L ike millions of others, both in the United States and worldwide, I attended a Women’s March in January 2017. My experience of the event itself was underwhelming: downtown Washington, DC, was so packed that I couldn’t get close enough to hear the speakers. The signs—clever, heartbroken, full of righteous anger—were the best part. Yet I was happy to have played a small part in signaling to the new admin- istration how many people take women’s rights very seriously. Several years on, the feeling of solidarity that briefly emerged in that moment seems naive. Even before it occurred, the Women’s March had become part of a broader debate about race, gender, and voting behav- ior, as cultural commentators struggled to understand how white women could have voted for Donald Trump. It seemed clear to many that these women had chosen to retain the privileges gained from systemic racism rather than challenge the drawbacks of sexism. This criticism extended beyond conservative white women. A slew of think pieces—and eventu- ally books—took on the history of white feminism, arguing that its ad- herents had often advanced their own interests at the expense of other women. I was and am enormously sympathetic to this perspective, which is in- arguably true. But I was also, I confess, surprised by its sudden ubiquity in cultural discourse. Didn’t everyone know this already? Wasn’t it common knowledge, for example, that Betty Friedan’s exhortations to women to escape the prison of domesticity ignored the fact that domesticity had never been an option for working-class women, poor women, and women of color? Preface and Acknowledgments
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