The importance of intersectionality, explained using pizza

Let’s talk about intersectionality.

In its simplest form, intersectionality refers to the “intersections” within and between forms of societal oppression. For example, a woman of color might experience both racism and sexism, along with a blend of the two that is unique within either. It’s something that applies to tons of people, but it’s not addressed nearly as much as it should be; often because people believe it “distracts” from individual issues (more on that later).

Intersectionality has never been a particularly fun topic to talk about — even though it’s a super important one. But in a brilliant plot twist, our very own Akilah Hughes has perfectly explained intersectionality in her newest video with something that everyone can understand: pizza. It’s delightfully odd and all kinds of brilliant, and we’re obsessed. Using burgers to represent men, the video then delves into a delicious explanation of the varied (and shared!) experiences between different types of pizza in a burger’s world, and how we should be working on equal rights for all flavors, not just one.

“The video kind of came from this place of frustration with trying to explain how I can critique feminism and still be a feminist,” Akilah told Hello Giggles.

“People become very guarded when you are talking about your life experience in comparison to theirs, and so it’s easier to digest (ha, puns) when you do some abstract explaining,” she continued. “Plus, dissent sounds absolutely absurd in the form of ‘BUT NOT ALL BURGERS!!!’”

Acknowledging the importance of intersectionality is essential in our fight for equal rights. All too often, we hear that racism and ableism and classicism and homophobia and transphobia and ageism are not feminist issues — but if an issue is something that affects women, then it should be considered one. Being conscious of others and their unique struggles will likely only make us more empathetic and understanding as a whole and will, in fact, better help us eradicate prejudice in the long run. Rather than handling bigotry one type at a time — which can ultimately pit allies against one another — we should be working towards equality for everyone. In helping others to rise, we raise all people collectively — and we can think of few better things that we can do for the world.

“When we talk about pizza rights, we need to be talking about all pizzas — not just cheese pizzas that are deemed socially acceptable and worthy of saving and worthy of having a place in popular culture,” Akilah says in the video. “We need to be talking about pizzas who are sexually attracted to other pizzas, pizzas who aren’t attracted to anything, pizzas who identify as burgers, and pizzas with different toppings. Because as great as it is to uplift cheese pizzas, the world could use a lot more flavor.”

Explaining it in pizza may sound a little silly, but Akilah totally nails it and makes it super easy to understand. We shouldn’t view intersectionality as a game of “oppression olympics,” but rather as a means of acknowledging all experiences and forms of privilege or oppression.

“I have been ecstatic that I’ve gotten tons of messages from men and women who felt like they finally understood where intersectionality fits into the equation, and so I’m happy to have helped,” Akilah told us. “Making feminism more inclusive helps EVERYONE — men included.”

Watch the video for yourself below, and check out more from Akilah on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Tumblr!

(Image via video.)

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