The Fight Towards Intersectional Feminism And Why You Should Care

The Fight Towards Intersectional Feminism And Why You Should Care

Intersectional feminism is slowly gaining attention and through each and every one of your help, we can make it the new norm.
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When we think of feminism, we most commonly think of gender equality. However, by the end of this article, I hope to offer some insight on the importance of progressing towards the idea of intersectional feminism, also known as the idea of understanding and advocating for the equality of women of all race, orientation, ethnicity, religion, and class. The lack of awareness of the importance of intersectional feminism is illustrated through certain factual advertisements such as “Women receive 78 cents for every dollar that a man receives.” The question is which women? Are we truly considering all types of women in this statement?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. In reality, colored women receive 64 cents for every dollar that a man receives and Hispanic women receive even less, only 56 cents for every dollar that a man receives. This harsh reality is often overlooked because we are solely concentrating on gender equality, which is too often characterized by the comparison of middle-class, heterosexual white women with men. Women with different identities than the one type mentioned above often have far different experiences due to being treated much poorly.

Back in the era of first-wave feminism (1800s), this problem was especially prominent. For instance, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the leading figures of the women’s rights movement and co-founder of the Seneca Falls Convention, actually held severely controversial views under the surface. Stanton’s efforts were truly commendable, yet there were several flaws in her way of thinking which ultimately hindered our progress as a whole. She showed no commitment towards helping all women gain suffrage rights, for everything was done primarily to help middle-class, well-educated, white women.

In the controversy over the 15th amendment where black men would be given the vote, Stanton held back and did not directly support the movement claiming that “We educated, virtuous white women are more worthy of the vote.” Her priorities were clearly aligned with those of women just like her, and it was clear that she was ignorant of the problems facing other women during her time, such as those of African-American women.

In the 1900s, even though feminism shifted towards rights in the workplace, the lack of intersectionality was still largely present. The self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” Audre Lorde dedicated her life to addressing and confronting racial injustice, sexism, and homophobia, and committed herself to illustrating the presence of these issues in the fight for women’s rights. Lorde was often characterized as a radical feminist, active writer for women’s rights, and a civil rights activist.

In her book, Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference, Lorde believes that “too often, we pour the energy needed for recognizing and exploring difference into pretending those differences are insurmountable barriers, or that they do not exist at all. By and large within the women’s movement today, white women focus upon their oppression as women and ignore differences of race, sexual preference, class, and age. By ignoring the past, we are encouraged to repeat its mistakes. Ignoring the differences of race between women and the implications of those differences presents the most serious threat to the mobilization of women’s joint power. Refusing to recognize difference makes it impossible to see the different problems and pitfalls facing us as women. Change means growth, and growth can be painful. But we sharpen self-definition by exposing the self in work and struggle together with those whom we define as different from ourselves, although sharing the same goals. For Black and white, old and young, lesbian and heterosexual women alike, this can mean new paths to our survival.”

I am happy to say that in present-day third-wave feminism, we are slowly progressing towards greater intersectionality within the fight to achieve women’s rights. As characterized by the Women’s March in 2017 and the diversity in leadership of this event, we are moving towards appreciating and understanding the importance of advocating for intersectionality. The recent leaders of the Women’s March included Tamika Mallory, an African-American civil rights activist; Linda Sarsour, a Muslim director of the Arab-American Association of New York; and Carmen Perez, a Latina activist. Hundreds of thousands of women and men of all identities joined together to fight for women’s rights.

The pink pussyhats served as a powerful symbol of support and solidarity for women's rights and political resistance. Women expressed their opinions through thousands of posters, a cappella songs such as MILCK’s “I Can’t Keep Quiet”, empowering speeches and protests, and through a plethora of other ways. Aside from the Women’s March, feminism has transcended the region of the United States and has gradually gained a global dimension, as can be seen by powerful acts of women from all over the world, such as those of Malala Yousafzai. Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and human rights advocacy. After surviving a shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, Malala bravely raises her voice to fight for equal education.

