Feminism and Intersectionality (Political Intersectionality (Problem:…
Feminism and Intersectionality
Problem: Intersection between gender expectations for women and sexualized notions of race
Racism and Rape:
that holds certain female bodies in higher regard than others (NY Jogger case)
"Racism is linked to patriarchy to the extent that racism denies men of color the power and privilege that dominant men enjoy" (Crenshaw, 1991)
Debate about political costs of exposing gender violence within the Black community
"The failure of feminism to interrogate race means that the resistance strategies of feminism will often replicate and reinforce the subordination of people of color" (Crenshaw, 1991) - same for antiracism
Anti-racism and feminism often limited to experiences of men of color and white women
"Highlights the fact that women of color are situated within
at least two subordinated groups
that frequently pursue conflicting political agendas" (Crenshaw, 1991)
Experience of battered immigrant women - one example of how patterns of subordination intersect in women's experience of domestic violence
"The ways in which the
location of women of color at the intersection of race and gender
makes [their] actual experience of domestic violence, rape, and remedial reform qualitatively different than that of white women" (Crenshaw, 1991)
Black Women as Intellectuals
Developing Black Feminist thought as critical social theory involves including the ideas of Black women not previously considered intellectuals
Dilemma for Black Women academics: Acquiring prestige often requires acceptance of academic norms - BUT: many of these norms are wedded to notions of Black and female inferiority
Collins: Truth's contributions show that the "concept of intellectual must itself be deconstructed"
"Not all Black women intellectuals are educated"
The Meaning of "Womanhood" for Black Women
Process of Deconstruction: Exposing a concept as ideological or culturally constructed rather than as natural or a simple reflection of reality (Collins, 1998)
Doesn't accept existing assumptions about what a woman is or try to prove that she fits the standards --> Challenges the standards themselves
Truth exposes the concept of woman as being culturally constructed by using the contradictions between her life as an African-American woman and the qualities ascribed to women
"That man over there says women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud puddles, or gives me any best place! And
ain't I a woman?
"(Loewenberg and Bogin, 1976)
Sojourner Truth, mid-1800s: Discusses the meaning of the term "woman" for Black women
Black-women remained "outsiders-within" for both feminist thought and Black social and political thought -->
"Individuals whose marginality provided a distinctive angle of vision"
Unique social position --> More nuanced outlook to feminist and social thought
BUT: "They were economically exploited workers and would thus remain outsiders"
Black Women could see "White elites [...] from perspectives largely obscured from Black men and from these groups themselves" and formed strong ties with white families (insider relationship)
Describes the social location of black women in domestic work pre-WWII
Suppression of Black Feminist Thought
Different patterns of Suppression
Incorporating, changing and thereby depoliticising Black feminist ideas
White Feminists acknowledging need for diversity, but not including women of color in their work due to claims of not being qualified enough
Many Feminist theories rely heavily on White, middle-class samples --> Promote notion of generic woman who is white and middle class --> "
One pattern of suppression is that of omission
Larger system of oppression (education, public image etc) --> Suppression of ideas of Black women
Tension between the suppression of African-American women's ideas and their intellectual activism in the face of that suppression
Suppressing the knowledge produced by oppressed group makes it easier for dominant groups to rule because the seeming absence of dissent suggests that subordinate groups willingly collaborate in their own victimisation (Scott 1985)