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Kimberle Crenshaw Intersectionality Essay

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Lisa Kemmerer once said, ‘The reproductive abilities of women and their other female animals are controlled and exploited by those in power (usually men) and both are devalued as they age and wear out when they no longer reproduce. Cows, hens, and women are routinely treated as if they objected to being manipulated in order to satisfy the desires of powerful men, without regard to female’s wishes or feelings.’ Intersectionality is a term that was brought up by the theorist Kimberle Crenshaw. Crenshaw focuses on the term, intersectionality, and how people are often disadvantaged due to their race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other beliefs and labels people stand by. When diving into the term with a specific point of view, most women are scared to leave their abusive husbands’ side for many reasons, and women have to choose this life of abuse as an act of selflessness in hopes to save their future or their children’s future. They stay in these incredibly dangerous relationships for the sake of their freedom, their future, their identity, and their happiness in the long run. Kemmerer’s quote relates to this specific topic of intersectionality when it comes to women becoming submissive in order to feed men’s power and ego in most situations. Intersectionality is shown through Eva Luna by Isabel Allende because it lists the disadvantage of being a female and experiencing abuse brought from a higher power that comes and collides with women’s freedom when in an abusive relationship. For instance, Rolf’s father abuses his mother and held power over her. However, it does not always have to be an abusive relationship where women are terrified to defend themselves to avoid abuse. An African American woman named Anita hill had to face sexual harassment and most Americans did not believe her which led to her becoming a blamed victim. Women’s equality and the stop to violence especially in relationships is an ongoing fight. Most women find it very difficult to reach for help as there is such power in the other partner’s hands that causes intimidation or ultimatums with women who are involved in abusive relationships. In order to do so, there must be more people willing to help women in these tough situations that cannot reach for help and resources themselves.

In the book, Eva Luna, written by Isabel Allende, Abuse is shown through Eva Luna as Lukas Carle who is the father of the Carle family terrorizes Rolf’s mother. Isabel Allende touches on abuse, power, mistreatment, and inequality toward women in the novel. In the correlation to intersectionality and Eva Luna, customarily women are terrified to leave the oppressive spouse’s side. This is due to the fact that they are often times trapped by a higher power or threatened and cannot leave. For instance, Rolf Carle’s mother does not leave the abusive husband, Lukas Carle, for the sake of the children that they share together. They stay in these incredibly dangerous relationships for the sake of their freedom, their future, their identity, and their happiness in the long run. This correlates specifically to chapter two in Eva Luna as Rolf Carle comes to understand the fact that Lukas is torturing his mother and being forced to do nothing less of his father’s wishes or else he resides to physical abuse. Due to this, unfortunately, most women find it very difficult to reach for help as there is such power in the other partner’s hands that causes intimidation or ultimatums with women who are involved in abusive relationships. There are other instances where women do not leave these types of relationships because they are illegal immigrants and cannot repel for themselves. If these women attempt to speak up or try to reach for help, it may lead to negative results when trying to fend for a future for themselves. Because of this, these types of women are left with no choice but to stay in these oppressed situations. Scientists are dissecting intersectionality and where the foundation of the issue is found when understanding the abuse of women. The article, ‘Intimate Partner Abuse Typology and Intersectionality,’ written by Patricia Raya, opens up a quote made by James Madison that says, ‘The people never give up their freedom, except under some delusion.’ The majority of the abusive partners are manipulating, and the women who are anchored in these relationships become embedded with the manipulation that is fed to them.

