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    Intersectionality in Feminism Essay

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    Imagine being the minority of one group. Having similarities with less than half of the people in a group because of something one can’t control, what one’s born with. Now, imagine having two things one can’t control and both of them are of the minority of the group again. This makes two uncontrollable ways to stand out and not be like everyone else. This concept can multiply many times for a single person. If the person is being discriminated against because of the way they are a part of the oppressed group, and there are multiple of them, then that is called intersectionality. Intersectionality is the discrimation and oppressions appearing from the overlap of an individual’s array of social and political identities. These identities can consist of race, gender, social class, sexuality, age, education, and the list further continues.

    Furthermore, intersectionality is that discrimination doesn’t exist in a single bubble but it can exist in numerous bubbles for a single person and that is why it is very important to be aware and educated about this concept. Likewise, intersectionality directly relates with feminism since women are already a group that gets discriminated against and there are so many additional identities women can have alongside just their gender. This can make life full of oppression for women especially if they are also of a discriminated race. Then, they have to decide if they should fight for being African American, for example, or if they want to fight for being a woman because unfortunately people can’t always stand up for both of their identities, even though they shouldn’t be singled out for any of them in the first place. In conclusion, intersectionality is that discrimination can exist in more than one form and women oftentimes have this since females are already a group of opression.

    Discrimination in any fashion, even due to a single identity, is difficult for any individual. However, being conscious of how it would be even more difficult for an individual who could get oppressed for having even more social identities that are not the “norm” is an important and crucial concept. Author Jessica Valenti wrote a memoir named Sex Object describing stories of being embodied as a sex object since she’s a woman. In her memoir Valenti makes it clear that these are just her stories and past experiences that she wants to acknowledge and inform the public on. Her goal was to try and get rid of the normality that women can be treated as sex objects. Valenti recognizes that she is privileged in the idea that she is a white woman in these experiences and how many of these situations could have been very different for a woman of a different race or social identity. She doesn’t presume on universalizing and isn’t saying “that women all experience objectification in the same way; we do not. For some, those at the margins, especially, it’s a more violent and literal experience that I could ever imagine” (Valenti 3). This is a way of Valenti stating that she doesn’t face intersectionality in the fact that she has oppression resulting from the overlap of many identities but she understands how if a woman did in the experiences she’s been through, it would be a more unimaginable trauma. Hence, having the freedom to express identity is something to be grateful for however, everyone actually deserves the right to manifest their identity without anyone else doing so for them.

    It can be difficult for all of society to agree on what specifically identity is. Is it completely what one tells themself? Is it what one tells other people about themselves? Is it a combination of both? From a feminist perspective Valenti declares “the piece that holds so much weight, especially in the minds of young women and girls— is the stories that other people tell us about ourselves. Those narratives become the ones we shape ourselves into” (3). Relating this to intersectionality, this updated definition of identity given by Valenti adds more complexity to what intersectionality is. If an individual already has multiple social identities that get oppressed from a first glance of their appearance, then that is already an impossible situation to live with. however, Valenti is unfortunately correct because it is a reality that identity is also what others tell an individual about themselves. This adds another dimension to intersectionality and how a woman is supposed to try and stand up for her identities and now adding what others say about her to others and what they say about her to herself.

    A popular kind of intersectionality for feminists is relating the two social identities of gender and race. In history, it’s shown that the major feminist groups are groups of white women standing up for women however, other races of women are underrepresented and haven’t been stood up for in the same realm. Audre Lorde is an iconic African American poet and feminist. In 1984 she wrote an essay outlining the different problems African Americans face as women and how black women acquire oppression in two ways compared to white women: because they are black and because they are women.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Intersectionality in Feminism Essay. (2022, May 11). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/intersectionality-in-feminism-essay-176365/

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