White Feminist TV


Zeba Blay summarizes problems with White Feminism (and its TV products) over on huffingtonpost:

It’s White Feminist TV.

If White Feminism is feminism that isn’t intersectional, then White Feminist TV is television that filters the world through the prism of the white female experience in a way that suggests it is not just an experience, but the only experience. On White Feminist TV, whiteness is universal. On White Feminist TV, llana’s rampant use of AAVE on “Broad City” is quirky and hilarious, blackface-as-satire is a frequent plot point (as on “30 Rock”), and New York City can be the land of a million white folks, where black and brown people are almost always on the periphery (as on “Girls”).

Except this isn’t about apologies. There’s this idea that to not to find some of these racially-charged jokes funny is to be deeply offended by them or, even more egregious, to not “get” them.

I “get” the joke. As a black person consuming media in a society built to accommodate white people, you learn to “get” the joke quickly. I can reach out and touch the low-hanging fruit that Fey offers up, the pseudo-satire that attempts to edgily poke holes in gender and race. That’s not the issue. The issue is that it’s not clever enough to rise above the entirely off-putting concept it’s based in.

At some point, you stop caring. You train yourself not to expect much. You gloss over the off-color moments that make you sigh, or cringe, or raise an eyebrow. You decide, like Tina Fey, to stop giving a f**k. But there comes a frustration in letting go, because you understand that part of letting go means conceding.

Blay references the tendency for White Feminists to subscribe to the concept of a “universal womanhood,” despite the observation that should be obvious: womanhood ain’t universal. What they view as a bid to unite women against oppression is ironically dividing, because any woman whose experiences differ from the white, cis, able-bodied, comfortably middle-class life are told their oppression only exists as women, or that conversations about how one’s other demographics interacts with sexism are “distractions.”

My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit, indeed.