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Power feminism: Who has the right to say you can overcome?
Does sharing womanhood give these women the right to say how other women should think?
Have you ever heard of power feminism? Two women, Katie Roiphe and Naomi Wolf, say that society doesn't oppress women because women are powerful enough to control their fates. Women who don't have the mindset of a victim, and they need to get over that mindset and take charge.
This is a very controversial form of feminism because of the criticism surrounding Roiphe and Wolf, who are upper-class, white, well-educated women... critics say it's easy for them to say how to overcome trials.
Certainly to represent a group of people, one must have an understanding of that group that generally only inclusion can provide. To support this statement, I bring up Standpoint Theory, which focuses on how different aspects of identity affects one's place in society and the experiences he or she has. The only thing all women share are that they are all women, but much more contributes to one's "standpoint" in society, including gender, race, and class. Lower-class women do not have the same experiences more financially privileged women have, as white women do not necessarily undergo the same treatment as Hispanic women may. With that said, not even all Hispanic women experience the same things, as different levels of class and other characteristics exist within that group.
Wolf and Roiphe are white, upper-class, successful, and well educated. This most likely means that they can only credibly speak for other women who fit that narrow, particular profile. To be fair, these two women may have come from lower-class backgrounds, which may have provided them greater insight into how such women may think and feel. Where they lived, being white may have meant they were the minority. However, their "standpoint" still limits their ability to truly understand how all women live and the resources available to them. Probably no one can have such ability because no one can understand what everyone women of every profile experiences. That is why so many feminist (and anti-feminist) groups exist; no one size fits all.
At the same time, I suppose it depends. There are certainly white, upper-class, educated women who have been raped or discriminated against, and perhaps they believe in power feminism. I can't really speak to the validity of this form of feminism because I haven't really encountered anything to make me feel like a victim for being a woman.
I'd love to hear what other people have to say about this.