Can Feminism Be Intersectional?
FMF’s dedication and efficiency set it apart from other non-profits that I have experience working with—here, things move quickly and people give their all to these causes. In this way, the FMF is extremely successful. It sets out to complete specific tasks, and completes such tasks in a relatively short time period. Further, these tasks are of vast importance—they both compel people to care and take action in furthering the feminist movement through research and data, as well as directly assist people such as by protecting clinics and making sure they stay open to serve women needing abortions, birth control, or other forms of family planning. The constant passion and dedication that FMF staff and interns put into these projects is both inspiring and necessary to the success of the organization.
I find myself wondering, though: how are these projects chosen? And what if there are more “pressing” issues that we should be on? This is not to say, of course, that the FMF staff does not care deeply about other issues—immigration, for example. Just last week, the majority of the office spontaneously took a half day so that we could attend an anti-ICE rally, in protest of the separation of undocumented parents and children at the border. Although we came out and showed support, we came as a group of predominantly white, American-born women holding signs that said “Feminists Fight Back” and “Stop the War on Women.” While these are indeed powerful slogans, since we were preoccupied with our main projects, we did not prepare specific signs nor were we able to contribute in organizing this event or rallying behind this movement in other ways besides our physical presence. I grappled with this guilt and began to question the FMF.
Not only do we not focus enough on immigrant women in this political climate, but at the protest it also occurred to me: we do not do enough in addressing racial inequities amongst women of color. This was highlighted to me by the fact that the majority of the women at the FMF office are white. Further, FMF’s absence in the realm of LGBTQ activism struck me. LGBTQ rights are so intertwined with women’s rights, surely, we should expand our advocacy? A massive portion of my daily work is dedicated to reproductive justice, and much of that work is catered to heterosexual women. We all know that “white feminism,” as it is known, is a non-inclusive, problematic form of feminism. Are we guilty of perpetuating that form of feminism by failing to directly address issues of intersectionality?