Women Studies

Assignment requirement how women organize under â??feminismâ? and â??womenâ??s movementsâ? to combat gender inequality, poverty, human trafficking, war, environmental degradation, and other global issues.identifying the tensions and organizational dynamics of historical and contemporary feminist movements.identifying numerous manifestations of womenâ??s activism and empowerment, from political campaigns and protest marches to creative writing, music, and art. Write 3 pages. Single spaces, APA citation. All the readings, powerpoint slides are uploaded, link to the YouTube videos are given below https://youtu.be/ySfRXOfgbKU
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From Simone de Beauvoirâ??s The Second Sex (1949); this essay is entitled â??Woman as
Other�
A man would never set out to write a book on the peculiar situation of the human male.
But if I wish to define myself, I must first of all say: â??I am a womanâ??; on this truth must
be based all further discussion. A man never begins by presenting himself as an
individual of a certain sex; it goes without saying that he is a man. The terms masculine
and feminine are used symmetrically only as a matter of form, as on legal papers. In
actuality the relation of the two sexes is not quite like that of two electrical poles, for man
represents both the positive and the neutral, as is indicated by the common use of man to
designate human beings in general; whereas woman represents only the negative, defined
by limiting criteria, without reciprocity. In the midst of an abstract discussion it is vexing
to hear a man say: â??You think thus and so because you are a womanâ??; but I know that my
only defense is to reply: â??I think thus and so because it is true,â?? thereby removing my
subjective self from the argument. It would be out of the question to reply: â??And you
think the contrary because you are a manâ??, for it is understood that the fact of being a
man is no peculiarity. A man is in the right in being a man; it is the woman who is in the
wrong.
The category of the Other is as primordial as consciousness itself. In the most
primitive societies, in the most ancient mythologies, one finds the expression of a
duality â?? that of the Self and the Other. This duality was not originally attached to
the division of the sexes; it was not dependent upon any empirical factsâ?¦Thus it
is that no group ever sets itself up as the One without at once setting up the Other
over against itself. If three travelers chance to occupy the same compartment, that
is enough to make vaguely hostile â??othersâ?? out of all the rest of the passengers on
the train. In small-town eyes all persons not belonging to the village are
â??strangersâ?? and suspect; to the native of a country all who inhabit other countries
are â??foreignersâ??; Jews are â??differentâ?? for the anti-Semite, Negroes are â??inferiorâ?? for
American racists, aborigines are â??nativesâ?? for colonists, proletarians are the â??lower
classâ?? for the privileged.
But the other consciousness, the other ego, sets up a reciprocal claim. The native
traveling abroad is shocked to find himself in turn regarded as a â??strangerâ?? by the
natives of neighbouring countries. As a matter of fact, wars, festivals, trading,
treaties, and contests among tribes, nations, and classes tend to deprive the
concept Other of its absolute sense and to make manifest its relativity; willy-nilly,
individuals and groups are forced to realize the reciprocity of their relations. How
is it, then, that this reciprocity has not been recognised between the sexes, that
one of the contrasting terms is set up as the sole essential, denying any relativity
in regard to its correlative and defining the latter as pure otherness? Why is it that
women do not dispute male sovereignty? No subject will readily volunteer to
become the object, the inessential; it is not the Other who, in defining himself as
the Other, establishes the One. The Other is posed as such by the One in defining
himself as the One. But if the Other is not to regain the status of being the One, he
must be submissive enough to accept this alien point of view. Whence comes this
submission in the case of woman?
The parallel drawn by Bebel between women and the proletariat is valid in that neither
ever formed a minority or a separate collective unit of mankind. And instead of a single
historical event it is in both cases a historical development that explains their status as a
class and accounts for the membership of particular individuals in that class. But
proletarians have not always existed, whereas there have always been women. They are
women in virtue of their anatomy and physiology. Throughout history they have always
been subordinated to men, and hence their dependency is not the result of a historical
event or a social change â?? it was not something that occurred. The reason why otherness
in this case seems to be an absolute is in part that it lacks the contingent or incidental
nature of historical facts. A condition brought about at a certain time can be abolished at
some other time, as the Negroes of Haiti and others have proved: but it might seem that
natural condition is beyond the possibility of change. In truth, however, the nature of
things is no more immutably given, once for all, than is historical reality. If woman
seems to be the inessential which never becomes the essential, it is because she herself
fails to bring about this change. Proletarians say â??Weâ??; Negroes also. Regarding
themselves as subjects, they transform the bourgeois, the whites, into â??othersâ??. But
women do not say â??Weâ??, except at some congress of feminists or similar formal
demonstration; men say â??womenâ??, and women use the same word in referring to
themselves. They do not authentically assume a subjective attitude. The proletarians have
accomplished the revolution in Russia, the Negroes in Haiti, the Indo-Chinese are
battling for it in Indo-China; but the womenâ??s effort has never been anything more than a
symbolic agitation. They have gained only what men have been willing to grant; they
have taken nothing, they have only received.
