Feminist icon Gloria Steinem is keeping it all the way real about the role black women have played in the feminist movement and her own feminist education.
In a December interview with Bust, Steinem spoke candidly about the classification of feminism as a strictly “white middle-class” movement. To Steinem, feminism has always been about intersectionality.
“Nothing in this country is not affected by racism and sexism and class, it’s not as if one can be exempt from those influences,” she said. “But in my experience, the women’s movement was less subject to them than any other large group that I’ve been part of. We all have different experiences and this probably wasn’t true from everyone, but I learned feminism disproportionately from black women.”
The 81-year-old activist has spoken straightforwardly in the past about the key role black women and other women of color have played in the feminist cause. Last year, she even stated that she feels as though black women “invented the feminist movement.”
Steinem’s acknowledgement of the importance of black and queer women in feminism is important. The debate about the ways in which “white feminism” downright disregards women of color and the issues they face will continue but this is a reminder that true feminism is inclusive of all women and all of the battles they fight on a daily basis in an effort to improve the world in which we live in for all women, for years to come.
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