In her “Youth Takeover the UN Speech”, Malala exclaims that “I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. Poverty, ignorance, injustice, racism and the deprivation of basic rights are the main problems faced by both men and women. Dear fellows, today I am focusing on women's rights and girls' education because they are suffering the most. There was a time when women social activists asked men to stand up for their rights. But, this time, we will do it by ourselves. I am not telling men to step away from speaking for women's rights rather I am focusing on women to be independent to fight for themselves. Dear sisters and brothers, now it's time to speak up.”

Intersectional feminism is slowly gaining attention and through each and every one of your help, we can make it the new norm.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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6 Things That Shape Us To The Be The Person That We Are Now

Every person has a story that makes them who they are, and even still, we continue to change more and more everyday.
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"Describe something or an event that makes you who you are today."

Sometime in our lives, we've had this question in front of us. Maybe it was when we were submitting our college applications and sent our personal statements to our dream schools. Maybe it was that time we had that nerve-wrecking interview that you seem to never forget about. Or maybe it was a question that someone you just met asked you.

Well, what's the answer? What is something that made you the person that you are today? Now, you find yourself scrambling through a bunch of events that happened in your life. You realize that there were so many things that changed you, even the littlest things that you never thought of. What is the biggest story that really made you the person that you are now? That's the thing, there is no ONE story to describe who you are.

When we think of things that made you the person that you are today, we can put things into categories that help us tell these stories:

1. Family

Coming as person who is super family-oriented, I can say myself that family is a big part of my life. Sometimes, I don't realize how much of an impact they have on me, whether they are my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. As we grow up, we tend to start distancing ourselves from our family, but at the same time, we hold them close to our hearts. We distance ourselves to grow and become independent, but at the end of the day, we know that we are here because of them. We are grateful for them in bringing us into this world and walking with us every step of the way, even when it is hard to. They continue to fight for the best so that we can get the best. You are the person that you are today because they have become role models. You look up to them.

2. Friends

We've all heard of the line, "Friends come and go." I probably cannot count the amount of friends who left my life with only my hands, but that's okay. You will find yourself meeting new people everyday. Sometimes, you become close, and sometimes you fall apart. It is something you cannot control, especially if you've done everything to keep the friendship. Be grateful that you had this friendship. Every person who walks into your life, whether they are different or similar to you, shows you a different perspective of life. They have something to teach you about life. Maybe it was their personality, or maybe it was the way they left your life. Maybe it was those turn outs that taught you something new. Regardless, we all have stories of friends who have shaped our lives for the good or bad. Do you remember the last time you met someone so similar to you, and you wondered where they have been all your life? Well that's just the wonderful thing about friendships - they are countless, exciting, and spontaneous. And they can develop to be even more than a friendship.

3. School, career, and passions

As we decide what we want to do for the rest our lives or just even the track that we want to follow, we run into bumpy roads. Sure, it would be nice if we could just do the things that we wanted to do without struggling. But that's where passion comes in. Passion is what drives us to continue. We find obstacles in front of us that stops us from pursuing what we want to do. These "falls" are something that shape us to be who we are. Our accomplishments are great, but it is the failures that mean even more. Without them, we would not have the strength to get up even better to continue to walk this road. Without them, we would not know what accomplishments are. Without them, we would not know how good it felt when we finally see something great in front of us that we worked so hard for.

4. Relationships

Love is a fascinating, but also a delicate thing. It's crazy what love can do to you. It's even crazier with the feeling that it gives you. It is that feeling that drives us to continue to love so dangerously. Some relationships fail immediately, while some start to fall apart itself slowly - and of course, the ones that last. But regardless of how the relationship ends, there's one thing about all of it. They are all amazing. Why? Because each relationship you had shaped you to be the person you are today. Maybe it shaped your personality, or maybe it shaped your next relationship. Maybe it taught you how you are with another person. Maybe it taught you to love properly, or most importantly - maybe it taught you that you have to love yourself before you let yourself love another person. And just maybe, this is why you are the person you are now.

