Intersectionality and Feminism
The importance of intersectionality in social movements has been something that that come to the forefront of many discussions. In order to discuss what measures can be taken to resolve issues of social justice, the acknowledgment of privilege is something that cannot be glossed over. In terms of feminism, the amount of time in America centered solely on the advancements for white women has led to a profound lack of unity. An important point that many classmates brought up is the breakdown of identity in terms of privilege.
For example, I am a black woman which are two subordinate areas of my identity. I also identify as straight and cisgender which are two dominant areas. My identity shifts between the subordinate and dominant but the ways in which it interacts with society differs comparatively. The acknowledgements of my own privilege are honestly something that I have recently become more in tune with. I think it is important that people are able to recognize areas of privilege first before trying to help others. Without realizing how the balance of identity shifts between different contexts it is impossible to have an accurate view of the ways in which others differ.
It is also important to realize that there are so many layers to subordinated identities. When speaking of minority women, it is impossible to disregard how colorism and the possession of Eurocentric features operates in a further division of what is socially acceptable. When speaking of disability, it is impossible to overlook the ways in which mental disability differs from physical disability. When speaking of nationality, it is impossible to overlook how the preconceived notions of accents often leads to discrimination. There is just so much to consider and I believe that without a thorough look into identity, it is impossible to unify all women. The blocking of representation for all women is something that has significantly kept feminism from leading to more changes through institutions. While changes have been progressing, feminism has a long way to go before all types of women in America are unified- let alone globally.
One reoccurring theme that we have discovered between the push for movements and globalization is that differences are often all formulated from a Eurocentric viewpoint. This leads to misconceptions and often does more harm than good in terms of helping people. In America there a lot of focus placed upon what is acceptable in other countries based on American culture. For example, the freedom of expression through dress is something that holds a lot of weight in America.
This is very different from the viewpoint of many Muslim women who culturally and religiously remain covered up. Instead of signaling out ways of dressing as oppression, it is important for women outside of these areas to realize that not only do many Muslim women not see this as oppression, there are so many other issues that bar them from actively participating in society. It is important to note that not all women have to view not covering up as liberating because the liberation should be in the choices that each women makes for themselves. One standard definition of liberation does not exist.
Projection is not a good way to assess forms of oppression and like many other instances in history, it is best to listen to the experiences of women who live in these areas. While issues overlap between countries, the ways in which they are combated vary greatly based on culture, politics, and religion among other institutions. Perhaps even before empathy can lead women to want to aid in change, a clear understanding of how different cultures affect societal norms is imperative.