I haven’t sat down and written a blog post for what feels likes ages. Truthfully, I don’t even know where to begin. With everything that is going on in the world, I struggling to understand how I can help. Normally, I save politics for Twitter and use this blog to write about issues that I know. I guess on the surface, this is super white feminist of me. I have a platform and should use it for everything I can. However, I do realise issues don’t have to affect me directly to be considered issues. And of course, I fight for all women.
These past couple of weeks certain people’s silence has become deafeningly noticeable. Influencers who have millions of people at their disposal, and a platform that is growing on a daily basis, are just continuing to plug their latest content. I get it. People can’t just stop living their lives or miss out on earnings. But why can’t you do both? Why aren’t world issues and equality a part of your brand? If people choose to unfollow, are they worth having as followers in the first place? Sure, you can dismiss this valid criticism by saying I’m not following the right people, or we could question why big house hold names are staying silent. Encourage them even. What good is it having a platform if you don’t use it? People’s lives are quite literally at stake, now it not the time to be silent. Silence is complicit.
The more I talk (and tweet) about this, the more I am realising that some people geniunely don’t know how they can use their platform. I don’t have all the answers of course, but here are a few suggestions.
When in doubt, RT
A lot of people have told me they don’t know what to say, which is fine. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try say anything at all. Nobody is going to judge or criticise you for trying, we’re all trying to make sense of it all. Signal boosting is so important in the digital age. My frustration is not with people who continue as normal, it’s with the people who refuse to retweet others. You can tweet about your new lipstick and about what’s going on in the world. The phrase “I’m not a political person”, just screams privilege and ignorance. If you have time to tweet about some petty blogger drama, you can sure as hell RT comments/links/something constructive.
Amplify other voices
If this election taught us anything, it’s that white women should take up less space. After the women’s march, I read tons of valid criticism from women of colour and transgender women. Criticism that some of us could be completely oblivious too. Don’t see anything wrong with phrases like ‘pussy power’ or ‘the future is female’, you’re not paying enough attention. Just because you saw some inclusive signs at a march you went to, it doesn’t make these criticisms any less valid. A large amount of disabled people felt excluded during these marches too. This is something I didn’t even think about until it was raised. This is another reminder as to why amplifying voices is so important. If you learned something, why not share it so others can too?
Use your platform to show solidarity
I have seen a lot of people excuse people’s silence by suggesting they don’t know what to say. Again, that’s fine but it’s not good enough in my opinion. I think it’s more about showing your support and solidarity. I guess you could argue it’s wrong to assume what people do and don’t support when they’re silent. But when people try to capitalise off of feminism and stay silent in times like this, it needs to be addressed. Don’t know what to say? Show your support instead. Go to marches, RT, listen to people, donate to organisations, write to your local MPs, signal boost the fuck out of people’s stories.
The online world can be a great source of education, Twitter in particular. Want to know how you can make more of a difference? Make an effort to follow more non-white feminists and activists. Listen to what they are saying, look at your own behaviour and thoughts, ask questions. Of course people aren’t here to educate you, but you can learn a lot from their feeds alone. For example, I didn’t stop and think about how I could use more inclusive language until I started following the right people online. My feminism isn’t perfect and I learn something new every week.
Your intentions don’t mean shit
The most infuriating thing about Internet arguments is when people get defensive. When we are talking about things like attitudes, languages or problematic work, your intentions do not mean a thing. Most of the things white feminists are criticised for are part of a much larger problem. Don’t see a problem with pussy hats? Maybe think about how much transwomen are excluded from and how much violence they face. It doesn’t matter if you meant well, you should still take the criticism onboard. It’s natural to get defensive I suppose, hell I’ve been guilty of it too. Try to challenge your instincts and listen to what people are telling you. It’s not that hard to listen and you’ll be better for it. Trust me.
In the spirit of listening, please do leave any other suggestions you may have below! This is not a definitive list by any means.