Explain intersectionality. Why is an intersectional lens important in this course?
The definition of intersectionality is "the interaction between gender, race, and other categories of difference in individual lives, social practices, institutional arrangements, and cultural ideologies and the outcomes of these interactions in terms of power," (Power Point Slide quoting Davis, 2018). For example, I am female. I'm also Jewish, Gen-X (in my late 40s), a Texan, way more liberal than conservative, and a mom. (I'm many other things too, but I'll stop there). The intersection of these things affects my daily life. I always say, in Huntsville, I am white until I'm Jewish. Once some people find out I'm Jewish, things change (not with all, but with some).
Intersectionality is important in this course because not all people have the same experiences. Their gender, race, and other categories affect how they encounter something. As the video explained, black women have a very different experience than white women and black men. It's about understanding how the combined categories affect experiences. We can't look at all the content through our own lens. We have to consider the lens' of others, and the intersectionality that shaped that experience.
What is patriarchy? How does patriarchy shape women's experiences in the U.S.?
Patriarchy is a system where masculinity is favored over femininity. Since the beginning of our country, decisions have been made by men from the viewpoint of men. Women weren't even included in the Constitution; we didn't have rights to own land, vote, hold office. Things have not changed much. Men decide how much equality we get. Men are paid more. A man's opinion is often valued over a woman's. Men are hired over women because it is perceived that they will add more value. So, women have to fight harder to have the same opportunities.
What is gender inequality and what are the implications for women?
Gender inequality is "the unequal treatment or perceptions of individuals based on their gender. It arises from differences in socially constructed gender roles," (video). This creates occupational biases, wage gaps, and political segregation. As I discussed above, these are created by the patriarchy and make things more challenging for women.
What is feminism? What does it mean to be a feminist? What are the goals of feminism (and intersectional feminism)?
Feminism is the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of equality of gender. It is not about taking from men but raising women to the same level as men.
Intersectional Feminism comes into play when we look at all women, not just cis, white women. It's more about equity and equality. Equity is giving everyone what they need to attain the goal; equality is giving everyone the same thing. Giving everyone the same things (such as the example of the step stool in the video) still puts some at an advantage. Equity levels the playing field, giving everyone what they need. I like to call this, "Fair is not always equal."
Reflect on your learning experience for this module
I did not realize the extent of how much women of color and poor women were excluded from the original feminist movement. I'm assuming they are talking about the 1st and 2nd waves of feminism. I can see women of color being excluded from the first wave in the 1920s during the Suffrage movement because the Civil Rights movement had not happened yet. I did not realize how much the second wave (in the 1960s/1970s) excluded women of color and poor women.
For my Gender and Crime Class I did a paper on Feminism. I read two things that stuck with me. First, Millennials think the feminist movement of the 60s/70s solved all the problems, and there is no work left to do (this was just one article). Second, Gloria Steinem said (paraphrased based on what I remember) that she was not going to pass her torch. It's hers to hold onto, but she will use it to light the torches of others. So much has changed since her movement, and there is still so much work to do (look at all the legislation being passed against women in our state alone).
Intersectionality is a very new concept for me. When I learn something new, I first see how it relates to me. I've done that. So now I have to look at the experiences of people (especially women different than me). I have to understand and have empathy for their experiences. In one of the videos, a woman said, "feeling guilty about the privilege you have but didn't earn is a wasted emotion. Spend your privilege." The woman in the video went on to say to make room at the table for others. I try to do this. There is no need to feel guilty, but part of me believes that people are going to listen to a white woman before they listen to a woman of color. If I'm outraged by the same things and share their stories, then their stories will be heard and it will make room for them at the table.