White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind

Atria. Jan. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781982134419. $27. SOC SCI
Writer and author Beck, former editor in chief of Jezebel, critiques the dominance of white narratives in mainstream feminist discourse, especially its emphasis on corporate values and the pursuit of financial success for some privileged women at the expense of other women. The author draws on examples from U.S. history and popular culture to show how white women have embraced feminism as a branding strategy, from Lean In to women’s magazines to Etsy merchandise at the 2017 Women’s March. Meanwhile, she shows how the needs and basic rights of women of color, especially securing their physical and economic safety, have been sidelined and ignored. Beck’s use of examples to illustrate her points is highly effective, and every page of this well-rounded book offers fresh insight. This essential account offers a skilled analysis of the ways feminism in the United States has been co-opted by white women in pursuit of wealth, and has failed to be inclusive and self-aware of women of color, economically disadvantaged women, and women in the LGBTQ community.
VERDICT Readers who have not yet taken the time to deeply consider how privilege impacts feminist movements will finish the book with new perspectives on the topic of gender equality.
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