Feminism focuses on 'straight, white middle class women', pupils told

Modern feminism is transphobic, racist and focuses on ‘straight, white middle class women’, pupils at £22,000-a-year Highgate school are told

  • Highgate School hosted an ‘anti-sexism’ forum organised by staff and pupils 
  • A presentation titled ‘how inclusive is feminism’ states that modern feminism’s ‘primary focus’ is ‘cishet’ (heterosexual, cisgender) middle-class white women
  • Another presentation calls on pupils to use their ‘privilege’ as a force for good
  • But the school, which last year saw pupils walk out and hold a protest amid accusations of a ‘rape culture’, has now been blasted for ‘virtue signalling’  

Students at a £22,000-a-year private school have been told that modern feminism’s main focus is the problems of straight, white, middle-class women. 

North London’s Highgate School – whose alumni include the poet T.S. Eliot and one of Boris Johnson’s daughters – hosted an ‘anti-sexism’ forum organised by staff and pupils last month.

It came amid a drive to tackle sexist behaviour at the school, which was stung by the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ scandal last year which saw students anonymously revealing claims of sexual abuse online. 

Materials used during the forum reveal that a presentation titled ‘how inclusive is feminism’ states that modern feminism’s ‘primary focus’ is ‘cishet’ (heterosexual, cisgender) middle-class white women, The Telegraph reports.

This creates a notion that only this group of women has to deal with sexism, the document claims, adding: ‘There can’t be justice in feminism without brown, black, gay, trans etc feminism’. 

Another presentation called ‘How to be an Ally’ calls on pupils at the private school to consider how best to use their ‘privilege’ as a force for good. 

But the school, which last year saw pupils walk out and hold a protest amid accusations of a ‘rape culture’, has now been blasted for ‘virtue signalling’.

The school, which last year saw pupils walk out and hold a protest amid accusations of a ‘rape culture’, has now been blasted for ‘virtue signalling’ (Pictured: Pupils stage a protest against rape culture at Highgate School in London, March 25, 2021)

Tanya Carter, from the parent campaign group Safe Schools Alliance, said: ‘The misinformation which is being spread about modern feminism is nothing short of irresponsible’ (pictured: Pupils protesting in March 2021) 

Tanya Carter, from the parent campaign group Safe Schools Alliance, 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 spokesman for Highgate School said that ‘these conversations are relevant for everyone’, and it was essential that all ‘survivors/victims of sexual violence continue to be listened to and cared for’. 

A teacher from a neighbouring school, whose pupils went to the forum, said she was concerned 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’. 

Last year thousands of accusations of sexual harassment and rape were posted on a campaign website, Everyone’s Invited, with some allegations naming famous establishments such as Eton, Highgate School and Dulwich College. 

Following the flood of claims, the Government advised school and college staff to assume that peer-on-peer abuse is happening even if no reports are made.   

Safeguarding guidance from the Department for Education, revealed in July 2021, said staff should reassure victims that they will be taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe when they make a report of abuse. 

The DfE updated its advice on how schools and colleges can support young victims of sexual abuse, violence and harassment, with guidance explaining the risks associated with peer-on-peer online abuse and warning that such abuse can happen outside the school or college and can be hidden.  

In April 2021, the Government asked the schools watchdog to look at safeguarding policies and experiences in schools and colleges following the deluge of anonymous reports made to website Everyone’s Invited, which was set up by Soma Sara in March that year. 

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