What Is Intersectional Feminism?
The Shrew That Shan’t Be Tamed operates from an intersectional feminist perspective.
Well, what is intersectional feminism, you ask?
This post explains it all.
By the end of this post you’ll understand:
- Identity Based Oppression
- Intersectional Feminism
- Why this perspective is important
What is identity?
Before we can truly understand intersectional feminism, we first have to understand identity.
Identity can be explained as the various groups that an individual belongs to.
A few of my identities, for example, can be described as a Black (racial group), cis-gender woman (gender), who is able bodied (ability).
What is identity based oppression?
It’s important we understand that people are not solely one identity, but experience the world based on the combination of all of their identities.
For example, I am not just a woman. A little more specifically, I am a Black woman. Thus, I experience sexism differently than White women. What’s more, I am able-bodied. Meaning, I experience oppression differently, and less so, than a disabled Black woman.
Identity based oppression means that people are not marginalized solely for existing with a certain identity, but rather societal perceptions, stereotypes, and barriers towards that identity status is where oppression lies.
In other words, being Black does not cause oppression. However, racism, stereotypes, and prejudice towards Black people does.
What is intersectional feminism?
So, then what the heck is intersectional feminism?
Intersectional feminism, is a feminist perspective that was created by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989.
This feminist perspective understands that identity does not exist in a vacuum.
As mentioned above, to be Black and a woman is to have two marginalized identities.
Thus, one would not experience oppression in isolation for being a woman and again for being Black. But, you would experience oppression at the intersection of your identities: being Black and a woman.
Intersectional feminism can be described as a feminist perspective that accounts for the many identities a person possesses.
These identities combine, or intersect, to create an individual’s unique, lived experience.
Thus, when looking at experiences, oppression, and inequality, an individual cannot be judged solely by one identity, but their identities must be understood simultaneously.
Why is intersectional feminism important today?
“Intersectional feminists note the importance of examining multiple identities simultaneously to better understand the multiplicity of roots of inequality and to consequently improve the identification of sources of oppression in order to better eradicate them”
In order to stop oppression, we must first identify and understand it.
Using an intersectional feminist perspective, we can understand how experiences might differ based on an individual’s combination of identities.
Intersectional feminists note that broadly eradicating the inequality that all women experience will likely only address inequalities experienced by majority groups, such as white, heterosexual, cisgender (non transgender), and middle/upper class women.
In the past, feminism has been critiqued for not being inclusive.
Intersectional feminism addresses that critique.
If we attempt to solve sexism, ableism, or any of the other many -isms without an intersectionalist perspective, we are likely only going to make life easier for majority groups.
This is why intersectional feminism is so important.
To truly address these issues, we must understand how they effect individuals who aren’t in the majority, but how marginalized communities are also impacted by the -isms.
To do so, we must always remember that identity does not exist in a vacuum, but an individual’s experience is a result of all of their identities combined.
*Sex Trafficking in the United States by Dr. Andrea J. Nichols, is a Shrew must read! Check it out, here!
I want to hear from you!
What do you think? Do you see the importance of intersectional feminism?
How have your identities combined to create your unique, Shrew experience?
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