The role of racial privilege is being aggressively scrutinized on college campuses across the United States. Many progressives are furthering the narrative that racial and gender privilege are the most important influences in an individual’s life, regardless of socioeconomic status. Questions remain, however, about which group is the least privileged in American society.
College feminists report that women across the country continue to be enslaved by the values of patriarchy and rape culture. “Whether it’s being encouraged to wear concealer that smudges everywhere or being called ‘honey’ by some creep at Hot Topic, being a woman is like being burned alive every second of every day,” said one feminist blogger. “The oppression we face in bars and clubs is ridiculous.”
Third wave feminists, who are defined by their frequent use of the words “queer” and “women of color,” have long insisted that American females are near the bottom of the privilege hierarchy. Feminist women of color, however, insist that their white counterparts are living a life of leisure.
“All these white girls need to check their privilege,” said one Gender Studies major at the University of Miami. “As a half asian woman, I know the torture of being ‘that woman of color’ every time I speak up for myself in my aerobics class.”
The devastating impact of being under-privileged is particularly notable among gender variant people, specifically non-binary people of color. While many established groups are working to protect gay and transgender individuals from workplace discrimination, some who identify as genderqueer, ambigendered and bigenderfluid feel that they are being ignored and further oppressed by the use of gender pronouns.
“I feel like I’m on the breaking wheel every time someone assumes I’m just one gender,” said Zyg, a pink-haired college student who wore boy jeans to a recent protest. “I get that it’s hard to be poor and black, but being ambigendered is like a weekend at Camp Crystal Lake.”
Even fewer acknowledge the struggles inherent to non-binary people of color who fail to meet capitalistic weight standards, according to various Tumblr posts. Fat phobia, some feminists say, is perhaps the most sinister form of oppression.
“I have to laugh at all the skinny people who claim they are being oppressed,” read one Tumblr comment. “A person with a few extra curves like me is now forced to purchase two airplane seats. And don’t even get me started on the fascist weight restrictions in elevators.”