The reason for this is that women lack concrete means for organising themselves into a
unit which can stand face to face with the correlative unit. They have no past, no history,
no religion of their own; and they have no such solidarity of work and interest as that of
the proletariat. They are not even promiscuously herded together in the way that creates
community feeling among the American Negroes, the ghetto Jews, the workers of SaintDenis, or the factory hands of Renault. They live dispersed among the males, attached
through residence, housework, economic condition, and social standing to certain men â??
fathers or husbands â?? more firmly than they are to other women. If they belong to the
bourgeoisie, they feel solidarity with men of that class, not with proletarian women; if
they are white, their allegiance is to white men, not to Negro women. The proletariat can
propose to massacre the ruling class, and a sufficiently fanatical Jew or Negro might
dream of getting sole possession of the atomic bomb and making humanity wholly
Jewish or black; but woman cannot even dream of exterminating the males. The bond
that unites her to her oppressors is not comparable to any other. The division of the sexes
is a biological fact, not an event in human history. Male and female stand opposed within
a primordial Mitsein, and woman has not broken it. The couple is a fundamental unity
with its two halves riveted together, and the cleavage of society along the line of sex is
impossible. Here is to be found the basic trait of woman: she is the Other in a totality of
which the two components are necessary to one another.
Stanford Law Review
Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of
Color
Author(s): Kimberle Crenshaw
Source: Stanford Law Review, Vol. 43, No. 6 (Jul., 1991), pp. 1241-1299
Published by: Stanford Law Review
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1229039
Accessed: 01-06-2018 20:06 UTC
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Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality,
Identity Politics, and Violence Against
Women of Color
Kimberle Crenshaw*
INTRODUCTION
Over the last two decades, women have organized against the almost
routine violence that shapes their lives.1 Drawing from the strength of
shared experience, women have recognized that the political demands of millions speak more powerfully than the pleas of a few isolated voices. This
politicization in turn has transformed the way we understand violence
against women. For example, battering and rape, once seen as private (family matters) and aberrational (errant sexual aggression), are now largely recognized as part of a broad-scale system of domination that affects women as
a class.2 This process of recognizing as social and systemic what was for-
* ? 1993 by Kimberle Crenshaw. Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles.
B.A. Cornell University, 1981; J.D. Harvard Law School, 1984; LL.M. University of Wisconsin,
1985.
I am indebted to a great many people who have pushed this project along. For their kind assistance in facilitating my field research for this article, I wish to thank Maria Blanco, Margaret Cambrick, Joan Creer, Estelle Cheung, Nilda Rimonte and Fred Smith. I benefitted from the comments
of Taunya Banks, Mark Barenberg, Darcy Calkins, Adrienne Davis, Gina Dent, Brent Edwards,
Paul Gewirtz, Lani Guinier, Neil Gotanda, Joel Handler, Duncan Kennedy, Henry Monaghan, Elizabeth Schneider and Kendall Thomas. A very special thanks goes to Gary Peller and Richard Yar-
borough. Jayne Lee, Paula Puryear, Yancy Garrido, Eugenia Gifford and Leti Volpp provided
valuable research assistance. I gratefully acknowledge the support of the Academic Senate of
UCLA, Center for Afro-American Studies at UCLA, the Reed Foundation and Columbia Law
School. Earlier versions of this article were presented to the Critical Race Theory Workshop and the
Yale Legal Theory Workshop.
This article is dedicated to the memory of Denise Carty-Bennia and Mary Joe Frug.
1. Feminist academics and activists have played a central role in forwarding an ideological and
institutional challenge to the practices that condone and perpetuate violence against women. See
generally SUSAN BROWNMILLER, AGAINST OUR WILL: MEN, WOMEN AND RAPE (1975);
LORENNE M.G. CLARK & DEBRA J. LEWIS, RAPE: THE PRICE OF COERCIVE SEXUALITY (1977);
R. EMERSON DOBASH & RUSSELL DOBASH, VIOLENCE AGAINST WIVES: A CASE AGAINST THE
PATRIARCHY (1979); NANCY GAGER & CATHLEEN SCHURR, SEXUAL ASSAULT: CONFRONTING
RAPE IN AMERICA (1976); DIANA E.H. RUSSELL, THE POLITICS OF RAPE: THE VICTIM’S PERSPECTIVE (1974); ELIZABETH ANNE STANKO, INTIMATE INTRUSIONS: WOMEN’S EXPERIENCE OF
MALE VIOLENCE (1985); LENORE E. WALKER, TERRIFYING LOVE: WHY BATTERED WOMEN
KILL AND HOW SOCIETY RESPONDS (1989); LENORE E. WALKER, THE BATTERED WOMAN SYNDROME (1984); LENORE E. WALKER, THE BATTERED WOMAN (1979).
