- Let's talk about the F word and I'm not talking about that F word. The word in question is Feminism. Feminism has come in waves over the last few decades and there have been a lot of changes. There is still a stigma that feminism isn't needed and that feminists are a bunch of aggressive, bra-burning women but that isn't what feminism is about (and let's face it...bras are expensive). There is still a need for feminism, especially intersectional feminism.
- What is Intersectional Feminism?
- Intersectional Feminism is a type of feminism that applies to all women and their various identities. Some of the identities that women use include, but are not limited to, sexual orientation, religion, race and socioeconomic status. It is a common assumption that feminism is simply for aggressive, privileged white women but intersectional feminism is inclusive and involves all women.
- Why it’s important and why you should care
- Intersectional Feminism is important simply because women are treated differently based off of their race, religion and social status. It’s important to know that these identities shape a woman’s life and the experiences that they encounter. These perspectives vary based on how they identity and should be taken seriously, not simply dismissed because not everyone has had the same experiences.
“The ability to perceive how gender and race, ethnicity, ability, and age impact oppression allows you to call it out when you see it. Feminist activism teaches us how to engage in a way that lifts up the most marginalized groups, to allow for better circumstances for all,” Roxanne Sansan said. She is the current Vice President of South Jersey NOW Alice Paul Chapter.
- Want to become a feminist but don’t know how?
- “Feminist theory can really inform all aspects of your life. Once you set your lens on equality, you can recognize instances of injustice in your community and ask, what can I do to help? This could mean that I notice that the women's sports team at your school does not receive the same funding as the men's team, and that the women's sports teams in the town over which is primarily composed of people of color, receives even less funding,” Sansan said.
Here are a few simple and effective ways to incorporate ways to be a feminist.
1. Don’t Talk Down to People
Not everyone has gone through the same experiences in life as you and it’s important to know that the world does not revolve around you. Be open to listen to other people’s life and experience and realize that it’s okay that they’re different. Try to understand where the other person is coming from and not talk down to them: their experience is just as valid as yours.
2. Learn the Lingo
Trans women are still women. It’s a hot button lately with the bathroom bill that is going on but women are women. If someone identifies as trans (or gender fluid for that matter) make sure to use their preferred pronouns. If you’re unsure what pronouns to use, simply ask. Asking is better than making assumptions
3. Make a Stand
You don’t need to be aggressive but standing up for what you believe in or defend someone who is facing prejudice is what feminism is about. Making a stand isn’t always about protesting, it’s the little day-to-day battles that matter.
4. Become educated
It’s always important to know what’s going on in the world of women. Whether it’s the fight over reproductive rights in America or the fight for women’s education in the Middle East. Also learn about the history of women. You can’t move forward without learning about the past.
- Hungry for another explanation of feminism? Check out this cool video