Gender and Intersectionality

1“My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit”, writes Flavia Dzodan, feminist blogger at Tiger Beatdown, in perhaps one of the most well-known articles on the topic in the feminist blogosphere. One of the most important tenets of third wave feminism is the acknowledgement of the fact that gender and gender relations do not exist in a vacuum, but that they are, in fact, only a part of an intricate web of oppression and privileging based on a myriad of factors. Other important factors influencing the level of oppression someone faces are, for example, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or disability. In this issue of Gender Forum, our contributors present a wide array of intersectional approaches to Women’s and Gender Studies.

2In her article "Jasmine as a Fantasy", Uplabdhi Sangwan examines Bharati Mukherjee’s novel Jasmine to see in how far the novel succeeds in presenting a liberated woman. Sangwan finds that the novel is lacking in alternatives to the heteronormative matrix, however, and the heroine does not find a way to overcome what Adrienne Rich insists are the political institutions of “heterosexuality” and “motherhood”. The absence of these alternatives in Jasmine is juxtaposed to other powerful narratives by women of color, such as for example Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (1983) where such alternatives are explored. Jasmine concludes by invoking a fairy tale economic and emotional rescue of the colored heroine by white male figures, and in doing so the novel enacts, what Adrienne Rich calls the “lie” of “the romantic” in Western tradition.

3The second contribution, “A ‘Wild Zone’ of Her Own: Locating the Chicana Experience in the Theatre Works of Josefina Lòpez”, Trevor Boffone focuses on the different psychological spaces that Chicana women must occupy in order to develop an oppositional consciousness and discourse through an analysis of three plays by Josefina López: Boyle Heights (2005), Detained in the Desert (2010), and Hungry Woman (2013). To do so, he employs the “Wild Zone” theory posited by Cordelia Candelaria, which serves as the primary theoretical lens due to its usefulness in an intersectional analysis of Chicana experience and identity, both in the Southwestern United States and abroad, by theorizing the separate cultural and political spaces, or zones, that women inhabit in society.

4The article “Speaking through ‘Lard-Slicked Lips’: Fatness, Racism, and Narratives of Self-Control Encircling the Paula Deen Scandal” is a joint contribution by Megan Condis, Kaitlin Marks-Dubbs and T.J. Tallie. In the article, the three scholars draw on their diverse backgrounds (pop culture criticism, feminist studies with a focus on body image, and history with a focus on race and ethnicity) to create dialogues between the disciplines and determine how and why Deen’s own body came to be used to rebuke her for her remarks, how sizeism came to stand in for a condemnation of racism.

5Dr. Zoila Clark, in her article “Maxine Hong Kingston: Ghostbuster Feminist”, focuses on the publication The Woman Warrior, Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts, arguing that Kingston’s book of the uncanny draws on Chinese-American women’s writing in order to construct the role-model of a bicultural Ghostbuster feminist able to fight the ghosting patriarchal policies of the US. Clark argues that Kingston’s writing style of écriture feminine helped her overcome her bicultural uncanny experience.