Push(back) at the Intersections: It's Been Swell!

s.e. smith's headshot. they are wearing blue and their short, curly brown hair halos their head.
s.e. smith
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s.e. smith is a writer, agitator, and commentator based in Northern California.

The time has come, gentle readers, to say farewell, because every good contract must draw to an end, and this is the end of mine. I have really appreciated the opportunity to interact with all of you over the last two months, and I think we’ve had some excellent, if sometimes contentious, discussions.

It’s clear that a lot of readers started thinking in new ways, and I appreciate everyone who took the time to read, comment, email, link, discuss offsite, or do all of the above. My goal with this series was to challenge dominant narratives in pop culture discourse and feminism, and I’d like to think that as each of you settles down in the next few weeks, months, years, to listen to a new album, crack open a freshly released book, watch a television pilot, this series will trickle through to you. You’ll think not just about the depiction of women, but other issues, like race, fat, disability, class, sexual orientation, transgender identities.

And I hope that you see that these oppressions are all important, all need to be discussed, all need to be addressed. We don’t need to tell anyone to wait for equality, we don’t need to trample anyone to get our needs met, we can fight together to tear down structural inequality. I want to work in solidarity with all of you, and I want all of you to work in solidarity with me.

I’m not going to leave you without some takeaways. I was really excited when Bitch asked me to return to talk about intersectional feminist issues, to have an opportunity to talk about these issues more in depth, and throughout the series I’ve presented ideas and information on how to be more inclusive of people on the intersections. Here’s a short list:

  • Pay attention when we speak up, not just about pop culture, but about other issues.
  • Don’t be afraid to get your Google on. If people are talking about something unfamiliar to you, look it up. Check it out. Google deeper. Drill down. Try to get some answers, and push yourself to think outside your experiences. I often find, when I am having trouble understanding a term, that using the keywords around it helps; for example, if you search for ‘cis transgender’ you’re going to find more resources than you do with just ‘cis.’ Get your background information and your history, your context for the issues you see under discussion.
  • Remember that we speak as individuals, not representatives of our entire groups, that we are not a hivemind. People with shared identities may differ in how they approach them and think about them. There is no one right way, no one right answer, no single interpretation. Two people with disabilities, for example, may think radically differently about disability. That means you can’t just listen to one person, you need to listen to lots of people.
  • Make a space for us. If you’re online, link us. Center our voices. Ask us to guest post for you. Encourage your own readers and commenters to go outside the communities they are familiar with and do some reading. Offline, think about how to better integrate us into your community. Do you work for a rape crisis center? Conduct an anonymous survey to see how well you are serving the trans community. Do you work for an LGBQT center? Do you have programs for poor/homeless youth? How about youth of color and nonwhite youth? Are you leading a feminist group? Are the venues you meet at accessible to people with disabilities?
  • Start challenging the media around you. If you watch a television show and you think ‘hnh, this episode featured a trans teen, I wonder what the trans community thinks about it,’ why not Google and find out?

There are a lot of great sites out there covering issues that I hope are relevant to readers of Push(back) at the Intersections; while many of these sites are focused on specific issues, they are also intersectional in nature. Racialicious covers racial issues and pop culture on a regular basis. Questioning Transphobia is an excellent resource for exploring issues relevant to the trans community. FWD/Forward, a site I write for, discusses disability issues and Access Fandom regularly generates roundups of reactions to pop culture from the disability community. I Fry Mine In Butter is the source for my pop culture fix from all kinds of perspectives, exploring all kinds of issues. This is the beginning of a very long list that will not fit inside my word limit (many, many apologies to all the awesome sites not listed here!), and all of these sites regularly link to more resources and discussions of interest.

One of the great things about the Internet is that there are so many resources available to us. We all know, as individuals, that it is impossible for one person, or one site, to cover everything. Luckily, no one has to shoulder that burden; we can work together to air information and ideas about all kinds of issues, to link to people covering issues we can’t, to signal boost issues we don’t see getting a lot of coverage. And all of this material can be taken offline, into the classroom, the streets, the workplace, as it is every day.

I’ll be returning to Bitch along with an all-star team of guest bloggers including Snarky’s Machine, Tasha Fierce, Everett Maroon, and Red Lami in a weekly Grey’s Anatomy feature, ‘Grand Rounds: Dissecting Grey’s Anatomy,’ and I know that they have some exciting incoming (and a few returning!) guest bloggers lined up over the next few months. Bitch has really taken ‘make a space for us’ to heart when it comes to featuring voices in their guest blogging series, and I look forward to reading what other voices have to say!

If you’re interested in following my own work, my personal website, this ain’t livin’, is a good way to keep up with me, as is my Twitter. Thanks again to all the lovely staffers at Bitch, and to all of you awesome readers out there.

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3 Comments Have Been Posted

Awesome series! The section

Awesome series! The section about google is particularly pertinent - folks act like there's no page 2 and you can only enter one word per search!

I want to thank you so much

I want to thank you so much for writing, s.e. Your wonderful insight and wit have made for a wonderful examination of culture, and sparked some pretty epic discussions, which I think is quite an accomplishment! I'll be sure to check out your website and look forward to seeing you on Bitch again. :)


It has already been said by better writers than I, but I need to say thank you. I appreciate this series and the way the 'norms' are questioned, and false dichotomies have been punctured. Everything I read acknowledges the complicated nature of all these issues, yet gets to the heart of each matter. Because, in part, of this series, I am thinking more about these issues, and evaluating pop culture in a much more stringent way.

Thank you again!

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