My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.” -Flavia Dzodan.
A few months ago, towards the end of May, I wrote my first post blatantly acknowledging my feminist viewpoints. While I stand by the general points I made in that post, e.g. women are people too and deserve to be treated as such, there are a few things–and one main thing–that were problematic about this article. I apologize.
I wrote the article in a way that suggested that, while women are not treated as equals, we are treated equally. There may be truth in this to some extent, but the problem with my writing is that feminism goes beyond just sexism. I would love to live in a world in which all women have the same rights, but that isn’t the world we’re living in.
Because every woman faces her own unique experience, and feminism doesn’t just have to do with sexism, it has to do with racism and classism and ableism and homophobia and transphobia and so many other things. Because a white woman faces different oppressions* and societal expectations than a woman of color than a white queer woman than a trans woman of color than a trans queer woman than a Christian queer woman of color than a Muslim woman who uses a wheelchair. Because the privileges in our society have many platforms and there is no way to examine one without taking into account and examining the others.
Oppression takes many forms, not just one, forms that bleed into one another and shift and intersect, none acting independently of one another. There are many interrelated forms of discrimination, and that’s why feminism needs intersectionality.
I’m still learning. I am by no means an authority figure on intersectionality or any social justice issues. I have privilege many don’t have and I face discrimination others do not. I am sixteen. I am young, and I am imperfect, and I make mistakes, and I’m still learning. My posts on the subject of intersectional feminism, and other subjects, will not be perfect and will probably be flawed in many ways. Call me out. The best way for me to learn is by fixing the mistakes I know I’m bound to make.
I’m a white queer middle-middle class abled (physically, at least, mental health issues are a topic I hope to tackle more in-depth) Christian cisgendered woman. There are many things I cannot understand because of the privileges I have. And that’s really difficult for me to come to terms with. But I have to. And I have to keep trying. I can never fully understand the discrimination many people face, but that just means I need to learn and grow and do everything in my power to work towards that understanding even harder. It goes beyond just solidarity. It’s about immersing yourself in problems regardless of whether you directly are affected by them, because if they are affecting someone else then they are affecting your world, and the world is in everyone’s hands, not just yours or theirs. It’s about acting, rising up together in acknowledgement of intersectionality and understanding that you may never be able to understand one another completely but standing together anyway.
It’s about however you choose to fight, be it peacefully or rather less than, and having the courage not to fight alone.
*When I say oppression, I do not mean it in the sense that groups who face its forms are lowly or meek or underpowered. I use oppression to mean injustice, to mean the systemized discrimination and cruelty against people, and to demonstrate the disparity of privilege within society. Oppression affects different people in different ways but it does not mean you are any less awesome and desirable and kickass.
P.S. I’ve been nominated for a couple of blog awards, which I will be doing the posts for shortly, in case you’re interested/wanting another post/grumbling at me for not having gotten to them already/turned into a squirrel. Just kidding about that last part. Maybe. Maybe squirrels care about intersectionality too.