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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'Baby, It's Cold Outside' Is NOT About Date Rape, It's A Fight Against Social Norms Of The 1940s

The popular Christmas song shouldn't be considered inappropriate.

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The classic Christmas song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" has recently come under attack. There has been controversy over the song being deemed as inappropriate since it has been suggested that it promotes date rape. Others believe that the song is another common example of our culture's promotion of rape. You may be wondering, where did they get that idea from?

The controversy has led to one radio station, WDOK, taking the song off the air and banning it from their station. Some people believe that this song goes against the #MeToo movement since it promotes rape. However, people are not considering the fact that this traditional Christmas song was made in the 1940s.

People are viewing the song from a modern-day cultural perspective rather than from the perspective of the 1940s. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" was written in 1944. Many people have viewed the song from the perspective of our cultural and social norms. People believe that the song promotes date rape because of lyrics that suggest that the male singing is trying to stop the female singer from leaving, and the female singer is constantly singing about trying to escape with verses like "I really can't stay" or "I've got to go home."

When you first view the song from the perspective of today's culture, you may jump to the conclusion that the song is part of the date rape culture. And it's very easy to jump to this conclusion, especially when you are viewing only one line from the song. We're used to women being given more freedom. In our society, women can have jobs, marry and be independent. However, what everyone seems to forget is that women did not always have this freedom.

In 1944, one of the social norms was that women had curfews and were not allowed to be in the same house as a man at a later time. It was considered a scandal if a single woman so much as stayed at another man's house, let alone be in the same room together. It's mind-blowing, right? You can imagine that this song was probably considered very provocative for the time period.

"Baby, It's Cold Outside" is not a song that encourages date rape, but is actually challenging the social norms of society during the time period. When you listen to the song, you notice that at one part of the song, the female states, "At least I can say that I tried," which suggests that she really doesn't want to leave. In fact, most of the song, she is going back and forth the whole time about leaving stating, "I ought to say no…well maybe just a half a drink more," and other phrases.

She doesn't want to leave but doesn't really have a choice due to fear of causing a scandal, which would have consequences with how others will treat her. It was not like today's society where nobody cares how late someone stays at another man's house. Nowadays, we could care less if we heard that our single neighbor stayed over a single man's house after 7. We especially don't try to look through our curtain to check on our neighbor. Well, maybe some of us do. But back then, people did care about where women were and what they were doing.

The female singer also says in the lyrics, "The neighbors might think," and, "There's bound to be talk tomorrow," meaning she's scared of how others might perceive her for staying with him. She even says, "My sister will be suspicious," and, "My brother will be there at the door," again stating that she's worried that her family will find out and she will face repercussions for her actions. Yes, she is a grown woman, but that doesn't mean that she won't be treated negatively by others for going against the social norms of the time period.

Then why did the male singer keep pressuring her in the song? This is again because the song is more about challenging the social norms of the time period. Both the female and male singers in the song are trying to find excuses to stay and not leave.

On top of that, when you watch the video of the scene in which the song was originally viewed, you notice that the genders suddenly switch for another two characters, and now it's a female singer singing the male singer's part and vice versa. You also notice that the whole time, both characters are attracted to one another and trying to find a way to stay over longer.

Yes, I know you're thinking it doesn't matter about the genders. But, the song is again consensual for both couples. The woman, in the beginning, wants to stay but knows what will await if she doesn't leave. The male singer meanwhile is trying to convince her to forget about the rules for the time period and break them.

In addition, the complaint regarding the lyric "What's in this drink?" is misguided. What a lot of people don't understand is that back in 1944, this was a common saying. If you look at the lyrics of the song, you notice that the woman who is singing is trying to blame the alcoholic drink for causing her to want to stay longer instead of leaving early. It has nothing to do with her supposed fear that he may have tried to give her too much to drink in order to date rape her. Rather, she is trying to find something to blame for her wanting to commit a scandal.

As you can see, when you view the song from the cultural perspective of the 1940s, you realize that the song could be said to fight against the social norms of that decade. It is a song that challenges the social constrictions against women during the time period. You could even say that it's an example of women's rights, if you wanted to really start an argument.

Yes, I will admit that there were movies and songs made back in the time period that were part of the culture of date rape. However, this song is not the case. It has a historical context that cannot be viewed from today's perspective.

The #MeToo movement is an important movement that has led to so many changes in our society today. However, this is not the right song to use as an example of the date rape culture.

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This is Cyntoia Brown And THIS is Why She Deserves To Be Freed, Immediately

A glimpse inside the incarceration of a Tennessee woman who was sentenced to life behind bars for killing a pedophile who solicited her for sex.

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In 2004, Cyntoia Brown, a Tenessee woman, was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man who solicited her for sex when she was only 16 years old. Now, 14 years later, the court has ruled that she must serve 51 years in prison before she is eligible for parole.

So, what happened to Brown all those years ago? Brown says at the time of the murder, she was living with her abusive boyfriend who would often physically and sexually abuse her, force her to sell sex for money, and pump her full of drugs to make her more controllable.

Brown was picked up on the side of the road by a 43-year-old insurance agent named Johnny Mitchell Allen. Allen brought Brown to his home, showed her his extensive gun collection, and then came onto Brown. Brown then resisted Allen's sexual advances. After being rejected, Allen reached below his bed. Brown assumed he was reaching for a gun, and then shot Allen with her own gun out of fear of being shot herself. On the morning of the shooting, Brown's abusive boyfriend advised her that she better come home with money that day. Out of fear of her boyfriend, Brown then stole money from the dead man's wallet and left the home.

Since then, prosecutors have argued that Brown's intentions were to rob this man from the very beginning, though Brown and her lawyers insist that the shooting was done out of self-defense. It's worth noting that Tennessee law states that any sex work done by minors is ruled sex slavery. Brown was 16 years old, and practically in the custody of a man who is said to have repeatedly raped and solicited her to have sex with other men for money. She was under the control of someone stronger and more threatening than herself. She was scared and did what she thought she had to do to make it out of that situation alive.

I'm in no way condoning murdering someone. It's just pretty appalling to me how courts are so quick to send this woman to prison for the rest of her life when proven sexual predators like Brock Turner are given six-month sentences and only made to serve three for raping an unconscious woman in a park. How in the world does shooting a pedophile out of self-defense warrant a more severe punishment than raping a defenseless woman? Does this make sense to anyone? If so, please enlighten me.

Now, people across the country are pleading Tennessee governor Bill Haslam to grant Brown clemency before his term is up in a few weeks. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna have shared their sympathy for Brown on social media, which has garnered a lot of publicity from a younger demographic.

On Monday, Governor Haslam gave a speech on education at the Nashville Public Library. After being asked about the amount of justice within Brown's case, Governor Haslam said: "We're reviewing a lot of cases, and while Cyntoia's case has gotten a lot of publicity, I don't think you want us to treat her's any different than a whole lot of cases that I think people want us to review."

Haslam said everyone in his office is looking very deeply into Brown's case and he will make a decision on whether or not to grant Brown clemency before his term is up in a few weeks.

Haslam's conservative reputation could be impacted by his potential decision to show Brown mercy. It all comes down to how he wants to be remembered as a governor. My hope is that justice is shown and that Brown is treated as a victim of sex-slavery, rather than a killer and a thief. No person should be sent to a life behind bars for trying to defend themselves.

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