Me, not you

The trouble with mainstream feminism

By Alison Phipps

Me, not you


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4717-2
  • Pages: 216
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £12.99
  • Published Date: April 2020
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Gender studies: women, Feminism & Feminist Theory, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sexual Abuse & Harassment, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Feminism & Feminist Theory, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General, Society & social sciences / Sociology


The Me Too movement, started by Black feminist Tarana Burke in 2006, went viral as a hashtag eleven years later after a tweet by white actor Alyssa Milano. Mainstream movements like #MeToo have often built on and co-opted the work of women of colour, while refusing to learn from them or centre their concerns. Far too often, the message is not 'Me, Too' but 'Me, Not You'. Alison Phipps argues that this is not just a lack of solidarity. Privileged white women also sacrifice more marginalised people to achieve their aims, or even define them as enemies when they get in the way.

Me, not you argues that the mainstream movement against sexual violence expresses a political whiteness that both reflects its demographics and limits its revolutionary potential. Privileged white women use their traumatic experiences to create media outrage, while relying on state power and bureaucracy to purge 'bad men' from elite institutions with little concern for where they might appear next. In their attacks on sex workers and trans people, the more reactionary branches of this feminist movement play into the hands of the resurgent far-right.


'This is a necessary and vital addition to feminist texts. Alison Phipps has done exactly what women of colour wish we saw more of during these days of #NotAllWhiteWomen. She has looked white feminism and political whiteness in the eyes and delivered a much-needed reckoning. It is exhausting to both fight political whiteness and explain to white women what that whiteness is, how it benefits them and why the status quo must end if we are all to be free. This is a book I will be carrying everywhere, eager to share, excited to have Phipps' words fighting alongside me.'
Mona Eltahawy, author of The Seven Necessary Sins For Women and Girls

'Me, not you is an essential book for this historical moment. Phipps adds to the growing consideration of "carceral feminisms" by writing an accessible text that addresses how white women can enact violence while organising to end sexual violence. I was particularly interested in the book's theorisation of "political whiteness," a concept that owes much to the work of Black feminist scholars and activists. Me, not you uplifts this lineage and offers more food for thought. For anyone interested in anti-violence, anti-racism, and anti-criminalisation organising, this book is required reading. I'll be coming back to it often.'
Mariame Kaba, organiser, educator and founder of Project NIA


1 Gender in a right-moving world
2 Me, not you
3 Political whiteness
4 The outrage economy
5 White feminism as war machine
6 Feminists and the far right


Alison Phipps has been a scholar-activist in the movement against sexual violence for the past fifteen years. She co-authored the groundbreaking National Union of Students report, That's What She Said, and has written for many publications including the Guardian, Open Democracy and Times Higher Education. She is currently Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Sussex.

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