What Intersectional Feminism Means To Me

A photo by Lechon Kirb. unsplash.com/photos/yvx7LSZSzeo

By Rachael Junard

“My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.”
― Flavia Dzodan

Feminism to me has never been something I’ve questioned, it just made sense. I grew up in a house with a heavy male presence but my parents gave me room to go through my tomboy “phase” and also explore things like makeup (flashback to that bright blue eyeshadow we all wore), strappy sandals and hair accessories. Throughout all of it, I was just trying to find what I liked best. It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized that sometimes my definition of feminism is different than some others I come across.

I want my feminism to be intersectional, encompassing trans women of color, environmental effects of poor areas, the Black Lives Matter movement, equal access to education – the list goes on. I’m a queer black feminist and I strive to make sure my life reflects that. I used to hide who I really was by letting microaggressions slide, or by dating people who would say things like, “Wow, you’re the first black girl I’ve been with,” or by playing into being the “token black friend.”

After I spent a semester studying abroad, I came back with a different sense of self. I wanted all of my actions to be intentional, I wanted people to know who I was without me even having to say anything. Some days I might wear a dress, put on makeup and really exert that feminine side of me – but that doesn’t make me any less of a feminist.

My feminism is a very personal journey and it’s also why I cringe when feminists try to take others down because they’re not being the “right feminist”. Know that your experience may be different from others that come from different backgrounds than you. Do not be quick to judge if you don’t know the full story and always be willing to listen, there is power in that. My best lessons in my journey have been from me being able to shut up and just listen. You can learn so much from others this way.

The basic essence of feminism is believing that people should have equal rights in every faction of their life. Strive to make sure your actions reflect that. If you’re stuck in a rut where you feel like you can do better, I’d suggest taking a look at one of Audre Lorde’s most famous essays, The Master’s Tools will never Dismantle the Master’s House. If you’re a woman of color and you’re wondering how to keep your head afloat among the many terrible headlines we’re seeing these days, hopefully this essay will inspire you.

There will be many days that we feel like there are so many odds against us. There will always be people like Donald Trump who make you wonder if it’s even worth it to keep fighting. To that, I’d suggest keeping a journal, having a close group of friends, or just taking some time to meditate. Reaffirming your beliefs and reminding yourself who you are and why you continue to fight the good fight is all you need some days.

My feminism is intentional, intersectional and (hopefully) inspiring. Some days are harder than most, but I am no longer afraid to be proud of who I am and stand firm in the belief that people should have equal rights in every aspect of their life. What about you?


Rachael is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.

{featured image via unsplash}

One thought on “What Intersectional Feminism Means To Me

  1. diplomaticyouth says:

    This is great! Today, we definitely see lots of examples of “white feminism” and tend to not consider the LGBT community. I totally agree with you that intersectional feminism is the true feminism, because that is what equality is.

    Like

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