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Both/And: Reiterating Intersectionality’s Importance in Light of the Golden Globes

Words by Gillian Coyne

There are both/and situations, and there are either/or situations. Harry Potter fans are usually either book diehards or laidback moviegoers. Brunch can be both a hangover helper and a round-two hangover inducer: a both/and. Intersectionality is a both/and concept not only in its definition, but also in its application.

Coined by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in her 1989 essay for the University of Chicago Legal Forum, the term has since become a staple in contemporary discussions of equality, equity, and justice, especially during the 2020 boom of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. But what is intersectionality exactly? Simply put, intersectionality is a term used to describe the way overlapping identities like race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status (to name just a few) create different lived experiences and thus require different – multifaceted and multilayered – responses to discrimination.

Still confused? You can check out this short video of Crenshaw explaining intersectionality as it relates to education. To talk about intersectionality through the lens of feminism, it isn’t a complete picture to talk only about the struggles that White women face. With an intersectional approach, feminism also accounts for inequalities that affect women of other minorities and recognizes the varied solutions. For example, the statistic that is usually tossed around is that women in the U.S. make 82 cents to every $1 men make (it’s about the same in the U.K. with women earning 83p for every £1). Digging a little deeper, an intersectional approach to statistics shows that Black women make 63 cents, and Latina women earn only 55 cents to every $1 a White man in America makes, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families factsheet. While women are widely paid less than their male counterparts, intersectionality shows that race and ethnicity (as well as additional barriers for trans women) are also key factors to understanding the wage gap.

What does all this have to do with the 78th Golden Globe Awards? Everything.