2. See, e.g., SUSAN SCHECHTER, WOMEN AND MALE VIOLENCE: THE VISIONS AND STRUGGLES OF THE BATTERED WOMEN’S MOVEMENT (1982) (arguing that battering is a means of maintaining women’s subordinate position); S. BROWNMILLER, supra note 1 (arguing that rape is a
1241
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1242
STANFORD LAW REVIEW
[Vol. 43:1241
merly perceived as isolated and individual has also characterized th
politics of African Americans, other people of color, and gays and
among others. For all these groups, identity-based politics has been
of strength, community, and intellectual development.
The embrace of identity politics, however, has been in tension w
nant conceptions of social justice. Race, gender, and other identit
ries are most often treated in mainstream liberal discourse as vestig
or domination-that is, as intrinsically negative frameworks in wh
power works to exclude or marginalize those who are different.
to this understanding, our liberatory objective should be to empty
gories of any social significance. Yet implicit in certain strands of
and racial liberation movements, for example is the view that th
power in delineating difference need not be the power of dominati
instead be the source of social empowerment and reconstruction.
The problem with identity politics is not that it fails to transcend d
ence, as some critics charge, but rather the opposite-that it freque
flates or ignores intragroup differences. In the context of violenc
women, this elision of difference in identity politics is problemat
mentally because the violence that many women experience is ofte
by other dimensions of their identities, such as race and class. M
ignoring difference within groups contributes to tension among gr
other problem of identity politics that bears on efforts to politiciz
against women. Feminist efforts to politicize experiences of wome
tiracist efforts to politicize experiences of people of color have f
proceeded as though the issues and experiences they each detail o
mutually exclusive terrains. Although racism and sexism readily int
the lives of real people, they seldom do in feminist and antiracist
And so, when the practices expound identity as woman or person o
an either/or proposition, they relegate the identity of women of
location that resists telling.
My objective in this article is to advance the telling of that loca
exploring the race and gender dimensions of violence against w
color.3 Contemporary feminist and antiracist discourses have faile
patriarchal practice that subordinates women to men); Elizabeth Schneider, The Violence
23 CONN. L. REV. 973, 974 (1991) (discussing how “concepts of privacy permit, en
reinforce violence against women”); Susan Estrich, Rape, 95 YALE L.J. 1087 (1986) (ana
law as one illustration of sexism in criminal law); see also CATHARINE A. MACKINNON
HARASSMENT OF WORKING WOMEN: A CASE OF SEX DISCRIMINATION 143-213 (19
that sexual harassment should be redefined as sexual discrimination actionable und
rather than viewed as misplaced sexuality in the workplace).
3. This article arises out of and is inspired by two emerging scholarly discourses.
critical race theory. For a cross-section of what is now a substantial body of literature, see
J. WILLIAMS, THE ALCHEMY OF RACE AND RIGHTS (1991); Robin D. Barnes, Race Con
The Thematic Content of Racial Distinctiveness in Critical Race Scholarship, 103 HA
1864 (1990); John 0. Calmore, Critical Race Theory, Archie Shepp, and Fire Music.
Authentic Intellectual Life in a Multicultural World, 65 S. CAL. L. REV. 2129 (1992);
Cook, Beyond Critical Legal Studies: The Reconstructive Theology of Dr. Martin Luthe
HARV. L. REV. 985 (1990); Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, Race, Reform and Retrenchm
formation and Legitimation in Antidiscrimination Law, 101 HARV. L. REV. 1331 (19
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July 1991]
INTERSECTIONALITY
1243
sider intersectional identities such as women of color.4 Foc
dimensions of male violence against women-battering and rap
how the experiences of women of color are frequently the pro
secting patterns of racism and sexism,5 and how these experie
Delgado, When a Story is Just a Story: Does Voice Really Matter?, 76 VA. L. R
Gotanda, A Critique of “Our Constitution is Colorblind,” 44 STAN. L. REV. 1 (1
suda, Public Response to Racist Speech: Considering the Victim’s Story, 87 MI
(1989); Charles R. Lawrence III, The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning
Racism, 39 STAN. L. REV. 317 (1987); Gerald Torres, Critical Race Theory: Th
Universalist Ideal and the Hope of Plural Justice-Some Observations and Question
Phenomenon, 75 MINN. L. REV. 993 (1991). For a useful overview of critical
Calmore, supra, at 2160-2168.
