Intersectionality means to belong to several social categorizations. These social categorizations include race, class, gender, and sexuality. Sex, class, gender and sexuality overlap and create a person’s identity. Unfortunately, this can lead to discrimination. The discrimination can be seen in the media as well as in the real world. Intersectionality is used in the media to shape media representations. This also promotes diversity and inclusion in media and social movements. Intersectionality is manifested in the media representations of gender and sexuality by broadcasting the different identities of people for their own benefit. Because of intersectionality, many individuals are blocked from opportunities.
One example of how intersectionality is presented in the media, is the representation of Lil Nas X. Lil Nas X is an upcoming rapper who has had two number one songs in 2019. He is a black gay man. The intersectionality that Lil Nas X faces has helped, but also hurt his fan base. Before he came out, Lil Nas X was identified as a black male who combined the genres of rap and country music into his debut song “Old Town Road”. He got a lot of backlash from people who believed that he was making a mockery of country music by incorporating rap. The song became Billboard’s longest number 1 ever. Once Lil Nas X came out, the media went crazy. There was a division between whether he should have stayed in the closet or came out. ET Canada, covered the viral, barbershop themed interview with Lil Nas X and Kevin Heart, Lil Nas X was asked why he decided to come out. Kevin Hart didn’t believe it was necessary. Lil Nas X exclaimed that it was important because there is a stigma in the black community against homosexuality. With him being a black, gay, and an affluent male, he knew it could hurt his career, but he still knew he had to do it.
In the film KIKI, a group of LGBTQ people of color are telling their story about how they found themselves through dance and their community. The main character is a black male, a part of the LGBTQ community, and a dancer. These three identities are not typically the social norm because black men have been seen as hypermasculine throughout history. It is not typically accepted for black men to be openly apart of the LGBTQ community or express creativity through dance. Because the main the character possessed these three identities, the odds are stacked against him. Fortunately, he found a sense of belonging with people who had a similar intersection of identity as him. The group of young people in the film found their output through dance and used that to express their feelings of not being socially accepted. They found a place of refuge where they could go and be themselves.
In the article, This Is What Latinos Think Everyone Got Wrong About El Paso, Carrasquillo explains how the intersection between citizenship status and ethnicity made Mexicans, Latinos, and immigrants the target for the mass shooting. Political media outlets that have a negative view towards immigration perpetuate negative stereotypes in the media. The perception of the intersection between ethnicity and citizenship status in the U.S. has affected the way certain people are treated. They feel like they don’t have a voice because they get little help from the government. In the article, Carrasquillo tells the reader that he got over 160 messages from people who had no safe place to tell their story. One story in particular was about how a new father was scared that his mixed child would have dark skin like him. He doesn’t want his child to go through the same struggles that he faces.
In a perfect world, we would all be equal and have a voice. Nobody would be discriminated against for the characteristics that make them who they are. The article, Ten Tips for Putting Intersectionality into Practice, focuses on coming together to share those different experiences not only in the media, but in our daily life. The article kicks off by saying we should recognize that not everybody has the same opportunities. Different forms of discrimination create unique challenges for people. The article then goes on to say we should hear what those who are oppressed have to say and to be inclusive. We need to understand it affects families. Also, when taking data, we need to make sure we are not overlooking anyone’s experiences. In the conclusion of the article, it gives us tips to be open minded about different issues and get involved as a community.
Intersectionality is when more than one identity cross. Intersectionality effects everyone, not just a few people. Much of American culture is affected by this. Though the media is making progress in representing people of different social categories there is still much more that they can do to encompass all of what intersectionality means. Being a part of multiple identities or social groups isn’t the issue, it is how people are discriminated against for doing so. The media can glamorize or romanticize the everyday struggles that minority groups face, especially when it comes to gender and sexuality. But we have to remember that there are real repercussions and dangers that people face simply for being themselves in America.