Episode

1/20 The Fraud Of “White Feminism” w/ Kyla Schuller

January 20, 2022

Emma hosts Kyla Schuller, Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, to discuss her recent book The Trouble With White Women: A Counterhistory of Feminism, on how mainstream feminism has been a project of theft disguised as liberation. Professor Schuller and Emma situate white feminism as one that isolates a specific element of misogyny while leaning into many forms of structural oppression, from racism to classism to transphobia. The first contrast Kyla Schuller brings to our attention is that between the feminism of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, co-author of the quintessential “History of Women’s Suffrage,” with Susan B. Anthony, and that of Frances E.W. Harper, who used the income from her poetry to fund the Underground Railroad and paint women’s rights as a movement to promote Black folks’ land rights, liberty, and literacy. Despite writing what is viewed as the quintessential “first wave” feminist text, Stanton’s and Anthony’s feminism was actively based on beliefs that Black suffrage could not take precedence over women, leaving Harper’s beliefs entirely out of their project, while appropriating and editing the works of Black women such as Sojourner Truth to fit their own narratives. Using this as a blueprint for the differences between “white” and intersectional feminisms, Schuller then looks to the appropriation of the story of escaped slave Harriet Jacobs by Harriet Beecher Stowe for her work “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” and how this reflected Stowe’s feelings of the white woman’s role in protecting, teaching, and civilizing women of color, as further represented by her ultimate acquisition of the largest orange plantation in Florida, as a place to experiment with disciplining and civilizing the formerly enslaved. She and Emma also touch on the stories of Margaret Sanger and Dorothy Ferebee as an important contrast in the development of reproductive choice, versus reproductive justice, before touching on the takedown of Sandy Stone from the lesbian music collective “Olivia Records” by anti-Trans activist Janice Raymond. They wrap up the interview by touching on the concept that the universal female experience that TERFs ground their oppression in simply doesn’t exist, and look at Sheryl Sandberg’s “lean in” feminism versus AOC’s coalition feminism. Emma also looks at Biden’s decision to break up BBB, hoping to at least get some moderates on board if he’s going to lose the faith of the rest of his base.

And in the Fun Half: Brandon and Matt join Emma as they take on MLK NFTs but like IRL, exploring the commodification of the Civil Rights Movement, and crypto bros’ inability to grapple with artists having the rights over their work. Warren from Toronto calls in to explore Jordan Peterson’s brief prevalence in Canadian academia, and how that all fell apart well before his retirement, Candace Owens and Tucker Carlson take on the threat of “NGOs,” (totally different than corporations, they swear), and the crew explores how Jordan Peterson’s self-help work targeted people who were looking for meaning in their life, and what the left can learn from it. Anti-vaxxers turn to pissful protests, plus, your calls and IMs!

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