From the 1990s onwards, feminist sociologists have been using the term ‘intersectionality’ to suggest that multiple socio-biological categories (like race, gender, class, ability, sexuality etc.) work together to create a web of oppression in which we are entangled.
Lola Okolosie from Black Feminists UK reviews for us two films by British documentary filmmaker Pratibha Parmar, A Place of Rage (1991) and Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth (2011), and reminds us of brave black feminist activists from the 70s who already back then “were emphasising the importance of thinking about the various forms of oppression that simultaneously act upon an individual”. As proved by a recent controversy in Sweden over one ‘art cake’ (you can read Black Feminists blog post about it here), ‘intersectionality’ is indeed something we still struggle to comprehend.
Parmar’s films (about Angela Davis, June Jordan and Alice Walker) focus mainly on their heroines’ activism. So does Dagmar Schultz’s touching documentary Audre Lorde – The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992, bearing witness to Lorde’s empowerment of Afro-German women, which will be screened during Audre Lorde’s Legacy day on 3 May 2012 in The Women’s Library in London.
These documentaries “prompt us, both those identifying as black feminists and beyond, to continue the difficult work of interrogating how racism, class, gender and sexuality (to name a few) interweave with one another to oppress many”, writes Lola.