Book Review: Can We All Be Feminists?

Can We All Be Feminsists? Why is it difficult for so many women to fully identify with the word “feminist”? How do our personal histories and identities affect our relationship to feminism? Why is intersectionality so important? Can a feminist movement that doesn’t take other identities like race, religion, or socioeconomic class into account even be considered feminism? How can we make feminism more inclusive?

In Can We All Be Feminists?, seventeen established and emerging writers from diverse backgrounds wrestle with these questions, exploring what feminism means to them in the context of their other identities-from a hijab-wearing Muslim to a disability rights activist to a body-positive performance artist to a transgender journalist. Edited by the brilliant, galvanizing, and dazzlingly precocious nineteen-year-old feminist activist and writer June Eric-Udorie, this impassioned, thought-provoking collection showcases the marginalized women whose voices are so often drowned out and offers a vision for a new, comprehensive feminism that is truly for all.

Including essays by: Soofiya Andry, Gabrielle Bellot, Caitlin Cruz, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Brit Bennett, Evette Dionne, Aisha Gani, Afua Hirsch, Juliet Jacques, Wei Ming Kam, Mariya Karimjee, Eishar Kaur, Emer O’Toole, Frances Ryan, Zoé Samudzi, Charlotte Shane, and Selina Thomps

An #ownvoices collection of essays written by up and coming, influential feminists, many of whom if not all belong to one minority or another. With a range of authors from Muslim, Lesbians, Transgender African Americans, African Americans and Bisexual Catholics the wide diversity that is present in this books is outstanding. Each essay is unique from the perspective of the author looking at things such as race and transgender, race and queerness, immigration and women whether they are cishet or queer to fat feminism and abortion and the referendum in Ireland.

I like to think I’m pretty ‘woke’ but there were things in this book that made me sit back and go ‘huh I hadn’t thought of that’ such as the issue with immigration. While that particular essay was focused on England and their immigration policy and touched briefly on Canada’s but it’s startling to realise just how much of a feminist issue it is but at the same time something that mainstream or ‘white feminism’ hasn’t picked up.

At least one essay also in touching on race and feminism touched on an important argument for women’s rights – equal pay. It raises the point that it is very hard to fight for equal pay between sexes when WOC aren’t paid as high or disable women – especially disabled WOC – as their white counterparts. Why fix the sexes when we have the problem within our sex as well?

I’m the first to admit I have white girl privilege and rich white girl privilege at that. While my parents aren’t rich they are well off enough that my two brothers and I could be sent through private schools for our entire schooling and never had to go without. It also wasn’t until probably 2015 or 2016 at the age of 25/26 that I really started to get into feminism. Sure I’ve always wanted equality between sexes but I didn’t understand what it truly meant let alone intersectional feminism. This book therefore does a wonderful job of opening up and making you aware of just of just how lacking mainstream feminism can be. Third Wave Feminism is making progress but as a whole we have a long way to come until.


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