'Every woman knows a Weinstein': political whiteness and white woundedness in #MeToo and public feminisms around sexual violence

Phipps, Alison (2019) 'Every woman knows a Weinstein': political whiteness and white woundedness in #MeToo and public feminisms around sexual violence. Feminist Formations, 31 (2). pp. 1-25. ISSN 2151-7363

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This article explores how whiteness shapes public feminisms around sexual violence, using #MeToo as a case study. Building on the work of Daniel Martinez HoSang (2010), Gurminder Bhambra (2017) and others, I theorize political whiteness as an orientation to/mode of politics which employs both symbolic tropes of woundability and interpersonal performances of fragility (DiAngelo 2011), and invokes state and institutional power to redress personal injury. Furthermore, I argue that the ‘wounded attachments’ (Brown 1995) of public sexual violence feminisms are met by an equally wounded whiteness in the right-wing backlash: acknowledging the central role of race exposes continuities between both progressive and reactionary politics dominated by white people. Political whiteness stands in contrast to the alternative politics long articulated by women of color, and black women in particular. However, these alternatives may encounter different problematics, for instance intersecting with neoliberal notions of resilience which are also racialized. Challenging political whiteness is therefore not simply a case of including more diverse narratives: this must be done while examining how sexual violence is experienced and politicized in the nexus of patriarchy, capitalism and colonialism, in which gender, race and class intersect with categories such as victims and survivors, woundedness and resilience.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: #MeToo, sexual violence, public feminisms, race, political whiteness, intersectionality, neoliberalism
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Gender Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ1101 Women. Feminism
Depositing User: Alison Phipps
Date Deposited: 07 May 2019 10:28
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2021 14:05
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/83531

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