Hello, my name is Layla Saad. And I built a white feminist temple.
That is to say that my business, Wild Mystic Woman, which I have always described as a ‘temple space for wild women & modern mystics’, was in fact a temple space that was predominantly for white wild women, and white modern mystics.
I am a black woman.
I have always used predominantly black women’s imagery in my branding.
I have never stated that my work was predominantly for white women.
And yet the truth that I have had to face is that my beautiful business has always catered to and served white women, 95% of the time.
This temple that I have so lovingly built, brick by brick, is a white women’s temple. It does not matter that I, a black woman, have been the high priestess of this space, because the majority of members in this space have always been white; making me and women who look like me a minority.
White women did not marginalise me and women like me in this temple space.
I did that.
I did exactly what I have been asking white women to stop doing to us. I have been perpetuating white supremacy through my business, because of my own unexamined internalised racism and conditioned oppression.
None of this was by intentional design. It was by unintentional default.
The unintentional default in most online businesses (regardless of who runs those businesses) is that whiteness is centered. White imagery, white clients, white perspectives and white narratives of success, empowerment and spirituality dominate this industry. This is because this industry reflects the white supremacy ideology that white is seen as ‘universal’ and applying to all, and non-white is seen as ‘other’ and applying only to those who are non-white.
It is only when a business owner makes the intentional and overt choice to purposely de-center whiteness and center people of colour that things begin to shift.
So while I have been growing this business, it has not mattered that I am a black woman.
It has not mattered that I always used predominantly black women’s imagery in my branding.
It has not mattered that I never stated that my work was predominantly for white women.
None of these things mattered, because I did not intentionally de-center whiteness, and consciously center people of colour.
I made the unconscious assumption that having a business that was open to all women would mean that I would see a diversity of women as my clients and readers. That me being a black woman was enough to create a business that was diverse and reflective of my racial identity. This was not the case, and it is why I have built a white feminist temple, and why I'm ready to tear it down.