Intersectional Feminism

As a whole, feminism tends to get a bad reputation.  

Whether it is white feminism or intersectional feminism, the feminazi has become an ingrained image and a negative connotation.  When people consider that women make 77 cents to men’s one dollar, they forget that this is a comparison between white cis women and white cis men.

Oppressed groups (e.g. African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, transgender men and women, non-binary people, the poor and homeless) are taken out of the equation.  It is those groups that need feminism the most. Feminism is not an issue between men and women. It goes far beyond that.

 

Intersectional Feminism

Intersectional feminism is feminism that is inclusive for everyone despite their backgrounds because ultimately oppression in any form is oppression.  It is truly feminism at its finest. So, what distinguishes this type of feminism from the mainstream white feminism? White feminism does not take into account minority groups outside of white women.  It is oftentimes confused as real feminism and usually highlighted by celebrities.

For example, girl squads have become an image of female empowerment.  One of the most, if not the most, famous girl squads is Taylor Swift and her crew.  The women, while very beautiful and talented, are well-off, thin, and white women with an exception or two.  

 

Whether people like to admit it or not, we oftentimes look to celebrities to set the tone for what our life should be - but that's not accurate. While the entertainment industry and its celebrities are headed in that direction, they have ways to go.  Movies have yet to expand their diversity. Celebrities like Scarlett Johansson have received backlash for accepting roles that did not fall in their wheel of physical attributes (e.g. able-bodied actors portraying physically disabled characters, white actors portraying people of color).

 

Men and Feminism

To any man reading this, allow me to share one secret with you:  intersectional feminism is also for you.

 

Just because feminism is strongly aligned with the word ‘feminine,’ it does not mean that it is only for women.  It extends itself over to people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and anyone who does not fit into the mold of wealthy and even cis-gendered white women.

 

Issues affect more than just women.  For example, the wage gap between males is also significant.  Factors such as education and race affect males’ chances to have the same opportunities as other males.

Steps to Becoming a Feminist

Like anything else, feminism is not a hard science.  The experience is different for each individual.

 

First, it is important to realize your own privilege.  White privilege is not the only type of privilege. Certain things that a person does not have to think about or fear of holding them back is a privilege.  Women are not granted the same opportunities as men. People of color fear discrimination (e.g. African Americans and #BlackLivesMatter). An able-bodied person does not have to worry about buildings being accessible.  Heterosexuals do not have to worry about their marriage rights. To become self aware is to increase awareness about the world that surrounds us and how our position facilitates our journey through life.

 

Secondly, it is important to be aware of others, their privileges, and their struggles.  One must be open to those experiences. Be willing to start and hold conversations towards a more diverse and inclusive future.  Feminism is not a matter of right or wrong ideologies. It is about understanding the oppression various individuals face. It is no longer the 1950’s.

 Collegiettes, equality between men and women should be established, but it should also be established among other currently oppressed groups.