Intersectionality in Real Life

By Elroi J. Windsor

What is intersectionality, and what does it look like in real life?

Sociologist Zakiya Luna explored these questions as they relate to the national coalition, SisterSong. For this collective of reproductive justice advocates, intersectional praxis was more than putting diverse groups of people in rooms together for meetings and events. Luna’s research described activists working in coalitions where “constructing identities and alliances is an iterative, never-ending process.”The participants in this women of color collective had similar experiences based on belonging to marginalized race and gender groups. Yet they also experienced challenges in their work due to intragroup differences based on ethnicity, ability, and citizenship. For SisterSong, the practice of intersectionality in real life is “ongoing” and “multidimensional.” It’s not always easy, and even woke folks have learning to do.

In the last few weeks, I’ve asked students in my Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies class questions about intersectional feminist praxis. We’ve been reading Black Girl Dangerous,by black queer writer Mia McKenzie, and thinking about how intersectional politics play out in everyday life. My students and I currently live in North Carolina, a state that has made national news this past year. Our time and place is ripe for some intersectional analysis and praxis. Continue reading “Intersectionality in Real Life”


Generation Wars Rise Again (or maybe not)

By Jo Reger


Having spent a large part of my career studying U.S. feminism and the women’s movement, I find myself screaming a bit inside my head as I look at headline after headline declaring a feminist generation gap in the next presidential election. The refrain goes —“Why don’t young women support Hillary? Why don’t they know their history? Why turn to ‘the Bern’? Why? Why? Why?”

I have seen the rise of the generation “why?” several times in the past decade. Most recently, it was around the 2011 (and continuing) slutwalks that condemn rape along with slut shaming and sexual profiling. In this case the question was around appearance and sexuality — why are young (mostly white) women and men embracing the image of the slut as empowering? As a result of the constant rise of the generation “why” question, I spent a lot of time thinking about feminist generation gaps after spending time at a slutwalk  in 2012 and, earlier ,   my  study of community feminist networks. Drawing on that research, three relevant points about the upcoming presidential election come to mind: 1) Feminism is not monolithic. 2) Dividing feminists by age is problematic. 3) Coming of age as a feminist in different times makes different priorities. I realize that these points somewhat contradict each other. Let me explain. Continue reading “Generation Wars Rise Again (or maybe not)”

Losing the Tenure Track, Finding Activist Scholarship

By Julie Shayne

My first job out of graduate school (2000) was at a Southern private school. As Californians, the South could never feel like home to my now husband and me. So, in 2006 I resigned without another job waiting.[1] We then moved to the Seattle-area where I eventually landed at the University of Washington Bothell as a Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. Prioritizing geographical quality of life allowed me to realize it wasn’t just the South that was a bad fit but the tenure track was as well. Continue reading “Losing the Tenure Track, Finding Activist Scholarship”