What’s in a name?

by kawrage

When I wrote “what’s Arabic for intersectionality?“, my intention was to express my frustration with how difficult it is to escape the hegemony of mainstream feminisms that are born in a western context. For it seems that even attempts at resistance remain confined to western framing.

Quite a few people, however, concluded that the intention behind the post was to critique intersectionality or point out its failings.

But in all honesty, I feel no need to engage in any critiques of intersectionality or the failings of an intersectional approach to feminism. I do not feel compelled to unpack the term or dwell on whether it would be more accurate to speak of interlocking systems of oppression.

Whenever I encounter dismissals of intersectionality as jargon, I find myself thinking back to Audre Lorde’s “give name to the nameless so it can be thought”. On my initial encounter with the therm, I remember feeling as if the pieces of a puzzle were finally falling into place; I had finally found the term that captures the weight hanging over my head. I didn’t require any detailed analysis of the term because I could easily envision how various factors and actors intersect and interact and interlock and intertwine to (re)produce an unjust world.

My awareness was always there, but naming it imbued it with more power and meaning