Intersectionality may be defined as a theory that shows how social and cultural categories interact. It shows that various social identities like race, gender class, disability, sexuality, place of origin and nationality are interconnected and contribute to systemic oppression and discrimination experienced by some societies. In this essay, while responding to Question 1 of the final test, I'll discuss the advantages and importance of an intersectional lens when analyzing sexuality as a site of power and regulation. I'll reference Cannon’s “The Regulation of First Nations Sexuality” which highlights colonization and ‘Modern’ Sexuality, Gerschick’s “The Body, Disability, and Sexuality” which highlights disability and sexuality, and eventually nd eventually Erickson’s “Revealing Femmegimp” that challenges dominant notions of asexuality related to people with disabilities.
Cannon evokes that several aspects of Canadian political reality are dominated by interconnecting and socially constructed notions of race, gender, ability, class, and sexuality that impact individuals and their sexuality in distinctively, historical and contemporary ways. Canada's Indian Act and early Indian policy reveal the organization of ableist, classist, racist, sexist, and heterosexist notions that manifested within the process of settler colonization.
The regulation of the Indigenous communities' sexuality bears the intersectionality of racist and European patriarchal configurations of colonial contexts as well as sexuality notions that supported 'racial' differences, tied to ideas of gender connected to the domination of masculinity and femininity, disguised as 'civilizing' agenda. These configurations influenced the agenda of Canada Nation-building, notions that denied same-sex relationships within the status and citizenship sections of the Indian Act.
These notions also led to the sexual division of labour and overall gender classification systems. The intersectionality of these factors and systems significantly affected Indigenous communities, and their dynamic interplay influenced the regulation of their sexuality and the invasion of their land. The Intersectionalities approach illuminates the role of systemic power, discrimination, and exclusion which accounts for the history of Indigenous communities regulation and the theory of Canada state formation contrary to other stereotypical narratives.
Gerschick while analyzing bodies that matter reveals other advantages of intersectionality in a disability context while she explores the intersectionality between disability and sexuality. Gerschick evokes that academic literature rarely explores the non-public experience, identity, and also the private relationships of individuals with disabilities, particularly within the context of care which she says undermine their ability to manage their own lives; including their sexual identity and intimate relationships within care settings. She argues that people with disability experiences in care are tremendously depriving for both caregivers and care receivers. The constant regulating through obligatory repetitive routines violates the sexual autonomy.
She proposes that there is a lot to be learned from the non-public experiences of people with disabilities, particularly about intersectionality. The benefit of her intersectional approach is that it reveals how people with disabilities are perceived and regulated as well as their lived experiences. She reveals how identities shape lives, and the role of power systems in shaping disability narratives and perpetuating multifaceted oppressions. She argues that there is a need for an epistemological intersectional approach to establish how disability intersects with other obscured aspects such as race, gender, ability, class, age, and sexuality.
Erickson a queer Femmegimp porn star uses an intersectional perspective while analyzing the ‘sites of shame as sites of resistance’ for people with disabilities. Her sex-positive pornography deconstructs sexual normativity discourses that dominant desexualization avails, disrupting representation of able-bodied porn as ideal, and able bodies as the desirable bodies. She also disrupts the dominant view of body disability as an identity and a site of sexual invisibility, exclusion, oppression, and unattractiveness, factors she cites as the utmost oppression and deepest pain people with disability experience. Also highlighted are the dominant views and attitudes causing stigma, shame, and sexual self-hate, informed by how disabled people are made to feel about their bodies. She highlights the rejection and fear instilled in children born with disabilities, being considered abnormal and monstrous.
Her use of “Sites of Shame as Sites of Resistance”, reveals the intersectional benefit that creates safe spaces where people with disabilities are appreciated and experience a fulfilling sexual life, positive body image, and challenges dominant socially constructed asexuality. Her Femmegimp perspective creates hope, comfort, and diffuses self-hate pressures. She cites an intersectional sex-positive view as a potential political site of resistance and an empowerment tool that disrupts the discourse of disability porn as danger and explores the potential benefits of self-initiated involvement in porn. Erickson disrupts the dominant pornographic culture that shames and stigmatizes and helps alleviate sexual self-hate, low self-esteem, and self-blame for sexual undesirability associated with disability, and creates a safe sexual consciousness space and reality.
The above analysis goes to show that an intersectional approach can be a site of power and regulation. Looking at intersectionalities as isolated cases jeopardies and obscures realities of people living multiple social identities of race, gender, class, ability, sexuality, and continues to reproduce the dominance of white, cis, middle-class able-bodied males as the ideal.
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