Jess McCabe // 11 June 2008
The Washington Post ran a really infuriating article by Linda Hirshman, arguing against intersectionality. In fact, Hirshman argues, a focus on how sexism intersects with other oppressions, such as racism, homophobia, transphobia, class, poverty, and so on, weakens feminism and excludes middle class white older feminists.
It’s not just about solidarity – it’s about the fact that if we don’t understand intersectionality, we will simply be ineffective in tackling sexism, because we won’t understand how it is being played out in our societies.
Can we understand even an issue like beauty standards in advertising, without understanding how race plays into it? How sexuality plays into it? How agism and class play into it? Could you ‘fix’ advertising images by including more diverse images of white, straight women? No. Look what happens when you try this.
Anyway, I’m not going to go through this article point-by-point as others have already done so very effectively:
I recommend reading Having Read the Fine Print… for a thorough dissection of this article – particularly Blackamazon goes into some of the specifics of how Hirshman’s article was inaccurate and misrepresentative, who she did and did not interview and more.
Also see Brownfemipower’s must-read response:
This form of activism will bring benefits to rich white women-but it *prioritizes* the most marginalized of the marginalized. Is there something wrong with this? And if so, why is there nothing wrong with a feminism that *prioritizes* rich white women?
Photo by Trishhhh, shared under a Creative Commons license