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An African American woman named Anita Hill was sexually harassed by U.S. Supreme Court nominee who goes by the name of Clarence Thomas in 1991. This became a national epidemic when Anita Hill attempted to desperately stand up for herself by voicing her tragic event that has occurred by the judge, Clarence. In most cases, women may not be engaged with romantic connections, yet at the same time experience maltreatment in which they are too afraid to speak up about or are accused of how and why this came to place. This became a huge epidemic against Anita Hill because many people across the nation, including the supreme court, did not believe or trust Hill and instead turned against her. In the article, ‘We Still Have Not Learned from Anita Hill’s Testimony’, written by Kimberle Crenshaw, Crenshaw unravels the truth and the reality in front of our eyes on women abuse and woman of color. ‘It became clear that our organizing on Anita Hill’s behalf was ineffective in the face of the black community’s outrage over a black woman who had dared to turn on a fellow African-American at the cusp of enormous judicial power.’ (Crenshaw). This article highlights the trauma that Rolf’s mother had to deal with when experiencing such maltreatment and not having access to help as well as Anita Hill’s case. Lisa Kemmerer correlates intersectionality to Anita Hill’s case when she speaks about male privilege and how women are susceptible to the power of men when it comes to women’s voices. When instances happen this way many times, this becomes a gender inequality issue. The article, ‘Sexuality and Male Dominance’ written by Diane Richardson correlates to Anita Hill’s case because Richardson touches on gender inequality and sexual harassment in the workplace. ‘For instance, it is becoming clearer how sexuality affects women’s position in the labor market in numerous ways: from being judged by their looks as right (or wrong) for the job, to sexual harassment in the workplace as a common reason for leaving employment.’ (Richardson 75). To correlate, Anita Hill had to struggle with sexual assault acts and pornography in the workplace done by Clarence Thomas and was afraid to speak up as Thomas had much more power over Hill. Anita Hill’s testimony as well as the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas case can open one’s eyes and bring awareness to our country as it involves gender politics, inequality, and abuse. ‘Such colorblind feminism did a profound disservice to Ms. Hill. And it marked another key moment of political erasure- in this case, one that effaced modern feminist history.’ (Crenshaw 19). Anita Hill experienced such foul treatment from the institutions and Americans.

In addition, Crenshaw focuses on intersectionality with many aspects such as race, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, and gender identity. In the novel, Eva Luna, the main character Eva has experienced abuse in her life by her godmother Madrina and her employers. Madrina abuses Eva for running away from her job and life. Madrina then takes her back to resume her life as was. Although intersectionality deals with power from men, it may also come in various situations such as abuse from women as well. ‘On that long journey, she wept all the tears stored in her soul, leaving none in reserve for late sorrows.’ (Allende). Regardless of whether Eva Luna has had hardships throughout her life, Isabel Allende enables the reader to identify with her as she is an independent young woman.

At last, although intersectionality is based on multiple dimensions of discrimination that women and women of color face, Crenshaw’s main point when delivering the term ‘intersectionality’ is to correct the understanding of what it truly means. Like Anita Hill, African American women have experienced prejudice as well as they have experienced sexism. In any case, there are numerous levels to this term and isn’t directed toward African American women alone. However, the direction is towards all women who battle in different kinds of circumstances of misuse and segregation such as Rolf Carle’s mother and family. Women’s leap toward freedom occurred in the 1970s which is also known as the Women’s Liberations Movement. This allowed women to grab hold of their voices and not be controlled exclusively by men. Women increased the right to vote and this gave women an unmistakable perspective on the states of their lives and associations with men. Brutality experienced by men isn’t a similar path that is experienced by women. Women are bound to be defrauded by men in their lives and it is dictated by their race, religion, sexual direction, and disability. To begin to stop the inequality that women face in their workplace, their own home, or even by strangers is giving proper value to women’s work when it comes down to their workplace. Another approach to put an end to the imbalance is pushing women towards control for our nation. Male figures have been in control over this nation and women’s decisions and it is essential to comprehend the power that male figures hold over women and continue to hold.


  1. Crenshaw, Kimberlé W. ‘We Still Have Not Learned from Anita Hill’s Testimony.’ UCLA Women’s Law Journal, vol. 26, no. 1, Spring 2019, pp. 17–20.
  2. Richardson, Diane. ‘Sexuality and Male Dominance.’ SpringerLink, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 1 Jan. 1993.
  3. India. ‘Sexism, Male Privilege, and Violence in the Animal Liberation Movement.’ Veganrainbowproject, The Vegan Rainbow Project, 21 Apr. 2019,

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