There was a New Statesman article about a year ago, about a young girl in France who had been sexually exploited in largely the same way as the girls I have previously talked about in Bradford or Keighley. The way that gender, class and inequality intersect is brutal it said, as it explained THIS was what was meant by intersectionality and talked about the control that was used to repeatedly allow a neighbourhood of boys to brutally rape her.
The older UK women finding they are now to be evicted from homes they have had their whole lives and the British women forced to stay in abusive relationships, often with children, for fear of being abused by the state, the middle class women who just found that the state rolled back and ensured their lives are now caring for others unpaid and invisible. The women watching their sons criminalised by poverty, and unemployment being almost guaranteed for both them and their sons and daughters, as race cruelly intersects with gender to close doors and destroy lives. The women whose disabilities combine with all these things to ensure they are silenced as routine. The women with HIV being hunted and demonised so they can be hurt or left to die, in Greece. These are the women who paid when gender inequality was exploited to agreement for austerity which is the centre position in western politics.
Austerity first removed financial independence from British working class women to silence, decimated their labour market and finally removed legal aid so women were dependent on men, and their children could be used to maintain that. The girls in Keighley, everyone is so outraged about, the first to lose any services when austerity was decided and their ‘industry’ seeing an expansion in the bodies of children and young women. We see it in India with the culture of rape and violence keeping women down from birth, we see it in the countries where children are forced to marry their rapists or forced to continue pregnancies they cannot physically bear, and we see it in Steubenville where a rape victim was treated as the guilty party as her attackers laughed across the internet. This is the reason global poverty has a female face and provides so much exploitable cheap labour and why mothers worldwide act as shock absorbers of poverty.
This is ALL because the structures of power globally, nationally and within the society that governs individual lives, the political cultures, the media class left and right, or their equivalents, are indifferent and have always been indifferent to these women. They are just too common, not important, should have made better ‘choices’.
I warned two years ago that inequality faultlines have been blown apart by austerity and there was going to be some comeback to a mainstream and ‘radical’ media class indifferent to it. It’s complicated but it really isn’t.
This intersection, how race, class, gender, sexuality, age, geography, identity, combine with the intersection of policy from an indifferent political class, and with the intersection of the economic inequality our system requires, all comes down on women’s lives brutally.
Intersection was the word that signified that things would now be changing and the discussion would move on. Move on to include the trans women who fight every day for basic safety, dignity and lives. All women, or none. With all their differences.
No more feminism as a discussion of which women can join the white posh club f they are polite and do not offend newspaper columnists with 5 and 6 figure salaries who believe feminism is about them discussing choices women without choices ‘should’ make. No more feminism hostile to mothers and carers and those who decorate their genitals with diamante. No more women as sex workers finding they are rejected by their feminist sisters. Old ineffective feminism rejected so these women could come to the fore. No more feminism you can only access with a post graduate degree and a 100quid a month to pay to the rereleased Spare Rib to be in their club.
This threatened our non too bright and less than insightful vanguard of modern obsolete feminists and a misogynist left who felt threatened turned it into a new term they could use to bully and silence women. So far a long list of female journalists have been abused with that term, and the same vanguard who ensured that austerity came together in brutal and intersecting ways for women across the country have turned it into a term so internet bullies could ‘call out’ and preserve their own position. The same bullies who silence women in the name of any term they happen to learn that week. Radical chic for women who think feminism is about who they fuck and the absence of words they like in ad copy.
Our modern self defining feminists believe intersectionality is one of two things, an excuse to bully women and maintain a position and establish a writing career, or a reason to whine that their feelings are hurt. It isn’t.
It is a sign their day is over.
Your feminism failed. We want to talk about equality and why it is modern feminism so routinely stands in the way of discussing it. Intersectionality is important, the word is not.