‘My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit’

The title is taken directly from Flavia Dzodan’s ace piece by the same title for Tiger Beatdown

It’s long, but totally worth a read.

There’s been a lot of talk about intersectional feminism lately.

First a point, a wake up call: here’s a thing: most people don’t know what ‘intersectional feminism’ even means. We’re talking what 1%, 2% of the population? It’s part of the academic language I spent years learning, then tried desperately to unlearn as I realised it was a barrier to speaking to the people I actually wanted to talk with.  As a concept it’s totally bang on though.  Intersectional feminism is the simple, common sense idea that all women aren’t the same.  That the shit we get for being women is added to and changed by other shit (or prejudice if we’re not feeling so sweary) we experience in our lives.  Flavia refers to ‘the shit sandwich’ (seriously go and read this article).  So some of us experience racism, homophobia, crap for being poor, abelism, transphobia etc and that interacts (or ‘intersects’, hence the name) with sexism.  It’s a *really*, *really* important concept.

Because most of the women I know who have got hacked off with feminism and have walked away, have done so for this reason: that many of the women who have the mike in the movement have either ignored their experience, or directly insulted and offended them. Because they do not realise that their experience of womenhood is not the experience of all women.   And this is why intersectional feminism matters.

And right now there’s a mini-storm brewing: with folks like Caitlin Moran, Suzanne Moore and Vagenda magazine being called out on some pretty stupid mistakes and then branding the concept of intersectional feminism as divisive.

And yes, it looks like infighting.  Maybe it is.  Maybe feminism will eat itself.


(This image is taken from something Ariel Silvera posted on Twitter, of her friend’s wall.  I haven’t asked permission for it, but I loved it so much)

But at the end of the day, women who fall outside of the white middle class norm  have been told for too long to shut up and ignore prejudice experienced from other women, simply because they are fighting for the feminist cause.

And that is simply not good enough.  Feminism is important, but not that important. Or maybe, the only way feminism can succeed is if it’s intersectional. And I’ll tell you something: owning your own privilege is hard.  I’m certainly not there, not even close, but it is a journey and one I know I need to make.

To be a better feminist.

Or maybe just a better person.


About Rachel

zinester/diy-til-i-die/love hate relationship with arts admin/girlpunkfeminist/geek
This entry was posted in feminism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to ‘My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit’

  1. davej1103 says:

    A thoughtful piece, but the links aren’t working for me…

  2. thank you!! *blushes* – have fixed now!

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