Never heard of this concept until I spoke to someone in the biz and she mentioned it and then I looked it up.

It’s a feminist term that basically articulates the nagging feeling of condescension that many women of color feel from our white feminist colleagues.

It’s the feeling that the only way they would consider us ‘successful’ is if we adopt the exact same attitudes, platitudes and attributions as they do.

That basically the ideals of white women are the only ideals that all women should strive for.

I’m not sure if I’m a ‘feminist’ exactly.

And yet I remember Katie Couric’s speech at that gala event I attended a few weeks back where she said that if you believe in women’s rights, you bet your life you should call yourself a feminist.

But thing is, I also believe in men’s rights. Basically I believe in justice for everyone.

And yes, that includes women. So I guess I am a ‘feminist’.

When I came back from Pakistan this time I really got a very different idea of the dynamics there.

It’s so funny how much things have changed. When I was doing the teachers’ workshop, there were many men in the workshop and they had no problems with me, a woman, leading the workshop. They eagerly participated, and so did the women, and yet the women hung back. More out of modesty though than anything else.

How does modesty fit into feminism? It’s not bold. It’s not brash. It doesn’t seem to be something white feminists even value and yet, I think it is valuable.

Intersectionality is also the idea that women of color experience an intersection of challenges, not all of which have to do with their gender. For example we experience racism, class-ism, age-ism and others as well.

So the solutions we strive for may not be the same as those striven for by our western counterparts. And what we consider success might also look different and basically western feminists should stop trying to make us feel bad about that.

I did a presentation recently on Wanting Mor, and the topic of other very famous novels written by white feminists came up. I was asked how I viewed them and I said flat out that I found them to be insulting. Despite the fact that sometimes the authors had good intentions, ultimately the story line comprised of a Muslim girl, abused and oppressed, dressing up as a boy and running away. And my beef is, really? Is that the only solution a white feminist could come up with? Can’t the girl resolve her problems from within the culture? And what does that really tell girls from that culture???

And yes, this is all about intersectionality.

It’s so cool when someone puts a name on a nagging feeling you’ve felt all your life.

And maybe it means that women of color, and particularly, authors of color are taking back their voice. We’re no longer being dictated to in terms of what we should accept as our measure of success.

And it means there is real hope that we can bring about more understanding between the western and eastern hemispheres, between white and non-white cultures.

We can only hope.