I’m sure if you live in the U.S., you’ve heard of the phrase “feminism is cancer”. Now, I don’t think it’s quite as harmful as meninism, but it’s hard to deny that there are some serious flaws in the feminist platform. Feminism preaches for equality between the sexes, right? But it conveniently ignores the strife of women of color, gay women, and transwomen. To address this, a lot have people have started claiming the title “intersectional feminist”, but there’s only one problem:
Intersectional feminism is a myth.
For modern day feminism to truly fulfill its’ definition, it has to advocate for equality. Not just between socially acceptable women and men, between all men, and nonbinary folks as well. For feminism to be feminism, the term “intersectional feminism” shouldn’t need to exist, it should be implied. You wouldn’t say an electronic computer, would you? Of course not, so why should you have to specify that you’re an intersectional feminist? You shouldn’t. This still doesn’t answer the question I’m sure you all have. Yeah, Nai, we get that the “intersectional” is implied in feminism, so why is it a myth? Here’s why:
When you think of feminists fighting the good fight, what do you think of? For me, I think of reproductive rights, the wage gap, and the catcalling controversy (but that’s a post for another time, and a good one too), but are those the only things that threaten women? Not in the slightest. Just look at the stereotyping of women in media. When a ditzy, hypersexualized blonde is displayed, you know that there’s going to be words about it. After all, just look at the outrage over Matt Taylor’s shirt. I’m not thrilled about it either, but what about the endless typecasting of black women? It’s almost as if there are only five types of us: hypersexual, uneducated, overly driven, victimly, and forgot-she’s-black. Need I say more? Not really, but I’m going to, because that hardly scratches the surface. It seems that the sidekick of every show and movie nowadays is a neck-popping syllable-clapping black woman. Just look at Shameless, the Vampire Diaries, Chasing Life, Revenge, The Carrie Diaries, et cetera, et cetera. It’s almost as if Hollywood is attempting compensation for the lack of diversity in media. We can either give ourselves to Tyler Perry, and and get paid to enforce harmful, yet comical stereotypes, or we can…well, do the same thing, essentially. Just for some white guy. Great range of choices, however will we decide? It seems these days that if you weren’t a child star, or famous already, then you’ve just got to be a stereotype for a while. Not an actress who is black, but a black actress. I have honestly never seen “intersectional feminism” actually work out for black women.
But wait, there’s more. Black women being typecast in Hollywood sucks, but at the end of the day, a paycheck is a paycheck. Let’s talk about what intersectional feminism has done for the LGBT+ community. Do you know? Well, I do, personally. The answer is nothing. If your upbringing was anything like mine, even in the liberal la la land of the DMV, in elementary school, those who hung out primarily with the opposite sex were gay. No ifs ands or buts about it. If Brenda had a standing lunch date with Carl, Benny, and Steve, it’d be news by the end of the day. I saw it first hand with my friend, Marco. Just because he hung out with a rack of acne bearing, period awaiting, boy crazy girls, he was the gay kid. It took me forever to figure out why, but I had to, because I soon faced the same controversy when I moved across the county and switched schools. Apparently, being a girl makes you “feminine”, and being a boy makes you “masculine”, which makes a little bit of sense. Not much, when you consider that femininity and masculinity are both social constructs invented to keep a woman in her place, and hold no real value or significance on one’s identity or sexuality, but more on that later. Since being a girl makes you feminine, and like attracts like, a boy who enjoys the company of primarily girls must be feminine, which makes him either gay or a girl. Now, I know I’m just some ditz with a laptop, but I can’t figure this one out. Apparently the company you keep, the clothes you wear, and the music you like determines your sexuality? Sounds fake, but okay. My problem is this: kids are kids, and they’re always going to have these crazy ideas about what’s what, and I’m not mad at that, but there’s something to be said about who brought us up. If a woman claims to be a feminist, she should raise her child with the notion that nothing you do is inherently feminine. After all, these boys getting teased is a result of homophobia, but what do they call them? Princess, fairy, p*ssy, all things we associate with womanhood. When gay men, or those perceived as such, get insulted, they’re asked if they’re going to ballet class, or sewing a dress, or other female stereotypes. And when women are automatically labeled as gay for doing things like enjoying sports, not wearing long hair, or having a job that includes physical labor, it’s an insinuation that a woman cannot do these things without having an asterix on their identity. But that’s a problem for the gay community, why should the feminists worry about it?
Last but not least, we have transwomen, the one it breaks my heart so much to address, as the situation is getting out of hand. Excuse me, I apologize. It’s been out of hand. Did you know that three trans people in the U.S. have already been killed this year? It’s February. Two of them were women and one was a man. Another fun fact: in terms of hate crimes against the trans community, transwomen are under much more attack. Just look at the numbers. 25 trans people were killed in the U.S. in 2016, 2 of them were nonbinary, 3 of them were men, and 20 of them were women. 20 out of 25? That’s 80%! That’s right, 80% of trans people killed in the U.S. last year were women. Why? To attackers, they are seen as men, and in our violent society, it’s A OK to attack someone, as long as they’re a man. Now, for the million dollar question. What does this have to do with feminism? Feminism is meant to be protective and inclusive, and I know this doesn’t go for everyone, but most of the people I know who call themselves feminists are LGBT+ friendly. Yet, when the bathroom scandal broke out, you didn’t see anyone camped outside of the men’s room. Those guys you saw in wife beaters and camo-pants were all standing outside of the girl’s room to protect their little girls. (I wonder where they got the notion that a man would ever molest a woman, since they fight so hard to prove that doesn’t happen…) They have no problem with trans men, because they just see a little girl playing dress up. They laugh it off, they don’t care. When they see transwomen, they see a man in woman’s clothing, because apparently everyone who shares a gender also shares a wardrobe. Not to mention the fact that you cannot always tell a trans person is trans on sight. I understand that the bathroom thing is a huge controversy, but what about a cisgendered woman with strong cheekbones and broad shoulders, would she have gotten stopped? Would feminists even care? Once again, we are letting society and politics set the criteria for what it is to be a woman.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll call myself a feminist until my voice gives out, but I can’t ignore how exclusive the movement is. It’s not a new thing, but it’s something that should’ve changed as the times did. There’s nothing wrong with being pro woman, but if you’re only pro straight, white, cisgender women, you need to find a new movement, because you’re cramping my style. I’m in the business of celebrating all women, no exceptions. My womanhood is neither increased or decreased by my race, my hobbies, the company I keep, or my anatomy. I enjoy makeup, dresses, and love to cook, but I am in no way straight. My mother will not be seen in the same room as a beauty blender, and she’d rather watch a Raven’s game than a sewing tutori–actually, that one might not be true. Sitting idly by and not hating certain demographics doesn’t get you invited to the intersectional feminism club. Actively fighting for all women regardless of their differing demographics does. If your “intersectional feminism” only fights for the generic we, and conveniently ignores the struggles of us who have to fight racism, homophobia, and transmisogyny as well, then your feminism isn’t feminism, and it’s not for me, and it’s not for we.