5. Deaths

Life is an amazing thing, so when we lose someone or see deaths happen around us, it shakes us up. It's crazy how long and short life can be simultaneously. Life is spontaneous, and that's the scary part. Who knows what can happen today? Whenever someone passes, we tell each other, "Cherish the ones you love and care about. Show them what they mean to you before it's too late." Deaths are constant reminders that nothing is forever, but you can make up for that by how you use your days. Maybe there are deaths that push you and motivate you to fight even harder for what you want. Regardless of what the story is, it puts you on the edge of life.

6. Opportunities

We can strive for the best in the things that we want to do, but if you do not take the opportunities to do so, even if you tried - it would not happen. You can tell yourself that you're into a person, and that he/she is someone you've been indirectly looking for all your life, but if you do not take the opportunity to approach this person, there's no point. You can also tell yourself that you are going to make up all the times you've messed up, but if you do not take the opportunities, you will continue to just tell yourself. And that's the thing about life. We are given a countless amount of opportunities in front of us. These chances that we take and turn down is what shapes us up to be the person that we are. We will always think back to the things that we had the chance to do and try, but at the same time, we will always think back to the "What if's" in our lives. It is this that keeps us going and directs us to be the person that we are now.

So the next time someone asks you what shaped you to be the person that you are today, I guess a good way in describing that is - life. There are so many things part of life that we can't tell a person all at once what made us who we are because in reality, everything changes us even when we dont realize it. And that's another thing about life. It's always changing. You are always changing.


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Dear Marvel, You Really Need TO Do Better With Representation

This is simply a poor attempt at more diversity.

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SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Avengers "Endgame" hit theaters and shattered records across the world with making an amazing $350 million in North America and an even more stunning $1.2 billion worldwide. In fact, 'Endgame' has already destroyed records set back "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Avatar," and even the first part of the movie, 'Infinity War.' Fans went in expecting a mix of emotions and for the most part, the movie definitely delivered. However, there is one thing that some fans are severely disappointed in.

Directors like the Russo Brothers hyped up an "exclusive gay character" and "Marvel's first openly gay character" in the 22 movie franchise. But fans weren't happy with what they received after all of this hype beforehand. While representation is representation sometimes it's simply not good enough. In this movie, Steve Rogers (Captain America) goes to a counseling group with others to deal with such a huge loss in their world and lives. This is where we meet the "exclusive" gay character, who barely even has a name. He's an unnoticeable character if you're not paying attention, has no relevance to the plot, and doesn't make any kind of difference in the movie at all. He talks about how he finally went out on a date, with a guy, and how eventually they both cry while reflecting on their lives after the snap. While they call this "exclusive," we call this pretty close to queerbaiting.

Making a big deal over a background character and parading him around for his sexuality isn't what we would call representation. While it's always cool to see an LGBTQ character on the screen in such a huge series, this character is still just a minor character and has no relevance and is literally never seen again. He is on screen for less than five minutes before we never see this character again. This is what you call representation? A minor background character with no importance whatsoever? No thanks!

What we are looking for is at least someone that has something to do with the plot, not just there to say they've done it and market to the LGBTQ community. Marvel needs to do better when it comes to this. Their big deal over a minor character lost our respect more than it gained because this excitement was only a money grab more than an actual attempt at diversity. When we have characters like Valkyrie, who is Bisexual in the comics, we want to see more major characters gain this diversity. Even Captain Marvel actress Brie Larson agrees, "we gotta move faster" as no person should be excluded from being a superhero for any reason, even sexual orientation.

So Marvel, while you're here breaking box office records, don't forget to do better at giving the LGBTQ community the representation they deserve, and the representation we all want! And until you do, we'll just be here looking over Brie Larson's and Bev Johnson's support of Captain Marvel and Valkyrie!

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