It’s about that time of the week when we catch up on another edition of Feminist Friday, our weekly series where we get to share the videos we are fan-girling on right now. This week definitely has a bit of a theme going on – inclusion and intersectionality. Because if your feminism isn’t intersectional, then who does it benefit?
To answer that question first up, we’re sharing a video from celebrated author and Love Warrior Glennon Doyle Melton, who recently appeared at Oprah’s Super Soul Sessions event, talked about the importance of acknowledging and dismantling the dominance of white feminism.
Glennon gave some great pointers about where white women can start in order to be better allies of women of color, and understand the intersectionality of their struggles which may not necessarily reflect the white woman’s struggle. The video may only be 2:35, but it is packed with just enough truth to help challenge the way we view feminism, and ensure we learn the history of the important role women of color have played in the movement.
The second video comes from Youtuber Rikki Poynter, who is best know for her advocacy of closed captioning on Youtube as well as TV. The 25 year-old, who has over 51,000 subscribers on her channel who watch her twice-weekly uploads, was diagnosed with hearing loss at age 11, and uses her platform to discuss topics such as identity, deaf awareness, child abuse, and mental health – all things she has experienced personally, according to Makers.com.
While you can find plenty of videos about her other passions – pokemon, Starbucks, kittens, and answering questions from fans, it is her pursuit of inclusion and change in a very popular medium that makes her a role model. When asked by Makers what she hopes to see in the way of change in the industry, Rikki has some specific ideas.
“In my perfect world, I’d like to see a checklist kind of deal when people are uploading videos. For example, while I’m uploading a video, I would like to see a checklist to the right of the current uploading section. Did you upload? Check. Write in a description and tags? Check. Add captions? Check. I feel like if there was a visual reminder that captions existed, then people would be more up for adding them,” she said.
She is also very outspoken about other topics like feminism and reproductive rights which are important to her.
“I’m very loud when it comes to deaf rights, captioning stuff, etc. I’m always on social media talking about something, standing up for stuff. Even stuff that isn’t deaf related, but regarding feminism, racism, etc,” she said.
With the gross under-representation of differently-abled people in all areas of mainstream entertainment, Rikki’s advocacy is invaluable. Watch one of her videos below, and subscribe to her channel to keep up with her work.
The final video in this inclusion-laden Feminist Friday comes from Vicks India. The title of the video is ‘Generations of Care’ and tells the real life story of a young girl who was orphaned, and then adopted by a trans woman by the name of Gauri Sawant. So far the video has over 9.4 million views and counting.
Gauri was born Ganesh, and grew up in Pune, in a very traditional Indian household. Her father was a police officer, and her mother wasn’t sure she wanted to even have Gauri, and tried to have an abortion in her 7th month of her pregnancy. Gauri’s childhood was filled with a lot of unhappiness and pain, according to a profile about her on YourStory.com. She always knew there was something different about her, and that she was not living the identity she truly felt she was.
Gauri was bullied for her feminine traits growing up, in an environment where she was told she would grow up to be a policeman like her dad, despite her own desires being very different. She always knew she wanted to be a mother, after her own mother died when she was 5, leaving a gaping hole in her life.
Eventually Gauri left home and moved to Mumbai, and became part of the LGBTQ community. She officially became a ‘hijra’—which, as of a landmark ruling by the Indian Supreme Court, has now been recognized as the official third gender, popularly referred to as eunuchs. Biologically, they are neither male nor female. As a career, she would educate people about STDs and HIV, which is how she met her future daughter Gayatri. Gayatri’s mother was an HIV-positive sex worker and eventually died from the disease.
There was talk of selling the young girl into sex slavery herself, but Gauri decided to take the girl under her wing to protect her from experiencing a similar fate to her birth mother.
“I was strongly against that. At that time, I did not know that I would become a mother, that I would raise her and be narrating my story one day. I just knew that this little, motherless, vulnerable girl needed protection and care,” Gauri said. But she also had to battle for the rights to take care of the young girl, despite the government not allowing custody of a child to a member of the LGBT community.
Today, Gauri’s activism and heart for her daughter has enabled her story to be shared with a number of major publications, and eventually with the Vicks team. In the video below, the story is told from Gayatri’s point of view. She talks about how she wants to become a lawyer one day to help her mother be able to live with all the rights of a heterosexual parent. It is a testament to the determination of the human spirit, even in the midst of much opposition both socially and legally.
In a time when perceptions about the transgender community are being challenged and discussed more than ever, and differing opinions about their rights are the subject of political debates, this video pushes all that away and brings it down to a conversation about humanity, and what it means to be a family. Well done Vicks for breaking new ground with this one!