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Intersectional feminism essay
Intersectionality is a theoretical framework which explains violence or discrimination against humans. Its antecedents include the notions of double jeopardy (Beal) or multiple jeopardy (King and interlocking oppressions (Combahee River Collective). Yet intersectionality has a long history in Black feminism. Video provided by AFP Newslook. In a more recent essay, Razack reiterates that she prefers intersectional feminism essay the word interlocking rather than intersecting to describe how the systems of oppression are connected. 2014 The Author(s) Philosophy Compass 9/5 (2014 304314,.1111/phc3.12129 Philosophy Compass 2014 John Wiley Sons Ltd The Concept of Intersectionality in Feminist Theory 311 Still another set of critiques of intersectionality involves the aforementioned distinction between intercategorical and intracategorical approaches (McCall).
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By contrast, Naomi Zack is dubious that intersectionality can deliver on its inclusionary promise. Yet ippant or vague references to intersectionality can serve to obscure what is in fact a profound critique of deeply entrenched cognitive habits which inform feminist and antiracist thinking about oppression and privilege. They are all men but their gender intersects with other identities and makes them different from one another. The intercategorical approach focuses on the complexity of relationships among multiple intersectional feminism essay social groups within and across analytical categories (McCall 1786). 9, 2017, in New York. Intersectionality seeks to provide a tool for analyzing the ways in which gender, race, class and all other forms of identity and distinction, in different contexts, produce situations in which women and men become vulnerable to abuse and discrimination.(1). Notes * Correspondence: Department of Philosophy, California State University, Los Angeles, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, CA, USA. It is an organized movement for the attainment of such rights. First, intersectionality may capture the irreducibility of experience to any single category by keeping multiple categories of oppression in play at once. Black Feminists, such as Lorde, experience racism on top of sexism, and through their voice no intervention has changed the face of American feminism more than the demand that feminist thinkers acknowledge the reality of race and racism (hooks. Intersectional feminism attends to the ways in which claims made in the name of women as a class can function to silence or marginalize some women by universalizing the claims of relatively privileged women." Nancy. I adduce four analytic benets of intersectionality as a research paradigm: simultaneity, complexity, irreducibility, and inclusivity. In Guidroz and Berger 65).3 In Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex, Crenshaw demonstrates that boundaries of sex and race discrimination doctrine are dened respectively by white womens and Black mens experiences (143).
Philosophy Compass 9/5 (2014 304314,.1111/phc3.12129 The Concept of Intersectionality in Feminist Theory Anna Carastathis* California State University, Los Angeles Abstract In feminist theory, intersectionality has become the predominant way of conceptualizing the relation between systems of oppression which construct. In Yuval-Davis 193; see also Patel). Interlocking systems need one another, and in tracing the complex ways in which they help to secure one another, we learn how women are produced into positions that exist symbiotically but hierarchically (Razack, Looking 13). You can follow her on Twitter @alia_e. As a methodology or heuristic, Patricia Hill Collins notes that intersectionality can be used to study micro-, meso-, and macro-level social phenomena (Some Group Matters).5 Specically, as Bonnie Thornton Dill and Ruth Enid Zambrana write, intersectionality reveals the workings. For instance, research which assumes the stability, xity, and homogeneity of social groups can lapse into positivism, adding together monistic categories of identity.
Everyone experiences oppression differently based on their social identities. By the time that Crenshaw introduced the metaphor of intersectionality to critique dominant con- ceptions of discrimination in law and in social movements, the language of intersec- tions had already been circulating in contemporaneous antiracist feminist thought (see Nash, Home Truths). At the very least, Ludvig claims that intersectionality theorists are faced with a denitional problem: who denes when, where, which, and why particular differences are given recognition while others are not? The Axes is an exceptional depiction of intersectionality. It is a decades-old term many feminists use to explain how the feminist movement can be more diverse and inclusive. In her more widely read 1991 essay, Mapping the Margins, Crenshaw offers a threefold positive denition of intersectionality, the rst aspect of which structural intersectionality is invoked most often in the operationalization of the concept in the literature. The researcher thereby avoids reducing experiences to a single category of oppression or to two or more axes of oppression that are added together. Finally, I expound and respond to some critiques of intersectionality advanced in the last few years, during which time the concept has increas- ingly come under scrutiny. The different aspects of our identity intersect white womens experiences 'as women' is partly defined by their race, just like black womens experiences are, its just that its easier for white women to ignore their race. If gender oppression and racial oppression have been dened against each other, then one is understood to be oppressed as a woman to the extent that one is not oppressed as a person of color; in other words, racial privilege inects.
