Feminism That Doesn't Include Women of Color Is Trash


Recently something huge happened in the music industry -- for the first time in Billboard history, four black women occupied the top two songs of the Top 100 List: Doja Cat's "Say So" ft. Nicki Minaj, and Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage" ft Beyonce. The last time even two black women had been in the top two spots was back in 2009 (Beyonce and Rihanna took those slots because of course they did). The last time two women, in general, had earned a number one spot was Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" ft. Charli XCX. Point being, this was an unprecedented accomplishment for female artists, especially considering two of those artists are relatively new, and you'd have to work pretty hard to get anything negative out of this news.

Well, Lana Del Rey decided to take it upon herself to do just that when she posted a goddamn Instagram essay about how unfair it was for them to be in the top spot and not her. There are so many wild things to dissect in it that I implore you to heat up some popcorn and read it yourself. Still, the biggest thing to take away from it is that she diminished the talent and hard work of a group of women of color and insinuated that they tap-danced their way to the top of the charts. At the same time, she, a "true artist," was essentially being discriminated against for being a "glamorous singer singing about abusive relationships."

Feminism That Doesn't Include Women of Color Is Trash
Justin Higuchi/Wikimedia Commons
It takes a lot to be especially cringy even by whiny-pop-singer standards.

Again -- so much to dissect there that this could be a million pages long (her description sounds a lot like the blues and what artists do you think got discriminated enough to start singing the blues, Lana?), but let's focus on the part where a white lady gets mad that she didn't get what she wanted and decided to blame the group of WOC who did. According to her logic, Beyonce, who has industry-wide recognition as the hardest working artist on the planet, somehow tricked her way to the top (the only trick she pulled was making us forget her performance in Austin Powers: Goldmember). Therefore, she should step aside for Lana Del Rey, who has industry-wide recognition as someone who makes music for people who masturbate to Romeo + Juliet while wearing American Apparel fingerless gloves. When you consider the optics of the situation, it's a bad look, and unfortunately, it's not a new one.

Recently New York Times food columnist and cookbook author Alison Roman decided to wax disrespectful about Marie Kondo and Chrissy Teigen, two Asian women who have become household names in the domestic business while she hasn't. Roman alluded that it was because they sold out when they created kitchen product lines ... despite Roman partnering with brands to do the same damn thing. She also decided to sprinkle in a bit of overt racism by making fun of Marie Kondo's accent, and referred to Chrissy Teigen's website as a "content farm," after calling to her "so annoying" in a separate interview.

Now, it's not too surprising that Roman went after Marie Kondo as white women have hated her for a while. But the Chrissy Teigen thing is a shocker (not only because what she said about her website being a content farm just isn't true) because Chrissy is currently an executive producer on her upcoming tv show, which makes her Roman's boss. You have to have some balls to publicly disrespect one of the people in charge of putting your show together; or to be more specific, "white lady" balls.

It would take a serious pair to claim that some of her stuff looks appetizing.

What do both of these scenarios have in common, besides white women bullying women of color for no reason? The fact that both of them tried to deflect from their bad behavior by falling back on "girl power." Roman posted on Twitter "being a woman who takes down other women is absolutely not my thing and I don't think it's yours either." This implies that should Chrissy continue to take offense or let other people defend her, it would be bullying Roman and wouldn't be very "feminist" of her. Lana Del Rey's original post mentioned that "... there has to be a place in feminism for women who look and act like me ... the kind of women who get their own stories and voices taken away from them by stronger women or by men who hate women." And when the backlash happened, she retorted with "that's exactly the point of my post--there are certain women that culture doesn't want to have a voice ...". There are Lana, but once again, the thing you're describing does not include yourself.

White women being feminists only when it benefits them isn't exactly new. This kind of stuff goes back to the suffragette movement, where feminist activists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton fought for women's rights ... but felt that some deserved them more than others. Feminism as a movement has famously excluded women of color since the beginning; it's the reason why a lot of WOC refuse to refer to themselves as feminists and instead go by "womanists."

What makes white feminism different from the general concept of feminism itself is that they want equality between genders but are too comfortable with the privileges of being on top of the racial food chain to want equality between races in said gender. This means they want all women to succeed, but put them in a situation where a WOC "bests" them in any way? That's when Karen demands to speak to your manager, or publicly talks shit about the woman executive producing her show, or put out a statement about how a singer's song made the top spot because "she's so sexual" while conveniently forgetting her most famous song line is that her "pussy tastes like Pepsi-Cola."

Your feminism isn't really feminism unless it's intersectional, ladies. It's not something you can just pull out when you can gain something from it, like the ethnic food Alison Roman blands down to make more palatable for suburban soccer moms. You're either rooting for all women to break the glass ceiling or not.

Archie wants all Karens to keep black women's names out they mouth, thank you very much. You can chat with her about it on Twitter or her website.

Top image: JStone/Shutterstock, Tinseltown/Shutterstock

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