Intersectionality 101: Understanding Your Privilege And Oppression

Intersectionality 101: Understanding Your Privilege And Oppression

Explaining the misunderstood concept of intersectionality

For many people, the word "privilege" can be triggering for them, and even this sentence is probably triggering people as they read. But what is privilege? That's where the issue lies because many people not only don't realize their privilege, but sometimes, people don't realize their oppression either. This is where intersectionality comes into play.

Intersectionality is the intersecting systems of privilege and oppression. Privilege is when someone doesn't have to face an institutionalized form of oppression, and oppression is when they do have to face it. Just because one person has one form of privilege doesn't mean they only have privilege. So what are these intersecting systems?

People can be oppressed and privileged in many different ways. Most commonly, you hear about gender, sexual orientation, race. This is where the tension comes into play because these are the most common systems you hear about. A straight, white cisgender male has straight privilege, white privilege, cis privilege and male privilege. However, often from my own experience, I will see these straight, white cisgender men get offended at being called privilege. That's a little ironic, because if being called privilege is insulting to you, then you probably are privileged considering there's a whole vocabulary out there just to degrade marginalized people.

Nonetheless, a straight, white cisgender man is not just privileged. There are other systems out there. Maybe he comes from a lower socio-economic status. He's oppressed for that. Maybe he isn't of Christian faith. He's oppressed for that. Maybe he suffers from a physical disability, has a mental health problem. He's oppressed for that too. If he's not conventionally attractive, he can even be oppressed for that. So, to straight, white cisgender men -- don't get offended; you are privileged in those areas. You are probably oppressed in another way, but be glad that you aren't oppressed in more ways.

Race, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, physical and mental ability, religion, language, age, physical attractiveness, occupation, education are just some of the categories of intersectionality.

Privileged people -- don't apologize. Nobody is blaming you. It would be hypocritical to judge someone who is privileged because the majority of the time someone can't help but have their privilege. That's not what this is. This is about understanding your privilege, and realizing that there are certain institutionalized forms of oppression that you don't face, but one important thing is to remember that all oppression is connected.

So, don't feel guilty for having privilege. If you're blind to your privilege then that's where the problem starts. Just because you have some forms of privilege doesn't mean you've never worked hard for things in life and nobody is blaming you. It's not about you as individuals, it's about the systematic institutions of oppression.

People deserve to have the same chances and opportunities in life if they want them. It's as simple as that. So understanding your privilege and oppression is just one simple way to help.

Cover Image Credit: Rachel the Feminist

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6 Things You Should Know About The Woman Who Can't Stand Modern Feminism

Yes, she wants to be heard too.


2018 is sort of a trap for this woman. She believes in women with all of the fire inside of her, but it is hard for her to offer support when people are making fools of themselves and disguising it as feminism.

The fact of the matter is that women possess qualities that men don't and men possess qualities that women don't. That is natural. Plus, no one sees men parading the streets in penis costumes complaining that they don't get to carry their own fetus for nine months.

1. She really loves and values women.

She is incredibly proud to be a woman.

She knows the amount of power than a woman's presence alone can hold. She sees when a woman walks into a room and makes the whole place light up. She begs that you won't make her feel like a "lady hater" because she doesn't want to follow a trend that she doesn't agree with.

2. She wants equality, too

She has seen the fundamental issues in the corporate world, where women and men are not receiving equal pay.

She doesn't cheer on the businesses that don't see women and men as equivalents. But she does recognize that if she works her butt off, she can be as successful as she wants to.

3. She wears a bra.

While she knows the "I don't have to wear a bra for society" trend isn't a new one, but she doesn't quite get it. Like maybe she wants to wear a bra because it makes her feel better. Maybe she wears a bra because it is the normal things to do... And that's OK.

Maybe she wants to put wear a lacy bra and pretty makeup to feel girly on .a date night. She is confused by the women who claim to be "fighting for women," because sometimes they make her feel bad for expressing her ladyhood in a different way than them.

4. She hates creeps just as much as you do. .

Just because she isn't a feminist does not mean that she is cool with the gruesome reality that 1 in 5 women are sexually abused.

In fact, this makes her stomach turn inside out to think about. She knows and loves people who have been through such a tragedy and wants to put the terrible, creepy, sexually charged criminals behind bars just as bad as the next woman.

