Views on Feminism
SEASON 1: EPISODE 6
Women of color have a complex relationship with feminism — understanding how their multiple identities intersect increases a brand’s ability to connect with them.
On this episode, Amber brings together three women of color to explore what happens when gender, race and culture collide — and why brands/marketers should care.
Conflicting identities. Professor and author, Maythee Rojas, PhD provides insight into how the women’s movement (mainstream feminism) has historically excluded women of color and explores how the Black Power, Chicano and American Indian movements addressed issues of race and class in a way that feminism did not. Ultimately, women of color emerged from these movements to create their own spaces that acknowledge their overlapping identities — Women of color feminism or intersectional feminism.
Creating space and community. Our panelists, Carrie Wilkins (Tote + Pears), Cassandra Lam (The Cosmos) and Shatha Barbour (HeraHub Pheonix) are women of color from different racial backgrounds who have chosen to work in fields that highlight women. They share the stories of discrimination, assimilation and invisibility that shaped their perspectives and ultimately, empowered them to create their own spaces to represent and uplift the women, and women of color, in their communities.
Stereotypes to avoid. Feminists are bra-burning radicals; the women’s movement speaks for all women; employing white women or one woman of color is enough to diversify your staff or your brand; representing women through one lens is sufficient and effective. These are stereotypes that keep your businesses and brands from connecting with women in your target audience. Feminism is about equality, not tipping the scales — and should always be implemented through an intersectional lens.
An intersectional approach. Women of color want to be seen and heard. They want to be acknowledged for the depth, complexity and beauty of their experiences. Embracing diversity will appeal to women — in a meaningful way — who are traditionally left out. Creating a space for specific groups to have a voice, like Cassandra, or making sure that a wide range of personas are represented in your offering, like Shatha and Carrie, could significantly improve your success.
Cassandra Lam is a consultant turned yoga teacher, activist, and community builder. As CEO and cofounder of The Cosmos, a community for Asian women creators to flourish and thrive, she is passionate about inspiring people of color to imagine what liberation can look like. Through content and experiences, The Cosmos empowers Asian women to create the representation and culture change we deserve.
Carrie Wilkins is the daughter of Louisiana Creoles, raised in California on red beans and rice, James Baldwin and miles of golden Pacific coastline.
She is an award-winning writer, wife and mother of four whose love of storytelling is inspired by the rhythm of New Orleans, namely her sharp-tongued grandmother, who longed to see the world but had to settle for spinning colorful tales from her front porch instead.
Carrie manages content and community Tote + Pears.
Maythee Rojas is a Professor of Chicano and Latino Studies at California State University, Long Beach. She received her Ph.D. in English from Arizona State University and her B.A. from Pomona College. Her research specializations include ethnic American literature and issues of gender and sexuality. She is the author of Women of Color and Feminism (Seal Press: 2009).
Maythee Rojas, (2009). Women of Color and Feminism
Moraga C. & Anzaldúa G (eds). (1981). This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color.
Hull A., Bell-Scott P. & Smith B. (eds). (1982). But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women's Studies
Audre Lorde. (1984). Sister Outsider
Trujillo C. (ed.). (1991). Chicana Lesbians: The Girls Our Mothers Warned Us About
Bates, Karen Grisby. Jan 2017. Race And Feminism: Women's March Recalls The Touchy History NPR
Produced by: Kai-Saun Anderson
Music by: Podington Bear