As part of SOAS black history month, I spoke on a panel about separatism within the feminist movement with academic Victoria Showunmi and Madeleine Stack. Hosted by HYSTERIA and Wolf Whistled North, it was a great event with some really interesting debates. The starting point to our talk was really interesting so i thought I would share
Historically political movements has often benefitted from separating self-identifying 'groups' of activists from one another in order to create a united front of solidarity and shared experience: First and second wave feminism, the civil rights movement, the gay movement etc. But in this 'Us' and 'Them' approach there are always liminal spaces that are excluded, marginalised and left behind in a movement: women of colour in first, second and arguably third wave feminism, women and queer people in the civil rights movement, trans people in the gay movement. We have been fighting for gender equality, sexual empowerment and the devolution of patriarchal capitalism for over 100 years now - is it time to drop our barriers for a fully inclusive feminism? Or are 'safe-spaces' in which we can find our similarities, take strength from common struggles and fight within our self-defined factions still a necessary tool for feminism?