Brave New Voices Slam Poem Shows Why Intersectional Feminism Is Important — And Anything Else Is Bullshit

MANCHESTER, NH - JANUARY 10: A microphone is seen at Ron Paul's campaign rally on January 10, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire. According to recent state-wide polls, Paul is in second place in a field of six hopefuls but still lags behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by more than 20 percentage points in this New England state. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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In the immortal words of Flavia Dzodan, "My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit." And yet, all too often, mainstream feminism focuses almost exclusively on only a small subset of women's experiences, typically those of middle-class white women — which is why it's always awesome to see young people calling mainstream feminism out on its non-intersectional bullshit.

Ashia Ajani, Abby Friesen-Johnson, Tolu Obiwole and Alexis Rain Vigil, four Denver-based poets, performed the poem at the Brave New Voices festival in Philidelphia. The poem tackles everything from the myth of universal female solidarity to way white women and women of color have to deal with very different standards and stereotypes.

It should go without saying that being a good feminist means caring about the issues that affect women from all walks of life, and letting women frame and analyze whatever challenges they may be facing themselves. And yet not only are all sorts of women routinely left out of mainstream considerations — from trans women to sex workers to women of color — but even when underprivileged women's issues are acknowledged by the mainstream, it often times means the mainstream dictating solutions rather than listening to diverse voices.

This sort of approach generally sucks, and isn't at all useful when it comes to actually tackling oppression. But don't take my word for it. Let these young ladies give you their take. 


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