Feminism 101: Intersectionality

Feminism 101: Intersectionality

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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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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.

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Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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We are the change we beg for: Zero-Tolerance Policy

We are not living an American dream, but a nightmare. So why aren't we doing the most we can?

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A few years ago, if you asked someone what summed up the United States in the best possible way, many would answer "the American Dream". They would say, "Come here and make your dreams come true! Because this is the greatest country in the world." But year after year, the American dream that many people are still so tempted by is turning into "the American nightmare". We all, as citizens and people living in this country, need to stop dreaming for a moment and take a look at where our country is headed. Not just as the United States, but as the whole world.

Fear. Fear is a big motivator in any given aspect of life. Fear makes people do horrible things and fear makes people change for the better. So far, the fear that Trump is spreading around is not only destroying families, but not making America great again.

A little flashback: History does repeat itself.

Throughout history, the United States has not been the perfect country–not one bit. First, we wiped out of Native Americans (to them, we were the immigrants). Then there was hypocrisy during the wars of "remaining isolated" and the Japanese internment camps. The only difference between the other countries and us is the fact that the others owned up to the actions they were doing and the results of such. Unlike us, who stood behind a big wall of pride for being a country of freedom. What does it take for people to come together and create change? It takes too much tragedy and blood to get the message across. It takes destruction and death. Innocent lives are ruined and destroyed. It should not be this way. Not in this country—not anywhere. But no one listens to the cries for help until it's too late. Right?

"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."
-Thomas Jefferson

Ripping children away from parents makes me imagine a big cattle cart, pulling up to a big, electric, barbed-wire fence and seeing people in "pajamas". I think of big, scary soldiers with guns, pointing and pushing big crowds, only for a child to never see their parent again. Are they dead or alive? Imagine the questions that these kids are having when they should be wondering what they want to be in life or when they grow up? Or why the sky is blue? But they aren't. They wonder about the big scary men taking them away and why. Doesn't this sound familiar? Don't we know the result of this story? Do WE, as a country, not learn from other countries' and people's mistakes? Or do we just want to show that we are still in control? America is repeating history and this will turn into the destruction of the "great" country we once built with pride and joy.

These children are being brought for a reason and their parents are coming here with them for a reason. It is NOT to take away jobs, bring violence, rapists, drugs, or other accusations. THIS is what the majority of people are running AWAY from. These parents with children are coming because they know, or at least knew, that the United States could provide a better future for their children better than any other country could. It could open doors that they can't provide but wish they could. Why would a parent come with a child, risking everything, if they were bringing drugs? Or violence? Why would they RISK THEIR LIVES going through all that travel and desert?

Our new world and possible future:

What you're looking at now, through the news and on social media, is the zero-tolerance policy that just recently rocked our world. The official definition of "Zero-tolerance" is a refusal to accept the antisocial behavior, typically by strict and uncompromising application of the law. The Trump administration has introduced a "zero-tolerance" policy, calling for the prosecution of all individuals who illegally enter the United States. This policy has the effect of separating parents from their children when they enter the country together because parents are referred for prosecution and the children are placed in the custody of a sponsor, such as a relative or foster home, or held in a shelter. But from what we've seen, the first two statements are not the case.

More than 650 children were separated from their parents during a two-week period in May as a result of the new approach. 2,000 illegal immigrants were captured, counted, locked, and woken up from their American dream. This "remove all immigrants" promise that Trump made during his campaign doesn't come to us as a shock, but the whole case wouldn't be as shocking if their children didn't have to pay for this, too. These children are being held in cages, confused, lost, and crying. Would this pass if the child was not an immigrant? I believe it would not and that's what scares me the most. It scares me that we are quickly ruining a country built and established by immigrants. We are ruining the purpose and reason behind why the United States has always been and held the title as a "world power".

The very moral and purpose of our country is being controlled by fear and the unknown—with children, every day standing up and pledging allegiance to the American flag; "For liberty and justice for all." How do all of our actions as a country make us feel good? It makes us look like hypocrites through all these decades, preaching of the freedom and equality we are known for—the wars that OUR people, a collection of different races and immigrants, fought to protect our freedom, rights, and independence. Separating children from parents, holding them in terrible conditions? Treating not only all immigrants but also these children like they are the reason our country is in decline? That it is bad to be different? That being a certain person makes you horrible?

