The Idealized Ideology Of Intersectionality

The Idealized Ideology Of Intersectionality

Because ideologies have their problematic points.
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In her compilation of essays, Roxane Gay states that "I believe women not just in the United States, but throughout the world deserve equality and freedom but know I am in no position to tell women of other cultures what that equality and freedom should look like" (1). Growing up in a predominately Christian family, while studying and researching the different aspects of feminism and social justice, I feel that I have grown up as an insider while simultaneously being an outsider. I have grown up listening that a certain set of ideals were the only way, and that other ideologies followed this template. As time has passed and I have grown older and into my own understanding I have come to realize that feminism does not necessarily look the same to everyone.

The idea of intersectionality first came to my attention through social media. To me, intersectionality means the acceptance of women in any shape or form, for example, the acceptance of transwomen, lesbians, pan-sexual women, basically anything outside the “traditional” straight female. I am and always have been behind this idea because I believe that feminism means equality for all women, no matter how they choose to represent themselves. I have family and friends who identify as anything other than the traditional straight, [insert chosen major western religion here], cis-gendered woman; and I find it difficult to not be supportive of my family and friends. I recently started a course in Women's Studies at my college, and I found out that intersectionality is a new "wave" (mindset) of feminism that is gaining traction with the Millennial generation. This wave is meant to be feminism for all, meaning it is no longer for the white, privileged women but it is a movement for women of color, and of different backgrounds. I was a little confused at first, because I always thought that feminism was the struggle for equality for women, regardless of sexual orientation, the pigmentation of melanin and regardless of religious background. Taking a women's studies class has taught me, that while feminism is meant to be for every woman, there have been different waves of the movement that focused on different agendas, and on different groups of women.

As mentioned before, I grew up in a predominantly Christian family, and was put into a Christian private school early on and while I asked to be removed and put into the public school system during my high school years, I remained at the same private school. I was more than feisty, I was zealous in the fight for equality in the church itself. There is where I found opposition. The problem I see with intersectionality is that it is difficult to get one group of people to agree on anything, it would be increasingly more difficult to get a whole nation, much less a city to agree on the same principles. While intersectionality is the idea and the goal, I fear that it will not be achieved very quickly. The school I went to was under the denomination of “Non-Denominational”, the church I attend is known as “Pentecostal” and my grandpa pastors a “Baptist” church. Therein already lies one problem, there is separation of denominations and beliefs in most major world religions. I was constantly torn between three different teachings, but more than anything, I realized quickly how I disliked the way my school was ran. When I was in middle school I argued with my Bible teacher that God can call women to preach/teach because God really does not discriminate. I argued with great fervor, I countered his arguments with precision because his arguments really did not have any backing in scriptures other than “this is what our pastor teaches us”, and that teaching also included having the women remain in silence. I argued this because I have seen with my own eyes the way men in the church abuse their power over their wives with that exact mentality. I argued this defiantly because people tend to take things out of context, twist it for their own benefit to manipulate and oppress, and that is not what I grew up to believe is right. I’ve seen the shame that was brought upon women, because I was one of them. I was marked as that girl who disagreed and argued and I was infamous among my teachers and classmates because I questioned the status quo, because I was "argumentative" and opinionated.

At the time of the argument, I had no idea what feminism was, I just remember being incredibly upset that a man would say that a woman had to ask a man before she spoke because “God only calls a man to teach his word”. While I do believe there is an order in which things should be done, I don’t believe this notion that women have nothing to teach men. When I finally found out what Feminism was during my senior year of high school, I was instantly drawn towards this movement and philosophy. Being that I remained at that private school, I often felt alone in my way of thinking. Quite honestly, there were only two others who thought as I did, and one of them was my English professor, the other a girl I soon became very close to. I was told to keep quiet but to keep my ideas. I was advised simply to “give the teachers what they want”, and it was a struggle, because I believed that they were wrong to infect minds with such toxic thinking.

