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The Importance of Intersectional Feminism

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

In our chapter, we aim to provide a space where women can unite to create something for themselves: a safe space to talk about their interests, give advice to other girls, and most importantly, support and promote other women. Feminism is a huge part of that. But if we want to truly support this mission, we need to talk about inclusion. We need to make sure that spaces like Her Campus are accessible to every woman; that conversation starts with making sure our feminism is intersectional.

Intersectional feminism is a term coined by law professor Kimberle Crenshaw. Intersectionality itself provides a lens for people to understand how different facets of identity can intersect and create nuanced issues. The concept of intersectional feminism focuses specifically on how alternate identities can impact women’s issues in different ways. For example women of color may face issues like fetishization or masculinization, due to their combined status as women and people of color, in a way that white women may not. Another example is disordered eating; in the U.S., women of color are equally or more likely to develop an eating disorder or body dysmorphic disorder than white women but are significantly less likely to be diagnosed or treated

Being aware of the contrasting experiences that different groups of women face helps to ensure that women in need are given proper resources and are truly being supported. Feminism presents itself as a movement that fights to protect over half of the world’s population. But when you break it down, women of color, LGBTQ+ women, disabled women, poor women, and countless other groups aren’t truly being represented or fought for in the same way that others are. 

There have always been issues with feminism centering and catering primarily to white, able-bodied women. Susan B. Anthony’s primary goal was not to gain the right to vote for all women, but rather that white women gained the right to vote before Black men. This counterpart to intersectional feminism has been coined ‘white feminism,’ a movement which only serves to protect white women’s privilege and disregards the issues that fall on other groups. This type of feminism typically surrounds issues that are faced by mainly white women, or that are viewed differently for white women than women of color: for example, the issues of shaving or the empowerment of “girlbossing.” These issues, rather than focusing on dismantling the systems in place which uphold patriarchy, teach women, typically white women, how to ‘play men’s game’ instead. It also absolves white women of blame and accountability for their part in upholding the systems which continue to oppress people of color.

A big example of this on college campuses is exclusion and discrimination in Greek life, where white women are able to continue to uphold and participate in an institution that empowers and benefits them, even if it may be at the expense of women of color. How can we, as college students, work to fight this issue? Well, for starters, we can ensure that we’re amplifying the voices of women of all identities: making sure we’re listening to Black women, transgender women, disabled women, Asian women, and every other group that makes up our community. We can make habits out of using our privilege to help those who may not have the same opportunities we do by volunteering with causes that help disadvantaged women, or donating to mutual aid funds.

And, of course, we can always continue to learn more about these issues, in order to improve ourselves and our world. If you want to read more about intersectionality in feminism, here’s a good place to start: Hood Feminism, Mikki Kendall

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Anika Deodhar


Anika is a math and sociology major at Northeastern originally from the DC area. She's interested in culture, lifestyle, and social justice, and loves to write!