The white woman is a helpless object, one explicitly labeled “property.” The monstrous threat is a caricature of blackness — or, rather, of a white racist’s idea of blackness, an ogre that arises from the fevered imagination of fearful white men. […]
Here in America, [racism] is pervasively tangled up with the corresponding idea of protecting the virginal purity of white women as the unsoiled property of white men.
–Fred Clark on purity culture.
This, incidentally, is what the catch cry of “destry White Womanhood” is supposed to mean. It’s a call-out to dismantle the racist and misogynist construct of virginal purity as something white men can “own” and, more importantly, need to “protect” from non-white men.1 It does not, perhaps contrary to Tumblr popular belief, mean “destroy white women”. Shocking, I know.
- And, more importantly, the implication that it’s something non-white women don’t possess, thus making them “fair game” for the predation of white men. Racist misogyny hurts everyone, but it hurts women of color most. [↩]