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The Mass Media

Greetings From An International Feminist

Disclaimer: I am in no way an expert regarding feminism and do not claim to be so. I hope to present my opinion on an extremely nuanced topic, basing my facts on research.
The rise of third wave feminism has seen intersectional feminism taking the forefront. Ever since the first wave of feminism in the United States began, there have been fractures within it. Continued progression of the feminist movement has attempted to continue to encompass more aspects of feminine culture. Their efforts have been noted through advances for women in every sphere of life. However, it is clear that work must continue.
Intersectional feminism is the most recent aspect of feminism attempting to encompass everyone influenced by the patriarchy. Intersectionality is defined as “an analytic framework that attempts to identify how interlocking systems of power impact those who are most marginalized in society” (Wikipedia). Intersectionality includes, race, sexual orientation, and sexual identity. Intersectional feminists argue that past waves of feminism neglected women in other walks of life and mainly focused on the struggles white, cis, and heterosexual women. Intersectional feminism has been embraced by several large feminist organizations, including the Women’s March. However, the ideology itself is not directly linked to one specific organization, but rather has been adopted by a huge majority of feminist organizations in the western world.
During the first wave of feminism, during the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, women of color felt excluded. In the beginning of the first wave of feminism, this was widely true. Women of color being excluded from feminist movements has been a trend throughout the feminist movements history. In 2017, NBC reported, “Thousands of women will attend Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington, an event planned to protest Donald Trump’s rhetoric and policies that organizers believe undermine women across identities. But some black women are opting out of the event because of historic exclusion from the feminist movement” (1). The author continues, “From the rejection of black women in the Suffrage Movement to contemporary missteps to acknowledge the ways in which multiple forms of oppression affect African-American women and the failure to show up as allies, white feminists have a complicated history with women of color that leaves some black women skeptical of efforts like the Women’s March” (1).
As an ideology, intersectional feminism claims that it advocates for the rights of women from every walk of life. It is my strong belief that the modern-day American and intersectional feminist movement does not go far enough in assuring that the rights of all women are being advocated for. That is why I identify as an international feminist.
I do this not to distance myself from the current-day feminist movement, but to make a distinct stance in support of the international women who do not find any vocal support from the modern-day American feminist. During the South African Apartheid, American colleges, companies, and politicians made very distinct and obvious efforts to convince and eventually force South Africa to lift the apartheid. I believe a similar movement must be done to free the women around the world—specifically in the Middle East.
Middle Eastern nations such as Saudi Arabia and Iran commit regular violations of human rights specifically against women. Even today, in Saudi Arabia, women and men must live regularly segregated lives. Women, ethnic minorities, members of the LGBTQ community, and even Christians are regularly persecuted by the government. While the current intersectional feminism “claims” to stand for the rights for women from all walks of life, I perceive their response to the oppression of women around the world to be particularly silent. The feminist movement in the United States must outwardly and aggressively expose the injustices felt by women in the international communities and notify our representatives to act accordingly. Whether it means placing sanctions on Saudi Arabia or appealing to the United Nations to advocate for harsher international sanctions, something must be done to advocate and help women who are struggling with harsher injustices than here in the United States.
(1) https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/decades-exclusion-leave-black-women-skeptical-womens-march-n710216

About the Contributor
Matthew Reiad, Opinions Editor