Warning: dodgy metaphors and Random Capitalisation. It’s 1am. Deal.
I want to talk about people who call themselves feminists but who do not like the concept of intersectionality.
The thing about pre-intersectional feminism is that it’s really easy to work out who the enemy is. The enemy is the patriarchy, and the people who are perpetuating the patriarchy are generally easily identified in that they are mostly men, and – importantly from the perspective of these women – they are someone else. That means that it’s really easy to draw a nice tidy chalk circle around pre-intersectional feminists and label them Not the Problem.
The issue with intersectionality, for these Women With Whom the Problem Resideth Not, is that intersectionality acknowledges that we all do things which are problematic for other people who have less power than us on one axis or another. If the enemy were just oppression of women by men, then that chalk circle would be clear and easy, and all feminists could stand in happily without ever having to question the things they say and do. But the enemy of intersectionality is a whole crisscross of cultural webs of gender and race and money and ableism and education and health and access to nutrition and sexuality and neurotypicality and and and and fucking and…
Intersectionality acknowledges that there are no tidy lines to be drawn around Good People who are Definitely Not the Problem. The problem is so large and all-encompassing that we are all caught in it, even the Good People, and all we can do is start working to untangle the bits of it we can see.
So now the Women With Whom the Problem Has Never Previously Resided are being confronted with the fact that some of the things they do and say make life harder for other women, and for other people in general who are deserving of their support. We’re rubbing away their tidy chalk circle and we’re asking them to join us in working just as fucking hard as we are to stop being a part of the problem to the best of their abilities.
But that would mean first stepping out of their nice circle of We Are Not the Problem.
Is it any wonder that they don’t want to?