Intersectionality & violence

Content Notice: Discussing Orlando, but less anger and no vivid description of terrible things this time.

My colleague over at Death to Squirrels (hi Iris *waves*) posted something that finally knocked over a domino in my head. In her post, she says (emphasis mine):

I also think that what makes this mass shooting particularly difficult to process is that it implicates multiple intersections of queerness, racism, homophobia, religion, policing, mental illness, terrorism, gun violence, domestic violence and more.

Gah. Duh. Thanks for screwing in my lightbulb, Iris. You’re fab and ilu.

I’ve been dizzied by some of the participants in this conversation. They hone in on their pet issue with a laser-like focus. Something about this strategy always rubbed me the wrong way. It wasn’t homophobia, it was Islam. It wasn’t Islam, it was guns. It wasn’t guns, it was toxic masculinity. It wasn’t toxic masculinity, it was homophobia. It wasn’t regular homophobia, it was also internalized homophobia. And on and on.

And I read Iris’ post and I was like, I figured it out:

Y’all are White Feminists.

White Feminists refer to a specific iteration of feminism that lacks intersections. It subscribes to universal womanhoods, assumes all women occupy the same station in society, and redresses what they see to be pressing injustices within that station. And this is not to say that none of the White Feminists’ concerns are invalid–however, equal access to promotions would be of small consolation to, say, the trans woman held in a men’s prison.

White Feminists have notoriety for their laser-like interpretation of the patriarchy. Feminists of colour, trans feminists, atheist feminists, working-class feminists, kinky feminists, queer feminists and more have all blasted White Feminist literature for patently refusing to acknowledge the interaction between sexism and one’s other minority demographics, be it economic class, race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, gender variance, you name it. The contrasted movement is intersectionality, which when we’re discussing acts of oppression, tries to consider the sum of one’s minority demographics as greater than and inseparable from the whole of its parts.

Most of the participants probably aren’t feminists, so I’m not actually accusing (most) of them of being White Feminists. Rather it’s a metaphor. Allow me to use the Royal You for a moment, and describe generally and not necessarily You, but possibly You, the reader: You’re honing in on one cause of the Orlando shooter’s actions, when there ain’t one cause.

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