How are women of color included or excluded from feminist theory?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Feminism has broadened itself to ensure that women of color are included in its theoretical foundations.  Feminist theory has evolved to recognize that women should not be in the position of having to value their experience of being a woman at the cost of other aspects of their narrative.  To do so would be to replicate the patriarchal conditions of silence and marginalization that prompted feminist theory in the first place.  Feminist theory has grown over time to examine the conditions of race, class, gender, and sexual identity in different valences, but all expressing the condition of silencing voices evident in modern society.  Feminist theory has been very good at appropriating different experiences within its umbrella, suggesting that sociological conditions converge and the more we understand how these forces interact with one another the better the chance individuals have to stopping the silencing of voices.  It is here where I think that modern feminist theory has sought to include more women as a part of its voice of experience.  At the same time, the inclusion of more voices, narratives that encompass gender through racial, socio- economic, and sexual lenses of identity revivify the theory and movement.  Bringing in more voices helps to make feminist theory and feminism more relevant to more people, sustaining the movement and preventing it from becoming obsolete.  It is here where I think that a great case can be made that women of color find themselves included more in feminist theory and the modern feminist movement.