I’ve recently read a quote online saying “my feminism is intersectional or it’s bullshit”. Even though I understood what it means, I don’t think I quite clearly grasped the message. I have been thinking about feminism a lot nowadays. And it was during one of these days where I decided to put my thoughts into action. I thought about what that would look like. How can I make my contribution? I have ideas but very limited power to execute those ideas. Wanting to start somewhere, I stumbled upon the CSR website and wrote a passionately worded email to them with hopes of hearing back. Fortunately I did hear back and was given an opportunity to make my contribution. This blog isn’t about my journey into CSR but instead my awakening about intersectionality in feminism.
I am a loud mouth feminist who wears the badge of feminism proudly. I sometimes rub people the wrong way and while most of it is unintentional, I do enjoy in the intentional moments. I am privileged. There is nothing brave in what I am doing. The reason I am loud mouth and in your face is because I can be. It is because of my education, the socioeconomic status of my parents, the liberal mindset that has been cultivated in my family and the support that I constantly receive for the choices I make in life. I am not equal to my male counterpart yet but I am pretty close. This is what my feminism has been about. The closing of the tiny gap that still exists in my world. The keyword here is ‘my world’. In my world, I am not blatantly being discriminated against. In my world the discrimination is more subtle but still very harmful and pretty hard to fight.
The more education I received, the more aware I became, the conversation on feminism changed. The problems of underprivileged women became nothing more than just facts and figures on a paper. The feminist discourse became more nuanced and we moved on to talking about issues such as socialization, subtle messages of discrimination, rape culture, glass ceiling etc. So the focus of my feminism was more oriented towards the privileged, urban, educated women who were stuck in traditionalist roles while having modern mindsets.
Working with CSR and attending the community meeting reminded me of the quote about intersectional feminism and I finally understood what it meant. My feminism is bullshit if it doesn’t include women from all walks of life. My feminism needs to be more intersectional. I need to understand that not everyone can fight injustices in the same way. The same model of feminism does not apply to all. Not all women can walk out on an abusive husband. Not all women can act in the same way to fight oppression.
Intersectionality in feminism means that there are different facets to a woman’s life. There isn’t one type of feminism that fits all, and that is something I am just starting to learn.
About the Author
Constantly evolving, changing and learning, I am a psychologist by profession and feminist by nature.
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