A few years ago, when I read a book on Bella Abzug, my own misgivings about some issues I saw within feminism. There were large groups of women who were under represented or ignored altogether. I read a collection from African-American women which is no longer being published about their experiences. It was enlightening then and reinforced when I picked up Can We All Be Feminists? collection of essays edited by June Eric-Udorie. The focus of this collection is on intersectionality.
For far too long, large groups of women have been ignored or overlooked. We’ve seen evidence of the ongoing neglect of African-American women during the 2017 Women’s March. Other minorities, including East Asian and Hispanic women continue to be overshadowed even as lesbians are trying to find a foothold within the current Third Wave Movement. How does the legalization of abortion affect low income women? After all, women with enough money will always be able to where abortions are legal while women who can’t afford to travel will be forced to give birth. Even women who cannot easily travel, because they live in a wheelchair or require help to get from point A to point B, are impacted by things that continue to be easy for the privileged.
It took me a while to read this book. I found myself crying, frustrated, sometimes even getting angry. I would read one essay and have to mull over the specifics, remembering some of the moments in my own past when I witnessed inequity but didn’t recognize it. I was younger but is that an excuse? And am I, even now, entrenched in my own experience and perception that I cannot see room for improvement?
If my eyes were semi-closed, I feel like they are wide open now. I want to fight for the rights and protection of all women, regardless. I’m going to invest in the writings of the women who wrote these essays to keep these issues in the forefront of my mind. Future generations deserve for us to do better. Given how poorly we’ve been doing, young women need for us to do better. We have no choice. We simply must.