After years of a concerted effort by news organisations to suppress the truth, The New York Times broke the story that has rocked the entertainment industry for going on weeks now, the man they once called ‘God’ (ha) had been sexually harassing women for decades. Rose McGowan led the charge of women accusing Harvey Weinstein, calling out any and everyone who enabled him and naming names. She didn’t come to play. Women the world over rallied behind her cause because those of us with sense know women have more to lose coming out against their abusers.
For her unwavering commitment to ensuring we all understood the pervasively insidious reach of the conspiracy to protect Weinstein from justice or at the bare minimum scrutiny, McGowan was rewarded by being suspended from Twitter. Immediately a hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter started, asking women to down tools for a day in support of McGowan and many prominent black women were not having it. “Calling white women allies to recognise the conflict of #WomenBoycottTwitter for women of colour who haven’t received support on similar issues.” Tweeted the prophet/director Ava DuVernay. In response to the myopia of the hashtag, April Reign, creator of the #OscarsSoWhite movement (which forced The Academy to make sweeping changes to its membership and voting roles) created the hashtag #WOCAppreciation. Its aim was to affirm the efforts of women of colour so often ignored when women’s issues are a part of the zeitgeist. The hashtag succeeded and saw the resistance against erasure and silencing trending before the day was over.
Critiquing the impetus for the #WomenBoycottTwitter movement, Ashley C Ford writes for Refinery 29 “This is a moment to recognize when the women with the most power forget or choose not to organize with those who have the least.” She goes on later in her awe-inspiring article to write “there’s a self-serving laziness to the lack of progress in our progressive politics... We decide directly or indirectly that in order for some of us to win, others of us will just have to wait their turn.” It was a nuanced and powerful deconstruction of the dynamics at play, a useful tool to help white women understand the exclusivity of their movements.
Last night, stuffed crust dickhead James Corden, speaking at the AmfAR Gala in Los Angeles thought it wise to quip “It’s a beautiful night here in L.A. So beautiful, Harvey Weinstein has already asked tonight up to his hotel to give him a massage.” Rose McGowan fixed her Twitter fingers to quote tweet a video of Corden’s “joke” and wrote in a now deleted tweet “THIS IS RICH FAMOUS HOLLYWOOD WHITE MALE PRIVILEGE IN ACTION. REPLACE THE WORD ‘WOMEN’ w/ the ‘N’ word. How does it feel?”
This right here is why black women had a problem with #WomenBoycottTwitter. You lot think all niggers are men and all women are white. Despite our constant correction, our gentle reminding, our pleas for understanding you lot, and by ‘you lot’ I’m specifically talking to you white women getting offended reading this, the way you got offended by Johnetta Elzie’s Where Were You poem . You don't see us as your equals, as deserving the same protection as you. Where were your Twitter boycotts for Diane Abbott, the most abused British Member of Parliament, and Jemele Hill after she was attacked by an entire sitting President? Black women live at the intersection of race, gender and some of us disability. We cannot choose our vaginas over our skin because we have both all the motherfucking time. And I’m tired of being polite and explaining this over and over and over again.
Twitter user Rachel The Lord quickly pointed out to McGowan “WE know exactly how it feels. Black women face gender/race based violence like this every day! You should take this down.” McGowan responded “that is exactly the point.” How sis? How did your words in anyway acknowledge black women’s realities? White women have to do the work of decolonising their minds which have been programmed to forget black women are in this fight too. Black women have to fight harder because while you only fight to dismantle the patriarchy, we are in war on multiple battlefields. The knee jerk reaction to pit race and gender against one another births conflict in black women that you create exclusively to further your own agenda leaving us behind, then you wonder why we can’t join in on your marches and hashtags.
There are no intersections on your highway to feminism. Do better. Stop making us talk to you about this. We also want to fight alongside you but you make it hard when we have to stop after every advancement to remind white women black women exist and we too suffer despite what you have been conditioned to believe.
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