oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The case of the invisible woman: essentialism, intersectionality and marginalisation in feminist discourse

Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



This article comes at the end of a year of study and research in the United States. For the first time during this year, the author came into contact with feminism as a comprehensive legal critique, with clear and lucid challenges to every aspect of legal theory that should be an essential part of any law school curriculum. As the author started his journey into feminist critique, he soon discovered that at the moment, the feminist movement in the United States is being rocked by claims by African American and other feminists of colour, that the mainstream feminist movement has marginalised women of colour to such an extent that they have become invisible. To think that the women's movement in the United States presents a single united front, the argument goes, disempowers women of colour. In this article he examines the on-going debate in the United States, and its implications for both the internal unity in the women's movement and its agenda. He draws some superficial analogies with the South African women's movement.

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