What Is Intersectional Feminism? What You Need To Know
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Politics and Activism

If Your Feminism Only Helps White, Cis-Het Women, It's Not Real Feminism

That's where intersectional feminism comes in.

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If Your Feminism Only Helps White, Cis-Het Women, It's Not Real Feminism

There's a lot that can be said about the state of the world right now. Take your pick: police brutality, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, xenophobia, economic inequality, classism — these are just a fraction of reasons why it's more important now than ever to understand and practice intersectionality.

Intersectional feminism grapples with the idea that everything under the umbrella of identity — including race, class, and sexual orientation — affects a woman's experiences in the world and how she experiences oppression. The first step to grasping a better understanding of these issues is to acknowledge that they are NOT mutually exclusive. A straight Black man is disadvantaged because of his race, but a gay Black man faces discrimination because of his race AND sexual orientation. One of these issues is not invalidated because of the existence of another, that's just simply not how it works. All oppression is connected. There are layers of injustice ingrained in every aspect of society, in order to dismantle these oppressive systems, you have to identify how and who they target.

When you stand for Black lives matter, ALL Black lives should matter. Not just the cis, male, hetero-normative ones. Trans Black lives matter. Female Black lives matter. Homosexual Black lives matter. Black lives with disabilities matter.

In the same way, when you stand for feminism, you should be advocating for every woman. Women of color. Trans women. Homeless women. Women of different religions. Women you're not attracted to. Cherrypicking which ideals of social advocacy you stand for is not real activism at all, it's purely performative. No group of people should ever ever EVER be excluded or targeted for a particular aspect of their identity. Every voice must be heard.

"You don't have to be the voice for the voiceless, just pass the mic." — Abdul Khabeer

The best thing you can do? Pass the mic. As a white person, you cannot speak for minorities on racism. As a white person, you cannot speak for immigrants on xenophobia. As a man, you cannot speak for women on misogyny and sexism. As a heterosexual, you cannot speak for the LGBTQ community on homophobia. See the pattern?

I encourage you to have difficult conversations with friends and family, and use resources to educate yourself, and continue speaking out against injustices on social media.

But remember: Be an ally, don't steal the platform.

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