13.1.4 Diversity Politics through Reconstructivist Intersectional Feminisms

Dr. Jackie F. Steele

As we have seen above, equality feminism and difference feminism sought to problematize the sex/gender distinction and the hegemonic logic that suggested that men were the standard to which women must evolve. Critiques from women on the margins of feminist theory, feminist movements, and legal court proceedings sought to problematize the raced and classed assumptions that implicitly positioned middle-class white women as the standard for all women, all the while mobilizing around a supposedly shared experience of womanhood. The assumed commonality of women’s oppression and the assumed universality of women’s experiences, as distinct from the commonly shared realities of man, were challenged in immigrant-receiving, colonial/white-settler societies such as Canada and the United States, where national experiences and minority nations and indigenous peoples were internally diverse even at the point of national founding.

Furthermore, the widespread adoption of multiculturalism and acknowledgements of women’s diverse sexualities and disabilities further deconstructed the assumed “universality” of womanhood as a political and legal category around which to mobilize. Over the past 40 years, mainstream equality feminism and diversity feminisms were exposed for their own internal exclusions of women of various backgrounds, be they black/women of colour (hooks, 1981; Lorde, 1984; Abu-Laban, 1998; Razack, 1998), aboriginal women/indigenous feminists (Green, 2007; Monture-Angus; Two-Axe Early), Québécois feminists (de Sève, 2000, Lamoureux, 2000), queer and lesbian feminists (Butler, 2006; Majury, 1994; Rich, 1981), or women with disabilities (Peters, 1995; 2003) , to name just a few.

In practice, there are many different forms of intersectional feminisms. I will offer conceptual clarity about the necessary delineations between the postmodern deconstructivist feminism associated with Butler’s thinking, which led to a rejection of the concept of ‘women’ as a political category around which to mobilize, and the kind of reconstructivist intersectional feminisms driving the projects of ‘intersectional diversity politics’ as a tactic for the intentional reconstruction of intersectionally diversified political-legal categories as the complex subject of many contemporary feminisms.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Political Ideologies and Worldviews: An Introduction Copyright © 2021 by Dr. Jackie F. Steele is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book