The Statue of Liberty is weeping today with the walls of division being built on her own grounds. These walls might not be materially built yet, but they already divide the whole world more than ever. It's not just here in the U.S. Many places have started building these walls of "zero-tolerance" a while ago. They've been built in the UK for years. They've been built by anti-immigration parties taking over many countries. The European Union fell apart because some places built walls that stand strong, even against war refugees.

"Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome."
- Rosa Parks

All of this makes being an immigrant harder. It affects many people's feelings of self-worth in a negative way. It makes us all feel like second-class citizens. It makes us feel unwelcome. People should not have to leave countries for fear of what their future holds. I remember that back in my senior year I read a book called "Interpreter of Maladies" and each story in the book held the hidden pain of the life of an immigrant. The author, Jhumpa Lahiri expressed how she grew up with so much self-doubt and the hidden motifs and symbolism that each story held. It was an eye-opening book that made me realize that the smallest action of neglect or judgment can ruin someone–how fear of different people make someone feel like their whole existence is wrong.

  • Although this isn't on topic, all this hate toward people being different and not ideal to society crosses with the suicide and depression topic that everyone avoids. Do you see how one small action affects all others? (AKA, The Butterfly Effect)

As the Trump administration argues, referring immigrants for prosecution is not a new policy. Prior administrations did not enforce the practice in the way that Trump has. Before Trump came into office, families were detained together, "sent back immediately or paroled into the country", said Peter Margulies, an immigration law and national security law professor at Roger Williams University School of Law. The prosecution is happening across the board and has become the uniform policy. "The policy has ramped up substantially with the new administration," Margulies said. "Making that a staple of immigration policy is a new feature." Prosecutions were rare prior to the Trump administration, partly because they cost a lot of money and are time-consuming, Margulies said. "Previous administrations felt the broad use of the 'prosecute-first' option was needlessly harsh," he said.

The Trump administration has justified the policy by pointing to an increase in southwest border apprehensions in 2018. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said an "escalated effort" was needed to address a crisis at the southwest border. Sessions directed the implementation of a new "zero-tolerance" policy to prosecute all illegal entry referrals from the Department of Homeland Security. When an adult is referred for prosecution, a child traveling with the adult is turned over to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. That agency is responsible for placing the child with a sponsor, while the child's immigration case is resolved. So where is all the help for the children? Who are these people helping? I understand that, yes, there are good people out there to help, but it is not enough. We are not doing enough.

"If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity."
- John F. Kennedy

From May 6 to May 19 this year, 658 children were separated from their parents due to the zero-tolerance policy. The fact that previous administrations did not broadly prosecute all illegal entries contradicts Trump's claim that "we have to break up families." If you care about a future without racism for your children, a world without wars, and people being good to each other—if you care about your country being proud and free, please don't build those walls of "zero tolerance". Where we begin should never define who we can become.

THE HISPANIC RACE IS NOT THE ONLY RACE OF IMMIGRANTS IN THIS COUNTRY. The border along the south is not the only border that they should be concerned about. I am not being biased because I am of Hispanic descent. No, I am a citizen of the United States concerned for all its people and what we stand for. I am not a Trump hater, nor do I hate Trump supporters. I understand people's beliefs and views, respectfully, but that doesn't mean that I will agree. Just like not all Latinos are bad, not all Trump supporters are racist and bad. Everyone has their reason and the freedom to express themselves. It's how we react to it that causes the arousal in our society. I am stating the facts that are in front of all of us.

I am standing up for what I believe in and that this country CAN be great again. We, as the future generations, can make a difference in this world, but it shouldn't take the destruction of lives to make us stand up. It shouldn't be like past generations. Instead of moving forward with peace and change, we are moving backward toward inequality and fear. I am not angry at the world for the bad it brings or causes or at the lack of effort to remove the negativity. I am disappointed that those with opinions and voice hold back over fear.

We NEED those voices or else we will not be heard. Our cries for help—to help our country and its people—will not be heard if fear is silencing us. I know, as I've seen and experienced it, myself. This silence is not only destroying and affecting our country but the whole world. Our environment is suffering—our people and our future are in a danger zone if we don't change what's going on. Our lives and the world we need to survive are in danger. We shouldn't ask for change, we should be the change. We shouldn't sit and wait for things to get worse, we have to take action in order for things to get better.

If one small voice can make a difference, imagine all those voices together.

Cover Image Credit:

Wikimedia Commons

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