Intersectionality With Kimberle Crenshaw And Gloria Anzaldua

2549 words - 11 pages

Madeline Steffey
Intersectionality with Kimberle Crenshaw and Gloria Anzaldua

Intersectionality can be described as the study of the intersection of different forms of discrimination experienced by individuals who are members of multiple minority groups. For example, a Hispanic woman faces barriers in society not only because she is Hispanic, but also because she is a woman and one could not fully understand her oppression without taking both of these aspects into consideration. Kimberly Crenshaw and Gloria Anzaldua both provide accounts of intersectionality and utilize different approaches in their explanations. I will begin by analyzing their approaches separately, then I will ...view middle of the document...

16, Anzaldua). Within a culture, one is not supposed to attempt to defy or rebel against the paradigms that exist. According to her culture, Anzaldua explained that a woman could only choose between becoming a nun, a prostitute, or a mother. These options are so rigid and leave little room for self-exploration and achievement of personal goals and desires. From a young age, Anzaldua was stubborn and did not submit to the norms of her culture. She had a fire inside of her that destined her for a calling other than one of the typical three choices available to women. As a child, Anzaldua would spend most of her time reading or studying instead of obeying and doing her household chores, such as ironing clothes. She even went as far as to say, “Nothing in my culture approved of me” (p. 16, Anzaldua). Her culture did not approve because she was rebellious and did not conform to how a typical woman in her culture should behave.
In addition, Anzaldua’s sexuality also intersects with her culture, which does not accept homosexuality. In her culture, people who are homosexual are seen as half and half, like an abnormality of nature that instills fear and confusion in others. This is yet another part of Anzaldua’s life that is known to be victim to judgment and discrimination. Unlike what some people may believe, Anzaldua made it clear that homosexuals do not suffer from sexuality identity or gender. Instead, they suffer from the limitation of having to be only one gender or the other, which does not allow for the evolution of human nature to become something better. Despite the cultural limitations, Anzaldua affirms that she is indeed both male and female, saying, “I am the embodiment of the hieros gamos: the coming together of opposite qualities within”(p.19, Anzaldua). Her sexuality paved a way for an interesting path in life, one that is alternatively influenced by the white, Catholic, Mexican, and indigenous instincts inside of her.
Anzaldua gives a harrowing look into the lives of women of color who live on the border between two cultures. Their world is not safe for them and they fear being attacked or exploited by the dominant race. It would be such an alienating feeling to be caught in between two worlds and to not feel like you belong to one or the other. Her culture, while trying to protect the women, actually prevents their ability to respond and overcome their alienation. As a result, women of color living on the border are immobilized and are not able to move forwards or backwards. Because women of color are stuck in between worlds, they do not feel confident enough to take advantage of faculties and of their own free will. Barriers make them feel victimized and block them from bringing change to their situation. However, there is a choice that Anzaldua brought to attention when she said, “And there in front of us is the crossroads and choice: to feel a victim where someone else is in control and therefore responsible and to blame, or...

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