Feminism dubbed ‘racist’ for only focussing on ‘straight, white, middle-class women’

Highgate school pupils were also told to assess their privilege during the anti-sexism forum

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Modern feminism is "racist" and only focuses on "straight, white, middle-class women" private school pupils at Highgate School in north London have been told.

The message was delivered during an “anti-sexism” forum organised by staff and pupils as part of a bid to tackle sexist behaviour.

The £22,000-a-year institution's efforts come after being embroiled in last year's “Everyone’s Invited” scandal, where students took to the internet to anonymously share experiences of sexual assault.

One of the presentations, titled “How inclusive is feminism?” states that the “primary focus” of modern feminism is “cishet” white middle-class women.

Highgate School London
Highgate School London

Cishet women are those who are heterosexual and identify as the the gender they were assigned at birth.

Pupils were told that there is an assumption that only Cishet women can experience sexism, adding "there can’t be justice in feminism without brown, black, gay, trans etc feminism”.

Students were also asked to assess their “privilege” in another presentation entitled “How to be an Ally”, according to The Times.

It set out the definition of privilege as an “unearned set of advantages, entitlements, and benefits granted only to a particular person or group of people, exercised to the exclusion or detriment of others”.

The school, whose alumnae include T.S. Elliot and one of Boris Johnson’s daughters, has been slammed for the messages delivered at the forum.

Tanya Carter from Safe Schools Alliance, a parent campaign group said: “The whole thing seems utterly bizarre.

“Why would a school at the centre of the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ scandal concentrate on virtue signalling, such as telling pupils to think about their privilege, rather than seeking to address a culture that has resulted in appalling experiences for their female students?

“And the misinformation which is being spread about modern feminism is nothing short of irresponsible.”

A teacher from a nearby school, whose pupils attended the forum, said she was also concerned by the school’s approach.

A generic photo of pupils walking into school
A generic photo of pupils walking into school

She said: “My fundamental concern is that a school so widely criticised for the behaviour of some of the students in terms of sexual harassment and sexual assault should launch an anti-sexism forum that doesn’t deal with those issues whatsoever.

“Some of the pupils who attended may have been victims of that violence, so to have them sit there and say maybe you aren’t the concern here, let’s talk about your privilege seems incredibly wrong.”

In October 2021, The Department for Education (DfE) ruled that Schools should not teach contested views about “white privilege” as fact.

A spokesperson for Highgate School, said “We commend the compassion and openness shown by the children and young people from all schools who led and engaged with a varied and intersectional programme at the forum.

“As a school, we recognise that these conversations are relevant for everyone; no one is exempt from witnessing or experiencing discrimination, including harassment or violence.

“It is essential that all survivors/victims of sexual violence continue to be listened to and cared for. Listening to and caring for transgender, non-binary and gender questioning people is also essential.

“We know that girls and women are disproportionately affected by sexual harassment and violence and LGBTQ+ people are more likely to experience child sexual abuse and less likely to report sexual abuse than their peers.

“If or where tensions exist or are perceived to exist between two or more protected characteristics under the Equality Act (2010), we will do everything that we can - on a case-by-case basis - to ensure that safeguarding every child in our care remains at the heart of what we do here.

“We continue to follow our safeguarding procedures, offer support to all of our pupils, and be led by the guidance of the DfE, local authorities and the police, where applicable. We remain committed to working in close and transparent partnership with our pupils, their parents and carers, staff, and alumni.”