This is a call to all feminists around the world. It is our duty to fight for our rights and against all forms of oppression experienced and lived by all women around the world.
Some might say that they do not feel represented by the feminist movement; others might ignore it or even become members of other groups. Nonetheless, we have to redirect all this energy into an adequate type of feminism. And, even if they still do not join us, we must continue to fight for them.
It is extremely common to hear from other women that they do not consider themselves feminists; that they do not feel represented by the movement. Some just think sexism is non-existent, others think that feminism misrepresents women who suffer from other types of oppression. The first group is sadly mistaken, the latter is sadly right. However, these divisions across women weaken our goal.
You might wonder, what is our goal? It seems complicated to think of just one goal for all women around the world, and that is because there are is not just one. The first goal for all feminists is to recognize the position of inferiority society has put all women in and the consequent effects this has had on their lives and bodies historically and today. Our second goal (equally important), where feminists might disagree or are simply misguided, should be to recognize our differences as women. And this is where intersectional feminism comes to play.
In order to thrive as feminists, we must recognize the differences women have. We must recognize their different positions within society. For instance, I, as a white woman, recognize my oppressed position as a woman, and privileged as white. However, it is my duty to recognize this privileged oppressed position consequence of accidental circumstances such as the country and family I was born in, and the skin color I was born with, and of course my sex and gender.
Going back to the first group, we find those who do not feel represented by feminism. This can be an active and legitimate decision or the result of the incapacity of emancipation from the patriarchy due to external circumstances. They can either belong to a privileged position and to the norm (white, middle-class, heterosexual, cis-gendered, young and abled women) or they can belong to poor uneducated or overeducated groups and even though these women might reject or ignore our fight, our ideals and our sorority they are members of our movements. They are women and hence, victims of the system of a disadvantage based on sex and will always be until further notice. We must count on them. Always.
The second group involves women who suffer from racism, homophobia, ageism… and feel misrepresented by the feminist movement, normally related to the second wave. Luckily, this second wave has also given us outstanding figures such as Audre Lorde, who had the audacity to shed light on problems that were never mentioned or criticized. However, as Audre Lorde says, it is not her/their duty to teach others, but it is a duty found within each of us to investigate, deconstruct, and then construct. It is our duty to raise awareness and make these visible. Then, and only then, these women will not find themselves misrepresented by feminism. If we follow her steps, we will construct with our bare hands a path. An intersectional path that will unite all women, considering their similarities and differences.
And what about those who do not even consider themselves feminists? Well, as the easy way for them is to just accept the lives they were given and ignore what is not near them, so it would be for feminists to do the same with them. Thus, we must conform to strong thriving feminism, feminism for the totality of the world and its citizens. This might make some feel uncomfortable, just as it is unlearning the oppressive behavior we grew up with. If we start to segregate, this will only debilitate and make even harder if not impossible our societal goal: equality for all.