Editor’s Letter: October 2021
Where to begin?
It’s Black History Month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, pro-choice protests continue all across the US, Wayne Couzens has been sentenced to life, we lost another beautiful soul, Sabina Nessa, due to yet another femicide. The Met Police have handled all situations terribly, with the commissioner saying that “Sarah Everard should have known” not to get in Couzens’ car. Not to mention the entire nation descending into disarray because of petrol. In the words of Michelle Visage in the last episode of Drag Race UK, “what the fuck?”
Despite this absolute whirlwind of a month, I’d like to focus on Black History Month.
It’s Black History Month – but from conversations with different people- it would appear that not many people know that it’s BHM or even what BHM is. It’s tragic that a month, which is designed to raise awareness about African and Afro-Caribbean history – seems to receive little attention.
However, like a lot of history that is written about, the focus on Black History tends to be on men. When we think or talk about important leaders or historical figures, we tend to talk about Martin Luther King Jnr, Malcolm X or Nelson Mandela. The role that black women played does not receive as much attention and of the top of my own head, I can name very few historically important black females.
Black History Month is important, because it reminds all of us that not all history is European. But more importantly, what is called Black History, is in-fact human history and is universal. Our ancestors were not from one place or another, they were from many different places and attempts to pigeonhole history into areas like African History, European History and others, ignores the universal components of human history and divides people.
For so long, western feminism has been whitewashed. But feminism is not just a fight for gender equality, nor a fight just between women and men. Feminism is a fight for every oppressed woman, oppressed not only because of their gender, but because of any difference—race, sexuality, class.
White feminism, which originates from the beginnings of feminism at the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, seems to be a simplified way to present feminism. The erasure of racial difference in feminism perpetuates the notion that race-based issues are not important to solve or even focus on. By eliminating race and shaping feminism to be something purely about gender, the feminist movement did not take racial difference seriously. Yet, racial difference is what adds an additional layer of oppression on women of colour. When white feminists ignore racial differences and claim that all women are fighting against a “common oppression,” their feminism overlooks the inequalities amongst women. This generalisation avoids realities such as that black women are paid 21% less than white women in the UK, resulting in the failure of white feminism to fight for anyone but white women—the group whose race doesn’t invoke their oppression.
I could go on and on about the importance of intersectional feminism, which is why The New Feminist will be focussing the majority of their content this month on intersectionality and women of colour. So I encourage everyone to take a moment to read some of this month’s content and celebrate BHM along with us. Expect to see an exclusive with Black-led/BIPOC & queer skate crew, Melanin Skate Gals & Pals, our new feature on TikTok famous Olamide Grace and articles celebrating inspiring women of colour and platforming small businesses run by Black women.
We also have our next TNF Bookshelf Instagram live interview next week on the 15th of October at 8 pm. This month we are reading ‘Me Not You: The Trouble with Mainstream Feminism’ by Alison Phipps, which focuses on the mainstream feminist movement against sexual violence and the effects of political whiteness on the MeToo movement. The book focuses on the privileged (middle-class especially) white woman and how their voices are often heard over the marginalised voices of Black women, sex workers, trans women, and working-class women.
We highly recommend you pick up a copy and read along with us! Check the email for 50% off.
Can’t wait to see you there!