White Feminism™: a version of feminist ideology devoid of intersectionality, which seeks to advance the agendas of cis-heteronormative White women with no regard to and/or at the expense of women of colour, trans people, and/or gay people. This particular distortion of feminism seeks not to disrupt the systems of racism, classism, homophobia and transphobia, but rather to see White women have the ability to wield the same destructive power as cis-heteronormative White men. White feminists are typically cis-het White women, but they call also be cis-het White male feminists, or even people of colour with a variety of internalized oppression. As with everything, intersections matter, and even gay or trans White people are guilty of this “race first” brand of feminism which empowers White supremacy and seeks to perpetuate it at the expense of all “others”.
It’s no secret that Sansa Stark has been one of the most controversial characters on the hit series Game of Thrones, which is easily one of the most controversial shows in television history. Her character, her motives, and her intentions have all been subject to scrutiny at one point or another, often all at the same time. But her behaviour has always given off the foul perfume of the decaying garbage that is at the very heart of the incredibly toxic and self-serving White Feminism ™. Not to be confused with intersectional feminism, Black feminism, and/or womanism, which desire equality for all, White Feminism™ is little more than gender-inclusive White supremacy. Hari Ziyad of RaceBaitr explains this, as well as why Sansa is so disliked and distrusted, in this riveting piece for the Black Youth Project. Enjoy!
It seems like every few weeks another white woman writes an article about how women apologize too much. The reasons given are either that women have “a lower threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior,” or that women apologizing is “a Trojan horse for genuine annoyance, a tactic left over from centuries of having to couch basic demands in palatable packages in order to get what (they) want.”
Either way, these apologies are understood to be a byproduct of sexist double standards, of women being forced by patriarchal systems to ask for forgiveness simply for moving through life.
But perhaps another reason white women apologize for so much is because they require forgiveness for everything they do—not just when it is unnecessary, but also when it is unearned.
In this season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, one of the main characters, Sansa Stark (played by Sophie Turner, X-Men: Apocalypse), has just escaped being married to a sociopath for the second time, and the horrifying ordeals she experienced at the hands of both husbands, including rape, have made her character a lot more empathetic than she was in season one. But some of us still haven’t forgotten how Sansa actively overlooked the sadism repeatedly demonstrated by her first husband, Joffrey Baratheon, in hopes of fulfilling some fairy tale life, helping to get her father and two brothers killed.
In season 7, which debuted in July, her sister, Arya (Maisie Williams), is initially presented as though she still hasn’t let go of this history either, and repeatedly attacks Sansa for her relationship to “femininity.” Arguably, it was Sansa’s pursuit of what writer s.e. smith calls “feminine ideals” in “Don’t Hate on Sansa Stark’s Powerful Femininity” that led her to throw her kin under the bus just to marry into an evil ruling family. But for empathizing with Arya, smith chides viewers for the inherent sexism of disliking Sansa’s “very traditional performance of femininity,” a charge I have heard repeated in various iterations more and more as Sansa’s story arc continues to demand redemption.
But by “traditional performance of femininity” smith means a femininity that has been the standard put forth by whiteness—the standard of white male desire. And like all standards put forth by whiteness, white femininity is still reliant upon violent ideas of power, even if it also suffers from the patriarchy. White femininity, in Game of Thrones and elsewhere, is the power to oppress others in frills.
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