"Am I A Bad Feminst?" Video From BuzzFeed Illustrates 3 Awesome Ways To Be An Intersectional Feminist Ally — VIDEO
While white women are fighting to be paid equally for jobs; women of color are fighting to get those jobs at all. That's how a professor explained the necessity of intersectional feminism to me during my first Gender Studies class in college. It remains one of my favorite and most accessible ways to broach the topic, and now I have another one to add to the list: Buzzfeed's "Am I A Bad Feminist?" video.
Created by BuzzFeed Yellow, the video parodies the conversations that a number of feminist-minded humans, myself included, have with friends all the time: Are we good feminists? How do we determine what is not feminist? Throw in wine and some arts and crafts and, like, yeah. I can relate to this. It me, as the kids say.
The video takes an unexpected and much-needed turn when the nude model the ladies are painting, a woman of color who has remained silent and been mentioned only in relation to her perfect boobs, points out that this particular conversation is pulling from just one, single perspective on the feminist movement: A mostly straight, white, cisgendered one. The reaction is both hilarious and spot on (I snorted aloud and scared the person next to me at the coffee shop I'm working from today), showing the importance of understanding what it means to be an ally within the feminist movement.
Here are three lessons we can take away from the video — because like all good comedy, there's a sharp and extremely important point underneath all the humor.
Just shhhh for a moment and open your ears. It is hard to be a woman in this society; no one is saying it isn't. But "womanhood" is not a singular experience, and if the definition of "ally" is "operating in solidarity with," then you need to be able to understand other viewpoints.
2. Accept that there are spaces in which you won't inherently belong.
On a related note, just because you understand additional viewpoints does not mean you are now a part of their narrative. As a white woman, for example, I don't experience the daily racism that women of color do. End of discussion. Just because I self-identify as an "ally" doesn't mean I can speak over women of color regarding the intersection of race and sexism.
3. Know when to apologize.
We make mistakes. We say things without thinking. (I put my foot in my mouth probably like 15 times a day.) But if you can't identify when you're wrong, apologize, and learn from your mistakes, then that tension within the feminist community will only worsen and fester — and it won't be a community anymore.
Check out the full video below: