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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The 10 Most Important Things You Need To Know About Relationships

Without communication, there is no relationship; without respect, there is no love; and without trust, there is no reason to continue.
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When you see an old couple holding hands or sharing romantic kisses while sitting on a park bench, doesn't that spark warm feelings of love and happiness in your heart? Doesn't it make you think about how they maintained their relationship for so many years when couples you know have trouble making it past six months? And of course, some people are not made for each other and so their relationship just simply doesn't work. But then there are couples who give up the minute an obstacle comes along, which makes you think their relationship wasn't truly important to them in the first place. What everyone has to understand in order to preserve a strong, happy, and prosperous relationship is that love is colorful, and the same kind of love doesn't exist for everyone. Being in a loving relationship that continues to thrive, I'm going to share some of the few things that I believe should exist between two lovers who want to sustain their prosperous relationship.

1. Communication

Communicating with your partner is essential. I'm sure you've heard it before, but communication is key. If something is bothering you or what your partner wants to do isn't what you're interested in, say something! Neither you nor your partner are mind readers, so how are they supposed to know how you feel if you keep your feelings bottled up inside? Not speaking up and communicating your ideas, feelings, desires, and wants is unhealthy because one day you might blow up and say some things you'll either regret or feel sorry for saying. Communicate to find a middle ground in your relationship because it's unfair for one person to constantly accommodate the other. Relationships cannot grow without communication, so don't be afraid to speak your mind and embrace your thoughts.

2. Trust and Honesty

A relationship cannot continue without trust and honesty. By being honest with your partner, they have no reason to doubt you or not trust you. Trust is vital in a strong and successful relationship because you don't want to think twice about what your partner says or does. Almost anything can be acceptable in a relationship as long as you're honest with your partner. Being in a relationship doesn't mean that everything else in your life has to change. You can still see your friends, go out, and be your own person, but be honest with your partner with whatever you do because by hiding something from them, you might be giving them the perfect reason not to trust you.

3. Forgiveness

No relationship is perfect. That's because none of us are perfect. People make mistakes in everyday life in the same way that people make mistakes in relationships. Of course, there are some things that are unforgivable, such as cheating on your partner (at least in my eyes), because it means that your relationship didn't mean much to you anyway. But, most things can be forgiven. Forgiveness is extremely important and necessary in a relationship because we have to accept and be reminded that we aren't perfect. So if I bailed on you because something important came up or you had a bad day at work and said some things to me that should have been directed at someone else out of anger, it's okay. Sometimes all it takes is a simple I'm sorry and I forgive you.

4. Respect and Appreciation

Without respect and appreciation, there is no love. How can you disrespect the one you love and care for? Exactly: it's hard to find an answer. Respect is the foundation of a healthy relationship. Respect your partner by choosing your words carefully, honoring boundaries, being willing to compromise, showing consideration, and protecting your partner. Make sure you're being respected by knowing your worth, acting honorably, setting and upholding boundaries, being a man or woman of your word, and showing respect for yourself. Appreciate your partner for who they are, the things they do for you, the support they give you, and the growth that they contribute in building your own identity.

5. Emotional Support

Real men don't cry is a load of bullshit. I have been blessed to be surrounded by a few strong and courageous men in my life who I've seen shed a tear or cry when losing a loved one or simply out of pure happiness. We all have emotions and though we try to hold them in check, those emotions sometimes boil over. In relationships, it's important to show emotional support for your partner, regardless if they are a man or a woman. So when your partner is going through a tough time or is struggling for whatever the reason might be, stray away from the pathetic Be A Man go-to phrase and be their shoulder to lean on. If your partner knows that you're emotionally there for them, they might have an easier time opening up to you in the future.

6. Humor

Sharing laughs and smiles with the one you love is extremely important. After all, being in a relationship is sharing your life with someone you care for, cherish, and have fun with. Being able to joke around and laugh with one another is extremely healthy for your well-being and the relationship. It's not just about fun and games, but it's also no fun to be so serious and stern about everything. Keep your relationship alive with some humor, adventure, and daily laughs to see the smile of your loved one!

7. The Magic of Small Things

The small things in life are actually not that small. There are times where the smallest deed can make someone the happiest and that's usually because the small things are the most thoughtful ones. Preparing breakfast when your partner is too tired or surprising them with an iced caramel latte on their way home from work can be enough to make their day. The small things really do count and they are remembered more than you might think. There's something magical in knowing that your partner feels appreciated and happy that they have the privilege of calling you mine. And the small things can do just that.

8. Sharing Interests

Having things in common with the one you love and sharing interests with your partner is perfect because neither one of you need to accommodate the other! There will be days where both you and your partner will not want to do the same things and a middle ground will have to be met, but sharing interests makes it easier when looking for fun things to do and finding things to talk about! Having a few similar interests like bike riding or playing football allows you and your partner to have your "thing," the thing that brings you two together. Liking similar things is also a perfect conversation starter, but also talking about your dislikes and things that you don't agree on can spark an intense and even more enticing conversation!

9. Celebrate Achievements

The happiness you feel because of your own achievements should be the same feeling you get when your partner accomplishes something they've been striving for, no matter how little it may be. Whether it be winning the Noble Peace Prize, having a 4.0 GPA, or hitting a new record at the gym, no achievement should go unnoticed. Being proud of your partner's achievements can strengthen your relationship and bring the both of you closer together.

10. Love and Affection

Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life. This might strike you at first, but what's the point of being successful, rich, happy or really anything else if you have nobody to share it with? Love is one of life's greatest gifts. It brings people together and allows them to build a life that some can only dream of. But sometimes love is not enough to maintain a prosperous and healthy relationship. That's because relationships aren't easy, people are so different from one another, and relationships take much effort and patience. But in the end, if you don't have love in a relationship, you really don't have anything. Take the time to show your partner some affection, to make alone time a priority. The kisses, hugs, and even sex is something that in the end does make a relationship healthy. But without love, all of that means nothing.

Every relationship struggles, but only strong relationships get through it. Take the time to focus on these ten things that are important in keeping the love alive and feelings between you and your partner strong. And most importantly, remember that no one falls in love by choice; it's by chance, and no one falls out of love by chance--it's by choice.

Cover Image Credit: Marika Cygert

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8 Types Of People Fetuses Grow Into That 'Pro-Lifers' Don't Give 2.5 Shits About

It is easy to fight for the life of someone who isn't born, and then forget that you wanted them to be alive when you decide to hate their existence.

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For those in support of the #AbortionBans happening all over the United States, please remember that the unborn will not always be a fetus — he or she may grow up to be just another person whose existence you don't support.

The fetus may grow up to be transgender — they may wear clothes you deem "not for them" and identify in a way you don't agree with, and their life will mean nothing to you when you call them a mentally unstable perv for trying to use the bathroom.

The fetus may grow up to be gay — they may find happiness and love in the arms of someone of the same gender, and their life will mean nothing to you when you call them "vile" and shield your children's eyes when they kiss their partner.

The fetus may grow up and go to school — to get shot by someone carrying a gun they should have never been able to acquire, and their life will mean nothing to you when your right to bear arms is on the line.

The fetus may be black — they may wear baggy pants and "look like a thug", and their life will mean nothing to you when you defend the police officer who had no reason to shoot.

The fetus may grow up to be a criminal — he might live on death row for a heinous crime, and his life will mean nothing to you when you fight for the use of lethal injection to end it.

The fetus may end up poor — living off of a minimum wage job and food stamps to survive, and their life will mean nothing to you when they ask for assistance and you call them a "freeloader" and refuse.

The fetus may end up addicted to drugs — an experimentation gone wrong that has led to a lifetime of getting high and their life will mean nothing to you when you see a report that they OD'd and you make a fuss about the availability of Narcan.

The fetus may one day need an abortion — from trauma or simply not being ready, and her life will mean nothing to you as you wave "murderer" and "God hates you" signs as she walks into the office for the procedure.

* * *

Do not tell me that you are pro-life when all of the above people could lose their lives in any way OUTSIDE of abortion and you wouldn't give 2.5 shits.

You fight for the baby to be born, but if he or she is gay or trans, you will berate them for who they are or not support them for who they love.

You fight for the baby to be born, but if he or she is poor or addicted, you will refuse the help they desperately need or consider their death a betterment of society.

You fight for the baby to be born, but when the used-to-be-classroom-of-fetuses is shot, you care more about your access to firearms than their lives.

It is easy to pretend you care about someone before they are even born, and easy to forget their birth was something you fought for when they are anything other than what you consider an ideal person.

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