Why Intersectional And Transnational Feminism Will Help The Movement

Why Intersectional And Transnational Feminism Will Help The Movement

Until society understands these ideas, we cannot move forward.
1817
views

I am a feminist. I wish I could say this and know that everyone understands what I mean, but we live in a society that does not fully understand feminism. Because of this lack of understanding, many people view feminism as a bad thing. What’s worse is that the lack of unity in understanding feminism causes splits and divisions, making the feminist movement less strong. Without a full understanding and unity among all people, feminism cannot do its job in bringing social, political, and economic equality between the sexes. So, how do we fix this issue?

We stress the importance of intersectional and transnational feminism.

I will break this down into two parts, explain the definitions of these terms, and share why this will help the feminist cause.

What is intersectional feminism?

Intersectional feminism is the idea that women experience varying levels of oppression based on race, gender, nationality, social class, etc. Allow me to provide an example of what intersectional feminism looks like:

Let’s take the gender wage gap issue. All women around the world are receiving less money than their equal male counterparts. This means that women who have the same educational background and same skills as men are receiving less money simply because they are women. Now, let’s zero in a little more on this issue. A white woman will receive 78 percent of a man’s salary, and an African American woman will receive 63 percent of a man’s salary. There is a 15 percent difference between what a white woman earns and what an African American woman earns because an African American woman faces more issues than a white woman. You see, an African American woman battles both racism and sexism, which makes it much harder for her to reach full equality in a white patriarchal world. Even though a white woman is still receiving less money than her equal male counterparts, she does not face the racism that unfortunately is still present in society. (This is also an example of white privilege, which does exist in society.)

Intersectional feminism tries to address the varying levels of oppression that women face. Yes, some women are less oppressed than others. Yes, some women have to tackle racism, xenophobia, and judgement for their social position on top of women’s issues. Intersectional feminism shows us and reminds us that women’s issues exist in varying levels of injustice. Without addressing the varying levels of injustice, or if society just focuses on “white feminism,” we lose the ENTIRE point of feminism.

What is transnational feminism?

Transnational feminism focuses on women’s issues on a global perspective. It acknowledges that feminism IS NOT all about the white Western woman. Transnational feminism DOES NOT divide women of the world into two categories: Western woman and third world country women. Making a division like that suggests that non-western cultures are somehow inferior, and this is not true. Transnational feminism seeks to address global women’s issues that affect different cultures, nationalities, and races in varying degrees without trying to “westernize” women. “Westernizing” women in different countries is NOT feminism, and it is certainly not how we will achieve equality.

Let me provide an example of what transnational feminism is trying to erase. There is a common Western misconception that a Muslim woman who wears a hijab is somehow oppressed. A “westernizing” solution would be to “liberate” Muslim women by getting rid of the hijab.

A hijab is not oppression. The real oppression in this is the people who tell a Muslim woman wearing a hijab that she is oppressed and therefore cannot make her own decision on what she chooses to wear. Transnational feminism does not seek to “westernize’ and degrade women of the world for their differences; instead, transnational feminism seeks to raise women up while respecting and advocating for diversity.

How will intersectional and transnational feminism help?

Intersectional and transnational feminism will help women because the combination of these two ideas seeks to address varying levels of oppression that women face based on a number of factors, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, social class, and nationality. Both ideas remind us to take a step back and realize that there are more issues besides the “white feminism” that seeks to separate us and focus on one issue for one type of person.

In other words, intersectional and transnational feminism unites all women from all over the world. This is the true goal of feminism. Here’s the thing: women will not be able to achieve equality between the sexes until we all stand together. When we divide ourselves, we become weaker. When we unite, we become stronger. Unification does not mean that we automatically should become the same, either, and intersectional and transnational feminism addresses that issue. With these two ideas of feminism, we can unite in our diversity and help each other without trying to make carbon copies of each other.

I am an intersectional and transnational feminist, and I hope you will join me.

Cover Image Credit: The Odyssey

Popular Right Now

A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
21219
views

Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

When Words Are Not Enough

Sometimes you just need to be.

101
views

Life is a roller-coaster of ups and downs. We all desire easy fruitful lives where no one ever dies and no one ever leaves. Instead, we suffer through hardships and great trials that test our faith. These conflicts often leave us worn down and feeling helpless. This is the time when words become a languid breeze, going through one ear and out the other. This is what you should do when words are not enough to satiate the pain you hold in trembling hands.

Focus all your energy into just being. No one expects you to get over the tragedy that occurred in your life, so don't force yourself. Just eat, breathe, and sleep until you feel up to doing normal tasks. Whatever circumstance that has stolen your breath and turned your life upside down won't go a week in a couple of days or a week. Wounds like yours don't go away instantly; instead, they take time and nurturing. Sometimes it's best to keep a sore covered but in some circumstances, know that seeing someone is okay.

These tragedies you face are real, and they try to break down the very substances that make you who you are. Counselors and therapists can help you make sense of the burden you carry. There are many reasons why you might be hesitant to see a therapist, but if the burden you carry becomes too much, a therapist can help you lighten that load.

Know that what you are going through is real and it is tough, but you will make it out on top. You are a survivor and a success story. Every single bad thing that has tried to tear you down hasn't succeeded, and this will be no different. Trust me, your story is not over.

Related Content

Facebook Comments