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This perspective is counterproductive to any progress in dismantling oppression. Critical Engagements with Intersectionality If the 1990s and early 2000s were marked by an enthusiastic uptake of the broad notion of intersectionality (see Garry 494495 and also arguably, by widespread inattention to the origins, context, and implications of the concept. This concept is one of the greatest gifts of black womens studies to social theory as a whole (303, emphasis added). Tamika Mallory, right, co-chair of the Women's March on Washington, talks during an interview with fellow co-chairs Carmen Perez, left, and Linda Sarsour, on Jan. A corollary of the simultaneity and complexity benets is the irreducibility benet. Feminist discourse is well taken, the tokenism she challenges hardly seems specic to, or inherent in intersectionality. As Bonnie Dill (2009) states in Guy-Sheftalls (2009) article: it has brought distinctive knowledge and perspectives of previously ignored groups of women into general discussion and awareness, and has shown how the experience of gender differs by race, class, and other dimensions of inequality (p. Can intersectionality deliver on the promise to transform feminist theory and politics by centering the experiences of multiply oppressed groups? The experience of the African American women and Black intersectional feminism essay Feminist politic, was the beginning of incorporating intersectionality into womens studies. The apparent consensus that marks the ascendancy or mainstreaming of intersectionality elides its critical impetus, that is, the fact that the metaphor emerges as a critique of white solipsism within fem- inist discourses. There is some debate as to whether intersectionality functions as a micro-, meso-, or macro-level heuristic.
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The separability of oppressions is premised on centering the essentialized experiences of relatively privileged members of oppressed groups (Harris). Intersectionality Theory disputes the idea that women are a homogeneous category sharing the same life experiences. She received her PhD in Philosophy from McGill Uni- versity and her BA (Honors) in Philosophy from the University of Alberta. Similarly, Kathryn Russell argues that we lack arguments about when and where we can emphasize one factor over another as well as analyses about how gender, race, and class are connected (35). There are two variations on the claim that intersectionality meets that theoretical demand.
1 It is important to recognize the roots of intersectionality in the political movement of Black women, Chicana and Latina women, and other women of color most of them lesbian-identied. The article Through the Lens of Race discusses the study done by several experts on how black and white women experience womanhood differently through their social identities. It is human nature to categorize as a way of understanding and social identities are frequently a source of social empowerment and reconstruction (Crenshaw. In Guidroz and Berger 65). Origins Arguably, some of the traction of the term intersectionality is due to the antecedence of the concept of interlocking systems of oppression, dened in a social movement context by the Combahee River Collective, in A Black Feminist. Elizabeth Cole makes a compelling argument that a positivist, intercategorical approach to intersectionality, which assumes the denition and operationalization of social/structural categories as independent variables, fails to address the processes that create and maintain the categories (445). Despite intersectionalitys analytic promise to capture structural complexity without re- ducing or fragmenting simultaneous experiences of oppression(s Alice Ludvig has argued that the fact that the social world is insurmountably complex raises serious problems for intersectionality (247). This analytic benet corresponds to Crenshaws analysis of political intersectionality, which reveals how transformative social movements have reproduced deeply ingrained cognitive and representational exclusions in the course of political practice. Intersectionality is offered as a theoretical and political remedy to what is perhaps the most pressing problem facing contemporary feminism the long and painful legacy of its exclusions (K. She argues that legal concepts of discrimination must be revised if they are to serve as remedies to historical and structural oppression. Similarly, if a Black woman is harmed because she is in an intersection, her injury could result from sex discrimination or race discrimination But it is not always easy to reconstruct an accident: Sometimes the skid marks and the injuries simply. Indeed, many critiques of intersectionality are marked by inattention to Crenshaws 19 essays, notwithstanding the now-compulsory acknowledgement, often in the form of a single citation, to her work.
