Mean Girl Feminism: How White Feminists Gaslight, Gatekeep, and Girlboss

Univ. of Illinois. Jan. 2024. 160p. ISBN 9780252087684. pap. $22.95. SOC SCI
Nguyen (communication arts, Univ. of Waterloo; editor, Rhetoric in Neoliberalism) deftly delves into the damage white women feminists do when they uphold racist structures that benefit them, refuse to acknowledge their privilege, serve as gatekeepers, utilize patriarchal tactics to maintain power, or remain complicit in ongoing oppression. Building on the work of Rachel Cargle, Laila Sayad, Rafia Zakaria, and others, Nguyen offers a roadmap of what it would take to abolish “mean girl feminism.” To define that term and to describe the four types of people it involves, Nguyen uses examples that range from post–civil rights movement discourse, novels, and political theories to Gossip Girl episodes and Saturday Night Live sketches. Nguyen expertly and engagingly explains what performative activism is and analyzes how it shows up in popular culture and harms others.
VERDICT A sweeping, smart manifesto that’s crucial for white feminists to read in order to acknowledge, mitigate, and correct microaggressions and challenge oppressive systems.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing