Essays on Intersectionality

As complicated as the word intersectionality might sound: Upon closer inspection it becomes all the more complex. The fact that different spheres of discrimination or privilege in our society, such as gender-based -, ethnic -, or economic inequalities, are related to one another, doesn’t seem all that far-fetched. But how should we interpret these connections, and who acknowledges them today? Let’s take a closer look.

Time Travel and Slavery: Octavia Butler’s Kindred
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Kindred, by Octavia Butler, explores slavery through a time-traveling experience. The main character, Dana, is thrown into the antebellum south during the height of slavery. Dana is a modern-day African American woman living in Los Angeles. While celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her husband, Kevin, Dana is abruptly forced to time travel from the year 1976 to a Maryland plantation from 1815. After repeated time travel, it becomes evident that Dana’s time travels are related to her ancestor, Rufus Weylin,…...
Feminism In LiteratureIntersectionalityKindred By Octavia ButlerScience fiction
My Understanding of Intersectional Feminism
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1. What is feminism? What stereotypes surround the word feminist? What is patriarchy? How might someone internalize patriarchal or sexist thinking? How can everyone benefit from feminism? How can we break down the single story of feminism? My definition of feminism always included that it is a fight for women’s rights and equality, but as Bell Hooks stated, a feminist should care about not only feminist theory, but how it relates to race, culture, and class as well (19). To…...
FeminismGender RolesGender StereotypesIntersectionalitySociological Theories
Intersectionality: How Gender Interacts With Other Social Identities
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In Gendering the state: Performativity and protection in international security, Jonathan D. Wadley (2009), speaks of the state as being thought to be largely ungendered by International Relations scholars. Within the article, Wadley mentions that feminists argue that when an entity is considered ‘genderless,’ it is often masculinized, its masculinity made universal, and its theories made partial (while masquerading as impartial). According to Wadley, this ‘genderlessness’ in international relations ignores how key actors are defined and differentiated by gender norms.…...
Gender BiasIntersectionalitySociological ImaginationSociological Theories
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A Global Perspective of Identity, Racism, and Belonging
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Societies develop social standards, stereotypes, or labels to categorize people in, whether that is due to race, gender, social status, etc. These classifications can create injustices like racism and sexism, especially for immigrants. Discussing problems from a removed perspective can be challenging, but it is crucial in addressing these social problems. The novel, Americanah, written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, creates a platform of dialogue in which she is able to analyze the roots of many of these problems, not only…...
GenderIdentityIntersectionalityOppressionRacismSocial Issues
A Question of Person’s Gender
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I am stealth The relationship between gender and work go hand in hand. It is like talking about life and oxygen. Which mean everybody talk about work or gender at least one in their life. It is essential to take an intersectional approach to understand people's experiences within the economy because people are often oppression by multiple sources that put them at a disadvantaged not just merely by one marker, which are based on race, sexual orientation, status, and other…...
DiscriminationFamilyGenderIntersectionalitySocial Issues
Jack Brennan Gender StudiesApril 29th 2019 Final paper A
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Jack BrennanGender StudiesApril 29th, 2019Final paperA common misconception of identity is that it is just a combination of sex, gender, race, etc. Identity shapes one's experience in life and even shapes who they are as a person. Intersectionality is very present and active when it comes to one identity and can help highlight the difference among peoples identities. There are a plethora of examples of different people and their identities in the novel Two or Three Things I Know Forsure…...
GenderIntersectionalitySocial IssuesWomen
Client Assessment ReflectionIn this critical reflection I will
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Client Assessment ReflectionIn this critical reflection, I will be identifying and exploring identities, power, skill, and experiences that relate to the client situation. Moreover, I will highlight, analyze and develop considerations related to ways in which power, stereotypes, oppression and differences may impact work positively and negatively with the client. Intersectionality will be used as analytical tools for making sense of these interlocking systems.What identity factors might be most salient to her current situation and presenting concerns?In social work, cultural…...
AnxietyCritical ReflectionCultural IdentityIntersectionalityPsychology
Analysis of My Brothers by Mongane Wally Serote
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Introduction Steve Biko once said, "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." In this essay, the poem My Brothers in the Streets by Mongane Wally Serote will be analyzed critically by paying close attention to how various elements such as form, diction, design, and tone contribute towards the overall argument of the poem. In addition, I will be discussing how the poem can be seen as intersectional as well as how…...
BrotherIntersectionalityMy BrotherSocial Issues
Alice Walker’s Color Purple
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In the light of Sofia’s statement above, I intend to centre my discussion on the plight of women, (the usual targets of male violence) by means of physical violence or violence in a domesticated sphere and the economic constraints of the doubly oppressed black women that depend on men, taking into account the feminist theory notions and feminists’ viewpoints. Also how Alice Walker defies the stereotypical notions of male dominance and shows the liberation of women by the end. Focusing…...
Alice WalkerFeminismHuman NatureIntersectionalityThe Color PurpleViolence
Women Without Class
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In her book Women Without Class: Girls, Race, and Identity Julie Bettie delves into the aspect of girls in high school. Specifically focusing on groups of Hispanic and Caucasian girls in a high school in California. She emphasizes harsh social and discursive hierarchies between different peer groups in the high school. She shows how race and gender are nothing more than a performance, not an identity. Bettie discusses the ideas of intersectionality, gender performance, and the margininalization of working-class students…...
GenderHuman NatureIntersectionalityWomen
Discriminational Guessing of Twyla and Roberta Personalities
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Intersectionality Assignment The definition of intersectionality states that it is the social theory suggesting various socially and culturally constructed categories of discrimination interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels, contributing to systematic social inequality. Intersectionality holds that the classical models of oppression within society, such as those based on race/ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, class, or disability do not act independently of one another; instead, these forms of oppression interrelate creating a system of oppression that reflects the "intersection"…...
DiscriminationHuman NatureIntersectionalityOppressionPersonalityPsychology
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Definition by Nicki Lisa Cole

Sociologist and researcher Nicki Lisa Cole defines intersectionality as a term referring to ”a unified system of oppression”, and gives the example of a heterosexual, wealthy, white, North-American man, in comparison to an undocumented, poor latina living in the US today. She points out how a skin colour perceived as ”foreign” rather than ”normal” already invites certain prejudices into people’s minds, as well as an image of weakness or submissiveness perceived in the female gender in a patriarchal society. (Cole, 2019) The personal disadvantages of being poor rather than wealthy are another source of such perceived weakness; perhaps one would assume her to be exploiting the system, engage in criminal behaviour, or have very limited career choices due to her existing lack in education or social status, etc.

Factors of Oppression

The individual in this given case might also be easily oppressed: Being undocumented, her abilities to defend herself legally, voice problems to the police, or reach out for help in case of health-care-related issues are comparatively small, and others might pick up on this fact and take advantage of it in unethical ways. In times of the #MeToo-movement, the advantages of a person’s fame and branch-intern impact are another factor of intersectional oppression that comes to mind. Whether people are more likely to believe a potential harassment victim, or her or his alleged assaulter, often seems to depend more on the accused person’s likeability and public impact than on the believability of the claims, one could say.

Factors such as the age of the accusers, or their medium of choice to express such allegations, also seem to have a huge impact, as Moira Donegan, a journalist from the British newspaper ‘The Guardian’ points out. In her view, older feminists and younger feminists entered an age of a ”central rift in feminism today”: condescending terms such as ”twitter-feminism” are often used to trivialise the alleged victims’ position. (Donegan, 2018) The often emphasized ”naivety” or ”childish hypersensitivity” of the supposed victims and their experiences, mentioned on social media platforms, but also used by writers such as Barri Weiss or Daphne Merkin, do not only speak volumes of the complexity of the topic, but also of strong tensions within the feminist movement, as the journalist points out.

Role of Gender Identities

Could this sort of millenial-fatigue be another factor of anti-elitism and age-discrimination (- within and outside of activism -), apart from the already questionable position such statements hold in regards to female equality? It seems worth to be discussed when addressing intersectionality today. Another topic often expressed when talking about intersectionality is the broad spectrum of gender identities now mentioned in some types of media and even everyday language. Terms such as ‘cis-gender’, or ‘gender binary’ might not be familiar to everyone, but their implied advantages certainly are: Sentences such as “I was born as a biological woman, but I identify as male.”, or “I don’t identify myself as female or male at all, I’m non-binary.” definitely still raise quite a few eyebrows, as well as perhaps impolite questions and comments. Despite organisations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics urging for a “gender-affirming approach”, therefore, to accept a young person’s self-image in topics of gender identity, and despite countless studies addressing the ”high rates of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance use, self-harm and suicide” in children and young adults who are brought up and socialised to be a gender they can’t identify with, the mocking and criticism against those deviating from the norm is still very clear. (AAP Policy Statement, 2018)

Role of Religion, Cultural context, Income and Ethnicity

Intersectionality becomes obvious here where religion, cultural context, but also income and ethnicity play a role. Even topics such as body image and body positivity come to mind and can create another hierarchical differentiation in privilege: Not everyone has the same chances of being socially accepted when deviating from the norm. (Symbolic Interaction, Vol.35, 2012) This seems to be the main point when arguing about intersectionality these days: Should we try to raise more public awareness when considering people’s interconnected privileges, attempting to acknowledge other people’s unique struggles, or are these attempts only taking us further away from finding common ground as a society? It seems debatable, but very much worth discussing.

FAQ about Intersectionality

Intersectionality: How Gender Interacts With Other Social Identities
...Although Wadley makes some valid points, an acknowledgment that war is not only external to the state, the acknowledgment that violence is not only physical, recognition of the influence of religion (and other internal entities) on state priorities, ...

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