This first week of our campaign has focused on intersectional feminism. We’ve jumped into information, tools and resources that help us to learn and grow our knowledge of intersectional feminism and how it affects our community. So how does that all come together?
We kicked off the first half of the week learning about intersectional feminism, what it means and where the term comes from. ‘Intersectional feminism’, like most activist terms, arose from a need. Historically, mainstream feminism has centered the experiences of straight, middle class, white women. This approach failed to address forms of oppression experienced by women with additional social identities, such as their race, class, gender identity, sexual identity, sexuality, religion, physical ability, neurological type, immigration status, and more. In doing so, it excluded many women and other people affected by women’s issues, from the feminist movement.
In 1989, professor Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term ‘intersectionality’ in an essay titled Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics. Intersectionality was defined as:
“The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.”
The next step we took was growing our collective knowledge of intersectionality by recommending resources for further learning. We included book recommendations, activists to follow on instagram, as well as other content formats, like podcasts and audiobooks.
Have you started reading any of the following books yet?
- Girl, Woman, Other – Bernadine Evaristo
- No Country Woman: A Memoir of Not Belonging – Zoya Patel
- Women, Race, and Class – Angela Y. Davis
- Don’t Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back – Harilyn Rousso
- Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body – Roxane Gay
- White Innocence: Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race – Gloria Wekker
- Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches – Audre Lorde
- Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights – Molly Smith & Juno Mac
How about these? When it comes to intersectional feminism, there is so much incredible work out there!
- Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible – Yomi Adegoke & Elizabeth Uviebinené
- “I Will Not Be Erased”: Our stories about growing up as people of colour – gal-dem
- Living a Feminist Life – Sara Ahmed
- Don’t Touch My Hair – Emma Dabiri
- ain’t i a woman: black women and feminism – bell hooks
- Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
And in case you didn’t know, we also have a specific page on our website dedicated to anti-racist resources.
Learning all of this information can feel like a lot to take in; trust us, it’s an on-going process for everyone! Once you start learning about systems of oppression and the need for change, it can feel daunting to know where to begin. How can you take concrete action based on intersectional feminist values? We’re here to remind you that action can happen in many different ways, and that it’s accessible for everyone.
Action starts in your daily life
Action can be making small changes in your daily life. A good place to start is by acknowledging privileges. What privileges do you have? What privileges do those around you have? Look at your family and friends, ask yourself whether a given situation seems unjust. What you can do in those moments is to speak up. Through kindly holding one another accountable, we create a foundation for change. You can also look critically about the people that you allow to influence you. Who is behind your favorite show? Who is the author of the book you’re reading? This same critical eye applies to your representatives in politics. Who are they, and do they represent what you believe in? We’ll be diving more deeply into that next week, when we talk about the upcoming elections.
Show up to marches – digitally, too!
Another way to take action is to show support at protests. March 21 is The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It’s the day that police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid ‘pass laws’ in 1960.
Comité 21 maart has organized a socially distanced anti-racism and anti-fascism protest on Sunday, March 21 at 13.00 at Museumplein in Amsterdam. If you are able and feel comfortable, you can show your solidarity in person while wearing a face mask and maintaining a minimum of 1.5 meters distance. Another way to show solidarity is to follow along via livestream! Remember that solidarity can take on different forms, and showing up online and being visible about your support really helps social justice movements. Check out the event on Facebook for more updates and information on how to support online.
Support people of color with a donation
Another way to take action is by supporting people of color who are themselves supporting people of color. Kabra is a groundbreaking project currently seeking crowd-funding. It will be the first holistic center in the Netherlands to specifically focus on the underserved needs of the Black and brown community. Check out their IG @kabra.amsterdam to find out more about their plans, or head straight to their crowdfunding link and help launch a local resource for healing and resilience!
Donate to Neighborhood Feminists
Yes, we’re including ourselves in this list! Every single cent given by awesome people like you goes to filling our Dignity Kits, and these Kits go to those most in need across Amsterdam, often struggling Black and brown women. By getting more recurring monthly donors, we are able to grow the Dignity Kits project, helping more people get access to essential products. 100% of the proceeds from monthly donors is dedicated to our Dignity Kits project, so by making a (tax deductible) donation, you help us take direct action to help people with far fewer privileges than most of us! As one of our donors pointed out: just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean there aren’t people in need. Check out our donation page here.
We hope you enjoyed this week on intersectional feminism, and we are looking forward to next week where we will talk all about the upcoming elections!