Everydayfeminsim.com, an activist website run largely by gender-fluid post-grads with PTSD, recently tackled the incredibly important subject of white privilege in millennial relationships. Like all content on EverydayFeminsim, the article makes a cogent point without relying on things like attribution, scientific evidence or outside perspectives.
The article’s non-binary author, Anis Gisele, describes herself/themself as “straight-passing, cis-privileged, and light-skinned.” In short, few have been victimized by patriarchy more than Mx. Gisele.
According to the article, Mx. Gisele and millions of other girls and non-binaries were taught to worship white men while watching 90s rom-coms (she was nearly hospitalized for acute anxiety after watching She’s All That). Years later, she began a relationship with a white cis gendered man and tried her best to play the role of the perfect non-binary partner. She faced an uphill battle of racism and misogyny, however.
The more time I spent with my partner’s community, the more agitated I became. I would sob afterwards in his car, in his room, drilled down to my core by a feeling I couldn’t define.
Instead of calling the police, Mx. Gisele bravely analyzed the role of privilege and white supremacy in her relationship. After all, privilege is an effective way of making snap judgements about people’s life experiences based solely on their gender and race.
In order to strengthen her relationship, Mx. Gisele identified these six questions to assist female college graduates in validating their victimhood.
1. ‘Sometimes I Make It Hard for You to Show Up Fully – How Are You Doing?’
Because it’s not enough that he asks me what I’m feeling. That’s beginner-level shit. I need him to acknowledge that sometimes, he has shown impatience when my trauma’s have shown up as feelings that weren’t poignant, contained, or novel.
Mx. Gisele, who is from the Philippines, has suffered far more than any white person, therefore her individual needs should come first. As a result, it’s important that all privileged people continuously adjust their behavior to reduce her anxiety.
2. ‘My Circle Is Predominantly White – How Would You Feel If I Talked to Them About Respecting You as a Person of Color?’
He could’ve prepped his friends.
He could’ve said: “Hey, I get that we’re straight, cisgender, white men, and this often means we’re encouraged to take up all the air in the room. But maybe you should ask my girlfriend questions about her life and really affirm what she says, so she doesn’t feel the need to censor herself to avoid a situation where you belittle her.”
Mx. Gisele is constantly fighting off perceived attacks by privileged white men (and slightly less privileged white women). As a result, everyone needs to be aware of her emotional needs and “triggers” as a non-binary women of color. Because privilege is not demanding special treatment from everyone, privilege is about race.
3. ‘My Circle Is Predominantly Straight – How Would You Feel If I Talked to Them About Respecting Your Queerness?’
I wish he had known if his people could listen to me talk about kink, polyamory, sex work and other realities of my community, without making faces about it afterwards, in private, or to each other.
We didn’t know. So I hid myself.
We now live in a world where open discussion of kink and sex work with your in-laws is considered offensive. Why? Because white people know that kink and sex work are only associated with women of color and gender-nonconformists. It’s a manifestation of systemic discrimination.
4. ‘If My Community Fucks Up, How Would You Like Me to Hold Them Accountable?’
When I’m vastly outnumbered by straight people, white people, or people who know each other, I want my partner to leverage his privilege on my behalf.
But when I can do so safely, I want to speak for myself.
Safety is of the upmost importance, and Mx. Gisele is very aware of the fact white people secretly wish to destroy her. Anxiety and self-doubt, she points out, are emotions only truly experienced by minority social groups.
5. ‘What Triggers You? What Keeps You Grounded?’
When my partner takes me into his “territories,” it’s often for days at a time, and my emotional resources are wrung out by the first night.
He does his best to provide me care – I see this and I’m grateful. But I question anyone’s urge to pin a medal of honor on him for doing this.
How grateful she is. But please refrain from giving her boyfriend any praise for constantly satiating her emotional needs. He’s privileged and therefore has no comprehension of true human suffering.
6. ‘Capitalism Is Less Kind to You – How Can I Support Your Sense of Security?’
Two Christmases ago, I made these sweet little cards for each member of his family. I drew detailed cartoons on the covers and wrote long notes inside.
When I showed them to my partner, I expected praise and kisses. He said, “Could you get my family something else, too? Like a board game?”
It wasn’t really a conversation. It was an expectation.
His family was putting me up for a week, so I owed them a more expensive gift. I was too embarrassed to say that I wasn’t working enough at the time to feel good about spending forty dollars on a board game.
Due to the gender pay gap, Mx. Gisele and millions of others are at a disadvantage during the holiday season. A misogynist might say “but she said she wasn’t really working, so of course she had no money.” But did you ever ask yourself why she wasn’t working full-time? Privilege and mansplaining run rampant in the workplace, and safe spaces for non-binary people of color are, as of now, not easily accessible in all corporate environments.
That’s why we need social justice warriors. To fight the special treatment and sense of self entitlement demanded by those in privilege.