April 6, 2013

Intersectionality what an intimidating word and one that causes a lot of arguments within the feminist family. What it means in simple terms that feminism, sexism and all the other isms are affected by other forces, for example I a working class mother, a single parent, school caretaker on low wages, white woman experiences the world in a different way to women of colour, middle class and upper class women, to women whose sexuality differ from the so-called norm also my experiences differ from women who challenge the norms according to gender and how it is formed, lived and related to. Yes I have avoided using the words that are used to label and separate women. If you are/say you are a woman you are. The intricacies of language seem to be continually used to cause division rather than to unite, a feminist is a feminist is a feminist (simple). To deny others the differences in their experiences and validity of their struggle is a pointless task, because whilst arguing that class etc etc etc doesn’t exist all you are doing is silencing and by silencing you are doing patriarchy’s work. 

I have taken over three weeks to fill a job application form in, the reason for this? It’s a job at Cambridge university and with every word I fill in I am consumed with the fear that I am wasting my time. I am fully qualified for this job I am not punting out of my league but I can’t get the thought out of my head that somehow my application isn’t written well enough, and if it is the minute they look at my 47 (mature student self) year old self or the minute I open my mouth and hear quite clearly that I didn’t gain my degree in Cambridge that I’m going to be politely shown the door. I have wept over this application, I haven’t even finished it yet I am going to make myself post it but I don’t have high hopes however much I want the job. Don’t tell me that class destinctions don’t exist and that I am alone in this fear and insecurity I feel. I know that millions go through similar/different but related experiences because of patriarchy.

I am fighting for recognition in a world made by and for men, we all are. Patriarchy is the enemy here and that includes it being the enemy of the majority of men although they can’t see it through the benefits it brings them whether they recognise them or not, male suicide levels etc show that.

I came to academic language late in life, I found it frustrating and infuriating and it shuts people out of the discussion. It does sometimes feel that feminism is a very posh club that I’m not quite part of, however my life experience has given me the ability to decipher legaleese and basically cut through all the bullshit so I found a way of coping. Academic language I think is quite often the route cause of feminist infighting, we are trying to bend and twist a language where women are the inferior other to give us a voice, we are trying to use a language entrenched in male tradition to describe and include the variety of women and their problems and needs when this language has been used to silence us for so long.

Isn’t it time to read between the lines? Read something twenty times before we make a decision on it and especially never silence a sister. Maybe you don’t understand my class issue or understand my fear but you can accept it’s real and sympathise with me or not as you choose, but don’t tell me I’m wrong or silly to feel it because it’s not real, that just means YOU haven’t experienced it that’s all. Apply this to ANY other issue that women go through.


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Caroline Criado-Perez

A Pox on the Patriarchy


Lady things, explained.


"I have long argued that the giving of offence, and even hate speech, should be a moral matter but not a matter for the criminal law. That is as true on the football pitch as on the streets. We should always challenge racism. We should also always challenge attacks on liberties in the guise of faux antiracism." Kenan Malik

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