Women’s March: IVCC students join the crowds

Feminism for all: Chicago and here

Kellsie Edgcomb, IV Leader Columnist

Most understand that “feminism” is rooted in the equality of the gender and sexes, but the term “intersectional” may be new to some.

According to Denison University’s study on women’s gender studies, intersectionality was first used along with the feminist movement by civil rights activist and professor Kimberlé Crenshaw.  Intersectional feminism is defended by her as, “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.”

So what the heck does THAT mean? All that is saying is that all people, regardless of where they fall in small groups they identify with, have a right to not be discriminated against or put down in any way.  This allows feminism, as a social movement, to navigate away from straight,  white, middle-upper class women. This gives black men and women, men and women living in low socioeconomic groups, LGBT individuals and others the chance to be included in feminism.

As for who “needs” intersectional feminism’? That answer easy: everyone does. Whether or not it is actively identified with all civil rights activists, political activists and feminists, we need to recognize intersectionality in order to come together as a unified group.

One individual  voice might not be heard from a crowd, but if everyone starts speaking together they will be heard. Think “Horton Hears a Who!” All the Whos in Whoville needed to come together and be heard to keep their town safe.

I attended the Women’s March on Chicago on Jan. 21. This was the first political rally and march I had ever been to. I was recently in the military and participating in such events was extremely frowned upon.

According to NBC Chicago News, this event had an estimated 250,000 people in attendance which immensely exceeded to expected 75,000. This was the second largest gathering on that day, second only to Washington D.C. where the event originated.

In fact, the “March” was officially re-named, by authorities as a “rally” because Grant Park quickly reached its full capacity. My group of friends and I first caught wind of this from word of mouth because there was no cellular service to check a news outlet. Still, we remained downtown and very slowly began to march along the anticipated route.

Every type of person was in the group. Old men, young men, fathers, mothers, college students, even elderly ladies being pushed in wheelchairs. Many held signs and wore shirts representing what brought them to the march that day.

Intersectional feminism helps me stay grounded. After all, I am a rural, mid-western white girl living within our specific micro-culture. I have traveled all over this country the last four years and was witnessed true diversity for the first time. I saw just how different the “rest of the world” is from my micro-culture.

My newly acquired view effects how I see other people and how I see my own micro-culture. I often find I need to take a step back and view the world from someone else’s point of view.  

Pro-choice is often a deep rooted feminist issue. For the average person in my social circle that choice is “easy” for us. We have affordable access to contraceptives, technically free until our congress gets around too repealing Affordable Care Act like they promise they will. Further, many of us have access to abortion and adoption services if we were to need exercise our right to choose.

Contrarily, if I travel about 90 miles to the south side of Chicago I would meet many women who do not have that same ease-of-access to those medical services; therefore she does not truly have the basic human right to make choices surrounding her healthcare. That is one of the reasons I marched. Not only for myself and to keep my rights, but for the men and women who do not have the same rights as me. I need to stay grounded.

I need to stay intersectional. Her struggles may not be my struggles, and that is alright. What is most important is that every person in this country, on this planet, have the same rights, receives the same treatment, and does not face discrimination. We all need intersectionality to reach that end goal