Seems to be the theme of my life.
When I was younger - it was in ridiculous questions, even from activists friends - like "are you a woman first? or a person of color first?" (answer - obviously, both. no hierarchy of oppressions or identities for me, please)
Now in my professional life, it is among my interests - science and humanities, politics and poetry, the global and local. As a parent, it is between my public life as an academic and my personal life as a mother. You get the idea.
In the context of feminism, and progressive politics in general, intersectionality refers to the commitment that we cannot understand, say, gender oppression without also understanding racism, homophobia, able-ism, global politics, etc.
In the context of even this blog - which is usually all about children's and YA literature - it means having to make room for some posts that have to do less with fairy tales and zombies, and more with transnational surrogacy and the representation of marginalized bodies. I could start a whole other blog, I guess, but that too smacks of an artificial separation, a dis-integration of my various identities. I am a children's writer because I am an activist. I am an activist because I am a children's writer. Same goes with all my other identities - parent, academic, physician, daughter, lover of both 'high' and 'low' culture, etc.
Today, the awesome feminist folks at feministing.com (namely my new colleague and friend Courtney E. Martin - check out her fabulostic TED women talk here) published a guest blog by me reflecting on issues of intersectionality toxic body culture. In it, I ask the question: is body image a white woman's issue? The answer, of course is no. Embodiment politics is an issue for ALL of us - but, if we don't frame the question of women's bodies in advertising within the context of capitalism, if we don't talk about size AND sexuality/race/ability/etc., if we don't make explicit the connnections between labioplasty in LA and transnational surrogacy in India (both having to do with the medicalization and compartmentalization of women's bodies) - then we risk limiting the scope of the movement, and alienating some from the conversation - at worst, enacting some of the same hierarchies we seek to dismantle in our work.
So I wanted to share this other part of me here. And not keep my selves separate. I wanted to practice the intersectionality I preach.
To read the blog at feministing go here.
To read an excerpt from the blog, and learn more about the Endangered Species conference go here. (image above courtesy of endangeredspecieswomen.org, and the feministing blog was in reaction to recently having presented at that conference)