Nat - INTERSECT founder
The poet Emma Lazarus once said "until we all are free, none of us are free", and there has never been a truer word spoken. Lazarus spoke in the context of tackling anti-semitism around the world, but I speak of feminism and the fight for women's equality.
The feminist movement has a chequered relationship with what is truly meant by the word 'equality' (as does Emma Lazarus, but that's best saved for another time!). From the early Suffragettes, who in reality only wanted 'votes for some', through to the second wave of feminism, which led to the beginning of the womanist movement due to its exclusion of women of colour, we've had problems with inclusivity. It is tempting to write these past failings off, to airbrush them from our history - but it's so important to remember them, especially when they continue today.
A small, but popular, minority of mainstream feminist organisations, writers, blogs and musicians still marginalise women of colour, trans* women, disabled women, working class women, sex workers etc. Minority they may be, but they have a disproportionate say in the popular consciousness of what feminism 'is'. There's plenty of reasons for this, but I personally attribute it mostly to the mainstream press being unwilling to give a platform to people who challenge more than one of their perceptions, and the desire to portray feminism as a toothless, fluffy group who's concerns are mainly vapid chatter.
This is not so. Issues that affect all women affect the most underprivileged women first, and hardest - and there are many more issues that only affect these women. This is precisely why they should be at the forefront of our thoughts when we organise to fight back. This truly is the front line of feminism. We need to show how hard grassroots organisations work and battle with real issues, and we need to group together and support each other in order to achieve our aims.
This is why I decided to put on INTERSECT. I want to show people the wonderful groups and individuals who are tackling the big, important issues facing women. I want something to point to and say 'this is my feminism, and this is what it does, and no - I don't really give a toss about debating cupcakes'.
I hope you all enjoy the day and leave feeling educated, empowered and excited about what we can do. I hope you all make new friends and contacts and go away with the tools and knowledge to make your feminist spaces as inclusive as possible.
It's time to unite and fight.
Tags: Feminism and Intersectionality