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A funny thing happened this past week. I was asked by my editor if I was interested in writing a piece on Allison Williams, the actress who plays Marnie on Lena Dunham’s show Girls. I was rather ambivalent and I usually have tons to say when it comes to feminist topics but this one . . . this one was different because . . . well, I felt nothing.

Allison Williams has been doing press for the film Get Out — which in case you haven’t heard is THE woke film of 2017 — and has been (apparently) killing it at the box office. So much so that Allison has Refinery 29 claiming that she is ‘The Feminist We Need.’ I’m not sure we should go that far but this glorification of White actresses who spout any kind of woke rhetoric has become the trend. I don’t think you can open up any online entertainment or social news site and not read about how Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, Emma Watson or {enter your favorite White actress here} is the feminist we all need — which of course is White feminist media bullsh*t. The last thing we women of color need is another White woman telling us what our feminism should be about or trying to explain Hollywood’s diversity problem on our behalf.

I get it. A White Hollywood actress gets one role in a Black thought-provoking film and all of a sudden she’s woke to systemic racism and her white privilege. I’m pretty sure for someone, like Allison, who’s been under Lena Dunham’s White feminism for so long, working with someone like Jordan Peele would be an eye-opening experience. But just because you’re woke to our cause doesn’t mean we are ready to anoint you the socio-political savior of our plight.

And this current trend that’s happening in Hollywood of being woke, speaking up, and acting out on behalf of social justice under a White feminist guise as a career move makes me extremely uncomfortable. Because my body, my rights, my color, my queerness, and my experiences in all their intersections are not a trend. They are lived experiences with very real and sometimes dire consequences.

And while I’d like to blame this current Hollywood trend of whitewashed bland of feminism on Lena Dunham and her privileged feminist notions where getting naked and having sex on film is considered ‘radical feminism,’ it’s not just Dunham.

It’s mega White Hollywood stars like Meryl Streep wearing a t-shirt with Emmeline Pankhurst’s, a British White suffragist whom Meryl played in the movie Suffragette, quote “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave” and being so privileged that she’s completely unaware of the very real issues that wearing said slogan ignores.

It’s one of my long-time favorites, Emma Watson, being called out a few weeks ago on her feminist definition double standard when she implied Beyoncé was too sexual to be a feminist while she herself recently posed topless with a white-caged shoulder plate for Vanity Fair.

Allison Williams doing one woke film and talking about issues of diversity in Hollywood — saying it’s “the people making decisions are disproportionately old, disproportionately white and disproportionately men” — is the very thing we women of color have been saying for decades. But when Allison says stuff like, “When they leave we have to make sure the people who replace them more accurately reflect the way the world actually looks”— it’s considered a radical act of feminism, and she’s anointed the White savior of our cause.

That’s the real problem with White Hollywood and mainstream media feminism is that it picks and chooses what to vilify and what to glorify. All the while completely ignoring and overlooking the amazing words and works of women of color.

“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.” — Viola Davis.

“As an out transgender woman of color, I don’t take the enormity of me being able to live my dreams lightly. This is not the case for so many of my transgender brothers and sisters. Everyone should have the same change to get ahead, to support themselves and their families and to live their dreams.” — Laverne Cox.

“Feminism should be a part of Black masculinity.” — Janelle Monáe.

Until we see stories in the mainstream media about how Viola Davis or Laverne Cox or Janelle Monáe are “the feminist we all need now,” White feminists and their friends in the press will remain part of the problem.

Which means we still have a long way to go.

 

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