Intersectionality, a term coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in 1989, describes the unique interactions that individuals have in relation to intersecting aspects of their identities and the results of these interactions as relates to power. Crenshaw originally meant the term to highlight the intersection of race and sex—particularly emphasizing the experience of black women, who deal with both racism and sexism in tandem (Davis 68). For example, in “Demarginalizing the Intersection,” she recounts the Title VII case DeGraffenreid v General Motors, in which five black women lost a case against General Motors purely because they failed to bring a suit on behalf of one of either black people or women, as there had been no previous decisions dictating black women as a “special class to be protected from discrimination.” The Court’s refusal to acknowledge both the racism and sexism at play in this case of clear employment discrimination—despite Title VII’s inclusion of sex, race, and color—effectively erases the plight experienced in cases like this (Crenshaw 141).
However, modern feminist theory has since …show more content…
It holds “particularly strong cultural meaning because it is linked to women’s sexuality and their reproductive role in society” (Toubia 712). Commonly referred to as “female genital mutilation”, or FGM, the exact origins of the practice are unknown. However, there is evidence to root it in Middle Nile, and the earliest record of infibulation—excision of the clitoris and labia and stitching together of the vulva—dates back 2,200 years to what is now Sudan (Mackie 266). From there, it likely diffused to other parts of the Sudanic belt (268). It is theorized that the original reasoning behind the practice was to institute a physical means of controlling female fidelity