Mainstream Feminism; Masked Discrimination


Val Morales, Guest Contributor

What happens when the only women we see in power are white and rich? And when those same women we helped reach to the top of the glass ceiling shatter it and poor women of color are left to clean up the pieces? This is the feminism we see today, and it betrays anyone who doesn’t fit the norm of middle-class, white, straight.

Mainstream feminism today has the idea that equality for women means having the same rights and privileges as men and it is believed that equality can be achieved through women being in the position of power. What this feminism fails to recognize is intersectionality. There are different overlapping forms of oppression that other women may face and having power is not the main priority to them.

Women of color need to worry about racism and how their race can impact their everyday life. Liberal feminism fails to recognize how a woman’s race can have an impact on the way society views them and treats them.

A white woman refusing to shave to kick the patriarchy in the face is not the same for me and many other women of color. We are dehumanized, met with microaggressions and racist comments because of our darker body hair.

Additionally, class struggles are not included in feminist discussions. Middle-class liberal feminists believe that having the same jobs as men will get them to equality. But working-class women will not be liberated with the low wages they receive.

According to social activist Bell Hooks, “Initially well-educated white women from working class backgrounds were more visible than black females of all classes in the feminist movement.” Hooks draws attention to groups that go unrecognized and the two different forms of oppression that have a history of overlapping.

In addition to women of color not getting recognized in feminist discussions, people across the gender spectrum are forgotten too.

The feminist fight for access to safe abortions has been around for many years. But revealed in a news article by Rewire News Group, the same feminists who fight for abortion rights only fight for cis women, not trans people. Abortion is a critical feminist problem, but cis women are not the only ones with a uterus who need access to it.

It is not possible to have a system of oppression and inequalities without having an ideology that legitimizes that inequality. That ideology is mainstream liberal feminism.

Feminism today ignores problems others may face when it is a woman who is in the position of power, and not a man. Explained in a World Economic Forum article, female CEO’s have a positive impact on the wages of women on the top, but the distribution of wages for women at the bottom are negative. Executive feminism is seen as powerful and inspiring, but the media ignores those who are affected by this type of empowerment.

Acknowledging the different forms of oppression and struggles women face is crucial to feminist theory. Addressing women’s diversity doesn’t cause more separation in society. It is critical to be aware of inequalities other people face because majority of women have been ignored by mainstream feminism and their issues go unrecognized.

Taking an international approach when discussing feminist issues allows feminists to focus on the voices and experiences of these unheard women. It is important to acknowledge many social and political issues go hand in hand with feminism and voices of those who are affected should be uplifted.


Hooks, B. (2009, April 29th). Feminist Class Struggle. The Anarchist Struggle.

Rewire News Group. (2019, May 1). Women Are Not the Only Ones Who Get Abortions.

Flabbi, L. (2015, April 25th). How do female CEOs affect their company’s gender wage gap? World Economic Forum.