“My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.” – Flavia Dzodan

I have always heard the word “feminism,” but I never knew what it was, nor did I particularly care. As soon I learned what it was, though, I also learned that many people had this harbored distaste for the word. You tell them, “I’m a feminist,” and they ask you, “Why do you hate men? What did they ever do to you? Are you a lesbian?”

So many absurd comments came from the mouths of people who didn’t even bother pick up a dictionary and see what this word means or what it stands for. I am always the one having to educate them. I always tell them, “Feminism is NOT thinking you are better than the opposite sex. It’s not thinking men ruined the world, but feminism is, in fact, the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. It’s wanting to be treated the way men are treated, and I think that’s fair, don’t you?”

There are so many misconceptions and negativity that comes with this word. But out of all these misconceptions, the one I  began to encounter the most was that we are “men haters.” I also discovered that this misconception was not just from outside our community, but within as well. These women claimed to be feminists and they assume it meant only caring about their own gender and not taking into account what the word actually means. Feminism is defined in the dictionary as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”

Since the goal of feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of equality to men, that means the rights of ALL women. This means your feminism should support black women, Hispanic women, Muslim women, and trans women; it should not just be for white cisgender women.

If your feminism doesn’t include these people, then your feminism is white. White feminism is a term used to describe the belief system of white, heterosexual, cisgender women. White feminists do not like to recognize the greater levels of oppression that women of color, LGBTQ+ women, and women with disabilities face.

But by being an intersectional feminist, you recognize all of your sisters, not just your cis-ters. To be an intersectional feminist, you must allow people to live fully in their being and acknowledge and give them a voice in our movements for equality and peace. We must take it upon ourselves to learn about issues that do not affect us, and we must realize that feminism isn’t just about fighting and ending sexism. It is also about fighting all forms of oppression. So I ask you to sit back and ask yourself about your feminism; if it doesn’t include all of these people then, it is not true feminism.