I Am An Ally (And What That Means)

white feminism intersectional feminism body shaming cis LGBTQIA

I am a white, cisgender, relatively straight female who fits most size ‘medium’ clothes.

I am the privileged person who gets heard.

I am not the person to discuss the intricacies of intersectional feminism, the identity struggles many LGBT+ people deal with, or the fat-shaming, racism and ableism that happens in everyday micro-aggressions.

I do not experience it first hand. I experience it through my friends and acquaintances. I witness it when it happens to a stranger in a restaurant or a clothing shop. I experience it when I sit in a room full of other privileged white, cisgender people who declare that their racist joke or rape joke is “just a joke”.

I experience sexism at a singular level – that I am a woman. I do not experience it as an ethnic woman, a plus-size woman, a transgender woman or an uneducated woman stuck without resources. I do not experience sexism as a woman whose struggles exist beyond identifying as a woman.

I am an ally and I have only MY voice.

I don’t take someone else’s experiences and use them as my own. I don’t try to “help” those who are not as easily heard in today’s society by trying to identify with their struggles. I don’t pretend that certain battles pertain to me. I don’t pretend they don’t exist just because I don’t experience them.

I will never understand what it’s like to experience racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism or intense body shaming, or experience living below the poverty line. I am not here to represent the struggles that I have never experienced but I can definitely do my best as an ally. I can do my best to not add hate to this world and to use my privilege to help inform ignorant people.

I am an ally and I take that role seriously.

I respect people’s pronouns. I don’t laugh at jokes that hurt people. I don’t accept when the people around me make quick judgments or stereotypes or normalize hateful words.

I read stories from voices that don’t just come from white males and white females. I travel to countries where my hair and my skin make me a minority and I always respect the local culture. I get informed about situations that I will never personally experience so I can understand more about them without projecting my privilege onto the topic.

I promote acceptance. I promote equality for all. I promote intersectional feminism.

I am a white, cisgender, relatively straight female who fits most size ‘medium’ clothes.

I am the privileged person who gets heard, but I make sure that while I whole-heartedly support people who are different from me, I don’t speak FOR their experiences.

Allies should defend against ignorance and promote voices of people that have different stories to tell. Let’s promise to listen.

 

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14 Comments

    • rebecca
      February 16, 2017 / 7:48 PM

      Thank you so much, Kimberley!!!

  1. February 10, 2017 / 8:31 PM

    Yaaassss, you go girl!!

    • rebecca
      February 10, 2017 / 9:12 PM

      Thanks babe! xoxo

  2. February 9, 2017 / 6:16 PM

    What a fantastic post! This really needed to be said and I’m glad you did. I really hope more and more people read this so they can learn, educate themselves.

    Jordanne || Thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk

    • rebecca
      February 10, 2017 / 5:28 PM

      Thanks Jordanne! It was tough to write but I’m glad that people are reading it and giving some great feedback. It’s hard to try to phrase everything properly to get a message across that I feel so passionately about. Thanks for your comment :D

  3. February 9, 2017 / 6:30 AM

    Love love LOVE this post! In my uni’s LGBTQIA society, they strongly emphasise that the A stands for Allies and that we should all support each other regardless.

    Thank you for this post, in a world where people compete for who has it worse, it’s nice to know that there are some of us who can accept and support without trying to one-up everyone else xxx

    • rebecca
      February 10, 2017 / 5:27 PM

      Awww your comment is so sweet! Thanks so much for letting me know all of this! I’m always so happy to hear when there are LGBTQIA groups at Uni! I feel like these should be part of workplaces too, etc. I’m so glad you liked this article :)

  4. February 8, 2017 / 1:05 PM

    I love this post. I identify with it so much. I do not have the same experiences have because of my background nor do I use them as my own. I have my voice and I know what I speak for. I love your writing.

    XOXO
    Jordan K.
    Sweets and Mascara

    • rebecca
      February 8, 2017 / 2:44 PM

      Thanks so much for the comment and compliments! I’m so glad that you can identify with this. It was a tough piece to write but I thought it was important.

  5. February 8, 2017 / 12:27 PM

    Great post.. with what’s going on in today’s world, it’s nice that you wrote this and acknowledged that even us “white privileged” people have a voice, and that we see the struggles in others’ lifestyles due to their race, religion, etc.

    • rebecca
      February 8, 2017 / 2:43 PM

      Thanks for the comment! Ya, we have a voice but we need to make sure we don’t speak for other people :)

  6. February 2, 2017 / 11:09 PM

    When we experience something in common doesn’t mean it we will have the same effect in our lives.
    Found your blog though Journey feed blogging community. Your writing I feel is honest and straight forward.
    If you find the time stop over for a cup of coffee

    • rebecca
      February 5, 2017 / 5:37 PM

      Hi Dora! Thank you so much for reading and commenting! And thank you for your wonderful complements too! You’re totally right – even if people do experience the same thing, it can affect people differently. xoxo

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