One moving feature of the recent George Floyd / #BLM protests was how African-Americans could center the struggle on African-Americans. How Black people, who to this day are too often talked over by whites, could make the conversation both start and finish with Black people.
Other groups were gently reminded that, no, this particular march is not for them. Not that Latinos, say, don’t have their issues. It’s just that the BLM marches were about *black* lives mattering. LGBT people, including black LGBT people, face their own obstacles. This wasn’t the march for that, though. It was for the specific struggles, often inflicted by agents of the state, that are unique to the *black* community in its entirety, whether gay or straight, trans or cis, disabled or abled. It was not the time to center the troubles specific to Asian-Americans, the disabled, or women, as valid as their issues are. They’ll have their own times and places. BLM just asked these various groups to stand in solidarity with Black people. And almost everyone, outside of the usual hotbeds of racism over in Trump country, was ok with this. Simple, no?
The power to center an issue on themselves and to exclude other pressure or identity groups is shared by pretty much all left-of-center groups. Labor unions, environmental groups, and identity groups mentioned above can stake out their own territory as needed. They can say “while others in the room have issues and thoughts that are equally valid, today we’re only going to talk about our issues and thoughts.”
Oh wait. But there’s an exception.
Women. Women aren’t allowed to do that.
Due to something called “intersectionality.”
The term was coined by a Black female lawyer arguing how existing civil-rights law could only see single types of oppression, such as race or gender, but could not combine them to talk about the unique struggles of Black women.
Unfortunately, we still don’t see nearly enough marches just for Black women. Because, as these things do, the concept of intersectionality has mutated from one of liberty to one of control.
Control of women, naturally.
In the words of one of the most notorious enforcers of the latter-day concept of intersectionalism, everydayfeminism dot com:
“But without an intersectional lens, our movements cannot be truly anti-oppressive because it is not, in fact, possible to tease apart the oppressions that people are experiencing… Because the intersectional experience is greater than the sum of racism and sexism, any analysis that does not take intersectionality into account cannot sufficiently address the particular manner in which Black women are subordinated.”
It is no longer sufficient to address the struggles of women in general.
So what, one may ask. They’re just saying “Don’t be racist in your feminism,” right?
It means that women cannot, must not, ever center social justice concerns on matters that are specific to women, meaning all women (cis or trans). Women are *not* allowed to make a day just about women’s issues. They are *not* allowed to gently ask other groups or movements to make this march or that online drive about women only.
BLM can rightfully ask women’s movements to not make the George Floyd protests about themselves. This does not make them misogynist. Women’s movements, however, are not allowed to do the same in reverse. Because that would make them racist.
Confused? Because I sure am, especially since I want to support both. Especially since women of color are particularly marginalized by enforced “intersectionalism,” even though the word was originally meant to liberate them.
The effect of intersectionalism: worldwide protests for the death of black men such as George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, but even more appalling murder of Black woman Breonna Taylor is an afterthought. The needs of women must accommodate the needs of men, even in death.
The straitjacket of intersectionalism is intended not only to divide a feminist’s attention, but also to control her. To ensure she has *no* thoughts that some lefty man somewhere might not like. A Black or Hispanic activist, for instance, can maintain a pro-2nd-Amendment stance, claiming that gun rights are just the ticket to protect their communities from a racist society. This is a minority opinion, to be sure, but not something that would get an otherwise solid activist run out of the community. Not so for feminists, for whom a pro-2A position can get them promptly banned from the comments section over at Jezebel dot com.
Agree or disagree, there is a logical argument to be made that a 9mm equalizer in a woman’s nightstand helps even the odds against male intruders. Doesn’t matter. Intersectionality means the woman who tweets such a thing is hereby cancelled.
(Unless she’s conservative, of course! Intersectionality is only used by leftys to police, and punish, their own women.)
Another example of what I mean: the writers of the show Killing Eve decided to tweet this out:
Most of the comments were along the lines of “want some mayo with your crackers lol.” Which is a good point! Know what another point is? We got a writer’s room for a major show that’s (doing mental math) like, uh, mostly women! Can’t we celebrate that too? You know how many freaking shows and, especially, movies centered on women are written by men? “Y’know, thumbs up for the female representation, thumbs down for everyone needing SPF when the table lamp is switched on — overall, still better than most writer’s rooms?”
The reason why this is important is because your average procedural or late-night show has 80%+ writers that could pass for bearded Greenpoint or DTLA white bros who most definitely want to tell you why film cameras are more authentic than digital (the joke being, because that’s precisely who they are). If we got the writer’s room for, say, Young Sheldon or something to consist of 3/4 African-American men, with the remainder being white men, everybody would celebrate that as a solid diversity win despite a 1:1 Y-chromosome ratio. Yet when Killing Eve does something similar but with women, all we get are Karen memes in return.
That is not fair.
Any modern-day feminist, especially if they are looking for paid editorial or non-profit work, must set aside a certain amount of their energy each day to also campaign for every other left-of-center interest under the sun, such as the environment. Environmentalists, on the other hand, do not have to expend a single thought for women-specific issues if they choose not to. Environmentalists can just shrug and state that climate change affects both sexes, and besides, the climate’s their specialty and their passion, not these other causes, as noble as they might be.
Nobody asks Greenpeace for their thoughts on the wage gap, after all.
I am sickened by what so-called “intersectionalism” has done to feminism and can only pray it does not also poison the long struggle for Black liberation.
Imagine if, say, rugby players were asked to also drill regularly for baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and golf, keeping up with the latest trends in each, if they wanted to be seen as “real” rugby players in good standing, and allow athletes for these other sports to all get practice time on the rugby field. But only rugby players. Players of the other sports can stick to just their one sport.
Women do not get their own spaces.
They are instead always asked, as is usual throughout our patriarchal history, to accommodate others.
And that infuriates me.