I just got home from a really wonderful panel on intersectional feminism. There were old and young women, of different races, sexualities, abilities, socioeconomic factors and walks of life, discussing intersectionality, or the concept that feminism must cover not just gender but the “intersections” of each person’s many identities.
One of my favorite things that a panelist said was to describe intersectional feminism as the idea that there is no single, monolithic female experience. I think this really strikes at the heart of why feminism still is so key, and specifically intersectional feminism: Yes, women have the right to vote and divorce and we are no longer considered property in America, but even with the legal protections and cultural strides we have made, there are still so many people who face oppression daily. Women still make less than men, but black women make less than white women , and Latinas make even less still. Queer youth face a higher risk of bullying, violence and sexual assault, as well as increased risk of depression and suicidal tendencies. And girls are still blamed for their own assaults, while the media refers to their attackers sympathetically, though activism is helping turn the tide, slowly but surely.
Later in the evening, a woman read Mindy Nettifee’s “For The Young Women Who Don’t Consider Themselves,” a lovely, hilarious, biting poem about solidarity, about feminist history, about how women still suffer, even if the Women Against Feminism don’t feel like they’ve been oppressed.
It’s a reminder that my feminism is not just about me, Dad. My feminism is not just about street harassment or unshaven legs or sexuality. My feminism is also about supporting people from all paths, of all genders, sexualities, races, riches, nationalities, religions, body types, ages and abilities. My feminism is about railing against teaching little boys they can’t cry because it’s “unmanly;” it’s about fighting for the right for everyone to love who they choose, safely and consensually, without fear of violence; it’s about standing up against racism and standing behind the people of color who are fighting it; it’s about supporting accessibility for everyone, and fighting stigma around disability and mental illness; my feminism is about love, acceptance and equal rights for all.