The idea of viewing people according to the groups they identified with is a common occurrence. Feminism, which relies heavily on tribalism, has expanded on this concept and called it ''intersectionality''.
Intersectionality is the understanding that various groups of people experience varying degrees of oppression. In essence, it's the bastard child of tribalism mixed with a heavy dose of Marxism. It's part of the postmodern narrative that power and authority might as well be done away with because those of the majority couldn't possibly understand the unique experiences of someone in a minority group. It's meant to give everyone a sense of belonging, a sense a group identity. But there is also an ugly downside to this. When people start to look only at the group they sometimes forget that the individual matters. That the group doesn't define everything about the individual. It becomes easy for those people to judge everyone belonging to the group as equally guilty. Intersectionality becomes a way to practice discrimination of the individual without guilt, due to the belief that your own group is obviously without sin. It's the others who are wrong.
Karl Marx took the idea that groups are either oppressing or being oppressed, whereas intersectionality takes the idea even further. Those who are oppressed aren't one monolithic group, after all, they can be fragmented into subgroups and each subgroup faces specific types of experiences (not recognizing this is a feminist crime known as a microaggression). A woman is oppressed, but not more than a gay woman, or even a gay black woman. Men, of course, are the new bourgeoisie. They cannot be oppressed in any way as they are the ones who oppress, which is an idea some men who've experienced hardship find completely ridiculous. In the marketplace of oppression, high degrees of victimhood is the currency. This creates of a hierarchy of oppressed groups where everyone is oppressed, but some are more oppressed than others. The more someone feels oppressed, the more victimized they are. The more victimized they are, the higher they place in the social hierarchy.
Those who follow the tenets of intersectionality see the world as a battleground where groups constantly fight each other. Like Marxism, the goal is the attainment of a more egalitarian world where the ''Powers That Be'' have less control over those who exert less power. This leaves no room for understanding and cooperation, two fundamental values of peaceful co-existence. The oppressors must be fought and removed from power before progress can be made. So much for their claim that: “more power for some doesn't mean less power for others”. And with the way they go on to assert their position in the world, it seems they are currently more interested in inflicting damage on those they disagree with than setting in a more egalitarian state of affairs. Power corrupts after all. It is arrogant to think that you will handle the power you've never had better than those who are used to wielding it.
Intersectionality is also a way to keep alive the old ideologies of gender theory and to remind people of the ongoing necessity of feminism, even in a relatively egalitarian civilization. Women of the West enjoy the same rights men do. They enjoy gender equality like the world as never seen before. So how do you keep a movement for equality alive in an egalitarian society? First, you appropriate other people's struggles, like gay rights, and you include them under the ever-expanding notion of what constitutes feminism. Then you take your group of ''oppressed'' people and you stratify them ad infinitum according to new evidence and definitions of oppression. Example: claiming that in a majority heterosexual society, a gay person will automatically experience oppression. You can do that with gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.
Intersectionality exists to keep feminism prevalent by pointing out there will always be groups and subgroups of disadvantaged people that could be helped, and that feminism is the best tool they have. There are even groups of what I call ''progressive feminists'': people who have adapted their concept of feminism with the knowledge that men can also be oppressed by unfair gendered norms.
It is possible to look at men as an oppressed class because feminists are like artists...always coming up with new ways of looking at the world. As a movement, it has no clear leader. Only a few loud emblematic voices supported by the whims and fancy of its public; public figures who's notoriety come and go as the time and situation demands. There is no agreement on what proper feminism is or how it should be put into practice. You'll have a hard time finding any voice of authority in a movement steeped in hatred of authority figures. There are only two things all feminists have in common: they call themselves feminists and they claim to support equality.
Feminism is a collective effort, and this creates a cacophony of definitions (everyone's voice matters!). The belief in intersectionality also prevents a unified group from forming because every group deals with life differently, and no one gets to rise above others. This causes various groups to clash against each other. There are few places where this is more obvious than social media, especially Twitter, where feminists are constantly reminding everyone what their definition of feminism is, even if it contradicts the definition of other feminists. Some types of feminists look down upon more than others. Like the TERFs, those radicals who refuse to recognize trans women as women due to the fact they once had penises. Sexism has always been alive and well within feminism, but now racism also rears its ugly head as ''white feminists'' are seen, usually by black feminists, as being more privileged than they are oppressed. What else would have happened to a movement looking for an enemy to fight? It finds enemies among its own ranks.
In my opinion, intersectionality is tribalism trying to look progressive and ''woke''. It breeds cowardice due to the desire of being viewed as a victim, which in itself contradicts the message of empowerment offered by feminism. Why stand proudly on your own and risk ridicule when you can hide comfortably in a crowd and feel safe? It is all about groups trying to gain power over other groups they have found guilty and undeserving of wielding power. Equality is just the pretty front they hold up to disguise their thirst for it. Intersectionality is what happens when people are looking for attention and demand to be seen as some sort of authority. All groups matter, but apparently some matter more than others.
