the dollar, Native American women are making 65 cents, black women are making 64 cents, and Hispanic women are making 54 cents."

Much of the Internet gushed over Blanchard's piece, including Watson: