The 13-year-old star of ‘Girl Meets World’ just made an excellent point about race and feminism
We at HelloGiggles have been totally fangirling for Girl Meets World‘s Rowan Blanchard. Rowan, who plays Cory and Topanga’s daughter, Riley Matthews, is not only an excellent and talented actress, but is a fashionista and has been featured in Vanity Fair. And at age 13, she is seriously wise beyond her years. She spoke about gender equality at the UN Women U.S. National Committee 2015 Annual Conference this past June, and she regularly posts on social media about women who inspire her, such as Malala Yousafzai and Marilyn Mosby.
Now, Rowan is keeping it real once again by speaking about intersectional feminism and the importance of including women of color in the feminist movement. When Tumblr user grnblu asked Rowan her about her opinion on “white feminism” and its exclusion of women of color, non-cis women, and queer women, Rowan responded with a long, heartfelt post that absolutely did not disappoint.
“Issues that are commonly thought of as feminist issues include sexual assault, rape, abortion, Planned Parenthood, domestic violence, equal education, and the wage gap,” she responded. “Feminists have also adopted marriage equality and gay/lesbian rights as their issue which is wonderful. However, with as many issues as feminists have succeeded in adopting, many of us seem to have not accepted the fact that police brutality and race issues are our issues too.”
Rowan highlighted the main issue with white feminism — its tendency to exclude intersectional feminism and forget that not all women experience sexism in the same way. “While white women are making 78 cents to the dollar, Native American women are making 65 cents, black women are making 64 cents, and Hispanic women are making 54 cents,” she wrote. She quoted Kimberlé Crenshaw, explaining that sexism and oppression is deepened and intensified when you take race, class, ability, and ethnicity into account.
She then explained a major group that traditional feminism often leads out: transgender women. “This includes trans women especially, who have been robbed of their souls when they are told they are not ‘real women,’” Rowan said. “It is SO important to protect trans women and trans youth as they are incredibly at risk when it comes to sexual assault and hate crimes.”
She also cited examples of police brutality, such as India Clarke and Sandra Bland, and tackled silencing terms like “angry black girl.” “The fact that when Amandla Stenberg wrote this beautiful and truthful piece [here]. . . she was automatically labeled the ‘angry black girl’ says enough,” she wrote. “We are so quick to applaud white women for commenting on race issues/discussions like #BlackLivesMatter, and #SayHerName, but when a black girl comments on it — she is told she is overreacting or being angry.”
Rowan also expressed how sexism and feminism affects gay men, as well. “I have personally seen men get called gay/ f**/ pu*** for wearing anything even remotely feminine,” she wrote. “Gay is simply not an insult. Also, let’s not forget that black men cannot wear hoods without being stereotyped as thugs.”
To conclude, she made a seriously important point: White feminism is not feminism. “To only acknowledge feminism from a [one-sided] view when the literal DEFINITION is the equality of the sexes is not feminism at all,” she ended her post. “We need to be talking about this more. Discussion leads to change.”
She also posted her response in three separate screenshots on her Instagram so that as many people could see it as possible. We totally, completely love Rowan and her insistence to keep the issues that matter at the very forefront, where they belong.
(Images via Instagram.)