Cross-Cultural Feminism: How To Move Past Race & Fight For All Sisters
If there’s one thing we stand for here at RBL, it’s feminism. We believe all womxn deserve equal rights, no matter where they live, who they are, or what their cultural background is. But the sad reality is that, throughout the world, this often isn’t the case.
Not only are some of our sisters disadvantaged based on their cultural backgrounds and race, but also just for the sake of identifying as female. So what can we do about this problem and why is it so prevalent?
What is cross-cultural feminism?
The problem of inequality across different cultures is something being addressed by the concept of cross-cultural feminism.
As you know, feminism as a concept is super broad, and can mean many things to different people. One popular stream of feminism is known as cultural feminism. This is the idea that there are innate differences between men and womxn and each group sees the world differently. As a society, cultural feminists believe more emphasis should be placed on the viewpoint of womxn, since, let’s face it, most of the world is still built and run by men.
The idea of cross-cultural feminism is that different cultures and races also experience the world differently, but each brings their own valid viewpoint to the table. We know feminism can be a little confusing, on a theoretical level, but essentially this means we should all respect how race and feminism work together.
Why is cross-cultural feminism so important?
This concept of cross-cultural or intersectional feminism is hella important! This is because there’s often lots of infighting within the feminism movement, which can dilute our power.
Each womxn can only have one lived experience of feminism, and each person and race will see the world slightly differently. This issue comes up a lot in the topic of white feminism. What is white feminism? This is another feminist subtype that tends to focus only on the struggles of white womxn and is often accused of neglecting the viewpoint of other races.
Things like this become an issue because it can be harder than you think to see the world through a different lens than your own. But overall, we really need to see womxn supporting other womxn, as this helps us combine forces and power to help womxn worldwide.
Author Sonia Sodha said this on the subject: “‘Be kind’ is not a platitude, it is a political slogan, for without kindness, how can we foster the solidarity that must be built, not demanded? Making well-meaning but imperfect people feel terrible about themselves may sell books, generate outrage and indulge some people’s masochistic tendencies, but the one thing it will never ever do is change the world for the better.” We agree – putting others down for trying to help doesn’t always help our cause.
There’s a common saying that “A rising tide lifts all ships”, meaning if we work together, despite our differences, we can make more of an impact.
How can we make cross-cultural feminism happen?
How can we move past our own internal biases to help others and fight for womxn around the world? Here’s the thing – it’s not always going to be easy. But if we don’t find a way to work together, we’re basically just giving all the power back to men. Not cool.
Here are a few ways that we can all make our feminism more inclusive.
1. Read as much as you can
Education is seriously the key to understanding feminism better, so be sure to read plenty on the topic! Reading is so crucial for learning more about feminist issues and how they impact others around the world. Once you finish reading something, pass it on to a friend and share the love and education.
Here are a few books we’re digging on the topic:
- Feminisms: A Global History by Lucy Delap
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Don't Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back by Harilyn Rousso
Keeping on top of current events and how they impact womxn around the world is also a massive priority. For example, how are womxn in Afghanistan coping now that the US has withdrawn from the country? We know womxn suffer terribly under the Taliban, so this issue should be concerning to all of us.
2. Try to check your privilege
As womxn, many of us have unfortunately dealt with discrimination, sexism, and oppression at some point in our lives. However, some of us have also been treated unfairly due to both our gender and our race or cultural background.
Remember: just because someone has had very different life experiences than your own, that doesn’t mean that either of your perspectives are wrong. Being open-minded and accepting of thoughts and ideas that vary from your own is the way to go.
3. Network and share ideas
Learning, networking, and chatting to others about feminism is such an amazing way to both widen your horizons and meet new people. If you feel really passionate about feminism, look for local groups where you can join or volunteer to help out. Or check out online forums or groups where you can get together virtually with others to talk about all things feminism.
OK, so when it comes down to it, what is the essence of feminism? It means something a little different to us all, but it’s the basic concept that all womxn deserve equality, no matter who they are. And if we all stick together, cross-cultural feminism may well be the way of the future.