Crenshaw (1991) began using the term in understanding how African American women experience both sexism and racism in multifaceted ways. When somebody is discriminated on the basis of color, we know this exist. Finally, a third intersectional approach that McCall identies is the anticategorical approach, which is based on a methodology that deconstructs analytical categories. In this essay, I focus mostly on the elaboration of intersectionality in AngloAmerican feminist theory. I suggest that the systems are each other and that they give content to each other. Another set of critiques concern the scalar reach of intersectionality. (Photo: Mark Lennihan, AP) "This has been a conversation about feminism for years, but what we're witnessing now is a literacy, newer generations are coming to feminism and starting to understand how intersectionality fits within their feminism. The de facto racial segregation of both criticism and liberation along the lines of historical oppression sabotages present criticism and future liberation because women of color speak only to themselves (7). The aim of this essay is to clarify the origins of intersectionality as a metaphor, and its theorization as a provisional concept in Kimberl? Williams Crenshaws work, followed by its uptake and mainstreaming as a paradigm by feminist theorists. The concept was given a name in 1989, when Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor at ucla and Columbia and a leading thinker on race theory, wrote a seminal paper on the topic. If feminism is advocating for women's rights and equality between the sexes, intersectional feminism is the understanding of how women's overlapping identities intersectional feminism essay including race, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation impact the way they experience oppression and discrimination. Since a real-life person is not, for example, a woman on Monday, a member of the working class on Tuesday, and a woman of African descent on Wednesday, intersectionality responds to the theoretical demand to read these categories simultaneously (Russell 47).
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Have functioned in tandem to marginalize issues facing Black women (Crenshaw 1245). Yet the analytic distinction be- tween, for instance, racial oppression and gender oppression distorts their simultaneous operation in the lives of people who experience both (Combahee River Collective 213). Carastathis previously held research and teaching positions at McGill Universitys Centre for Research and Teaching on Women at Concordia Universitys Simone de Beauvoir Institute, at the Centre de recherche en?thique de lUniversit? de Montr?al and the University of British Columbias. Frequently the goal of civil rights and social justice movements is to empty social identities of any social significance (Crenshaw. First of all you need to know what intersectionality. Today, the term makes some people uncomfortable in part because it suggests that white women recognize their privilege and examine the ways in which that privilege can make other women invisible within the feminist movement.
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Ludvig contends that the endlessness of differences seems to be a weak point in intersectional theory (247). In contrast to unitary or additive approaches to theorizing oppression, which privilege a foundational category and either ignore or merely add others to it, intersectionality insists that multiple, co-constituting analytic categories are operative and equally salient in constructing institu- tionalized practices and lived experiences. The conation of complexity and of the particular with multiply oppressed groups (such as women with 2014 The Author(s) Philosophy Compass 9/5 (2014 304314,.1111/phc3.12129 Philosophy Compass 2014 John Wiley Sons Ltd 310 The Concept of Intersectionality in Feminist. Irreducibility as an epistemic value refutes the causal or explanatory priority given by certain Marxists (among others) to class or the economic base. A white woman is penalized by her gender but has the advantage of race. If we remove one thread from the spider web, it will fall apart. 2 In this essay, I focus narrowly on the concept of intersectionality, not discussing other contemporaneous and. This controverts orthodox Marxist approaches, for instance, which claim that class has causal and explanatory priority to gender and race, which are viewed as epiphenomenal. Yuval-Davis critiques the intercategorical approach to intersectionality, arguing that unless it is complemented with an intra-categorical approach, it can be understood as an additive rather than a mutually constitutive approach to the relationship between social categories (7).
Unlike Collins, intersectional feminism essay for whom the interlocking/intersecting distinction pertains to the level of analysis to which each is appropriate, for Razack, the key difference lies in the capacity of each heuristic to deal with phenomenological simultaneity and ontological mutual constitu- tion of oppressions. As Chandra Mohanty has written, the assumption is that categories of race and class have to be invisible for gender to be visible (. Yet the appropriation of intersectionality by womens studies and feminist theory (which remain white-dominated discourses) can serve to obscure its origins in Black feminist thought. Intersectional, approach (edited by Namita Goswami, Maeve ODonovan, and Lisa Yount; Pickering and Chatto). Ange-Marie Hancock argues that intersectional approaches are inclusive and incisive and foster deep political solidarity (Hancock 183). Political intersectionality describes the fact that historically, feminist and antiracist politics in the.S.
