SOC205 – The Matrices of Oppression: An Introduction to Intersectionality


We’re building off of last week’s episode on sex and gender and breaking down the more complex ideas of intersectionality and feminist thought. How do you define intersectionality? What is feminist thought? And how can you apply these concepts to how you think and behave in your everyday life? (HINT: Be aware of your privileges, y’all!) We also talk about the amazing scholars– like Patricia Hill Collins, Meda Chesney-Lind, and Kimberle Crenshaw, to name a few– who have founded these important concepts. Tune in to learn more!


Intersectionality, feminism, feminist thought, gender studies, privilege


  1. “Race, Class, Gender as Categories of Analysis and Connection” by Patricia Hill Collins (1993)
  2. Kimberle Crenshaw interview by the National Association of Independent Schools where she defines Intersectionality as: Intersectionality is a metaphor to understand how the multiple forms of inequality or disadvantage sometimes compound themselves and how they create obstacles that are often not understood with our conventional ways of thinking about anti-racism, feminism, or whatever social justice advocacy structures we have. Intersectionality is not a grand theory, it is rather a prism to understand various types of social problems. For example, African American girls are suspended 6 times more than white girls, and this is probably a race AND gender problem. Not just a race problem or just a gender problem. So I encourage people to think about how the conversions of race stereotypes or gender stereotypes might actually play out in the classroom, between teachers and students, students and students…and so on.”
  3. Kimberle Crenshaw TED talk on “The Urgency of Intersectionality” 
  4. Patricia Hill Collins bio on the American Sociological Association website
  5. Chesney-Lind, Meda. 2006. “Patriarchy, Crime, and Justice: Feminist Criminology in an Era of Backlash.” Feminist Criminology 1(1):6–26.  
  6. In Renzetti & Cruan’s book Women, Men and Society they write, “Patriarchy is a system of social stratification, which mean that it uses a wide array of social control policies and practices to ratify male power and to keep girls and women subordinate to men”
  7. Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation by Beth Richie (2012) 
  8. Lastly, how can you apply intersectionality in your everyday life, according to the Social Breakdown crew? Be aware of your privileges and how they may affect or be affected by the social context you are in!

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