So many white people – including the half of us that are female – believe that we have no culture. As a dominant, centered culture, it is often invisible to ourselves. We think we are “normal” and everyone else is cultural or “ethnic”. So recently, the White Noise Collective led an exercise to identify some key components of invisibilized cultural norms for white women, that we often find ourselves either trying to emulate or trying to resist.
Here’s what came up from a group of 30 white women from a broad spectrum of class backgrounds, sexuality, ages and spiritual orientations. They are listed in the order of the frequency they were written.
(things in place#1 had about 10 mentions, #10 had 2-3 mentions).
What do white females value?
1. Family, Motherhood, Children
2. Looking good for men, beauty, fit
3. Being a good girl, niceness, kindness, smiling, polite
4. Status, approval
5. Middle-classness, wealth
6. Marriage, partner
7. House (with fence)
9. Leisure, travel, comfort
10. Work, Professionalism
What defines status for white women?
1. Having a man with a good job/man/marriage
2. Money, material relationships, middle class wealth
3. Pretty, beauty, fit, manicured look
6. Nice house, lovely furniture
7. Clothes, jewelry
9. Nice car
10. Size of diamond on wedding ring
How do white women communicate? Verbally? Non-verbally?
1. Passive, hints
2. Cautious, timid, holding back, quiet
5. Emotion-based, share feelings
7. Body language, glance, nodding
8. Physically with touch
9. Obliviously, fluffy
10. Politely, courteously
How do white women show emotion?
1. Crying, tears
2. Repress and suppress, hide it, mask it
3. Hysterically, crazy
4. Keep it inside until they burst/blow up/breakdown/passive aggression
5. Talk it out
6. Alone, privately
7. Blame, make a case
8. Bitchiness, anger
9. Laugh inappropriately, giggle
10. Dance, art
What other factors define white females culture?
1. Doesn’t argue or debate or say anything deep, knows less than any man
2. Put self down, self-effacing, self doubt
3. Self sacrifice without recognition, works hard, care taking
4. Used in the media
5. Virgin-whore, sexual manipulation
6. Victim, afraid
7. Submissive, passive, apologetic
10. Being taken care of, dependency