The Cost of White Feminism

I have little to say about the worst kept secret on earth: That decades of campaigning, of twisted rhetoric, of bigotry, of weaponizing religion, of riling up the worst aspects of our society, of an open playbook of minority rule enabled in part by the Electoral College and also by intentional voter suppression means that women no longer have rights to their own bodies. 

I’ve had little to say since the decision leaked. Because if you are shocked and upset now, I don’t know where you’ve been. This was the explicit promise; the almost literal deal with the devil that evangelicals have made. To get this. 

Maybe it’s less shocking to me because I came from the evangelical South and watched it building. Did people honestly think this wasn’t on the ballot the last few decades of elections? 

But what kills me is the role that white women played in this. 

White women put Donald Trump in office. My mom, and many women in my family, have voted for candidates for decades because ending abortion was their only issue. For many other white women who didn’t have that as their only issue, or maybe even supported the right to choose, they didn’t care enough for it to change their vote. Why? Probably because they know they could always get abortions.

Let’s be clear: If folks with privilege thought this impacted their wives, their lovers, their children, their bodies, it’d be a very different situation. 

This is where white woman feminism has led us. Look no farther than Sheryl Sandberg who wrote Lean In demanding women link arms, and went dead silent once Trump came into office because continuing to advocate for women might be awkward given her day job. 

What Sandberg has now learned the hard way is the wages of going along with benevolent sexism: It’s still sexism at its core. They don’t have your back and never will. She alienated feminists to help Facebook, but Facebook still shivved her on the way out. Well done, Sheryl. 

Similarly, a huge number of white women went along with Trump because… Well, I don’t know why. And now we don’t have autonomy over our bodies and people will die. Well done “feminists.” Well done white women. 

This will extend to other issues and is already with the war on trans kids. The fact that JK Rowling can be so open in her anti-trans bigotry wrapped in a cloak of “feminism” is telling about how un-fringe TERF “feminists” are. 

I wish that white women weren’t so complicit in their own oppression that they could see that intersectional feminism is the only way to get the numbers and have real change. To make their lives better. But if it didn’t happen with this – very clearly – on the line, I’m not optimistic it ever will. 

Adimika called me this morning and was like “What do we do? Do we move? Do we leave the US?” I, for one, have been doing what I’m going to do about this since Trump won, and it was crystal clear this was coming. I am waking up every day and trying to build a better corner of the world, where women, queer folks, non-binary folks, people of color, disabled folks, and yes, men too, actually try to support one another and help each other get ahead and live their best lives. 

I am trying to be the change in white women I want to see, even if I screw up, and it’s hard and I get called out, and I have to face my own biases and prejudices and constantly do better. 

ChairmanMe isn’t a startup as much as it’s a cause and a coping strategy. Don’t tell my investors, but I don’t care if we make money. I don’t even care how long we’re able to stay in business. We live in uncertain times. Maybe it’s forever, maybe it’s another year. I’m good with whatever outcome the market has in store for us. That you have in store for us, because we are only as strong as how many users we have. How many people want this. 

What I care about is that every day we are still around, we try to make life better for folks who live in a country that openly legislates their humanity away. I care about each day. Each office hours. Each person whose life we change. Each book that gets published by a queer or neurodivergent author that might not have before. Kate Rotondo’s feminist activist ceramic company that our Build It course helped her build. Lindsay Peters saying in office hours yesterday how Lisa Cron had changed her entire way of thinking, her career path, and her future. 

Every day we change at least one person’s life in this community. That’s the reason we deal with all the sh*t of running a startup. The reason so many people on our team who could make far more money and work less hard elsewhere still work here. 

Daily results. That’s all we can do. They compound. And even if they don’t compound as much as I’d like, they change your life, and you f–ing matter to me. We have to care about each person, or we don’t care about anyone. 

For me, it’s a better way forward than sending red states postcards every election cycle.