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To say we exist in a post-racial society would be a stretch, but there has been progress since the first wave of Civil Rights in the 1960s. There have been talks of a second wave to the Civil Rights Movement— from daily incidents of police brutality to institutional racism, when it comes to housing, education, and healthcare. The progressive movement is needed just as much now as it was in 1963. Luckily within the African-American community, there seems to be a sense of solidarity and support to see that change.
In retrospect, African-Americans aren’t the only minorities trying to raise awareness, not only in their community but globally. From 1848 to 1920 the Women’s Suffrage Movement jumpstarted in Seneca Falls, NY. With a revamp to the feminist movement, women and even men are trying to fight for equality in many facets. Whether it be equal pay in the work place, insurance coverage of birth control, legalizing abortion, or cat calling while walking down the street— women want to be seen and most of all heard! Contrary to the Civil Rights Movement, women don’t stand in solidarity on most of the issues that plague the majority of us. Key word majority of us— not all women are in the same boat when it comes to discrimination.
What is Intersectional Feminism?
Here in lies the theory of Intersectional Feminism— a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989.
“The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.”
The idea of intersectionality existed before the name, but the theory encompasses all other women that don’t fit into the original white middle-class female suffrage box it was originally intended for.
A friend once asked me which was more important to me, being a woman or being black. I gave it some thought before I came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t have to choose a side. I am a black woman every day and claim to be a pro-black feminist when asked what I advocate for or belong to. Although both communities are faced with hardships socially, they both need equal support from people that fit into multiple boxes.
Women of color fall at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to pay in the work place behind, white men, white women and even black men. Transgender women face discrimination socially and even in the healthcare field when it comes to operations they need to complete their transition.
Plus sized women can barely find representation when it comes to the media or clothes in stores that complement their body types. Because there are so many issues that plague different types of women focusing on one at a time has proven to be near impossible!
But does it really have to be so difficult? No matter which cause comes first aren’t they all worth fighting for? Is there a way to unify the radical and liberal feminist? To answer these questions there first needs to be a PSA. Not all feminist look alike!
What do Hillary Clinton, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, President Obama, and Amber Rose all have in common? They all advocate for the equal rights of women. One has put together a “slut walk” to address and begin to eliminate slut shaming among women. Another has a signature song “Run The World” telling women and girls alike that sure it can be a man’s day but it will always be a woman’s world and yes, we run it! President Obama has even gone as far as fighting for equal pay for women in the workplace but he can’t do it alone. There are more women in Congress than ever before. And statistics show that black women are the highest demographic obtaining degrees in college.
Whether you feel alienated because of your weight, height, skin color, gender, or ability, the box is big enough for all of us. Representation does matter and we must all represent one another; all while understanding the inherent differences while embracing the commonalities. Feminism may not have always be an inclusive club, but the minorities or the minority group are making room and will continue to run the world!