Why Intersectional Feminism is So Important Right Now

As the word “feminist” becomes less taboo, many college-aged women have claimed it as a title for themselves. And that's so great! But a trend I’ve noticed lately among my peers is what one would call "white feminism." It's one thing to order cute stickers from Red Bubble with phrases like "The Future is Female" and "Girl Power," but if your feminism doesn't include people of color, it’s not extremely helpful. With the events that have recently transpired in St. Louis, and all over America, now is not the time to be passive. If you can share an article on Facebook about the wage gap (77 cents to the dollar only includes white women, BTW), you can definitely speak up about the injustices against people of color at this time.

If you see the issue with white feminism and want to upgrade, let me introduce you to intersectional feminism! It is defined as: “The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.” Many people contribute to white feminism without realizing it. That’s why it’s super important to learn the definition, reflect on your own views, and then make sure you’re being inclusive.

Today at Saint Louis University, it has never been easier to get involved with an important movement. Some things you can do today are: read the new Clocktower Accords, engage in a respectful debate with someone who doesn't hold the same opinion as you, and stay up to date on local news. Basically, just ask questions, listen, and learn. If you are brave enough to call yourself a feminist every other day, don't quit on the cause just because things got a little bit tougher. It’s such a tense yet extremely important time for students of color at SLU and for people of color everywhere. Use your voice to amplify the voices of the marginalized.

At the end of the day, feminism is about equality. Obviously, feminists strive for equality between genders, but there needs to be a recognition of feminism for people of different races as well. All in all, the main thing to remember is that if you want to call yourself a feminist, you must be a feminist all the time, not just when it’s convenient for you. No one said it was going to be easy, but if you can commit to the permanence of a Rosie the Riveter sticker on your laptop, you can also devote some time and energy to the movement that’s happening right in our own backyard. I’ll leave you with this famous quote from Desmond Tutu that is extremely pertinent right now: If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”