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FEMINISM, INTERSECTIONALITY AND SOCIAL MEDIA


Looking at historical and contemporary issues in both the Feminist and the civil rights communities, one can find ample evidence of how both communities' acceptance of the dominant framework of discrimination has hindered the development of an adequate theory and praxis to address problems of intersectionality. This adoption of a single-issue framework for discrimination not only marginalizes Black women within the very movements that claim them as part of their constituency but it also makes the illusive goal of ending racism and patriarchy even more difficult to attain. - Page 152, "Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics, THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LEGAL FORUM, 1989.

“Because you cannot claim to want to provide safety for women while you are letting *some* women be racially attacked. Because if you do that, you are a hypocrite and you should just go ahead and say it “we want to provide safety just for *some of us* while the rest, the brown, battered bodies of black women are called names”.-flaviadzodan, excerpt from my feminism would be intersectional or, it would be bullshit.
Four years ago, I swore to myself and whoever cared to listen to my self-righteous rants that I was a feminist. That I would fight for my rights and the rights of every female I came across. That I would fight for any form of discrimination and neglect, society kept associated to my identity and gender. I took self defense classes, read to compete with every guy in my class and would question any one that made reference to my incapability as a woman, but just last year (2018), I renounced my Feminism Association -thrice. Why?

I was confused, it seemed like there was a divisional force in feminism and I could not exactly say that I and other feminists were speaking on the same page. It felt like the society had influenced this movement and created a form of bias that was not even visible to every single "lady" in this movement and that every social media outlet was dispensing wrong information, creating spite with the male gender; making them despise the drive behind feminism and creating avenues for disputes and criticism. I could presumably say that my politics was no longer identical to that of everyone else. How can you justify selective solidarity in a system or movement that you feel might only thrive well in togetherness or a comprehension of its motives? It would only seem like you are fighting for different obligations.

How did we get here?

Initial co-genesis and ignition of the feminism movement (by the mainstream feminists) dealt with producing a form of political equality of the sexes, so racial inequality and bias was evidently ignored by this movement. Consequently, early women's rights movements were often seen as exclusively pertaining to white women's membership, struggles and solicitude, there was evidence of early racial tension. Eventually there were efforts made as another phase set in to deal with different facets of oppression and discrimination of the female gender. Other social moieties and concerns such as race, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity were also given attention. And this provided a channel to communicate the opinion that these factors were not part of the initial mainstream feminism movement and in a way Intersectionality and the privilege of the Social Media disseminated this vital information that needs to be procured massively.

"After examining the doctrinal manifestations of this single axis framework, I will discuss how it contributes to the marginalization of Black women in feminist theory and in anti-racist politics. I argue that Black women are sometimes excluded from feminist theory and anti-racist policy discourse because both are predicated on a discrete set of experiences that often does not accurately reflect the interaction of race and gender. These problems of exclusion cannot be solved simply by including Black women within an already established analytical structure. Because the intersectional experience is greater than the sum of racism and sexism, any analysis that does not take intersectionality into account cannot sufficiently address the particular manner in which Black women are subordinated. Thus, for feminist theory and anti-racist policy discourse to embrace the experiences and concerns of Black women, the entire framework that has been used as a basis for translating "women's experience" or "the Black experience" into concrete policy demands must be rethought and recast. As examples of theoretical and political developments that miss the mark with respect to Black women because of their failure to consider intersectionality..." -Kimberlé Crenshaw.

The concept of “intersectionality” refers to the interactivity of social identity structures such as race, class, and gender in fostering life experiences, especially experiences of privilege and oppression -Journal of Public Policy & Marketing.
Intersectionality is a theory which “holds that the classical models of oppression within society, such as those based on race/ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, class, species or disability do not act independently of one another; instead, these forms of oppression interrelate creating a system of oppression that reflects the “intersection” of multiple forms of discrimination.

However, “Intersectionality” is by no means a new concept, although was not coined until 1989, when Kimberlé Crenshaw argued that “Black women are sometimes excluded from feminist theory and anti-racist policy because both are predicated on a discrete set of experiences that often does not accurately reflect the interaction of race and gender.”(Crenshaw 140). The first use of the term was in a crucial 1989 paper written by Crenshaw for the University of Chicago Legal Forum, "Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Anti-discrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics".

