Big Word: Intersectionality

I seem to keep running into this word: Intersectionality.  So, I went to Wikipedia to research it’s origin and meaning; to give myself some basic understanding of the word.  This is one of those specific times that I wish I had much more direct contact, like in face-to-face conversations, with others in the LGBT community on a regular basis.  But, I am relegated to internet relations and community for now – it’s a hazard of living as an older LGBT person in rural America.  I wish I could discuss this word and it’s meaning and how it pertains to the LGBT community with some people who could explain it to me in more detailed terms.

From what I am gathering here it means basically that there are lots of “parts” of you that come together to make a “whole” of you.  And “intersectional theory” claims that there are overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination and discrimination.  This gets really deep, basically saying that we are multi-dimensional and intertwined with our various “parts” and the discrimination/oppression we experience is generally addressing the individual parts.  So, I may be oppressed because I am a woman on one level, and then discriminated against because I am lesbian on another platform.  It’s quite complicated.  But I get the gist of it.

I encourage you to click on the link to the word intersectionality and read up on it.  You may hear it being tossed around in the media a bit more, as we are realizing that marginalized people like us are also intersectionally challenged with multiple types of oppression, domination and discrimination.

I know, this is a deep subject I have chosen to address here, but it’s important for me to understand things like this as much as I possibly am able to understand.  Vocabulary and wordsmithing is something I really like.  I love to learn new words, and how to use them properly.  I do realize that my understanding of “intersectionality” is currently limited to what I am reading here and on the web in general, and that personal discussion of how it affects others is much needed for me to understand it completely.  So, if you have some input for me, or a take on what it means for you please leave me a comment, let’s have a discussion!

Peace!  ~MainelyButch

4 thoughts on “Big Word: Intersectionality

  1. You’ve understood it right. I’ll give you some examples of how intersectionality is used in feminism, because that is what I know. For one example, middle-class women once fought against being restricted to being just housewives and fought for the right to work in paid employment. However, poor women are more likely to have had to work for wages even when they had children, because their husbands didn’t earn enough money. So when feminists say something like “women fought for the right to work in paid employment” that ignores the intersection of class with sex. The way poor women are oppressed is different from the way middle-class and rich women are oppressed. Poor women would have killed for the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom because it would mean they didn’t have to work for low wages just to feed their kids. So you can’t analyze women’s oppression without looking at other kinds of oppression too, such as social class and race.
    Another example is that the cultural stereotypes about white women are not the same as the stereotypes about black women. White women fight against the stereotypes about us that we are passive, frail, and weak, but the same stereotypes are not applied to Black women—they are stereotyped as being angry, nagging, assertive, and sexually aggressive. Kimberlé Crenshaw created the term intersectionality and she wanted feminists to look at the intersections of multiple oppressions when creating theory and activism, because only by looking at the women with the most oppressions weighing on them can we liberate all women.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your info here! I am learning, as always, it’s a process. I’m glad there is a word for this, because I’ve tried to explain this type of oppression/discrimination before but never could put it fully into words. Thanks! ~MB

      Liked by 1 person

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