Kimberlé Crenshaw Explains The Power Of Intersectional Feminism In 1 Minute

“Different things make different women vulnerable,” Crenshaw, a scholar and advocate, said Friday.

By Hayley Miller 08/11/2017 03:45 pm ET

It took Kimberlé Crenshaw, an esteemed civil rights advocate and law professor, about 60 seconds to lay out the importance of “intersectional feminism” on Friday ― and the internet could not get enough of it.

Intersectional feminism examines the overlapping systems of oppression and discrimination that women face, based not just on gender but on ethnicity, sexuality, economic background and a number of other axes.

Crenshaw introduced the concept of “intersectionality” to feminist theory nearly 30 years ago in a seminal paper for the University of Chicago Legal Forum, describing the “intersectional experience” as something “greater than the sum of racism and sexism.” 

On Friday, during a panel discussion at the annual Netroots Nation conference in Atlanta, she gave a gloss on intersectionality in a way that made clear the immense value of the concept.

“There are many, many different kinds of intersectional exclusions ― not just black women, but other women of color,” Crenshaw said. “Not just people of color, but people with disabilities. Immigrants. LGBTQ people. Indigenous people.”

“The way we imagine discrimination or disempowerment often is more complicated for people who are subjected to multiple forms of exclusion,” she continued. “The good news is that intersectionality provides us a way to see it.”

Crenshaw noted some of the ways in which intersectional feminism helps activists advocate for women of all backgrounds and identities.

“When we advocate for violence against women to be eliminated on campuses, we say, ‘Well, actually, it’s not just on campuses we have to worry about.’ We might have to worry about high schools,” Crenshaw said. “We might have to worry about police precincts and cars. We might have to worry about public housing.”

“We might have to broaden our scope of how we think about where women are vulnerable,” she added, “because different things make different women vulnerable.”

Supporters on Twitter were quick to praise Crenshaw’s words of wisdom: 

Where Do We Go From Here: Women's Town Hall

Where Do We Go From Here: Women's Town Hall

Many of you may have been wondering, #WhereWeGoFromHere? We were excited to have partnered with National Domestic Workers Alliance and many other amazing organizations for conversations on what we can do in the aftermath of the inauguration and the #womensmarch

Check out our incredible Executive Director, Kimberlé Crenshaw, in conversation on #intersectionality and more with Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood Action, Claudia Galindo, and Linda Sarsour--moderated by NDWA's Ai-jen Poo.

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AAPF In the News: January 2017

Below are some recent articles and publications citing our work and that of our Executive Director, Kimberlé Crenshaw.

  The Root , January 30, 2017.

The Root, January 30, 2017.

 Grand Valley Lanthorn, January 18, 2017.

Grand Valley Lanthorn, January 18, 2017.

OpenDemocracy.net, January 21, 2017. Click the image to watch the debate!

 Romper.com, January 11, 2017.

Romper.com, January 11, 2017.

 Glamour, Jan. 31, 2017.

Glamour, Jan. 31, 2017.

 Our #SayHerName video was featured on the Women's March page, and can also be viewable on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/201874020

Our #SayHerName video was featured on the Women's March page, and can also be viewable on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/201874020