We have seen many feminist movements sweeping the nation in the hopes to change the deep roots of our patriarchal society. Women of all races coming together to fight for equal wages, leadership positions, and many more roles that women are undermined to have and yet the concept of intersectionality remains invisible. Through intersectionality, black feminism was formed. Intersectionality is vital to black feminism because it elucidates the overlapping oppressions that women face every day, particularly women of color. Focusing on how intersectionality effects women of color, we will see how race, class, and sex impact women of color on an everyday basis.
In the 21st century, many things have shifted, such as, gay marriage becoming legal in all fifty states and Barack Obama winning the 2008 election becoming the first African American president in the United States. These events have become one of the most greatest turning points in the United States, but the one thing that we’re still missing is equal rights. Since 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution has still yet to pass. This amendment was proposed to guarantee equaled rights for all American citizens, which is intended to end legal distinctions between men and women in terms of divorce, employment, etc. This amendment’s intention is to end the superiority of men and to create an equal balance between men and women. The problem? Race. Because race can’t be identified empirically, we tend to observe sex due to the simplicity of it. Being a woman comes with many limitations. In our society, women of color have been frowned upon since the beginning of time, through slavery, domestic violence, sexualizing images on social media, and typically seen with the same characteristics of men. As a child, it is essential to differentiate yourself and what is considered to be the ‘other’. Alterity, meaning different, is a way for us to formulate our perceptions of the world by constructing classes of people as ‘other’ and hence, viewing the ‘other’ as not fully human. By doing this, we project onto that particular class the qualities we fear and reject within ourselves. By putting people into categories, prejudice and stereotypes are then formed.
In the U.S., we boast about having an egalitarian society, everyone being equal despite and not limited to, sex, class, race, and other social characteristics, however, the goal of egalitarianism is equal opportunities and maintaining fundamental worth for every individual. Through the evidence that we will be exploring, there is no way we can agree that our society is egalitarian because women are constantly being viewed as weak.
Structural intersectionality described by Kimberlè Crenshaw in her book called Feminist Social Thought: A Reader, is when women of color are placed within “overlapping structures of subordination”.
- Gould, K. A., & Lewis, T. L. (2017). Thirty readings in introductory sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Hooks, Bell. (1981). Ain’t I a woman : Black women and feminism. Boston, MA : South End Press, . Retrieved from http://libgateway.susqu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cat04183a&AN=bwl.7937149&site=eds-live&scope=site