A week or so ago business-guru Marie Forleo sent out an e-mail informing her subscribers that today would be designated “Malala Day”, and dedicated to celebrating the strength of Malala Yousafzai, as well as supporting her continuing efforts to “bring awareness to the social and economic impact of girls’ education and to empower girls to raise their voices, to unlock their potential, and to demand change.” Right on! I expected it to be a big event online, with Google Doodles and the like… but sadly that didn’t come to pass.
For my own part, I ended up going off on a slight tangent and reading various blog posts about “Intersectional Feminism”, which I’m rather ashamed to admit I hadn’t heard of before… I mean, I’d read essays by African-American Feminists in the past which criticised the movement for failing to address related issues of racial oppression and exclusion, but I’m not sure I’d ever encountered the term itself before. Apparently “Intersectionality” was coined by American professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, and the textbook definition runs thus: “The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.” In other words, Intersectionality is the study of ways in which two or more forms of oppression can overlap and double-team someone.
Er, I’m not sure how that all relates back to Malala Day, beyond the fact that Miss Yousafzai is a young WoC whose experiences are a world apart from those of white, privileged types like myself, and that any brand of (supposed) Feminism that ignored or excluded or insulted her would, in the words of Flavia Dzodan, be straight-up bullshit.