What does intra- and intersexual oppression mean in reference to the play Top Girls by Caryl Churchill?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Top Girls  by Caryl Churchill was first produced in 1982, when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister and British feminism was responding to the synthesis of socialism with post-modernist feminism that was popular on the Continent, as opposed to the United States mode of individualistic liberal feminism.

British feminism was concerned with two types of oppression. First was "intersexual" or "between sexes", i.e. how men oppressed women. Another concern though was "intrasexual" oppression, i.e. how women, having internalized patriarchal values oppressed each other.

Marlene, a working class woman who by her own efforts became a successful middle class professional, like the grocer's daughter, Margaret Thatcher, who became prime minister, exemplifies the discomfort of British feminists with the mode of the successful individual woman who is simply committed to her own career and not the success of other women .