I’ve written a post a few months back explaining why I am a feminist and how as women we experience sexism in our everyday life, starting from a very young age (you can find the post here). What I failed to mention, however, is what kind of feminist I am. As the title suggests, I am an Intersectional Feminist. Sadly, this needs to be mentioned as there are many so-called feminist women who only speak out for themselves and who therefore don’t act on an intersectional level. The stereotypical man-hating white feminism that is so passionately portrayed by the media is often held by white, middle-class, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied women who tend to only focus on the issues that concern their own type of women, which honestly is a minority. Thanks to their privileges, they have a platform and a voice compared to so many other women, and I don’t feel they always use it in the most efficient and inclusive way.
This isn’t my image and I don’t own any rights
Before I go any further, maybe I should define intersectionality. It’s a term I only became familiar with a couple months ago, and based on many conversations I’ve had, it’s still not a well-known term. Intersectionality is about including everyone, and acknowledging that people’s different privileges can influence the different disadvantages they might face in life. It is therefore understanding, for example, that a white, lesbian woman will not have the same disadvantages in life than a straight black woman. And that’s concerning every aspect of life, from harassment to job accessibility. Intersectional feminism is also for young girls who don’t have access to education in some parts of the world, or for underpaid women working in factories for us to uselessly overbuy cheap clothes. It is a movement for everyone, aiming to change the different inequalities and improve lives.
You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t mentioned men yet, but rest assured, you are not forgotten. I did say that it is a movement for everyone. We are well aware of the struggles you face because of the repercussions of sexism. The victims of “toxic masculinity”, homophobia, transphobia, sexual violence and other means of abuse that you experience due to sexism is not to be taken lightly, and we are here for you too. I believe we can make a real change together. Of course, I don’t want to give the impression that feminism is a movement only for victims of abuse; it is for people from diverse social and cultural background, different physical and mental abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, gender… just from a different life in general. No two people are the same, and it’s a great thing.
I’ve identified as a feminist for quite a few years now, and honestly I’ve always focused on what kind of struggles I face or could face in the future. I never really took the time to listen to other women’s struggles and how their differences make life even harder for them. I used to put all women in the same boat and talk about us in such a general manner, that I was excluding a majority of women in my discourse. The more I read and watch videos and interviews, the more I feel like I’m learning and finally starting to understand that I was viewing the world from such a white-privileged perspective. It’s easy to focus on the matters that concern you directly, but we need to take a step back and be as inclusive as possible.
I mainly wrote this to hopefully inspire some of you to look into intersectional feminism, and to show that feminism is not about violence and man-hating, but that it is a fundamental and undeniably necessary movement. Let’s give the word its original meaning back: equality for all!
Lots of love,