OKAY. but in The Last Olympian when Beckendorf went to pick up Percy at the beach and he met Rachael he literally started to say how Percy mentioned her. Him and Percy must of spent a lot of time together (we also see this in the Demigod Files while him are Percy are playing capture the flag together). So all I’m saying is that Percy and Beckendorfs friendship is so underrated.
How (White) Feminism Failed Gabby Douglas, Leslie Jones, Normani Kordei & many other Black Women
(Image provided by Tumblr)
by Rachael Edwards
The world has watched Black Girl Magic (Olympic Black Goddess version) in action at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Simone Manuel made history as the first black woman swimmer to win an Olympic Gold Medal in an individual event. We cheered as Simone Biles soared through the air and easily collected medals. Michelle Carter made history by being the first American woman to wingold for shot put. Black women athletes are unapologetically leaving their mark this year.
While the Olympics has been a triumphant time for our community, it has also been a heartbreaking one. Gabby Douglas has won several gold medals individually and for the USA team, but that was not enough. Our celebration was marred as we watched Douglas be criticized for her hair, for not putting her hand over her heart, not smiling enough, and a host of other reasons. Gabby could not catch a break. She expressed her heartbreak in a tearful interview,“Either it was about my hair or my hand not over my heart [on the medal podium] or I look depressed. … It was hurtful. It was hurtful. It was. It’s been kind of a lot to deal with.” As I watched this unfold I saw the support of black women on my timelines, all of us trying our best to garner support for Gabby despite the odds. However I could not help to notice there was an extreme imbalance of defenses for Gabby from white feminists. Many of them, enough of them, said nothing.
Feminism, in short terms, is the support of women’s rights and equality to men. One would assume that “women’s rights” would mean all women, but just like the Constitution, “all men” didn’t really mean all men. Mainstream or (white) feminism will always benefit white women before women of color. We are an afterthought, often not even mentioned. My critique of this kind of feminism is that it severely lacks intersectionality and will always benefit the majority.
This is not a new concept, but was a blaring reminder that white women have been the face of feminism while black women/WOC are pushed to the side lines. In 1848, the Women’s Suffrage Movement was birthed and heroines like Ida B. Wells fought for the rights of black women. Historically, a gap in the feminist movement existed between white and black women because the temperance and suffrage movements did not recognize our equal rights. White feminists collectively fail to realize, that the struggle of black women/ WOC effortlessly comes with intersections that are social, economic, and racial. It has and continues to be harder for black women/WOC because of the inevitable combination of white and male supremacy.
Feminism also looks like supporting other women in every facet of womanhood. Gabby Douglas’ situation mirrored that of Normani Kordei and weeks before that, Leslie Jones. These three women share a common experience. Both Leslie and Normani decided to disengage from Twitter because of disgusting and racist tweets . Specifically in Leslie Jones situation, I questioned the lack of support from her Ghostbuster’s cast members who are all white women. While the entire cast was undergoing sexist remarks because of the Ghostbuster’s remake, the amount of verbal abuse Leslie received was unbearable. Not only did she receive sexist tweets, but racist tweets as well. Normani’s from the girl group Fifth Harmony, incident occurred a few weeks later where she penned an open letter stating, “I’ve been racially cyber bullied with tweets and pictures so horrific and racially charged that I can’t subject myself any longer to hate.” Black women are subjected to be ridiculed, but our feminism does not seem to matter to the mainstream feminist eye. What these women have in common is that (white) feminism is likely not to come to their aid.
White women celebrities have been under the microscope of sexist scrutiny, but have always been supported by other (white) feminists. To be specific, Taylor Swift, Amy Schumer, Patricia Arquette, and Lena Dunham, to name a few. Check out this thread from Caitlin Moran (English journalist, author, and broadcaster at The Times) below:
(Courtesy of Twitter)
Yep. You read it right.
As black women we will always be offered the short end of both sticks.
#LetGabbyLive was one of the hashtags that emerged on Twitter but only after a statement was released from Gabby’s mother that Gabby was heartbroken from the bullying. There should have been an onslaught of support since Gabby stepped on stage, especially from white celebrities who tote “feminism” on their hems.
In hopes that society is making strides towards intersectional feminism, it is important as black/WOC that we hold each other accountable and continue to encourage one another. While the world is figuring out how to include us, we must put ourselves first. In cases, where we see our sisters being bogged down by cyber bullying like Gabby Douglas, Leslie Jones, or Normani we have to speak up.
In the words of beloved Assata Shakur, “…we must love and support one another.”