I’m a feminist, but I got my eyebrows tattoed on.
I’m a feminist, but I got married last year.
I’m a feminist, but I’m still human and full of contradictions.
I am a feminist, and it’s not a dirty word.
I am a feminist and I want to let you know that feminism is good for you – whether you’re male, female, non-binary, or anything else that you choose.
I’m a feminist, and I’ve got your back (unless you’re a super bad person or anything like that)
Intersectional Feminism is almost as old as me – yikes – after being coined by American civil rights advocate, Kimberlé Crenshaw, in 1989. Read on to find out why Intersectionality is important for everyone, and why I feel so passionately about this subject.
Let’s start with the official Oxford Dictionary definition:
“The interconnected nature of social categorisations such as race, class, and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage”.
The most important aspect of Intersectional Feminism is acknowledging that everyone has a unique experience of discrimination and oppression.
These unique experiences will vary between individuals, and we must consider everything that can make a person marginalised – gender, race, sexual orientation, class, physical ability, etc. The list goes on.
Putting this into a real-life example – think about the discrimination a white, able-bodied, middle-class woman will suffer compared to that of a lesser-able bodied, working-class woman.
The privileges afforded to the first woman will not automatically be given to the second.
A more current example would be the black father of 4 who was arrested recently for visiting his mother during lock-down, and Dominic Cummings visiting his parents with no repercussions on his job or stature.
Why Should I Care?
In 2019 just over half of the world’s population was female. If you’re not a woman yourself, you probably know one.
I’m sure you’re a good person, and if you heard about systematic prejudice and oppression you’d want to stop it, right?
This is why Intersectional Feminism is important and you should care – the women you know and love are being paid less and harassed more than the men you know. Yes, in 2020. Even the women you don’t know.
It’s happening all around us, and if it hasn’t happened to you then you may not have noticed.
The world is viewed through the male gaze – did you hear about the birth control pill being adjusted to make THE POPE happy? Women are forced to have a monthly period when they don’t need to because the Pope might be offended.
Would you want the Pope to be a huge influence on your well-being every month?!
If caring simply isn’t enough for you, then consider these reasons why Intersectional Feminism is good for everyone…
Intersectional Feminism brings greater wealth for EVERYONE
You might think that only women would benefit from feminism, however that is not the case.
The International Monetary Fund recently released a report, “Women, Work, and the Economy” stating that if more women were to be included into the workforce, the U.S.’s GDP would rise by 5%, United Arab Emirates’ by 12%, and Egypt’s by 34%.
This is worth billions of dollars that could benefit every.single.person.
Mistreatment in the Workplace
On average, for the exact SAME work, women only get around 60-70% of the pay that their equivalent male colleagues get. Compared to men, women are less represented in unions, employed in the informal sector, and more likely to be classified as economically dependant.
This is an ideal breeding ground for injustice in the workplace for women and places more burden on the male to make enough money for the whole family. The role of “breadwinner” that is often placed on men, can contribute to toxic masculinity and increased pressure.
Equality is better for EVERYONE
Intersectional Feminism benefits every single person alive today – equality is better for society, the economy, and politics.
What can I do?
You might be a card-carrying feminist, or you may be totally new to this, but there’s always something you can do to help improve equality:
Check your privilege:
Are you middle class? University-level educated? Able-bodied? Cis-gender? Remember to look further than the colour of your skin.
All your social identities play into your ‘privilege’, even if you didn’t ask for it. Reflect on these and consider how this impacts the discriminations you do and don’t experience.
I refer you to my book review post here “Such a Fun Age” is a fantastic book that lays out privilege and racism in a really accessible way.
Ask yourself if you’re the right person to take up space or speak on certain issues.
Centre stories and actions on those with the lived experiences. Don’t speak for them, don’t speak over them.
Listen and learn
One of the main focuses of intersectionality is learning and understanding views from other women.
Listen to, include, and meaningfully collaborate with diverse groups of women. It’s important that you expand your horizons to include women of colour and other marginalised groups.
Always remember that it’s not the responsibility of marginalised groups to do all the work in educating people on their experiences.
This often takes up lots of emotional labour and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Be prepared to help undertake some of the labour by doing your own research.
What's this got to do with Rainbows?!
Feminism isn’t boring, drab, or a way to hate men.
Intersectional feminism is exciting; full of new ideas and new communities to bond with.
You can make the world a better place! You!
Plus, I like rainbows and intersectional feminism is a passion of mine.
If you have any questions or comments, please let me know! I would LOVE to chat about any of the issues brought up in this blog.
Lots of love to all,