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The Intersectionality of Oppression:

The point where experiences of oppression collide

Nikki Cook Society and Media

Defining Intersectionality
A methodology of studying the relationships along multiple axes of identity. The study of intersections between marginalized identities and the interactions of multiple systems of oppression or discrimination.

Intersectionality: A Black Feminist Thought

Founded in Black Feminist theory Originally coined by Kimberle Crenshaw Extensively researched by Patricia Hill Collins Black woman = Black + Woman
Contemporary feminist and anti-racist discourses have failed to consider intersectional identities such as women of color. Kimberle Crenshaw

Applicable to ALL Marginalized Identities

Class Sexuality



Gender Age


Incorporated Definitions
Stereotypes- generalizations about a group of people whereby a defined set of characteristics to this group are attributed. Prejudice- an irrational feeling of dislike for a person or group of persons, usually based on a stereotype. Discrimination- the act of prejudice by an individual in a position of power. Privilege- a system of favoritism and advantage granted to people as the beneficiaries of historical conquest, colonization, and genocide. Benefits include preferential treatment, exemption from group oppression and immunity from perpetuating social inequality.

The system isnt broken, it was built that way

Systems of Advantage- discrimination, stereotypes, prejudice, but most importantly, the power and privilege required to maintain, perpetuate and establish itself through force and definition and domination.
Racism Sexism Ableism Heterosexism

An Example of Institutionalized Racism XgNY

Levels of Inequality
Inequality functions on three levels
Personal/Individual Groups Institutions/Societies

They need to be addressed on all levels in terms of domination and resistance to learn more about their impacts. There are different experiences and intersectionalities of oppression and privilege all layered overtop each other and can be manifested differently depending on context.

The Matrix of Domination

Developed by black feminist scholars Patricia Hill Collins, Bonnie Thorton Dill and Maxine Baca Zinn

In order to truly understand oppression we must understand its counter position of privilege Inequality and oppression are the result of several forces working hand in hand No one singular force is the cause of injustice Two key truths:
1. Oppression is created by privilege 2. We all occupy some statuses of privilege, regardless of our statuses as the oppressed

Parallels between Racism and Sexism

Racism Both
A system of advantage Learned behavior Perpetuated by stereotypes Involve acts of systematic coercion Involve subordinates and dominants May culminate in violence


The subordination of people of color by white people

The subordination of women by men

Some problems we share as women, some we do not. You [white women] fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you; we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs on the reasons they are dying. Audre Lorde

Intersectionality in the Media

Ideologies of Disability
Kathleen LeBesco discusses the intersections of disability, gender, and body image as represented on The Sopranos
Ultimately, what becomes important is not the mere number of representations but the expression of a view from within disability culture through television *+ (Kathleen LeBesco, 185)

Each identity of each character plays a role in how they are represented and the stereotypes they represent

Intersectionality in the Media

Women do not suffer under patriarchy equally. Marlo David Asikwe exemplifies this in More Than Baby Mamas: Black Mothers and Hip-Hop Feminism:
It is no longer appropriate to simply identify hip-hop as patriarchal and complain that its favorite son, rap music, is misogynist. Instead, our post-soul, postmodern, post-black sensibilities have allowed us to complicate how we situate women within this selfreflective organism called hip-hop (pg 137).

The sexualization of women of color is different than that of white women.

Intersectionality in the Media

LGBTQ issues inherently consist of varying concepts of gender and masculinity as it instantly sexualizes someone with a singular word. Can be an invisible identity, and therefore easily compounded with other identities of oppression. Gilad Padva relates the intersection of male privilege with the gay identity in the media in Educating The Simpsons: Teaching Queer Representations in Contemporary Visual Media:
Earl Jackson (1995) suggests that a truly subversive gay representational practice must contest not only the gay subjects experience of heterosexist persecution, but also his experience of patriarchal privilege (158). Refers back to the two key truths of the Matrix of Domination

Examples of Intersecting Identities in the Media

Wanda Sykes George Takei Lucy Liu

Black Woman Gay Activist

Japanese American Gay Activist

Chinese American Woman Multilingual

Examples of Intersecting Identities in the Media

Aziz Ansari Isis King Gabrielle Union

Indian American Tamil Muslim

Black Transgender Woman LGBTQ Activist

Black Woman Sexual Assault Survivor and Activist

Fluidity of Intersecting Identities

Identity transcends unilateral sociological thought Just like individual identities, intersecting identities fall on a three dimensional plane allowing for varying degrees of intersections at limitless points Not only is identity transcendental, but so is oppression

Work Cited
Collins, Patricia Hill. "Patricia Hill Collins: Intersecting Oppressions." Intersecting Oppressions. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <>. Crenshaw, Kimberle , and Luke Harris. "Unequal Opportunity Race." You Tube. N.p., 29 Sept. 2010. Web. 19 Feb. 2013. <>. "Intersectional Theory." Upload & Share PowerPoint presentations and documents. Temple University, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <>. "Volume 8: Teaching Intersectionality."ATGENDER - The European Association for Gender Research, Education and Documentation. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. < olumes/tg7>. Intersectionality - YouTube." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. <>.