SHIAVON’S JAWN: I’m a reluctant feminist — here’s why


Shiavon Chatman, Opinion Editor

This year marks the 100th anniversary of when women got the right to vote. 

Women’s Suffrage sought to reform federal laws that excluded women from exercising their right to vote. 

This was a huge step in feminism.

White feminism that is

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were the mothers of the women’s suffrage movement and they were among many white women that left Black women out of the movement. 

Due to voter suppression and literacy laws, Black women didn’t get the right to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1964 was passed — 44 years after white women did.

I hate to break it to you but your feminist queens were racist and did their part in upholding white supremacy. They believed their right to vote was more important than both Black men and Black women. 

I consider myself to be a feminist but I do so reluntcantly. My dad inadverntly raised a feminist but he also taught me about the importance of privilege and recognizing my Blackness and what comes with it. 

I don’t have much in common with white feminists. Men saying women are too emotional to hold certain positions of power or that a period clouds a woman’s judgment will set a white woman off. 

I’m not saying these aren’t completely sexist and misogynistic ideas, but I have bigger fish to fry. Like the difference between a tadpole and basa. 

I’m more concerned with being a called a nigger, I’m sorry.

My issue with white feminism is that it only serves white women. During the 2018 Oscars ceremony, Emma Stone, an actress who took a role away from a person of color, presented the award for best director. 

“These four men and Greta Grewing created masterpieces this year.”

Yay feminism right? No. Stone’s girl power-esque comment failed to mention that two of those “four men” were two people of color. 

Natalie Portman said the same thing at the 2018 Golden Globes, ignoring Mexican filmmaker, Guillermo Del Toro. 

Sounds about white.

The erasure of people of color and the LGBTQ+ community in white feminism is deafening. 

John Lennon recorded one of the most disturbing and peak white-feminism songs I’ve ever heard. 

“Woman is the Nigger of the World.” I will never understand people’s obsession with the Beatles. Skinny dudes with bad haircuts making mediocre love songs. 

Luckily the music world has evolved past that. 

Aside from the singing being terrible, it’s also a bad take. Woman is the nigger of the world. Meaning women almost get treated as bad as Black people. 

Did John Lennon ever meet a Black woman? Would that make them nigger niggers? 

I’ve said that word way too many times. I’m sorry, Nana. 

As a Black woman, my voice and my needs are second to any white woman in the room. But as a cisgender woman, I know my voice won’t be completely silenced. 

While diversity is important during award show season, your feminism should be celebrating everyone. Celebrating the people of color nominees, or the fact that Billy Porter is the first openly Black gay male to win in the drama category at the Emmys, or that the FX show “Pose” has the largest trans cast in a scripted television show ever. 

But you should also be speaking about the amount of Black trans women that are murdered every year, or the high mortality of Black and Native American women. 

Intersectionality or bust. 

This is my weekly column where I’ll keep you updated on my straight-to-DVD life, my hip-hop snob opinions, being uncomfortable in this political climate and being a Black woman in predominantly white spaces.