 In her work, Crenshaw discussed Black feminism, which argues that the experience of being a black woman cannot be understood in terms of being black and of being a woman considered independently, but must include interactions between the two identities, which frequently reinforce each other.
"We cannot divorce our gender from our race/ethnicity." -The Angry Black WomaninBigotry & Prejudice.

Intersectionality in the theoretical and historical sense has been portrayed by different words and articles long before it was a coined word. Basic ideas of intersectional feminism had been expressed by black feminists such as Angela Davis and Bell Hooks, to name only a few, writing for many years before this.

 In 1984, Bell Hooks noted;
"Privileged feminists have largely been unable to speak to, with, and for diverse groups of women because they either do not understand fully the inter-relatedness of sex, race, and class oppression or refuse to take this inter-relatedness seriously. Feminist analyses of women’s lot tend to focus exclusively on gender and do not provide a solid foundation on which to construct feminist theory. They reflect the dominant tendency in Western patriarchal minds to mystify woman’s reality by insisting that gender is the sole determinant of a woman’s fate. Certainly it has been easier for women who do not experience race or class oppression to focus exclusively on gender" (Hooks, page 14). 
This issue is not limited to sex and race; it applies to all oppressions, marginalization, prejudices and discriminations. To me Intersectionality refers to “acknowledging the legacy of slavery and colonialism in rape culture, understanding the conditions behind the term “nigger” and all other things attributed to inferiority of the black society in FEMINISM. It means comprehending the pathetic organization of feminism structures that can be easily crumbled by a mislead “feminist” with attitudinal crisis. I can now recognize the failure to realize every potential in Intersectional Feminism, So whenever I see “women” comment about the mockery in celibacy of a fellow woman from a particular cultural background, I am not surprised.  I am still not surprised about the scorn expressed on social media defacing a fellow woman by her sisters, by suggesting that she got raped because she wanted sex and attention was her ulterior motive. I understand that your activism, useful and wonderful as it may be, does not give you a pass on other problematic behavior and this understanding should be spread abroad. I know that in this “feminism movement” we all might not be the same…

“We can differ in strategies or modes of action without those differences becoming gaps that cannot be filled. After all, the strategies might differ but our end goals are the same.” -Flavia Dzodan

But the sin would be not recognizing that and supporting every social concern in Feminism. I can see why Intersectionality is important because we have to get anti-racism, feminism and every sort of activism on all levels. I particurlarly love this article that its  illustration criticized the evolutiuon of Feminism in Nigeria, an excerpt;
"The history that birthed the feminist movement and understanding in Nigeria is a very different one from that which led to the liberation movements in Western Europe and North America. The feminism that now labels men as ‘trash’ in response to a persistent patriarchy is a feminism with which women in Nigeria would have been historically unfamiliar." -Eniola Anuoluwapo Soyemi- F is for Human -The Republic Journal.

However, the social media in a very compelling way has helped communicate this concept, from the prime of “feminism “to every evolving part of it. I recently stopped by an article on digital feminism while conducting a research. A detailed section of digital feminism according to this article includes; black feminism, hip-hop feminism, and transformative education. Each section exemplified the application of social media in increasing awareness through podcasts, twitter polls and so on. 

Intersectional Feminism should not be about failed understanding about every aspect of feminism, it is about taking yourself to learn, associate, understand and change yourself the way you asked other people to change. 

FOOTNOTES
(1)Kimberlé Crenshaw - On Intersectionality - keynote - WOW 2016 - YouTube.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DW4HLgYPlA&t=601s
(2 )The Angry Black Woman.“Intersectionality.”Web log post. The Angry Black Woman. 02 Aug. 2009. Web. 09 Dec. 2014
(3) Open letter to a White Feminist. http://dearwhitefeminists.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/an-open-letter-to-the-white-feminist-community/
(4) Tiger Beatdown › MY FEMINISM WILL BE INTERSECTIONAL OR IT WILL BE BULLSHIT! By FlaviaDzodanhttp://tigerbeatdown.com/tag/flavia-dzodan/
(5) Bell Hooks quote from http://projects.ecfs.org/Fieldston57/US45/Readings/hooksFeminism.pdf
SUGGESTED READS
(1)Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination
Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.
Kimberle Crenshaw
Kimberle.Crenshaw@chicagounbound.edu
(2)FEMINISM IS FOR EVERYBODY-Bell hooks
(3) Digital Feminism: Using Social Media and Intersectional Feminism for Transformative education and Personal Education. Briana Barner, MA & doc student
Beth Bukoski, PhD
NASPA Conference.
(4)Eniola Anuoluwapo Soyemi- F is for Human -The Republic Journal


