Feminism Defined: Intersectionality and Global Equality
Feminism’s Layers: Kimberle Crenshaw, Intersectionality, and the Complex Tapestry of Female Experience
When Kimberle Crenshaw first coined the term intersectionality, her purpose was to bridge the gaps that so many people failed to recognize. She did it for her race, her gender, and for those like her who so heavily shared her insurmountable need for equality. Kimberle Crenshaw opened doors for society to recognize that being black and a woman is completely different than being just black. The different identities one associates with lead to different experiences. Black women specifically have faced ongoing systemic oppression. The right to vote is an exemplar of how it did not empower black women, nor did giving women the right to vote empower black women.
The term Intersectional feminism arose after the introduction of intersectionality. It is used to describe the idea that not all women share the same experience due to their race, religion, class, sexuality, etc. The future of intersectional feminism is being able to liberate women from all over the world whilst realizing one’s own privilege. As well as the engagement of looking at all forms of inequality to resist patriarchy and oppression.
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Feminism Beyond Boundaries: Global Struggles, Inclusivity, and the Evolution of Intersectional Dialogue
Historically, women of color have been excluded and marginalized from mainstream feminism. Feminism is the act of obtaining equitable rights as any other sex. Mainstream feminism is problematic because it fails to recognize the broader perspective of different women who face different struggles. Feminism has shadowed many underrepresented women around the world, as it did not reflect the purpose it served. It left people to feel excluded from a space that was meant for inclusivity.
The lives of women around the world are utterly different from one another. Priorities, responsibilities, and roles differ as well. Likewise, priorities in developing countries contrast with those in developed countries. Although intersectional feminism varies in its necessities, there is a common ground: the right to be recognized and given equal treatment and opportunities.
The future of intersectional feminism will also consist of men being included in the conversation. Men may tend to feel antagonized or have the fear of matriarch when the topic is brought up. In fact, the purpose of intersectional feminism is to be recognized by our identities and navigate through the spaces in society. In recent years, we have come a long way with having the most diverse congress (although it’s still abundantly white). Without realization, men are also impacted when women are deprived of equity. When men are brought into the conversation, they can reflect and relate to their own lives (such as how masculinity, patriarchy, misogyny, etc., are impacting their development). Not only will the conversation be a reflection but also a realization of allyship.
Feminism’s Forward Vision: Recognizing Privilege and Cultivating Inclusive Futures
It is crucial to understand someone’s intersection because their different identities can make them vulnerable to discrimination or oppression, causing a disadvantage in society. Devaluing just one aspect of someone’s race, gender, or even religion also means they are devaluing other aspects of their identity. Understanding and addressing the different components of one’s life acknowledges our own privilege. Being an abled cisgender lower-middle class is a privilege compared to a disabled, houseless individual.
The future of feminism also consists of the children today. When we are being educated about the topic, then we should also educate our children. Our children are our future. Fredrick Douglas once said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Although it will take time to undo traditional customs, it is better than nothing. It is also best to raise our children around the world with an open mind and an understanding of the diversity of humans.
- Crenshaw, K. (1989). Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics. University of Chicago Legal Forum.
- Hooks, B. (1984). Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. South End Press.
- Davis, A. (1981). Women, Race, & Class. Vintage.
- Collins, P. H. (1990). Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. Unwin Hyman.
- Mohanty, C. T. (2003). Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Duke University Press.