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The rallying cry of modern feminists is that if your feminism is not intersectional, it isn’t feminism. For someone who is not intersectionally-inclined, this can make some sense. After all, doesn’t it make sense to analyze some societal issues “through the lens” of more than one factor? For example, mis-identification of terrorists will not only just affect nonwhite citizens (Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus), it will more likely affect Muslim women (who wear hijabs) and Sikh men (as their turbans can be mistaken for Islamic terrorist garb), so both gender and race are important to understand this issue.
However, there is always one element of identity intersectional feminists never seem willing to talk about. To intersectional feminists, there are a few axes of oppression: race, sex, class, ability, and sexual identification. In the power structure of this pseudo-religion, the more oppression points you tick off, the more intersectional feminists will claim you as their own. Thus, if you are nonwhite, female, working-class, LGBT+, and disabled, you have hit the jackpot, and you are basically untouchable from criticism, unless you have the gall to stray from the dogma. Intersectional feminism does not see you as a person, it sees you as a series of identity tick-boxes, where the more oppressed tick-boxes you check, the more you will be idolized. If you’re a white, male, upper-middle-class, straight, able-bodied man, you have no right to say anything, with the intersectionality religion deeming you too privileged to speak. So, what’s the point of all this? There is one axes of oppression that barely rates a mention: class.
While equality activists should span the wide rainbow of human beings in the world, intersectional feminists are predominantly middle-class. There’s no escaping it; most of the more popular intersectional feminists generally have a background in academia, which is rarely working- or lower-class. What do feminists like Anita Sarkeesian, Franchesca Ramsey, Jonathan McIntosh, Laverne Cox, Emma Watson, Rowan Blanchard, and even Kimberlé Crenshaw (who invented intersectionality theory), all have in common? Well, they definitely aren’t lower-class. Many of these popular feminists have never understand poverty and welfare issues for a moment of their lives, yet claim to be able to talk on behalf of the oppressed. It’s understandable: in the intersectionality religion, these people have other oppression points to claim. However, class seems to be one of the most ignored axes of oppression.
It may sound like a broken record to keep mentioning Donald Trump, but his United States Election win last year lead to a lot of double-think on the whole meaning of “feminism” and “intersectionality”. “White working-class” was used as an insult by the press, bemoaning those who had the gall to vote for Trump because they believed he would help them out of poverty, instead of Clinton, who just mercilessly labeled them a basket of deplorables. The mainstream media—which is generally middle-class and city-dwelling—seems to have a classism problem. “Donald Trump playing to racial fears of working-class whites”, cries Brent Larkin. Salon’s Chauncey DeVega says working class voters claimed to vote for Trump because:
Trump is a classic racial authoritarian. During the 2016 election the mainstream news media was obsessed with a narrative in which white working-class “anxiety” somehow drove his support. The data tells us this is not true. Trump’s election was a result of white racism.
It’s not just the working-class—i.e. the oppressed, according to intersectionality—it’s also other oppressed classes facing a backlash from those who supposedly support them. Anyone who does not follow the correct ways of intersectional feminism—even if they tick off all the oppressed check-boxes—are ousted, criticized, unpersoned and ignored. Ben Carson, David Clarke and Stacey Dash were all labeled “black white supremacists” by Chelsea Handler, for having the gall to be Right-leaning, instead of Left-leaning, as all good intersectionalists are. LGBT+ individuals such as Milo Yiannopolous and Blaire White are shouted off platforms and even labeled as “homophobic” or “transphobic”. When a male feminist insults an anti-feminist woman, he is cheered from the rooftops. If someone ticks off multiple axes of oppression—such as ThyNameisSkepticism (a nonwhite woman), shoe0nhead (bisexual woman), Laci Green (intersectional feminist, bisexual woman), Derrick Blackman (nonwhite man)—they are completely ignored, or treated as if they are not facing inequality, which is a worrying trend. If your movement is based on fixing structures of oppression, why are you picking and choosing who you defend?
If you’re wondering why so many refuse to identify as feminist in this modern age, then look no further. When your movement claims to be about equality (or “equity”), yet is about creating more division and diving people based on factors they can’t control, then there’s your problem. Furthermore, basing your proponents and opponents off such a small set of characteristics, and then ignoring those who tick off the check-boxes because they have the wrong beliefs, sows seeds for even more division.
How about we stop dividing and analyzing people based on characteristics they cannot control? This is especially important in a world where feminism is more focused on what you look like than how important your arguments are. The same sorts of people who say “check your privilege” and focus their whole self-worth on their identity also seem to ignore their own privileges.
This is an impossible wish, because feminism has no end goal. Intersectional feminism, while admirable in its original approach, does not wish for equality, because under intersectional feminism, oppression keeps intersectional feminists relevant. The oppression game is profitable. If it wasn’t profitable, you’d think these people would be less likely to harass those they deem oppressed? When you’re too busy criticizing the oppressed just because they disagree with you, are you really fighting for truth, justice and equality? If you only wish for the equality of those who agree with you, just say it. Stop pretending otherwise.