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A brief explanation of what “intersectionality” within feminism actually refers to, since approximately 99.9% of people who use this word don’t know what it really means.

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First thing to know: If a situation doesn’t directly involve the oppression of women, it doesn’t fall under the umbrella of intersectional feminism. Intersectional feminism doesn’t mean that every feminist must perform work for all people groups at all times.
Intersectionality was a concept brought in specifically to prevent bystander syndrome in activism. In their attempts to be focused in their activism, earlier feminists would sometimes disregard situations where the discrimination didn’t seem to obviously be related to sex.
An example: A black woman is passed over for a promotion at work. She brings a suit for sex discrimination, but activist organizations look at the case and say, “No, we actually think this is something they’re doing to all black employees regardless of sex, so it’s not for us.”
But a closer look would show that, no, while black male employees are also experiencing discrimination, black men at her work are being promoted at rates higher than black women. So her being passed over likely reflected both sexism AND racism at play.
And this puts her case within the jurisdiction of intersectional feminism. This woman’s oppression for her race CAN exist separately from her sex-based oppression - say, for example, if she and her husband and children were denied housing because they’re a black family.
But in the case of the job promotion, she was being discriminated against BOTH because she’s a woman and black. She has two forms of discrimination INTERSECTING to keep her out of that job. And so it would be a mistake for an organization to dismiss it as a racial issue only.
Intersectional feminism was NEVER MEANT to indicate that time and resources earmarked for women’s causes be distributed to causes not directly linked to sex-based oppression. It was a word created as a tool to ask - “Are we missing the sexism in this situation?”
One more example: After woman has to go on bedrest during her pregnancy, her boss and coworkers begin to treat her badly. They don’t communicate according to her telework plan. They undermine her to her direct reports and deliberately exclude her from calls and emails.
Now imagine that her employer has a long history of being reluctant to comply with the law in providing accommodations to disabled employees. Ask yourself: Is this sex-discrimination, since her limitations are directly related to her sex, or is this disability discrimination?
It’s very likely both. Employers who violate disability law often do so selectively. If Bill in logistics was given time off for his back surgery without a fuss, but women are regularly subjected to a hostile work environment during pregnancy, then sexism is definitely a factor.
BUT If Jim in accounting isn’t given time off for his carpal tunnel surgery and suspects it’s because he’s gay, that would NOT be a feminist issue. Jim may be experiencing intersecting oppression due to his temporary disability and homosexuality, but it’s not a feminist problem.
That doesn’t mean feminists don’t care about disability discrimination or homophobia or racism or homeless vets. It just means that those are separate causes meriting their own focused activism. Feminists don’t pass over these things to be mean - they do it to be effective.
Possibly the MOST IMPORTANT thing you need to know about intersectional feminism:

It NEVER includes cases or causes that HARM women. Intersectional feminism does NOT sacrifice the interests of women for the sake of other causes.
So it’s not “intersectional feminism” to fight to move male trans prisoners into women’s prison, because doing so endangers the incarcerated women. It’s not advocating for the cam girl industry to grow if it means putting other women in the sex trade at increased risk.
Intersectional feminism NEVER sacrifices the interests of women for the sake of another group. Rather, it seeks to address sexism lost within other issues - for example, the way war and imperialism impacts women and children. Male soliders aren’t the only victims of conflict.
/ This concludes my training video. I hope this helps everyone stop annoying the crap out of me by constantly using this word wrong. People sound stupid, enact ironic misogyny, and discard an actual, relevant feminist concept when they screw this up.

Thank you.
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