Critical Reflective Essay on Intersectionality

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One of the most imperative concepts in gender studies and feminist theory is intersectionality which traces its origin back to black feminism when it was used to describe the intersectionality of race and gender since the two aspects exist collectively and operate dynamically in daily life to bring an impact (Crenshaw, 1244). Therefore, the term implies a system that names the situated ways that several forms of power act, simultaneously to produce our lives. Similarly, it may be defined as the situated ways that our lives form through the simultaneous action of multiple forms of power. The concept can also be applied to explain how people or groups experience both oppression and privilege which are majorly addressed by feminists. The primary rationale behind feminists addressing both ideas is that they exist interdependently; while one group suffers oppression, another group experiences privilege.

Additionally, intersectionality sheds light on how oppression and privilege impact us as individuals because of how they act socially, as structures, discourses, and institutions. The target is achieved through the teaching that society cannot be known except through the situated lives and lives cannot be known without a social analysis. Gender, sexuality, race, class, disability, age, and nation are key aspects of our lives and social worlds that are shaped largely by interlocking power relationships such as sexism, racism, capitalism, ageism, colonialism, heterosexism, and imperialism. This paper is a reflection of how I am positioned with reference to significant categories of social difference regarding class, gender, race, sexual, and ethnic identifications and how they have molded my experience and perspective, vulnerabilities, and privileges. Qualities such as gender, sexuality, race, class, disability, age, and nation have played a crucial role in shaping my experience, perspective of issues, vulnerabilities, and privileges. First, my idea about vulnerability by virtue of gender has been coined by feminism which stems out of gender, as a social movement that seeks equal opportunities for everyone regardless of identification because the concept politically uses gender to critically analyze power in terms of who has it, who does not, and who abuses power. Feminism has impacted society and its beliefs since feminists primarily aim at addressing problems that occur daily such as rape, racism, homophobia, domestic violence, job segregation, and sexual objectification through the movement that targets ending all kinds of oppression, especially gender-based oppression.

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My gender identification has shaped my understanding and experience of feminism which attempts to end women’s subordination especially those who experience gender oppression in various ways depending on class, race, sexual orientation, and more. Therefore, the term intersectionality was coined by black feminists who felt that white feminists ignored the interaction of gender systems and race-concealed issues faced by women of color because the real issue in feminism is not exclusively about men but patterns of domination. It is noteworthy that feminists do not have to be only women because there are men who also hold strong feminist values and work together with women to advocate for reproductive freedom. Besides, I have familiarized myself with the experience that claiming that feminism is exclusively a concept that only women hold contrasts the rule of gender justice since individuals such as intersex and transgender populations feel exempted when they are rejected by single-sex groups. Hence, feminism can be considered as an inclusive social movement that takes action in the interest of women and all groups affected by hegemonic power plus men’s involvement with feminism does not translate to male chivalry. Gender implies our social class as women and men and is a learned conception because people learn gender-appropriate conduct along the path of development besides being reinforced through institutional arrangements that dictate how men and women are expected to behave. School, friends, family, and religion are some of the avenues through which we get to learn about gender and what society expects of both. My gender as a female has shaped my experience and perspective because while growing up, parents expected boys to toughen up and use action-filled toys as play items while girls were expected to be soft and play with gentle play items such as dolls. The rationale behind such expectation is gender construction where men are associated with certain things which are considered rough and aggressive for instance in employment. With repeated consideration of such notions, I have gradually developed the notion that gender messages have become naturalized to the extent that when we grow up, it is common to find women working as nurses or kindergarten teachers while men work as professors, engineers, and other career fields which are termed as aggressive and endowed with masculinity. However, feminism theory fights against this notion since gender equality implies the capacity of both genders to take part in similar roles without any bias based on orientation which has shaped vulnerability by identifying with a particular gender. Gender has also shaped my privileges because; women, for instance, have certain privileges which their counterparts lack because of how the concept of being female sits in societal beliefs. Additionally, my experience with most cases of violence has been shaped by the concept of gender and race wherein most incidences are perpetrated by men against women based on the notion of acting in a masculine way to portray the superiority of one gender over the other. These notions have been held for an extensive period although with changing times, times are shifting based on gender roles and what is expected of masculinity and femininity as men are taking up roles that were initially linked to women. Gender shaped my life as a young child growing up to a great extent because I was tuned to believe that men are sometimes considered to be stronger than women because they bear the aspect of masculinity. Therefore, they are to be feared, and their ideas should not be objected to. However, at present, my life has been shaped by gender to the point that I understand that in as much as there is a distinction between masculinity and femininity, men and women should coexist with the knowledge that no gender is superior to the other. Race and class have equally shaped my perspective and experience because the rise of racism and classism can be attributed to a certain power wherein some individuals or groups feel they are superior based on their race and their class in society. Consequently, I have experienced cases whereby prejudices are placed on minority groups by being considered inferior to others. As a consequence, I have witnessed wide rifts between different groups because every group believes that they are way better than others because of the influence of power that they hold by associating with specific racial groups. Sexuality also plays a vital role in explaining certain aspects of the social world that I live in presently because people have divergent sexuality and there are some groups of people that believe they have powerful sexuality while others have inferior and are not allowed to express their views candidly.

Finally, in my perspective, the analysis above vividly illustrates the concept of intersectionality because of the different ways that our lives form through the simultaneous action of multiple forms of power fully expounded. Main categories of social differences such as class, gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual affiliations have shaped my perspective on various issues in contemporary society by illustrating how the concepts are intertwined and their association with one another. The analysis establishes a relationship between the society we live in and the actual happenings with the various factors that play essential roles in molding the social world either positively or negatively.

References

    1. Crenshaw, Kimberle. 'Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color.' Stanford Law Review, vol. 43, no. 6, 1991, pp. 1241-1299.
    2. Combahee River Collective. The Combahee River Collective Statement. n.d.
    3. Feminist Politics: Where We Stand. n.d.
    4. Introduction: Come Closer to Feminism. n.d.
    5. Koyama, Emi. Whose Feminist Is It Anyway? The Unspoken Racism of the Trans Inclusion. n.d.
    6. Overview and Introductions: This is What a Feminist Looks Like. n.d.
    7. Reece, Raimunda. Feminist Theorizing on Race and Racism. n.d.
    8. Stevenson, Winona. Colonialism and First Nations Women in Canada. n.d.
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Critical Reflective Essay on Intersectionality. (2023, October 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/critical-reflective-essay-on-intersectionality/
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Critical Reflective Essay on Intersectionality [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Oct 09 [cited 2024 Jun 20]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/critical-reflective-essay-on-intersectionality/
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