Feminism is a  beautiful thing. Women across the world adopt feminism as a source of empowerment while empowering other women with knowledge and sheer strength. Without it, we would not be where we are today – and undoubtedly, we still have a long way to go. After all, the world cannot achieve its true potential when half of us are held back.

But even something so well-intentioned as this can be flawed in some circumstances. Sometimes, it isn’t quite inclusive enough. So that’s where intersectional feminism comes in.

Intersectionality

Intersectional feminism combines the idea of feminism along with the advocacy for other social disparities. It calls for equality for disabled people, minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, and more. This is based on a theory concocted in the 1990’s by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a black activist who noticed the ironic inattention in feminism. The term for the disregard of the problems minorities face (along with LGBTQ+ and disabled people) is dubbed “white feminism.”

If we aren’t intersectional, some of us, the most vulnerable, are going to fall through the cracks.

Kimberle Williams Crenshaw

White Feminism

No, not all white people who are feminists fall under the definition of white feminism. White feminism is basically calling yourself a feminist only when it is beneficial to you. Where many other people face oppression, this mindset comes from a place of privilege. Some recognizable examples of white feminists are Taylor Swift, Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, and Jennifer Lawrence. Such people complain about how they are treated unequally but they ignore other issues. They occasionally say a casual racist comment, an offhanded homophobic remark, etc.

Above all, why should these individuals be the face of feminism? There are others who could be much more all-encompassing and value the true definition of equality and erasing toxic discrimination.

White feminism sparked a discomfort in those who sincerely believe in human rights. And lately, more and more people are getting uncomfortable and grabbing hold of intersectional feminism. There is no room for narrow-minded versions of “equality” in the America we live in today – the America where a person like Donald Trump is president.

Then why do I have to validate that my feminism is intersectional? Shouldn’t all forms of feminism be?

All in all, it is really disheartening that some kinds of feminism don’t tolerate certain sorts of people. But, because of white feminism, sometimes the term “intersectional” is a useful tool to show your level of inclusion in your activism and/or philosophy.

All feminism should aim to gain equal opportunity for everyone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always do that. There are many different, overlapping kinds of injustice that need to be brought to our attention. A rigid paradigm of “equality” that benefits only one social identity isn’t really striving for equality at all – it’s quite the opposite, to be honest. Frankly, it’s a bit hypocritical for someone to make light of one person’s difficulties and expect to receive better treatment on their end. It is very crucial to eliminate stereotypes with a wider mentality. Creating an environment where everyone has an opportunity to flourish is one step further to making the world a much better place.