[Picture: Background: 8 piece pie style color split with pink and lavender alternating. Foreground: White, cisgender girl wearing glasses. Has a smug, arrogant, and somewhat annoyed facial expression. Top text: “Your experience” Bottom text: “isn’t as important as my women’s studies degree.”
Hee! I’m getting into the spirit of Meme Generator. This is my contribution, based on the microaggressions I’ve seen and heard—and have had directed at me…and not just by white feminists.
This, beyond the other -isms and -phobias in various schools of feminism, is one issue that is least discussed, partly because so many professed feminists—white and of color—benefit from it and feel entitlement-emboldened by it. I wrote an essay about The Feminist-Academic Complex in an upcoming anthology by feminist sex educator and writer Jessica Yee on this very topic. What I should have added to my essay is, IMO, why feminism has formed such a complex with academia: along with the idea incubated in and out of academia that people with degrees are (still) the only ones worth listening to, outside of The Tower is really hostile to the idea and people who profess and/or practice it. Academia provides a “home”—or “safe space,” to use the parlance—for feminists. So, feminism fortified its privilege by, in essence, wedding The Academy—and really, its class privileges of having the money to go to college to “study” these ideas. Yeah, it’s a Mobius Strip of privilege, but it’s still privilege.
So, as much as feminists give lip service to “experience as a form of theoretical basis,” it seems the only time “experience” is respected is when the person has years of it (and if the person had practically founded a feminist organization). It’s as if feminism has bought into that whole “one bachelor’s degree=5-10 years of ‘professional’ experience” that guides hiring practices. Other than that, folks’ feminism—especially being able to write and speak on it—gets dismissed real quick.