Travelling back from an event last night, my friend behind the wheel, the conversation veered to more personal matters. Feeling the need to share I started telling her about an assignment I had been working on for an introductory sociology class I am taking.
Through this task I have unraveled and peeled back the layers of my life through a theoretical lens, finding where certain twists and turns fit. It has caused me to go deep. Really deep. As in….”where would I be now had I not led such a sheltered childhood? Were the influences from my family and community so strong that they shaped a good chunk of my life? And most noteworthy..the slow realization that my movements through certain times in my life were made from choices, yet the external factors those choices were made in were not of my choosing.” Those external factors were largely embedded in the dominant masculine discourse that is our society.
I likened my thoughts to a pinball machine, designed to allow passage for only certain sized or shaped balls, through to achievement/success. Depending on the size of one’s ball (themselves) they may be granted or denied passage through no other reason than their ethnicity, gender, social class, sexuality, age or disability. Intersectionality. The word at the moment. I admitted I was disheartened to fully understand the impact this had on vulnerable people (I had previously ‘known’ but had not really fully appreciated the deeper meaning and implications it held for people situated within multiple sources of oppression). This coming from a lady loving lady who had fallen down a few rungs on the social class ladder through claiming her identity. How could this be? Yet there are others facing much greater oppression than I. It all seems so unjust.
She very calmly turned to me and said; “It’s ok. You’re having a consciousness-raising.”
Why yes! Yes I am. And it feels empowering, nauseating and motivating all at the same time.
So from this baby feminist on this sunny Sunday: ‘Happy first Birthday to Me.’
Many happy returns (in the form of free passage for all?).
An introduction to intersectionality can be found here
(sweet peas: sweet peace)