The word "feminist" still raises hackles. Is
claiming this word all about age, race, and class?
-Women to Watch
Those entering middle age are discovering--sometimes too
late--that women get the short end of the stick when it
comes to retirement benefits.
-Women's Bodies are Finally Being Studied
Making mifepristone available in this country took decades
of struggle and remains fraught with controversy.
-The Guerilla Girls
Lesbian society in Paris at the turn of the 20th century
is captured by this groundbreaking portraitist.
Women: Rosario Robles' Bold Agenda
Serpent Slayer by Katrin Tchana, Illustrated
by Trina Schart Hyman
Goes And Gets Some, Emily Carter
Moon Pearl, Ruthanne Lum McCunn
My Tiara, Susan Jane Gilman
Tattoos, Mira Kamdar
Person: By Any Other Name
-Columns: Daisy Hernandez, Patricia Smith and Gloria
recently had a conversation with a young woman of color,
a high-school student. She was asking, isn't there a
history of racism within the women's movement? And I
said, yes and no: proportionally, there have been more
black women who have identified as feminists than white
women. So, in that sense, women of color have been central,
in some ways dominant. But there have been betrayals
of women of color. Like when we were getting the vote.
And in terms of media leaders, they have been white,
although the real leaders have not always been white.
And white women, too, often think that women of color
should join "our group"--without even being aware of
what's behind the "our." White women haven't been thinking
about what women of color are doing--which is plenty--and
then seeing if they could work with them. That takes
a lot more work.
is a lot of discomfort on the part of white women about
doing that. It has to be confronted. I call myself out
on this. I haven't worked in a majority women of color
group before, and I think that's a problem. If most
people are like me, that's a problem for the movement.
Women of color are right to call us on it. Also, it's
important not to be defensive even though it's painful
to be talking about race. Be willing to take a leap
of faith. I wonder what would happen if the leader of
a group that was primarily white should reach out to
the leader of a group of women of color? If she said,
could we meet? Meet as people, instead of, We're interested
in reaching out to women of color, and we need to be
more diverse. You paint yourself into a corner right
away by doing that. The issues will emerge from a real
relationship as opposed to an "Add color. Stir." approach.
though feminism has this history of not being conscious
enough about race or class, it is still the most diverse,
race-sensitive, and class-sensitive social justice movement
I have ever observed. But people are so tough on women--including
women ourselves. We assume that because we're not perfect,
we've really screwed up. But I think we have been confronting
these issues and just need to keep reaching to do more.
by henry leutwyler