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Culture > News

The Importance of Solidarity: Part 2

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Columbia Barnard chapter.

“White feminism” is a phenomenon that occurred after Second-Wave feminism and which describes the lack of focus on intersectionality within feminism. It largely refers to upper and middle class, white, straight, cisgender, and able women who do not understand that women with different identities experience distinct forms of oppression. So, in order for the feminist movement to actually mean something, it is important to recognize our differences and fight for all women. Below I will talk about different identities and why it is important to have intersectionality in feminism.


If you look at the last column of this graph, you can see the how much women of each race (surveyed) make in comparison to the white man’s dollar. Clearly, there is a large discrepancy between women of color and white women. You might argue that women of color simply take jobs that earn less money, but this is false. For example, in the restaurant industry, women who have the same job as men will be paid less for equal work, and this is important because the food service industry contains a disproportionate amount of Hispanic people. There is clear evidence of the hierarchy of oppression among women of different races. White women must stand with their sisters of color to fight against systemic sexism and racism.


TERFs are “feminists” who do not believe that trans women should be a part of feminism and other women-empowering spaces and organizations. If you want to hear their argument you can do so here.

But actually, trans women face the same problems as cisgender women, plus systematic mistreatment for being trans. While this is simply my belief, I think feminism should fight for everyone who is not a cisgender man. Feminism is equality for all genders and it does not make sense to not fight for trans woman, especially because they face a lot more violence than other women.


I believe this is mostly an issue of the past, as we can see groups like Lavender Menace become less important. But, in non-urban places, discrimination toward queer women is increasingly accepted. Even in academic spaces where questions like, “can a heterosexual be a feminist?”, happen shows how there is more to be fought for. And, since queer liberation is tied in with gender liberation, it does not make sense for feminism to not include queer individuals.


Did you know that 12.5% of women with disabilities were unemployed in 2014, and that 83% of women with disabilities are sexually assaulted in their lifetime? Feminist history has not treated women with disabilities well and we must change this in the future because able and neurotypical people can use their privilege to make it easier for people with disabilities to get involved. Just look at amazing article like “The Politics of Being Me” to learn more.


A lot of people question if religion and feminism can work together, but Jennifer Zobair, attorney and writer, said it best: “don’t treat religious women as second-class feminists.” Religious women face a lot of problems in western culture, and it is not fair to use feminism as an excuse to put down these people. If feminism is the fight for women to be able to choose how to live without the pressure of society, then we should be fighting for religious women’s right to choose too.


Not only are the fights for economic equality and feminism closely ingrained (the ruling class depends on gender binaries in order to function, if you look at most fascist regimes one of the first things they do is eliminate folks who do not adhere to gender roles), those without money have a hard time being heard in societies, and face more extreme problems. So, it is absolutely essential for women of all classes to work together to achieve equality.

There are so many more identities that can make feminism intersectional, and feminists should strive to understand our differences and work to incorporate them into the movement.