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:CHAITRAS BLOG: Intersectional Feminism

  • :BLOG: Feminism is a complex set of ideologies and theories that advocate women's rights and achieve equality between the sexes, 'intersectional feminism' is a framework that identifies and acknowledges how women's overlapping identities—such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance and class—affect the way in which they experience oppression and discrimination.

Differing impacts of the COVID-19 crisis in a few communities have been alarming certain issues around the globe. From international protests to the take on domestic violence, various communities are interpreting and battling a multitude of injustices. As the pandemic deepens economic and social stress while you are obliged to follow self-isolation, there shows an increased rate of gender-based violence. As many are forcibly sharing their space with their abusers, be it at home or living in a patriarchal community. How do we take on all these issues, and why should we fight and voice out our rights now more than ever? 

 

Intersectional feminism was introduced by Kimberlé Crenshaw, an American law professor who coined the term in 1989. She quotes, "All inequality is not created equal. She wrote a seminar paper about Intersectional feminism as a black woman she quotes,  “experience of being a black woman cannot be understood in terms of being black and of being a woman considered independent but must include interactions between the two identities, which frequently reinforce each other”.

In terms of the change in the current political climate, activists say the time is right to embrace intersectionality is now. As many are confronting multiple forms of vulnerability around the globe, marginalizing less powerful and less privileged women and allies the very people who most need feminism today. Intersectional feminism is built on the foundation of equality; irrespective of caste, creed, race, physical abilities, size, and sexual orientation. Despite half of the population of the country being female, the situation has been grim for women. For centuries, the Indian society has been oppressive towards women from questioning their choices to deliberately denying the opportunities for growth in the name of religion and socio-cultural practices.

I invited two of my friends with whom I encountered different areas where girls have been oppressed by society. There are layers of injustice and eínequality faced by girls in their upbringing which overlap and intersect, this is exactly what Intersectional Feminism sheds lights upon. The inequality is seen in one´s education, sexuality, ability, age, gender, ethnicity, culture, language, class, and race as per the image below. 

I have picked up a few topics to speak about the inequality faced by my friends living abroad. Yes, we come from a place of privilege and we chose to speak about our experiences growing up in Indian society. In the video, you will see Whitney from England and Florina from Norway giving their views and sharing few episodes of their life. I really appreciated their take and respect their opinions, kindly watch the video and let us know what do you think about and I have shared some pointers below which were addressed by Florina dn Whitney in the video. 

EDUCATION: The patriarchal system and the gender stereotypes in the family and society gave preference to the male child. Girls are expected to learn household chores better than boys, education takes a backseat and not once does the entire system promote independent, critical thinking. When it comes to education level for girls, it’s always limited to her choices and she is more prepared to be someone's wife and not to be her own person. 

SEXUALITY/GENDER: Parents or teachers do not speak about sexuality to children and the elders make it an uncomfortable space for the Childers to explore their own gender. Sex- consensual or not, when one chooses to have premarital sex is a big taboo but nobody lifts a finger in instances of marital rape. it is expected that the wife must serve the husband in a patriarchal society and misogyny seem like unquestioned truths. 

ABILITY: The male is overlooked as a means of social security and a female must abide by the male domination.   Girls are taught to sacrifice, adjust and hushed, It completely tears apart the very fabric that makes us humane.  A working wife is expected to sacrifice her job and aspirations to “look after the kids”. They are never encouraged to follow their dreams because their role in society is submissive to men. 

AGE: Women are always pressured to get married and bear a child by a certain age, even if they are not mentally prepared. Women are treated as biological tools, their clock is constantly ticking be it for marriage or having children. A young woman is expected to marry a man 10 years older, and this still exists in some communities in India. 

ETHNICITY, CLASS, RACE AND CULTURE: Indian women have been a victim of humiliation, torture and exploitation in every field of their life. The freedom to make her choice is given at the cause of her respect, once the girl decides to live life on her terms she is remarked as disrespect to the culture. Be it choosing someone from a different caste, inter-caste or inter-religion marriages are a big taboo and treated as disrespect to the family.