Fall Is Not Just for White Girls

I continue to be annoyed with the deluge of references to how much white girls allegedly love pumpkin spice and “all things fall.” Why?

Everyone experiences autumn (depending on your geographic location), last time I checked. Constantly making the assertion that there is some inextricable link between “fall things” (like pumpkin flavored food and beverages, cool-weather appropriate attire, apples, baking, appreciation of nature, etc) and whiteness is RACIST. Suggesting that these activities are exclusive to white people is exclusionary, stupid, and let me say it again, racist.

Furthermore, many of the alleged “basic white girl” activities frequently alluded to in these references involve the use of leisure time or purchasing of items that are not considered necessities (like a $4 latte). This adds the layer of race-related-classism implicit in this conversation. Why aren’t you talking about POCs loving PSLs, folks? Because you don’t think that POCs go to Starbucks, perhaps? Why’s that? Maybe examine the assumptions in that.

White people already own most of the stuff in this country. Stop acting like we own seasons, too. It’s not cute, or funny. It’s unexamined white privilege and supremacy.

Lest we think that this little trend is exclusively racist, let’s take a look at the sexism implicit in the “white girls love fall” idea. For starters, grown women are not girls. Let’s just put that on record. Buying canned pumpkin does not make me childlike. Being a woman should not make me childlike, either. No one ever refers to young male adults as “boys,” do they? Please stop perpetuating this “girls” thing.

Also implicit in this trend is the idea that somehow, being female renders one completely unable to act like an intelligent and rational human being when faced with something that calls to mind an emotional response. Does the smell of pumpkin spice and the crunch of fallen leaves remind me of fond memories of childhood holidays? Yes. When I smell pumpkin spice, am I suddenly a blabbering idiot who can only speak in OMG and LOL because my ovaries have flooded my brain with sappy “girl” hormones? No.

So please just stop. Fall is for everyone.

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2 thoughts on “Fall Is Not Just for White Girls

  1. jessicasaurusrx October 5, 2014 / 9:53 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more Ash. Fall happens to be my favorite season and I enjoy wearing uggs, wrapping myself in a pashmina and sipping pumpkin lattes. I always thought it was just a part of growing up in New England. I relate to these things and often want to post the lists of silly fall things ALL girls do during in the fall but it would be a little weird for me to post a self-deprecating list of things white girls do in the fall. Worse it feels as though doing these things is somehow making me a traitor to my own blackness. As if there is such a thing! It’s the typical racism of our age, “harmless” but also mindless. I’m glad you also pointed out the classist undertone of these statements. As if only white girls can afford lattes and uggs. Another phrase I find troubling is “white girl wasted” or “white boy wasted. It’s used to describe stupid college kids doing stupid things at frat parties and the like while completely inebriated. It’s troubling because it almost always refers to college kids who are “obviously” only white. Of course drunken behavior on the part of minorities is never seen as quite as silly and harmless. I’m glad someone out there is being critical.

    • ashleynrobinson October 5, 2014 / 10:00 pm

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jess. It really is harmful; when the dominant group racializes and claims a consumer commodity, it makes it explicitly inaccessible to those with targeted identities. And I absolutely agree that “white girl wasted” is probably even more troubling.

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