"What 'Intersectionality' Really Means"
Published in ATTN:
Today’s feminism needs to encompass more than just one ethnic/racial/cultural/socioeconomic group. If you are a white woman, your experience will be different than that of a woman of color. If you are a straight white woman, your experience will be different from that of a white gay woman or gay woman of color. This is where intersectionality comes into play.
Intersectionality is a decades-old term that over the last few years has been making its way into the mainstream. Thirteen-year-old Rowan Blanchard, star of "Girl Meets World," used it in her incredibly smart essay on feminism last month, and it was used in the aftermath of the Taylor Swift/Nicki Minaj Twitter exchange.
As UCLA professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, the woman who coined the term in 1989, defines it, intersectionality is “The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society.” Intersectionality posits that gender, race, sexual orientation—and the other categories that comprise a person’s identity—intersect to simultaneously influence an individual’s experience. The forms of oppression cannot be dissected apart into tidy categories of sexism, racism, or homophobia; many people experience a variety of forms of discrimination on different levels at the same time.