In the past few weeks, I’ve read dozens of think pieces about Kesha’s case against Sony and her producer, Dr. Luke. And while I support Kesha, as I support all victims of sexual assault, I can’t help but notice the way this case has highlighted how rampant white feminism is in Hollywood. What’s white feminism? Let me break it down for you. Before I explain, please know and understand that white feminism does not apply to all white women who identify as feminists. It is a certain brand of feminism, the #NotAllWhiteWomen kind of feminism for and by white women, that aims to exclude women of color, the poor, the physically and mentally disabled, the LGBTQI community, as well as men of color. Yes, men even men of color. Because, after all, feminism is about equality, right? And although I acknowledge the damage of the oppressive patriarchy, and that some men of color have male privilege, there are men of color who suffer from its impact.
But, I digress, because I want to focus on women, specifically. White feminism and those who live by it, fail to realize that while they will and often can experience sexism, many fail to acknowledge the racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and even trauma many women of color face. And in Hollywood, white feminism is an epidemic. Since Kesha’s issues have become headline news, especially after a judge ruled the courts would not let Kesha out of her deal with Sony and Dr. Luke, the support has poured in. Tweets, letters and checks have been rolling out in support of Kesha. The queen of white feminism herself, Taylor Swift donated $250,000 dollars to Kesha. Lena Dunham, another reigning championing of white feminism, wrote a letter in support. Demi Lovato engaged in a Twitter beef with fans of Taylor Swift, because she wanted to one up Swift’s white feminism. Adele, the “can sing soul better than us” star, dedicated her acceptance speech at the BRIT Awards to Kesha. Look at all that support. Amazing right? Well, maybe.
I don’t really hear much from those women, when issues impacting women of color in Hollywood arise. I remember when Nicki Minaj tweeted her issues with her MTV nominations, and Taylor, so quick to defend women everywhere, except women of color, quickly tweeted her disappointment in Minaj’s issues. She injected her “we’re all women, but what about the white women” feminism into the conversation. Thankfully, black twitter shut that down.
The point is, white Hollywood and white feminism is never there for black women. Take Kanye West for example. Yes, he’s been problematic for years. And sometimes, his level of fuckery knows no bounds. We’ve grown used to it. But when his misogyny was directed towards the reigning Queen of basic/white feminism Taylor Swift, celebrities such as Ruby Rose came out in support of Swift. But, where were all those clap backs and shut downs when his misogyny impacted women of color? When West targeted his former fiancée, Amber Rose, during a Twitter beef with Rose’s husband Wiz Khalifa, Amber Rose interrupted the beef with the hashtag that was read and retweeted ‘round the world. And, instead of some supporting her because West not only attacked her, but her son, they decide to tone police and accuse her of being homophobic. So, not only did white feminists and their feminism attack, they only showed their support of the LGBTQI community when it served their agenda to attack a woman of color. How’s that for inclusion and intersectionality?
And let’s be specific and talk about assault against black women. Last year, when the film Straight Outta Compton was released, Dr. Dre’s former partner, and singer, Michel’le discussed how the assault she endured during her relationship with Dr. Dre impacted her life. She also pointed out how the film intentionally left that part of the story out, so Dr. Dre wouldn’t come off as the abusive man he is. She was dragged through the mud, and was accused of trying to derail the success of the film, and smear Dr. Dre’s good name. I don’t remember a lot of white feminists coming to Miche’le’s defense. I don’t remember letters, think pieces or GoFundMe campaigns or any other form of support from white feminists.
So, what makes Kesha special? What is it about her that makes white feminism carry the torch for her? Is it because she’s more talented or more known than Miche’le? Is it because she’s more respectable than Amber Rose? Is it because she’s less vocal than Nicki Minaj? No. It’s quite obvious. She’s a white, attractive, thin white woman. She has privilege. She’s everything white feminism represents, champions and speaks out for. And as long as Hollywood continues to ignore its blatant disregard for women of color, you will only hear about and be told to care about the Keshas of the world.
– Creighton Leigh