A second, less formally linked body of legal scholarship investigates the conn
race and gender. See, e.g., Regina Austin, Sapphire Bound!, 1989 WIS. L. REV
supra; Angela P. Harris, Race and Essentialism in Feminist Legal Theory, 42 ST
(1990); Marlee Kline, Race, Racism and Feminist Legal Theory, 12 HARV. W
(1989); Dorothy E. Roberts, Punishing Drug Addicts Who Have Babies: Women
and the Right of Privacy, 104 HARV. L. REV. 1419 (1991); Cathy Scarborough,
Black Women’s Employment Experiences, 98 YALE L.J. 1457 (1989) (student a
Smith, Separate Identities: Black Women, Work and Title VII, 14 HARV. WOMEN
Judy Scales-Trent, Black Women and the Constitution: Finding Our Place, Asserti
HARV. C.R-C.L. L. REV. 9 (1989); Judith A. Winston, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall:
1981, and the Intersection of Race and Gendet ‘n the Civil Rights Act of 1990, 79
(1991). This work in turn has been informed oy a broader literature examining t
race and gender in other contexts. See, e.g., PATRICIA HILL COLLINS, BLACK FEM
KNOWLEDGE, CONSCIOUSNESS, AND THE POLITICS OF EMPOWERMENT (1990)
WOMEN, RACE AND CLASS (1981); BELL HOOKS, AIN’T I A WOMAN? BLACK WO
NISM (1981); ELIZABETH V. SPELMAN, INESSENTIAL WOMAN: PROBLEMS OF EXC
NIST THOUGHT (1988); Frances Beale, Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Femal
WOMAN 90 (Toni Cade ed. 1970); Kink-Kok Cheung, The Woman Warrior vers
Pacific: Must a Chinese American Critic Choose between Feminism and Heroism?,
FEMINISM 234 (Marianne Hirsch & Evelyn Fox Keller eds. 1990); Deborah H. King,
ardy, Multiple Consciousness: The Context of a Black Feminist Ideology, 14 SIGN
K. Lewis, A Response to Inequality: Black Women, Racism and Sexism, 3 S
Deborah E. McDowell, New Directions for Black Feminist Criticism, in THE NEW
CISM: ESSAYS ON WOMEN, LITERATURE AND THEORY 186 (Elaine Showalter e
Smith, Black Feminist Theory and the Representation of the “Other” in CHAN
WORDS: ESSAYS ON CRITICISM, THEORY AND WRITING BY BLACK WOMEN 38 (C
1989).
4. Although the objective of this article is to describe the intersectional location of women of
color and their marginalization within dominant resistance discourses, I do not mean to imply that
the disempowerment of women of color is singularly or even primarily caused by feminist and antiracist theorists or activists. Indeed, I hope to dispell any such simplistic interpretations by capturing, at least in part, the way that prevailing structures of domination shape various discourses of
resistance. As I have noted elsewhere, “People can only demand change in ways that reflect the
logic of the institutions they are challenging. Demands for change that do not reflect . . . dominant
ideology . . . will probably be ineffective.” Crenshaw, supra note 3, at 1367. Although there are
significant political and conceptual obstacles to moving against structures of domination with an
intersectional sensibility, my point is that the effort to do so should be a central theoretical and
political objective of both antiracism and feminism.
5. Although this article deals with violent assault perpetrated by men against women, women
are also subject to violent assault by women. Violence among lesbians is a hidden but significant
problem. One expert reported that in a study of 90 lesbian couples, roughly 46% of lesbians have
been physically abused by their partners. Jane Garcia, The Cost of Escaping Domestic Violence: Fear
of Treatment in a Largely Homophobic Society May Keep Lesbian Abuse Victims from Calling for
Help, L.A. Times, May 6, 1991, at 2; see also NAMING THE VIOLENCE: SPEAKING OUT ABOUT
LESIBIAN BATTERING (Kerry Lobel ed. 1986); Ruthann Robson, Lavender Bruises. Intralesbian Vio-
lence, Law and Lesbian Legal Theory, 20 GOLDEN GATE U.L. REV. 567 (1990). There are clear
parallels between violence ag …
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