Problematize

Intersectionality is the idea that identity cannot be fully understood via a single lens such as gender, race, or class alone—what legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw (1989) called a “single axis framework” (p. 139). Rather, our identities and the social meaning attributed to them must be understood in their interdependence on one another; identity is multidimensional. For example, one is not just a woman but a white heterosexual cisgender able-bodied woman. All of these identities interact in complex ways that shape how this particular woman will experience gender. Prior to Crenshaw popularizing the term, scholars had been writing about the problematics of a single axis of analysis for many years. Many of these scholars were and are Black, transnational, and queer feminists who have problematized the idea that there is a singular female experience that feminism speaks to and under which all women can be gathered.

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