Feminism is a radical ideology that women and men should be equally empowered politically, socially and economically. Simply put, feminists want to seal the gap that has always existed between men and women in society (Carastathis, 2014). Intersectionality theory, on the other hand, conceptualizes all discriminative threats that affect people whose identities overlap with various sources of oppression, including gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, among others. In short, intersectionality acknowledges that a person is often disadvantaged by more than one source of oppression (Bilge, 2013). This paper seeks to present how feminists use intersectionality theory to explain the issues that affect women in society.
In general, feminist scholars use the concept of Intersectionality to highlight and explain each source of oppression that affects women in the society. They include race, social class, social status, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation.
According to Smith, (2013), feminist scholars recognize the fact that women of different races are treated differently. In America, for instance, while women are generally paid lower than men, the women of color are even more disadvantaged than their white counterparts. That simply implies that women of color are affected by both sexism and racism at the same time. Feminists, therefore, recommend eliminating racism as one way of addressing sexism.
Based on Carastathis (2014) argument, feminist scholars acknowledge the fact that women in different classes are treated differently. For example, economically unstable/economically dependent women are more likely to be abused by their husbands than wealthy/economically independent ladies. That simply means that the amount of wealth a woman poses is vital in determining how the society will respect her. Therefore, feminists argue that the journey to end sexism requires enhancing women economic empowerment.
Social status refers to the position that a person occupies in society. According to Bilge (2013), feminists agree to the fact that women holding various positions in the society are treated differently. For instance, a female senator is more likely to be respected and listed to by a male congregation than a local woman who occupies no influential position in the society. As a result, feminists believe that addressing sexism demands elevating the statuses of women in society.
Based on Carastathis (2014) report, women from different ethnic backgrounds are treated distinctively. For instance, women from communities that practice patriarchal family structure are less respected or listened to, compared to their counterparts in matriarchal or in a family arrangement where both spouses have equal power. Therefore, feminists believe that challenging patriarchal family structure, and other gender-biased cultural rationales, is necessary to end sexism in the society.
According to Bilge (2013), religious beliefs have a significant influence on how women are treated in society. For example, women in Muslim communities are not allowed to make major decisions in the family or occupy major positions in society. Feminists see that as oppression that needs to be addressed in order to thwart the issue of sexism in the society.
Feminist scholars acknowledge that women who identify themselves as lesbian or transsexual are usually discriminated more than their counterparts, especially in African and Asian communities (Smith, 2013). Therefore, they believe changing the social perception about sexual orientation is key to curbing sexism.
This paper sought to present how feminists use the intersectionality theory. It found that feminist scholars use various aspects that affect women in society to explain sexism including race and religion. They, therefore, recommend that addressing all social issues that affect women negatively is necessary to end sexism.
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