Invisible borders

INTERSECTIONALITY is “the phenomenon by which each individual suffers oppression or holds privileges based on its belonging to multiple social categories”. – Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw
Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw

Borders divide, they are strokes delimitating inhabitable material spaces, territories. These are the visible ones, those we recognize in maps, those which are disputed in wars, those naming us foreigners, those where migration flows are sustained and whose walls are violently defended. And, however, material borders, which can be crossed with our passport in our hand, are built upon invisible borders, whose definition implies the erasure of other truths and other places from where the world exists.


To think these invisible borders – that penetrate us and give us a symbolic place – is to risk the existing comfort around learnt patriarchal norms and codes. It means moving them aside and finding another place where we can name the resistances and talk about how we live in this world made up of borders, how they affect women’s lives and how we can weave strategies to resist and repair sexist violence exercised against women and their daughters and sons by borders – and those who defend them –.


Displacing these codes learnt within the patriarchy also engages us to think the place – our own – from where we see the world. This context is the perfect opportunity to pick up the notion of INTERSECTIONALITY, a word coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in 1989 referring to “the phenomenon by which each individual suffers oppression or holds privileges based on its belonging to multiple social categories”.

Intersectionality makes sense, as stated by Rita Segato, if it is understood as the result of a colonial process, but when these categories are turned into clichés, they become meaningless. Intersectionality cannot be understood only in the actual context; it requires an understanding of the beaten track as a context to properly analyze this present.

As a consequence, intersectionality needs certain practice to name itself, practice that is and has always been based on starting on itself, a political practice inherited from women’s movements and that we propose as an efficient and radical action to transform the world, a world we want free of sexist violence.


Hence, this method implies starting on your personal position to understand and name intersectionality, keeping in mind what you have lived and walked, in order to engage with the world and share your singular experiences without falling into the patriarchal temptation of defining yourself based on the comparison with other women. It is a balancing movement between outside and inside, subjective and objective, between reading reality and expressing our experiences, feelings, contradictions and desires; by doing this we make the world talk, because we are constantly connected to it, and these connections constitute our own map, one without borders.


These strategies open the possibility to put human relations first and to acknowledge women relations as a place of symbolic exchange, of reciprocity, of word and action… In this place we search for interventions that collect the desire to purely exist; beyond the interventions that the patriarchy taught us, always distant, impersonal and out of context, overlapping reality and making it rigid, unable to turn into a world transformation context.