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Understanding intersectionality is necessary for understanding intersectional feminism essay and dismantling oppression. For example what are the problems of white, young, female and what are the problems of black, young female. We can interpret these methodological prescriptions in light of the irreducibility claim in one of two ways. You have some identities and these identities are connected just like spider web and we cannot remove any identity from you. If we remove any identity from you, then show more content, i liked one definition of intersectionality which I would like to put here. The law was struck down. If we want to know the problems of women and man then we might just find some sex related issues. The result of Ringroses study indicates that students benefited from the intersectional approach, and were able to better understand the complexities of oppression. An interlocking approach requires that we keep several balls in the air at once, striving to overcome the successive process forced upon us by language and focusing on the ways in which bodies express social hierarchies of power (Razack, White Supremacy 343). Although Zacks incisive critique of the abiding racial politics.S. Sherene Razack also asserts that a distinction should be maintained between intersecting and interlocking approaches but not in reference to levels of explanation. If intersectionality is to have a promising future in feminist theory, its intellectual history must be engaged with rigor, integrity, and attentive- ness to the theoretical and political aims which originally animated.
Moreover, very few (particularly white feminist) authors contextualize intersectionality in a philosophical trajectory 2014 The Author(s) Philosophy Compass 9/5 (2014 304314,.1111/phc3.12129 Philosophy Compass 2014 John Wiley Sons Ltd 312 The Concept of Intersectionality in Feminist Theory of Black feminist. Jean Ait Belkhir emphasizes the generative role of Black feminism in the development of integrative approaches to theorizing oppression(s until the emergence of black feminism in the United States, not a single social theorist took seriously the concept. Although it shares a common goal with egalitarianism (equality feminism approaches the problem by advocating for women. Women's March on Washington came together. Four main analytic benets are imputed to intersectionality as a research methodology or theoretical framework: simultaneity, complexity, irreducibility, and inclusivity. "Moreover, privileging attention to abortion rights over other reproductive justice issues such as forced sterilization can be seen to elevate intersectional feminism essay a middle-class white women agenda over other issues that are equally if not more important to poor women and women. As 2014 The Author(s) Philosophy Compass 9/5 (2014 304314,.1111/phc3.12129 Philosophy Compass 2014 John Wiley Sons Ltd The Concept of Intersectionality in Feminist Theory 307 Crenshaw puts it, women of color are situated within at least two subordinated groups that frequently. A woman joins hundreds of low-wage and minimum-wage workers and activists demonstrating outside the Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. I was simply looking at the way all of these systems of oppression overlap. Intersectionality is a move toward creating common ground through discussing differences. It is to a few of those critiques that I now turn, focusing specically on those which take issue with the four analytic benets I discussed in the previous section. Intersectionality theory has been celebrated as the most important contribution that womens studies has made so far (McCall 1771).
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Indeed, the inuence of intersectionality has extended beyond the academy to international human rights discourses, as reected by references made to it by the United Nations Beijing Platform for Action (2000 the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (2000 and the.N. "In times like this, there is a real danger that feminism itself can function in an exclusionary manner by marginalizing less powerful and less privileged women and allies the very people who most need feminism today." Here's how feminist scholars. These categories have been dened with the experiences of relatively privileged subgroups as their historical base (Crenshaw, Demarginalizing 148). Placing Black women at the center of an analysis.S. On this interpretation, irreducibility is a theoretical commitment on the part of the researcher, which informs her analysis of data that may well have been generated using monistic categories. Feminism is for Everybody, hooks (2000) indicates that Black feminists were demanding that we look at the status of females realistically, and that realistic understanding serve as a foundation for a real feminist politic (p. As the" by Audre Lorde suggests, with our multifaceted identities we deal with oppression on multiple levels. The rally, which began organically on Facebook, was initially criticized for failing to include any women of color as organizers. Davis; Smith; Lorde; Hooks; Mohanty, Under Western Eyes). So if ' feminism ' is supposed to represent 'women' it has to attend to those differences." Ruth Enid Zambrana, director of the Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity at the University of Maryland "There isn't just one ' feminism. Intersectionality has received increased attention in part due to how the.
The early 1980s were marked by the publication of several important texts in antiracist feminist theory in which the language of intersections or the phenomena the concept is taken to name were elaborated (Moraga and Anzalda;. The rst is the phenomenological claim that intersectionality captures how oppressions are experienced simultaneously. In her footnotes. Feminism at its core is about equality and dismantling oppression in all forms. However, while these three analytic benets are imputed to intersectionality in theory, according to empirical researchers, it is less clear how one ought to go about researching simultaneous oppressions without reducing them to unitary categories or merely reverting.