[I realize it’s not all-encompassing, but I was time-crunched and unsure of what to include.]
Trigger warning: I may touch on or link to discussions about potentially triggering subjects.
I’ll start by saying that we could easily have different threads on different aspects regarding intersectional feminism. Perhaps we will be able to have threads talking about specific topics: queer issues, gender, imperialism, colonialism, academia, race, Western ideologies, food, ableism, dichotomies, patriarchy, rape culture, sex work, bodies/beauty, stigma around mental illness, violence, the World Bank/SAPs, tourism, mainstream vs alternative media, etc…the possibilities are so exciting! Historically, Western feminism hasn’t been the best at being intersectional, but current feminist dialogues focus heavily on the need for intersectionality. There’s a common phrase that goes around feminist circles: “feminism without intersectionality is worthless.”
I also apologize if it seems like I’m doing some kind of 101 approach, or if this seems too basic. For accessibility reasons, I usually try to approach conversations in this kind of way. And this post will be very link-heavy—videos are articles by other people can say things better than I, especially when I’d like to talk about an issue that I have privilege in, such as race. Regarding the articles, videos, etc that I link to—some of them I take issue with, but I do think they are all worth reading in some respect.
It’s hard for me to bring up the feminist lens in non-Women and Gender Studies (WGS)/non-feminist/non-queer space, because I really have no idea where everyone else is at regarding what they know. It’s also difficult, because I have internalized concepts regarding my own identities and the importance (or perceived lack of) discussing the issues of marginalized groups. So basically, it’s constantly questioning if I’m just “making a fuss.” And yes, most, at least in “progressive” circles, people would assure me that I was not. However, this is where those micro, day to day, systems of power and inequality come into play. Drew (not to put you on the spot) may be able to speak more on privilege, and when to listen thoughtfully in order to let voices be heard that usually are not. That’s why it’s important to question our own privilege, and how the personal is political.
However, I do know that generally, feminism is seen as a focus on just white women. This is incorrect regarding the feminism that currently exists and being created. This isn’t to say that there aren’t feminist who aren’t so great at viewing things complexly, but largely, the trend is toward intersectionality. And this also isn’t to say that white Western feminists all “get” intersectionality. We still have a long way to go, especially regarding “othering” and emphasizing Western feminist priorities in non-Western countries/communities.
Here are the two documentaries that I think are good to start with: Taking Root is available on Youtube, and highlights the downright amazing activist Wangari Maathai. It’s done extremely well, and I will never stop spewing out my love for the film and her. The other documentary, Born Into Brothels, is not to my knowledge available online. If you are able to find it, it’s an interesting film, especially looking at the ethics of Westerns making a film about the children of prostitutes in India, and if their involvement helped or hurt the kid’s lives. The criticisms section on the wiki pages mentions this as well. A really good third film is Live and Debt.
There’s also a debate about humanism being a better term than feminism, but that’d take a lot of time to delve into. Although, I’ll say that when we try to go “label-less” or do the whole “we’re all people” argument, dominant ideologies and structures remain in place, and eventually the same voices get silenced doubly—once by the existing power/privilege hierarchies, and again by ignoring said differences through the “people are people” rhetoric (which is often used in arguments arguing for colorblindness.) Hence why I identify as bi & queer, and why I identify as a feminist instead of humanist.
This is getting lengthy, so I’ll end it with some links to some good foundation information. I know I didn’t really get into any deep analysis, but I could write pages and pages exploring intersectional feminism. I’d more like to see what y’all have questions about, and go from there. I’m also open to talking about more personal experiences, as sometimes those are easier to relate to or understand, but if that is the case we may need to talk about thoughtful listening and unlearning how we subconsciously give some people the authority to tell the stories of those less privileged, but fail to give the less privileged person the authority to speak on their own experiences and avoid playing devil’s advocate just for argument’s sake. (I realize I linked to a business article, but it’s the only one I could find in my quick search that was applicable.)
So here are some links that I’ll attempt to organize by topic.
Feminism & (pop)culture:
Some foundational info/101’s:
(TW: rape) http://www.racialicious.com/2008/12/21/original-essay-the-not-rape-epidemic/ http://www.firsttheegg.com/have-i-ever-had-any-unwantedundesired-physical-or-sexual-contact/ http://www.shakesville.com/2009/10/rape-culture-101.html
Western/white feminism: http://www.studentpulse.com/articles/395/western-feminism-in-a-global-perspective
http://transnationalfeminist.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/beyond-borders/ (transnational feminism intro)
http://lists.econ.utah.edu/pipermail/margins-to-centre/2006-March/000794.html (the famous “Master’s tools” from Audre Lorde).
I apologize for the massive information I just threw together. I in no way expect anyone to click on all of the links. I’d suggest just clicking on whatever looks interesting and going from there!