“For God forbid that you can be Muslim, black and female” About Intersectional Feminism

by CathCatherine Namuswe

AbsIntersectional feminism centres the voices of those experiencing overlapping, concurrent forms of oppression in order to understand the depths of the inequalities and the relationships among them in any given context.

Intersectional feminism, this what our last School Workshop was about. More than 100 students attended our online workshop/webinar to listen to Atiyo, Evan, Aisha, and Catherine from the school workshops team.

Intersectional feminism refers to the range of social movements, political and ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, social, quality of the genders.

 

There has been four waves of feminism and each wave comprised of different characteristics or different entities.

➢ THE FIRST WAVE, This took place from the 19th and the 20th centuries. During this wave, different women movements stood up fighting for their rights to vote.

➢ THE SECOND WAVE, During this wave women groups rose up and were fighting for legal, social and economic equality.

➢ THE THIRD WAVE, During this wave basically focused on individuality and diversity. With this individuality and diversity was not for only the middle class or white women but for every woman even those of color.

➢ THE FORTH WAVE, This wave kicked off in 2012 and it mainly focused on sexual harassments among women for example rape, defilements among others. Different groups of women stood up to advocate for their fellow women and this raised concern that women should have a say when it comes to sex related issues with their spouses.

With all this, Feminism is worthless without intersectionality and inclusion. This therefore meant feminism to be effective, all sexes should be involved and included hence everyone in community ought to do their role in for feminism to be worthwhile.

EXAMPLES OF FEMINISTS

There are many examples of feminists in the world and among others these include,

  • ❖  NANA ASMA U BINT USMAN
    She was born in the 17th century in Nigeria. She was a poet, a teacher, and a feminist. She was one of the few women to stand up and advocate for the Muslim fraternity in West Africa. She quoted saying Muslim women do not listen to the speech of those who are misguided and who sow the seed of error in the heart of another.

  • ❖  SOJURNER TRUTH
    She was an African American woman who was born into slavery. After going to court to fight for her child, she became the first woman to advocate for abolition and civil women’s rights in the 19th century. She escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. It’s noted that she was the first woman to win such a case against a white man. Her civil war work earned her an invitation to meet the president, and this was in the good direction as far women’s rights were concerned.

A poem on intersectional feminism by Atiyo Muse.

Atiyo, one of the facilitators on the panel, is a poet who shared a poem that talked about feminism in a calm ad peaceful way yet driving a message home without pointing fingers at anyone or criticizing.

My freedom begins when your oppression stops
My freedom begins when your assumption ends
My freedom begins when ignorance is no longer bliss.
Your freedom starts where my oppression begins.
And what do I mean when I say
Your freedom starts where my oppression begins.
It is me saying that wearing my hijab is liberation and you insisting I am oppressed It is me saying the way I dress is my way to empowerment
and you insisting to uncover and undress me to feed your curiosity
It’s you raping me in the name of sisterhood
Waving a flag of my modesty, after you defeat me and claiming it is true liberation This poem is not about how men did me wrong, but about how YOU my sister betrayed a godly bond
See my sister
You been denied the same rights you won’t grant me Speaking the language of YOUR oppressor against me Your sister in solidarity
For God forbid that you can be Muslim, black and female For you my sister
feminism is homogenic
White
Excluding
Entitled
Is what I hear
And it’s clear that you’re
insincere when you won’t fight for my rights and won’t interfere when my hijab is on the line

Your freedom lies in equality, The equal
You and them
The men
But not me
For I am the wrong women
But don’t get it twisted
We are not the same sis.
My freedom lies in equity
Believe me that my peace
Celebrating differences and not boundaries. My feminism
Is
Believing
Seeing
And
Preaching
That we are all created different And in celebrating these differences
We will find freedom.

Highlighted Q&A from the workshop/webinar 

How can toxic masculinity be changed?

  • ➢ Looking at the societal expectations when it comes to men from a different perspective. Society has come up with different expectations and stereotypes of what men and women should do or be. For example, black men and women are put in a certain caliber of rarely feeling pain because of their color. 
  • ➢ Having an understanding of masculinity traits in society and come from self-awareness. Society has gone ahead to put up gender-based roles among both genders, for example, women of color rarely take up political offices, and other sectors. 

 

Why do some people think feminism is a negative thing and what can be done to change this perspective?

  • ➢ People do not understand FEMINISM and they are uncomfortable talking about it. They have a screwed vision of what feminism is and they are uncomfortable talking about it. In most cases, men think feminists’ women want to take over their superiority. 
  • ➢ We need to spread awareness of why feminism is important to women to get equal rights as men. Both men and women are competent in the business and opportunity world. 
  • ➢ Men in society should not be silent in the intersectional feminism movement. 

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