Feminists are fierce, powerful, raw and strong. They stand up for what they believe in and fight for a change. Feminists come in all shapes, sizes, genders and races. Here are four fascinating feminist pieces to read to fill that beautiful mind of yours with knowledge.
- Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw’s Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics and Violence Against Women of Color Kimberlé Crenshaw is an American civil rights advocate who teaches at UCLA School of Law and Columbia Law School. In her piece, Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color, Krenshaw goes over the various ways the law disregards the intersectionality within women’s identities. This is a crucial piece of feminist writing because many feminists don’t consider intersectional identities. What exactly are intersectional identities? Intersectional identities are our different identities, such as gender, race, class, etc. that interact with but DO NOT cancel one another out; these identities shape the way we experience life. This sheds light on how important it is to acknowledge all of one’s identities and how damaging it is to generalize them. For example, a straight cis white woman will not experience the same oppression as a straight cis woman of color. Although both women will face oppression due to their gender, the woman of color will face greater oppression because of her skin color. White women will never experience racism. On the other hand, women of color will face racism and this will cause them to face more obstacles. Using the term “woman” to represent all women is invalid because it fails to speak for ALL women. This is a must-read for understanding what feminism is.
- Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s Can The Subaltern Speak? Though this is a dense piece, it is worth the read. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is an Indian scholar and feminist. By engaging with politics and post-colonialism, Spivak argues that speaking for those who are silenced further silences them. If this piece gets too complicated for you to read, there are a handful of YouTube videos that break it down. This reading will surely open your eyes.
- Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege and Male Privilege This piece is another eye-opener. Peggy McIntosh is a feminist, racism activist and the Senior Research Associate of the Wellesley Centers for Women. In this personal account, McIntosh brings attention to the various ways white people and men are privileged. Towards the end of her piece, she makes a list of all of the ways she is privileged herself. This is an excellent piece to read and an excellent piece to pull out when your white male friend starts whining about how he isn’t privileged.
- Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman,” de Beauvoir declares. Simone de Beauvoir was a French writer and feminist. In The Second Sex, she goes in depth about the way women were treated throughout history and the role of women through society. This piece is one of my favorites because it dissects the oppression women face. It shines a light on how women are expected to adhere to society’s rules; the ways women are expected to act and behave according to society’s rules. Only once they are familiar with society’s expectations from them, can they become a “real woman.”
There are several exceptional feminist pieces to read and gain knowledge from. When you are familiar with these fierce women and their excellent points of view, your eyes are opened and your mindset changes. Hopefully, these pieces inspire you to become a feminist and fight for change.
Photo: Alexa Mazzarello