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Chicana Feminisms

The Importance Of Intersectionality

Many writers of Chicana feminisms had been active participants in the 1960s Chicano civil rights movement and in the white feminist movement. Their experience in multiple political struggles alerted them to the exclusion of gender and sexuality in ethnic mobilizations and the exclusion of social class, race, and ethnicity in feminist mobilizations. From the experience of always feeling only partially understood, Chicana feminists developed, in conjunction with other feminists of color, the concept of intersectionality. Chicana feminisms ascribe to the notion that women belong to more than one oppressed group and that through understanding the intersection of how these different social categories—sexuality, class, race, ethnicity, gender—intersect in contextually specific situations, Chicanas' multiple oppressions can be understood. For example, a poor, lesbian, immigrant, Mexican farmworker will experience patriarchy and gender subordination differently from a middle-class, heterosexual, third-generation U.S.-Chicana professor. Intersectionality immediately recognizes that not all women are the same and that social locations identified through group memberships can elucidate women's multiple sources of oppression.

A corollary to intersectionality is that the experience of multiple sources of oppression facilitates Chicanas' experiencing social reality as multilayered. That is, knowledge of more than one language and one culture allows the potential for realizing the arbitrary nature of social categories. Chicana feminist writers have identified the ability to perceive and translate different social realities as mestiza consciousness (Moraga and Anzaldúa), concientización (Castillo), and shifting consciousness (Sandoval), and have capitalized on this intellectual dexterity to capture fully the internal diversity of Chicanas in the United States and to avoid essentializing the "Chicana experience." Furthermore, the ability to communicate multiple realities has also facilitated Chicana feminist writers speaking to different constituencies through their intellectual production and addressing different sources of oppression depending on whom they are addressing (Arredondo et al.).

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Categorical judgement to ChimaeraChicana Feminisms - The Importance Of History, The Importance Of Culture, Dolores Huerta, The Importance Of Intersectionality