Evan Klim Rebutting “On Intersectionality & Feminism”
Evan Klim (Democratic Socialism)
Judith Charpentier (Centrism)
Feminism is a political ideology that advocates for equality between women and men. With this in mind, I would argue that intersectionality does not give us “new ways of looking at the world”, intersectionality gives us a deeper understanding of the world around us. This is a key distinction because someone can look at social phenomenon and think to themselves “that’s news to me,” while someone else can observe the same event or issue and see the nuanced nature of the phenomena. Indeed, even though an individual might be not be aware of how an ideology affects their everyday life, this does not mean that they have benefited or have been disadvantaged from the ideology in question.
Intersectionality in this sense can be used as a tool to help individuals make sense of a phenomenon by exploring how ideologies and institutional structures shape one’s experience and one’s knowledge of the world around them. Yes, understanding the world using intersectionality requires intellectual sweat (and as sociologist Georg Simmel said “THINKING HURTS”), but systems of oppression do not exist overtly: they exist covertly (you cannot see it with the naked eye) and it is beneficial understanding the world as such as it gives individuals the wherewithal to combat systems of oppression.
Intersectionality in this sense can be used to make sense of a phenomenon by explaining how tools of oppression – like ageism, racism and/or sexism – shape one’s experience and one’s knowledge of the world. Indeed, an individual is composed of multiple identifiers (some of which individuals might be unaware of) and each marker plays a role in shaping how one sees and understands the world. Yes, markers for identity are discursive, but these markers play a role in shaping our everyday even when we are not aware of it. But by exploring how markers like age, gender, sexual orientation, race, class, etc. shape our everyday lives, feminists aim to highlight the complex nature of social reality so that society can improve.
Indeed, while the West champions egalitarian values, egalitarianism is something a country practices (like veganism: you can practice being a vegan, but if you eat meat, it is clear that you need to practice harder). With this said, no country in the world practices egalitarianism perfectly as every country in the world has deep flaws which people either see or don’t. For example, Indigenous communities in Canada do not have access to clean drinking water. This needs to be addressed and fixed if Canada wants to be looked to as a nation which treats everyone equally.
Historically, feminists had practiced egalitarianism by fighting for the right to vote and the right to participate in political and social life, but not everyone was included in this fight. Black women and members of the LGBTQ community were marginalized from this movement early on. Feminism in this sense had a problem with inclusion. However, by allowing members of marginalized community and allies to participate in the fight for substantive equality, feminists can uncover ways to highlight issues which, again, cannot be seen with the naked eye.
LaLa Drew Rebutting "Intersectionality & Feminism"
LaLa Drew (Progressivism)
Judith Charpentier (Centrism)
Jerry Barnett Expanding "On Intersectionality and Feminism"
Jerry Barnett (Libertarian-Left)
Judith Charpentier (Centrism)
I used to see feminism as a broadly benign, if often overrated, force. Over the past decade or so though, I've increasingly come to see feminism as not just harmful, but as a central force in the rise of a new western fascism. I documented this in my book Porn Panic!, which was published in 2016. As this article - which I broadly agree with - makes clear, feminism has expanded itself, via intersectionality, into every facet of identity politics. I particularly enjoyed this quote: "[Intersectionality is the] bastard child of tribalism mixed with a heavy dose of Marxism".
This is right, I think, although this really isn't Marxism, but a fascist movement that has seized the language and thought process of Marxism. Marxism, to its core, was concerned with the plight of the working class. Its priorities were first-and-foremost the alleviation of poverty and the improvement of living and working conditions for the poor. Intersectionality has no interest in the poor, and has been responsible for pushing the poor away from the political left, by replacing working class issues with the "oppressions" of selected minority groups: brown people, women, LGBT, and so on. Although the intersectional left pays lip service to working class issues, this is only superficial. The movements of the left - from the British Labour Party to the American Democrats - have been hijacked by the middle and upper classes, and been purged of the working classes.
The working class is not just outside of the new left, but has been turned into its enemy. The working class appears, in intersectional discussion, only in the role of the aggressor: the misogynist, the homophobe, the transphobe, the racist. Working class cultures are seen as particularly "problematic" by intersectionality. This particularly applies to black working class cultures such as hip hop and dancehall, which are attacked by neo-feminists, not for being black, but for "objectifying women" or "being homophobic".
At the spearhead of intersectional feminism are privileged white women, who have seized control of the old movements of the working class and turned them to regressive ends. These white women needed intersectionality as a cloak. By bringing token brown women, trans people and gay people into their movement, this takeover by the wealthy is presented instead as a takeover by the oppressed.
While the word "fascism" is overused, I believe it rightly applied here. The great threats to free speech and democracy come not from the far-right but the privileged, intersectional left, and any genuine anti-fascist movement needs to watch this movement with great care.