Remember that just because she isn't a feminist doesn't mean she thinks awful men can do whatever they want.

5. There is a reason she is ashamed of 2018's version of feminism.

She looks at women in history who have made a difference and is miserably blown away by modern feminism's performance.

Not only have women in the past won themselves the right to vote, but also the right to buy birth control and have credit cards in their names and EVEN saw marital rape become a criminal offense.

None of them dressed in vagina costumes to win anyone over though... Crazy, right?

6. She isn't going to dress in a lady parts costume to prove a point.

This leaves her speechless. It is like the women around her have absolutely lost their minds and their agendas, only lessening their own credibility.

"Mom, what are those ladies on TV dressed up as?"

"Ummm... it looks to me like they are pink taco's honey."

She loves who she is and she cherished what makes her different from the men around her. She doesn't want to compromise who she is as a woman just so she can be "equal with men."

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The Thank You That My Boyfriend's Mother Deserves

Thank you for embracing me.


When you date someone, in a way, you date their family as well. It makes things a whole lot easier if you can get along with them. In the case of my boyfriend's family, it was very easy to love them.

They were all very welcoming, super honest, and totally ready to embrace me from the jump. As I spent a weekend with my boyfriend, his mom, his mom's boyfriend, and his sister, I realized just how grateful I am for them, and their willingness to embrace me.

I haven't really had much of a chance to get to know anyone individually just yet, however, in the last year, I did learn a lot through him. Because of this, I realized there were a lot of reasons to thank his mom in particular.

So, Kaylen, in spite of the fact that I am awful with verbal communication, and I don't usually say a whole lot when I'm around, I decided to write this article for you in particular and express the things that I am thankful for.

First and foremost, thank you for being so inclusive.

There are plenty of weekends when I stay at your house and am thrust into the motions of whatever you guys are doing. I'm included in game nights, dinners, and even holidays like it's not big deal and everyone acts like I'm part of whatever is going on.

While including me you've also kept in mind that I may not look like I am having the most fun because I am not really saying a whole lot. But you tend to understand that being quiet is just how I like to be. I am incredibly anxious all of the time and coupled with the fact that I just generally have nothing to say, I rarely ever talk much. But you seem to totally understand that I am present, I'm happy, I just don't have much to say.

I want to thank you for helping me recognize that we all have our issues, but it doesn't define who we are.

I come with an entire host of baggage. But you've made it clear that it doesn't matter. We all have our demons and it's about how we choose to carry on and deal with them. You've also been super willing to talk about any and all of it with me.

Granted, there haven't been times when I really took you up on the offer, but it's nice to know that you're willing to set aside that I'm dating your son, and give me an unbiased person to talk to.

There have also been plenty of nights when I did not want to or could not go home and I had no idea where else I was going to go. But, it was made clear that I am able to stay in your home whenever I need to and you rarely ever even require an explanation. I appreciate that.

I really want to thank you for just being you, to be honest.

I will admit, I was stressed beyond belief when Dylan brought me over to meet you. There are plenty of moms who are not keen on their sons dating. I have had some horrible experiences with hover moms in the past. But you were really great right off the bat. You're incredibly easy to get along with, easy to approach, and generally fun to be around.

You tend to remind me that it's important to laugh sometimes. I am a super stiff person, I don't laugh very often, even when something is funny. It's interesting sometimes when something is funny and you look at me while you're still laughing and go, "It's okay to laugh!" even when life gets hard.

You're also very blunt and real, which I appreciate as well. There have been many times when Dylan and I both needed a good kick in the pants to solve an issue and you were very honest and real with us. You shared your experiences and gave advice. But you also made sure we understood that we had to be grown ups about it.

These last two things are the most important things I want to thank you for.

I really want to thank you for making Dylan who he is. All of the things that I love and respect about him are because of the way that you raised him. He's incredible in a multitude of ways but without you he wouldn't be the person I love so dearly.

Lastly, I want to thank you the most for allowing me to love your son, unconditionally, in the way that I do. You've shared him with me, sacrificed time with him so I could see him, and allowed me to see him for the person you raised him to be.

You never had to be accepting of me, you never had to be nice to me, and you never had to support my relationship with Dylan in the way that you do. You never had to do anything that I've written so far, actually. But you continue to do all of those things and continue to be a person that I respect immensely for all of the above.

So for the final, what is likely the hundredth, time in this article, I thank you.

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