Philadelphia Intersectional Feminist Discussion Group
During the summer of 2016, I craved the need to be in touch with other like-minded individuals and started a local feminist group called the Philadelphia Intersectional Feminist Discussion Group (PIFDG). I envisioned the group to entail small meetups where we would discuss feminist issues over coffee or lunch. Then the 2016 Presidential election happened and we went to bed and/or woke up in horror to realize that Donald Trump had been elected President. In the months following the election, the group grew to over 1200 members and our events consequently grew in size. In June 2017, the organizers decided to decentralize the discussion group.
The mission of the group and community is made better by a diverse set of voices, perspectives, and opinions. The participation of marginalized persons in our group including, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, and people with disabilities, is vital to its health and is needed now more than ever. The focus of the group will be to facilitate conversations about intersectional feminism, activism, education, self-care, and event promotion in the Greater Philadelphia and Tri-State area.
What is Intersectionality?
Intersectionality was named and defined by law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in her 1989 essay, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics”. She defines intersectionality as “The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.” Intersectionality acknowledges that marginalized persons experience forms of oppression and that addressing these forms of oppression is critical to fighting against the oppression of the white-supremacist patriarchy.
How Does It Relate to Feminism?
Feminism has often been dominated by the voices of white, straight, cisgender women. Intersectional feminism recognizes that early feminists did a violent disservice to their fellow women by focusing on issues that affected them, without acknowledging the ways that the same forms of oppression and others impacted marginalized women much more severely. Feminism is plagued by a history of racism and has excluded sex workers, trans women, and others who did not fit into the white feminist agenda. Intersectionality centers the voices of persons who have been left out and damaged by white-dominated notions of feminism.