Tori Noriega Tori is a student at Pace University in New York City and Creative Director/Staff Writer at TFP.
I identify as an intersectional feminist. If you don’t know what that means, keep reading. That’s my whole point in this article. The kind of feminism that I see publicized at marches, such as one that recently happened, the Women’s March, is one that does not focus on all women. It focuses on women with female genitalia and predominantly white women. There is nothing wrong with white women or cisgendered women, I am cisgendered and white-passing, but the issues of “free the nipple” and “grab them by the pussy” do not apply to all femmes. First of all, let me explain what intersectional feminism is. I would like to point out that intersectional feminism was named by a black woman and is in no way is my original idea. The idea of intersectional feminism is that we are all equal. From white cisgender women to femmes of color. We take into account everyone’s needs and their issues. We work to resolve those issues. It is not an oppression competition. We are not trying to see who has it worse. We need to support all feminists and continue to educate ourselves. Never assume you know all that there is to know. I promise you, you don’t. That’s one thing my family taught me, especially my grandfather. There is always more to learn. The past feminists some idolize are not my idols. I do not mean to offend anyone, but those women didn’t fight for all women, they fought for white women. I idolize women like Rosa Parks, Assata Shakur, Frida Kahlo, Angela Davis and many more femmes of color who fought against white supremacy and the patriarchy. I am tired of seeing women of color, transgender femmes, disabled femmes and many more be erased in the mainstream media's version of feminism. These are our sisters, and if we do not fight for them, we are not truly fighting against the patriarchy. We are playing into it. There will be people who read this and think I’m just complaining more and more about things that are “made up”. They will think I am a sensitive “snowflake”, one of the many phrases people use to dismiss problems that don’t affect them. I see them on my Facebook from people I went to school with. I hear it from my distant family. Despite the opposition and name-calling, these issues are real, whether you want to accept it or not. Not everyone plays into a gender stereotype or identifies with a gender. We cannot erase nonbinary femmes. Transgender women are women, and they deserve our help just as much as any other woman. I don’t see as much talk about our sisters as I would like, we need to speak of the violence committed against them. Disabled women are very frequently overlooked, even from some of my extremely educated friends rarely mention disabled women. I rarely see disabled femmes out speaking to the masses. I know it isn’t because they do not want to, or because they do not have opinions on these issues. It is because we do not give them a spot. There is so much we need to focus more on. The amount of times I have heard and seen women of color say something that is revolutionary be taken by a white woman is absurd. As I said in the beginning, this isn’t an oppression Olympics, by any means, but sometimes you have to step back and analyze your situation compared to others. I know that as a Mexican-American woman there are things I experience that my white friends have not, but I also know that there are things my darker skinned latinx friends and black friends experience that I will never experience. They do not consistently remind me, I remind myself. We need to remember that if our feminism isn't intersectional, it isn't feminism at all.