Olajide, Victoria (Victoria Olajide) is currently a student of the University of Ibadan.  She enjoys reading, writing and expresses her criticisms and opinions on www.thevictoriao.com.

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5 COMMENTS

Mighty'B
Mighty'B Fri August 2, 2019 at 4:31pm

It's a very compelling article to identify the feminism as concept and how it's has been incommunicado to the level of liberating the mentality of it's adherent. The writer is given an instance of different experience of womanhood and how this contributed to way of the mentality. It should be recognized that it's due to the state of different face of oppression that led some african's woman in disregarding the idea of "feminism" and adopted "womanism". That the African woman is facing two oppression; the racial and gender oppression.–the writer failed to identify these. It's due to these forms of oppression that some African woman recognized that their struggle lies not with feminism because it doesn't actually recognize their own experience as a woman and here in Africa, the African woman needs her man, not without him as popularly represented in the feminism as an ideology.

Mighty'B
Mighty'B Fri August 2, 2019 at 4:31pm

It's a very compelling article to identify the feminism as concept and how it's has been incommunicado to the level of liberating the mentality of it's adherent. The writer is given an instance of different experience of womanhood and how this contributed to way of the mentality. It should be recognized that it's due to the state of different face of oppression that led some african's woman in disregarding the idea of "feminism" and adopted "womanism". That the African woman is facing two oppression; the racial and gender oppression.–the writer failed to identify these. It's due to these forms of oppression that some African woman recognized that their struggle lies not with feminism because it doesn't actually recognize their own experience as a woman and here in Africa, the African woman needs her man, not without him as popularly represented in the feminism as an ideology.

Mighty'B
Mighty'B Fri August 2, 2019 at 4:31pm

It's a very compelling article to identify the feminism as concept and how it's has been incommunicado to the level of liberating the mentality of it's adherent. The writer is given an instance of different experience of womanhood and how this contributed to way of the mentality. It should be recognized that it's due to the state of different face of oppression that led some african's woman in disregarding the idea of "feminism" and adopted "womanism". That the African woman is facing two oppression; the racial and gender oppression.–the writer failed to identify these. It's due to these forms of oppression that some African woman recognized that their struggle lies not with feminism because it doesn't actually recognize their own experience as a woman and here in Africa, the African woman needs her man, not without him as popularly represented in the feminism as an ideology.

Mighty'B
Mighty'B Fri August 2, 2019 at 4:31pm

It's a very compelling article to identify the feminism as concept and how it's has been incommunicado to the level of liberating the mentality of it's adherent. The writer is given an instance of different experience of womanhood and how this contributed to way of the mentality. It should be recognized that it's due to the state of different face of oppression that led some african's woman in disregarding the idea of "feminism" and adopted "womanism". That the African woman is facing two oppression; the racial and gender oppression.–the writer failed to identify these. It's due to these forms of oppression that some African woman recognized that their struggle lies not with feminism because it doesn't actually recognize their own experience as a woman and here in Africa, the African woman needs her man, not without him as popularly represented in the feminism as an ideology.

Mighty'B
Mighty'B Fri August 2, 2019 at 4:31pm

It's a very compelling article to identify the feminism as concept and how it's has been incommunicado to the level of liberating the mentality of it's adherent. The writer is given an instance of different experience of womanhood and how this contributed to way of the mentality. It should be recognized that it's due to the state of different face of oppression that led some african's woman in disregarding the idea of "feminism" and adopted "womanism". That the African woman is facing two oppression; the racial and gender oppression.–the writer failed to identify these. It's due to these forms of oppression that some African woman recognized that their struggle lies not with feminism because it doesn't actually recognize their own experience as a woman and here in Africa, the African woman needs her man, not without him as popularly represented in the feminism as an ideology.

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