Not all female college students are convinced that feminism has all the answers. That’s the case for Jocelyn Tolpin who expressed her doubts in a recent op-ed for The Harvard Crimson entitled, “I Don’t Get Intersectionality in Feminism.”
Here’s Tolpin’s problem: she supports Black Lives Matter; she supports LGBT rights; she believes in equality; but she also supports a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine. And in the cult of feminism, that’s enough to get you kicked out.
Although intersectionality is prevalent in each of these movements, feminism is the one that pertains most to me. It is where my largest grievances lie, and I’ve identified as a feminist since learning what it was because it made sense to me. I am a woman and I want equal opportunity and treatment, so of course I am a feminist. However, I’m starting to doubt my role in the movement because my Zionist beliefs are not supported in the community. I will always stand up against any gender-based discrimination, but can I really do that under the label of a feminist? I say this because I’m not sure that feminism has a place for me anymore.
It’s nice when they start waking up from the coma, isn’t it? She continues:
The politicization of the feminist movement has made it increasingly anti-Zionist. My support for a two-state solution is being challenged by a movement that I so heavily identified with. I used to think that the leaders of the feminist movement were women who were standing up on behalf of people like me. Yet, that’s where I was mistaken — they aren’t.
Tolpin points to Linda Sarsour as a prime example of the downfall of the feminist movement. She, an anti-Semite, has emphatically stated that Zionism and feminism are incompatible. And when Tolpin witnessed the Women’s March, which was organized by Sarsour, what should’ve been an inspirational moment for a feminist quickly soured once she realized one of the main platforms of the day was the decolonization of Palestine.
“This supposed unity of feminism is one that alienates people in the process,” Tolpin laments.
And when she observed The Chicago Dyke March of Summer 2017, Tolpin recoiled at seeing two Jewish lesbians ejected because they wanted to walk with pride flags that featured the Star of David:
“Jews were not allowed to march for their LGBTQ+ identities without renouncing Israel.”
Instead of intersectionality in feminism, Tolpin sees only “boundaries” of exclusion being drawn. This is playing out in the national movement, but also among feminists at Harvard. Tolpin met a fellow student who feels the same as she does — excluded from the movement — cast out because she’s anti-abortion.
“I was at a loss for words because I was faced with my own unconscious correlation between body feminism and social feminism,” Tolpin concludes. “But my definition in feminism is an overarching belief in equal rights. She believes in equal rights, therefore she is a feminist. I believe in Zionism, but I am a feminist too.”
H/T The College Fix