I don't really like Miley Cyrus, and I'm not particularly fond of Lily Allen at the moment either. Don't even talk to me about Lena Dunham.
There, I said it. It seems that in conversation I can't get my points about them across without someone accusing me of being some sort of slut-shaming, anti-feminist. Really, anyone who knows me well also knows well that I am an outspoken – and angry – feminist.
But guess what? I have an awareness of race issues and I am a black woman. So I'm not down with it when Miley Cyrus twerks and is praised for "prompting a modern feminist manifesto" while black women who have been been doing it for years — and, I daresay, do a much better job of it — are dehumanized.
I also find that Cyrus is positively dripping with privilege when she says she is "one of the biggest feminists in the world" because she "tells other women not to be scared of anything." She could really use a sociology or anthropology class in her life.
Lily Allen's newest release, "Hard Out Here," attempts to satirize the sexualization that has become pervasive in the pop music industry. The music video is meant to call out the likes of Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, among others — which is admirable.
However, her satire falls a bit flat as she executes perfectly the very demeaning behavior she had hoped to criticize. For example, in the video, Allen, true to Cyrus's "We Can't Stop" model, surrounds herself with scantily clad back-up dancers — who are mostly women of color — and proceeds to mock them.
"I don't have to shake my ass for you 'cause I've got a brain,'" she says while appraising a black model who had been doing exactly that, which evidently requires no neural activity.
Later, when criticized, she dismissed those with concerns as "wrong" and instead focused on all the praise she had been getting — which is a near exact summation of what is wrong with today's mainstream feminist movement.
Often, I find myself between a rock and a hard place as a black female. In the black community, I am expected to ignore the problems I experience at the hands of sexism to instead decry the injustices heaped upon black men.
As a female, my heritage and culture has been ignored or mocked in the name of "feminism" far too many times.
In both cases, my voice is often invalidated or ignored. However, it is very problematic and downright hurtful that white feminists have told me that my valid criticisms and opinions are simply a dissent from real feminism. I hear so much about sisterhood and solidarity, but what are those things, really?
Historically, the feminist movement has left out the voices of working-class and minority women. We hear much more about Susan B. Anthony than we do about Sojourner Truth or Grace Lee Boggs.
Lauren Rankin of PolicyMic puts it well: "Sisterhood cannot be a means to silence dissent, to stifle valid and important criticism, for the sake of unity. Mainstream feminism has sidelined and silenced many women in its tenure; women of color, lesbians, low-income women, trans women; the list goes on."
We all have unique perspectives which all possess equal validity. So why are some perspectives ignored or dismissed as dissent, while others are valued? Budge up, mainstream feminists.
Andrea Richardson is a sophomore in anthropology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.