Intersectional Analysis as a Framework of Action for (White) Feminist Activist Praxis: The Case of #NousToutes, the French Movement Against Gender-Based Violence


  • Maëlle Noir Irish Centre for Human Rights, Ireland



This paper addresses the articulation of intersectionality, a concept which emerged from Black liberation movements to unveil the specific nature of Black women’s oppression, by contemporaneous (White) feminist activist movements against gender-based violence. Combining desk-based and empirical research, this paper uses #NousToutes, the main movement against gender-based violence in France, to conceptualise intersectional analysis as an ideological, political and organisational framework for feminist activist praxis. The first section explains why Black women must remain the only epistemological subjects, users and theorists of the concept of intersectionality and how this argument has been articulated by French activist movements tackling interlocking forms of discrimination. Contextualising intersectionality wars in the activist space, the second section critically addresses the issue of whitened and performative intersectional activism as a way to practise a more ethical feminism. The third section starts by discussing the rationale behind the necessity to visibilise and tackle interlocking forms of power amidst the “intersectionality versus universalism” debate in France. The author then examines the different strategies employed by #NousToutes to mitigate the phenomenon of appropriation of intersectionality by White feminist movements while progressively centring the necessity to tackle interlocking forms of discrimination in its political and ideological position.

Keywords: intersectionality, black feminism, feminist activism, gender-based violence.