Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Intersectional Feminism: Not All Inequality is Created Equal

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

The idea of feminism formally began with the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 where both men and women gathered to fight for the rights of women. 

Feminists have been fighting ever since to give future generations of women a more equal tomorrow.

When the movement first began, it was connected to slavery. There were African American women leaders involved in the movement including Sojourner Truth and Ida B. Wells. Eventually, a divide between white women and Black women occurred with the ratification of the 15 Amendment.

Even when the 19 Amendment was passed, it mostly only benefitted white women. Black women living in the south were often obstructed from voting and faced fraud as well as intimidation by election officials.

When fighting for equality continued in the 1960s, racial minorities were not advocated for. Much of the time white women were the only ones being discussed, this is called White Feminism. 

There are a few thoughts behind why this is:

  1. It was believed that the struggles and inequalities white women faced were the struggles and inequalities all women faced
  2. The white women would get their problems solved first and then the disadvantages of Black women would be dealt with later
  3. The inequalities of Black women were simply just seen as less important and were ignored

Because of this, many women do not identify themselves with feminism

Intersectional feminism was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. This is the idea that social injustices overlap and create different experiences for those with different identities. 

An example: women may face sexism, and people of color may face racism, meanwhile, the two identities of Black women can lead to an even greater disadvantage. 

Race inequality is not separate from the inequalities faced by gender, class and sexuality. Rather, they overlap and can compound the discrimination faced.

Sometimes, people even neglect to acknowledge all of the identities people may have. They are told to push one part of their identity aside to focus on another.

It is almost impossible to prioritize one part of your identity over another. All parts of our identity make up who we are. Otherwise, we are dehumanizing people, simplifying them down to one specific thing rather than a whole self.  

The future we as feminists hope for must be fair for all. Otherwise, our mission is not over. Injustices cannot go unchallenged; we must question the decisions made by those before us and speak out for those who are in need. 

Delaney Chase is the co-campus correspondent for the St. Bonaventure University Her Campus chapter. She works with the other campus correspondent and various board members to communicate with the rest of the Her Campus community as well as edit articles and lead weekly meetings. Delaney is a junior and is currently studying journalism and political science. She also is a writer for TAP into Greater Olean, an online news platform in the St. Bonaventure area, as well as a captain of the St. Bonaventure Women's Club Basketball team and Vice President of SBU for Equality. She enjoys hearing and sharing experiences with those of similar interests and enjoys being involved in different activities across the SBU campus. She finds this a great way to gain connections with those at her university and in nearby areas. She is enjoys the ability to gain experience and further her knowledge of the communications field. Outside of her time in school, Delaney loves listening to Taylor Swift and will take absolutely any opportunity to bring her up in conversation. She can often be found at the campus Starbucks with her friends ordering a pumpkin spice latte or brown sugar oat milk shaken espresso. She enjoys reading classic novels but also loves watching the trashiest reality TV shows.