Five years later, and I have become more involved in this movement of women, in that I have been involved with different marches now, and have looked into organizations fighting for the same cause. The Women’s March in LA encouraged my heart to no end. I looked all around me and felt a huge sense of pride to be a part of something that is bigger than myself. I was however, saddened by the news that pro-life women were turned away at the March in DC. I understand that the movement has fought long and hard against major religious institutions that have used their power to oppress, but these pro-life women cannot simply be deemed as “anti-feminist” because they differ on one subject. For many of those women, they are fighting the same oppositions other women have been fighting. They fight against the manipulation from men, the abuse in any form, and the unfair treatment. Many of these women fight against the hyper-sexualization and the sexual assault that faces young girls and other women now. Hearing that news made me really think about the aforementioned quote by Roxane Gay, because feminism really does look different to different cultures and different upbringings. For example, the new Nike Ad has a woman in the "sports-hijab" which I thought was awesome and a step towards this idea of intersectionality but people who are ignorant of the Islam culture believe that this is a sign of outright support of the oppression of women. The reality is that Muslim, Jewish and even some Christian (think of Catholic nuns) women wear head scarves as a personal choice. Most of the time, the choice is to be committed to God and modesty. Sometimes women wear the scarves to identify with their culture and faith. There are times where we really must ask ourselves whether we are thinking about the greater good or if we are being closed minded. While many may argue that religion itself is closed minded and an antithesis of feminism, I believe as Roxane Gay said," I am in no place to tell other women of other cultures what freedom looks like." It is sad that the very people who are fighting for equality among women are secluding their sisters who are in just as much need as they are.

In closing, the differing opinions among women and the feminist community reminds me of a quote by Edith Wharton. In her short story, Roman Fever, Wharton describes the distortion behind women’s thinking by stating "So these two ladies visualized each other, each through the wrong end of her little telescope". While I have always thought of feminism as all-inclusive I think that it is high time that this all-inclusive movement become all- inclusive and find ways for Muslims, Christians, Agnostic, Atheists, Buddhists, New Age, etc. to be a part of the movement that is Pro-Women, and stop fighting among ourselves. Once we look past our difference of opinions on things like, pro-life/choice, the way the family structure is set, and the idea that feminism is only for women, we can finally take a step closer to having the equality that we all desire.

Cover Image Credit: instagram: @breswanderingthoughts

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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The 2020 Race Is Feeling The Bern

Everything you need to know about Bernie Sanders entering the presidential race.

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This morning, February 19, 2019, Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders announced he is running for president once again.

Unlike his run in 2016, though, Sanders now joins a crowded field of progressive candidates, one of which is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

In Sanders's own words, this campaign is "about taking on the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life". Sanders went on to say that this is a "pivotal and dangerous moment in American history," and "We are running against a President who is a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction".

In his interview with CBS, Sanders explained that it is "absolutely imperative that Donald Trump be defeated", and described candidates whom he is running alongside as his "friends".

Regarding policy issues, his focus remains the same as in previous years, planning to focus largely on women's reproductive rights, lower prices for prescription drugs, and criminal justice reform.

Sanders is also widely recognized because of his goal of universal healthcare. His Medicare-for-all bill that was drafted in 2017 outlines the establishment of a "national health insurance program to provide comprehensive protection against the costs of health-care and health-related services". According to estimates, however, such a plan would increase federal spending by $2.5 trillion a year.

When it comes to education, Sanders plans to make preschool for all 4-year-olds free, aiming to fund this plan through tax increases on the wealthy as well as Wall Street transactions.

More widely acknowledged is his "College For All Act", which would provide $47 billion a year to states in order to eliminate undergraduate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities. Additionally, the act would cut student loan interest rates nearly in half for undergrads.

In terms of social issues, Sanders is pro-choice when it comes to abortion rights and opposes policies which discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, such as Trump's push to ban transgender people from the military.

The New York Times discusses the idea that the political field of the 2020 run might leave Sanders a "victim of his own success", in that the multitude of Democratic candidates are embracing policies which Sanders championed in the last race.

"Ironically, Bernie's agenda for working families will be the Democratic Party's message in 2020, but he may not be the one leading the parade," said talk show host Bill Press.

Moreover, victories by women, minorities, and first-time candidates in the 2018 midterm elections suggest that "fresh energy" is preferred by Democrats, which potentially poses a challenge for Sanders.

Conversely, though, Sanders is also starting off with certain advantages, such as a "massive lead among low-dollar donors that is roughly equivalent to the donor base of all the other Democratic hopefuls combined".

Donald Trump responded to Sanders's announcement by saying, "First of all I think he missed his time, but... I like Bernie. He sort of would agree on trade... the problem is he doesn't know what to do about it. But I wish Bernie well."

By and large, Sanders is another strong candidate, and it will be interesting to see if he can generate the same energy and support now that he did in 2016.

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