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Intersectionality, also referred to as intersectional
The concept of intersectionality intended to illuminate dynamics that have often been overlooked by feminist movements and theory. As articulated by author
Racial inequality was a factor that was largely ignored by first-wave feminism, which was primarily concerned with gaining political equality between men and women. Early women's rights movements often exclusively pertained to the membership, concerns, and struggles of white women alone. Second-wave feminism stemmed from Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique and worked to dismantle sexism relating to the perceived domestic purpose of women. While feminists during this time had success through the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title IX, and Roe v. Wade, they largely alienated black women from the platforms of the mainstream movement. However, third-wave feminism – which emerged shortly after the term "intersectionality" was coined in the late 1980s – notes the lack of attention to race, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity in early feminist movements, and tries to provide a channel to address political and social disparities. Intersectionality recognizes these issues which were ignored by early social justice movements. Many recent academics such as Leslie McCall have argued that the introduction of the intersectionality theory was vital to sociology, and that before the development of the theory there was little research that specifically addressed the experiences of people who are subjected to multiple forms of oppression within society. An example of this is Iris Marion Young arguing that differences must be acknowledged in order to find unifying social justice issues that in effect create coalitions that aid in changing society for the better. More specifically, this relates to the ideals of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW).
The term also has historical and theoretical links to the concept of "simultaneity", which was advanced during the 1970s by members of the
Since the term was coined, many feminist scholars have emerged with historical support for the intersectional theory. These women include Beverly Guy-Sheftall and her fellow contributors to Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought, a collection of articles describing the multiple oppressions black women in America have experienced from the 1830s to contemporary times. Guy-Sheftall speaks about the constant premises that influence the lives of African American women, saying “black women experience a special kind of oppression and suffering in this country which is racist, sexist, and classist because of their dual race and gender identity and their limited access to economic resources.” Other writers and theorists were using intersectional analysis in their work before the term was coined. For example, Deborah K. King published the article “Multiple Jeopardy, Multiple Consciousness: The Context of a Black Feminist Ideology” in 1988, just before Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality. In the article she addresses what soon became the foundation for intersectionality, saying, “Black women have long recognized the special circumstances of our lives in the United States: the commonalities that we share with all women, as well as the bonds that connect us to the men of our race.” Additionally,