The Importance of Intersectionality and Identity

Before this week I was not aware of intersectionality and had never heard of the term being used with social movements. The reading this week on intersectionality highlighted to me where people may be going wrong when forming social justice movements. My definition of intersectionality is that everyone in a group needs to be treated equally and aware of the factors that can marginalise people such as gender, race, class, and sexual orientation. No privilege factor must be involved to combat discrimination. I feel that this is key to remember when talking about racism and other oppressions such as gender, identity, and sexuality. 

Everyone is unique and has their own form of identity. Our gender, class, race and sexuality make us who we are as a person and influence our experiences and interactions daily. When demanding change through social justice movements we need to make an example of equality and unity. This means looking at the needs of both privileged and underprivileged people, which will make sure no one is being left behind or discriminated against. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the GimpGirl reading as it made me happy to hear how women with disabilities have redefined and created their own sense of identity. Social media has been a massive benefit in creating a safe environment for these women and it highlights how online platforms can be revolutionary. The GimpGirl Community, which is also known as GGC, was founded in 1998 as a place for women with disabilities to share ideas and experiences, discuss issues, and to provide information and support. With the use of online technology, GGC has been able to reach a wider community and maintain connections between members. 

GGC uses an interactive online platform called Second Lifewhich allows members to create their own avatar and interact with them and connect with other people. The use of avatars has created many options for members to explore their identity and create a visible representation of how they see themselves and how they want to be portrayed to others. I see this as a huge positive for women with disabilities to feel more comfortable in their skin and encourage them to live a normal life.

GGC is a prime example of recognising intersectionality and coming up with a solution to combat discrimination. One of the main aims of developing the GimpGirl Community was to help disabled women who were vulnerable to physical, sexual and psychological abuse. GGC has recognised that this is a problem and helped build a safe environment for these women to create their own identity. 

Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash

Sources Used:

Cole, J., Nolan, J., Seko, Y., Mancuso, K., & Ospina, A. Gender, Race, and Class in Media (4th ed., pp. 958-969). California: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Oluo, Ijemoa. “five: What is intersectionality and why do I need it?.” So You Want to Talk About Race, Basic Books, 16 January 2018, pp. 70 – 82

5 thoughts on “The Importance of Intersectionality and Identity

  1. Hey Alice! At first, I also found myself oblivious to the lack of intersectionality within current social movements. Besides the obvious, All Lives Matter protestors as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement. I found the All Lives Matter protestors to be filled with privilege and ignorance. Due to their privilege, there’s no confusion as to why they decided to divide even further and not be intersectional. If they were, they would realize their privilege and use it to make the voice of the Black Lives Matter movement louder. Intersectionality is all about coming together no matter your identity. It will allow for a better and more productive use of activism.

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  2. Hi Alice! Thank you for writing about this reading, I was also unaware there was a group for disabled women to join, but I am grateful it exists. Sometimes I think it’s easy for people to get wrapped up in labeling everything and everyone in the world, but the thing is that no person can fit under one label. And there are hundreds are things that make up a person and their life experiences. As someone who has traveled abroad and gone to school in a different country, how have you seen or experienced intersectionality in yourself or friends? Thank you for sharing! 103 words

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    1. Hi Karina! I feel very grateful that I have had the opportunity to travel abroad and be at university in a different city/country. I definitely feel that through my experiences I have spent time with people from different backgrounds, race, nationality, gender etc, which has helped me become aware of different cultures and respect people for who they are.

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  3. Hi Alice! Like you, I was not fully aware of the very little intersectionality nor had I heard of it being used with social movements. Though I did not read the GimpGirl for this week’s reading, I will definitely be taking a look at it. I think it is awesome that the GimpGirl Community provides a place of support for women with disabilities. What is even greater is that these women can relate to each other and as you mentioned, be more comfortable in their own skin. It is really important that people of different communities are able to support each other, especially in today’s society. Have you heard of other groups or communities, similar to GGC? #117

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    1. Hi Eva! I know where I live there are groups similar that do activity days and support groups. In the UK, on a larger scare there is the LGBT foundation and Disability Rights. I think it is great that there are communities for people to be able to talk to others in similar situations to themselves, support each other, and provide helpful information.

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