For feminism to truly embody a message of empowerment and hope for society, it has to include all women. An exclusionary form of feminism is like an elite club. It picks a select few and shuns the rest; it spotlights one group and shuts the door on everyone else.
While black women picked themselves apart for not getting the job they wanted without clear reasons why, organizations were left not knowing that unconscious biases were taking place. “Organizations want to fixate on the myth of the pipeline problem and not wanting to lower the bar, when the bar that we see lowered consistently is the bar for white leaders,” Walker says.
Jackson Katz, an author and filmmaker who studies gender and violence, said giving boys more positive role models and getting them to think critically about gender stereotypes is a key component to violence prevention. “Boys growing up in the U.S. are taught from the earliest ages the quickest way to gain respect is through violence,” Katz said. “For boys … who have had no access to validation and respect, violence is the quickest and most accessible means at proving your manhood.” If these definitions of manhood and strength are redefined and expanded, and boys see those traits in men, violent images of manhood could fall away, he said.
Racism and sexism are inextricably intertwined. Navigating a biased system exacts a toll, from lost career opportunities to the energy expended on internal calculations for dealing with inappropriate behavior and self-doubt. Many writers, activists, and scholars have worked tirelessly to highlight the cumulative impact of these experiences in the context of race and gender alike. But the justified outrage around sexual harassment has eclipsed the discussion on race while borrowing its language. It’s as if America can only care about one injustice at a time, and—once again—white people come first.
The recent cultural reckoning over sexual assault and harassment has highlighted the dangers women face in workplaces throughout Hollywood, media organizations and in public office. The growing number of accusations has put a spotlight on high-profile men's abuse of power, many times with white men being accused by white women. But what about stories from women of color?