Feminism 101: Intersectionality

Feminism 101: Intersectionality

Looking in.

Feminism, as the media portrays it, has typically only focused on the white, cis gender, able-bodied, upper class, heterosexual woman even though these are some of the most privileged groups of people. Popular feminism has allowed for the erasure of the groups of people who are most affected by discrimination. It is usually seen as a movement that has purely focused on Patriarchy, “the social order that privileges men and oppresses women”, which usually fails to mention how race, class, sexual orientation, gender expression and (dis)ability factors into it.

3rd wave and 4th wave feminism is working to change those stereotypes. Thanks to the incredible work of Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, the term Intersectionality has become part of some of the world's most important feminist vocabulary. Intersectionality is focused on the social structures of privilege, oppression and discrimination and how identity plays a major role in how people are affected by such measures. Crenshaw talks about identity politics and notes that identity is cross cutting. In Crenshaw’s approach, she explains that there is no way to talk about privilege and oppression without understanding how every aspect of a person’s identity plays a role. Intersectional feminists therefore see that a person “is not simply oppressed or privileged: they are simultaneously privileged and oppressed by different aspects of their identity.”

This approach to feminism is so important because gives us a way to describe the complex social order in which mainstream society functions. Intersectionality, for example, allows us to see that when Sandra Bland was killed in police custody, her gender was not the only factor that played a role in her death. It was the combination of her race, the darkness of her skin, gender, social stereotypes, and history of past police brutality that played a role in her death.

Our feminism must be Intersectional or it can’t be feminism at all. There is no way to talk about racism without talking about how it affects low income women; how class issues are so much different for cis people than trans people, especially if they are Black or Latina. Intersectionality brings typical (“white”) feminism past simply including minorities in discussion, but instead it reworks the entire system. Intersectionality fosters a feminism that is truly inclusive; one that recognizes differences, rather than glossing over and erasing the varying experiences of different people.

The main idea of Interesectionality is to put people out of their comfort zone, to get them talking about the issues that have been historically erased for hundreds of years. It forces us to look past our own experience and understand how oppression actually works. To be willing to critically think about aspects of humanity through a lens that is not your own. It teaches us to push against the erasing aspect of modern day feminism and turn towards inclusivity instead.

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Protect Children, Not Guns

It's time to save innocent lives.

School shootings are happening every day around the world and innocent children’s lives are being taken. However, the day-to-day school shootings aren’t brought to our attention unless a significant amount of people die. Personally, I am fed up with continuously hearing about these terrifying school shooting scenarios because nothing is being done to prevent them from reoccurring.

The recent shooting at Stonemason Douglass High School was right near my hometown in Boca Raton, Florida. I felt particularly emotional and devastated because I’ve been to that campus many times for sporting events. I felt the chills knowing that the hallways that I had once walked through were under attack and covered in bodies.

When will it be enough? When will something be done to stop mentally unstable teenagers from being able to purchase a gun? What kind of country doesn’t allow teenagers to purchase alcohol on their own but grants them permission to purchase their very own assault rifle? Something needs to change regarding the gun laws due to the number of times that horrific events, such as the Stonemason Douglass High School massacre, have occurred.

Those innocent victims left for school that morning not knowing that they would end up either injured or dead. They said bye to their parents on their way to school and never made it back home. Children’s learning environments should be a safe space that promotes comfort and care. Children and teenagers shouldn't have to go to school each day living in fear due to a potential attack or shooter.

Mental health issues are one of the major reasons that these attacks are occurring; however, the biggest issue is the gun laws. Mental health issues, in essence, are internal problems that individuals feel on a personal level. A majority of mental health cases are disguised until the individual lashes out on either themselves or others around them.

Therefore, we can not say that any teenager has the right to purchase a gun because no one will truly know whether or not that person has a secret mental disorder or a violent agenda. In the presidential response to the school shooting “mental health” was emphasized as the major issue that needed to be addressed. However, this is just a minor part of a much greater issue. Mental health can be treated step by step; however, this will not solve the shooting and the gun issues due to the fact that a majority of mental health cases are disguised. The 19-year-old shooter at Douglass high school was able to put on an act as he walked in to purchase his very own assault rifle.

There was no way to judge this boy by his cover; therefore, his mental health issue and plans were kept a secret until he lashed out. Mental health issues are all around us; however, we can not distinguish the individuals who have a violent agenda versus those who genuinely want to be helped; therefore, we can not provide teenagers access to deadly weapons.

Our government and laws must start enforcing stricter gun laws in order to prevent more innocent children’s lives from being taken away. The younger generations are being exposed to traumatizing, horrific acts of crime and violence at such a young age and they will never be the same. It is the government’s obligation to make sure that children grow up and are educated in a safe, nourishing environment as opposed to an environment in which they fear random acts of violence. In order to help restore the peace and comfort that used to be prevalent amongst all schools and communities, the gun laws must be changed and access to violent weapons must be prevented.

Cover Image Credit: Hakan Erenler

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Cornell Fraternity Reprimanded For Hosting 'Pig Roast'

"Continuing to allow such students to prowl a college campus rather than face expulsion appears a rather questionable decision set forth by Cornell elites."

After receiving numerous reports, recent investigations were launched leading to the uncovering of a rather appalling contest used to determine incoming pledges of Cornell University's chapter of Zeta Beta Tau.

The fraternity was found guilty of administering a competition in which pledges were awarded points for initiating sexual intercourse with female students. However, unlike many similar contests popularized through rushes hosted by fraternities across the nation, Zeta Beta Tau coined their particular competition the "pig roast" in honor of their unique tiebreaker ritual. Should two or more pledges find themselves at a tie, the one who sleeps with the largest woman wins.

After the university's investigations confirmed the legitimacy of their reports in January, Zeta Beta Tau has been placed on a two year probation period in which the fraternity is required to employ a live-in adviser in order to enforce the proper conduct of current members and regularly educate them on the issue of sexual assault. In addition, members will be expected to take part in a minimum of two campus events in recognition of Cornell's Sexual Assault Awareness Week.

The question remains, however, whether a slap on the wrist such as this has truly done the women involved justice. Or, perhaps, presuming the acts were consensual, these women were only victimized through the humiliation of being unknowingly chosen for such a ritual rather than the sexual act itself. Therefore, can one lawfully designate this an act of sexual assault?

If a woman consents to a sexual encounter, she has not suddenly fallen victim to her partner. Rather, in this case, she is suffering the consequences of sleeping with a perfect stranger whose motives remained unclear. A brief look at any news source today would prove that this aftereffect is seemingly minor in comparison to the many things that happen to women who make similar choices. Although, this is not to say that the women involved deserved to be used this way by any means.

While arguments from either side of the issue of victimization may very well continue to remain a matter of opinion, it can be universally agreed that the actions of the Zeta Beta Tau members were resoundingly wrong based on natural principles. Another's body is not to be disrespected and sexually exploited for one's gain. Thus, continuing to allow such students the privilege to prowl a college campus rather than face expulsion appears a rather questionable decision set forth by Cornell elites.

Cover Image Credit: Guest of a Guest

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