Let me just get this out of the way: I am NOT a typical feminist. To me, feminism has kept its ties with its first-wave in America, focusing on the political equality of middle-to-upper class white women beginning in the 19th century. That’s cute and all, but what about the rest of us?? There’s definitely more than one type of woman who needs peer support and equality, then why not include all of them? And that’s where intersectional feminism comes in! The term was established by American professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, defining it as “The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity…Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.”
Although I focus closely on womanism, which is feminism for women of color (mostly Black) and all abilities, intersectional feminism is a great way to understand the challenges of all types of women (and men, too) regardless of our biases. And when I mean ALL types of women, I’m talkin’ ’bout the non-human ones also. Not following me? Well, plainly, I feel that intersectionality amongst females shouldn’t have to be reserved only to humans, especially since it supposedly accepts all ladies despite their differences. Just like denying a disabled woman her rights is ableist, assuming a cow doesn’t have rights is speciesist and should be against the “code” of acknowledging all female issues.
Think about it, all animals have genders just like we do; we are not unique in that. So it only seems fair to recognize and challenge the human-made exploitation of female animals in the intersectional feminist movement. Like how dairy cows are raped repeatedly for impregnation so people can have a glass of milk, how hens are forced to lay close to 300 eggs a year when they would only do so about 10-15 times in nature, or how sows are locked in tiny cages where they can’t turn around with their only purpose being to breed more piglets for slaughter. The list goes on and on, just so we can blindly consume their body parts and secretions. Vegans can’t be the only ones who think this is a huge social error!
And of course male animals probably perform behaviors in nature that seem unfair to their female counterparts, but we have no say in that because those actions are most likely instinctual. We can’t control what animals do in nature amongst themselves, yet we do have control over how we treat them and use them solely for profit. I won’t assume that intersectional feminists will pick up this cause and that the world will go vegan, but I am hopeful that people will see the injustice in the animal agriculture industry (amongst other industries) and will match their morals to their actions.
To wrap it up, it is quite hypocritical for feminists of all kinds to consume animal products, especially if they’re educated about the exploitation of female farm/fur animals. I totally get it if it never crosses one’s mind due to lack of education, but no true practicing intersectional feminist would take this injustice lightly. Don’t forget about the males though! Males, human or non-human, face issues that are similarly daunting, so we can’t leave them out in our message of equality. Regardless of the labels we identify with, we all know that we should treat others with compassion, respect, and love; so it’s time we align that notion with everything we do.