metaphor used to represent an invisible barrier that keeps a given group from rising beyond a certain level in a hierarchy
Glass ceiling is a metaphor used to represent an invisible barrier that keeps a given demographic from rising beyond a certain level in a hierarchy.
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- Glass ceiling feminism is grounded from the very outset in hierarchies. I mean, how else does that metaphor work? Those who are already high enough to reach the ceiling are probably white, and then if they're not white, they are already affluent. Because they're at the top. All they have to do is push through the ceiling. And as long as I have identified as a feminist, it has been clear to me that any feminism that privileges those that already have privilege is bound to be irrelevant to poor women, working class women, women of color, trans women, trans women of color. If standards for feminism are created by those who have already ascended economic hierarchies and are attempting to make the last climb to the top, how is this relevant to women who are at the very bottom? Revolutionary hope resides precisely among those women who have been abandoned by history and who are now standing up and making their demands heard.
- Grassroots feminists continue to be undermined by single-issue liberals who believe that by breaking a class-entitled glass ceiling—'beating the boys at their own game'—there is some kind of "trickle down" effect on the actual lives of workingclass and poor women and children. This is the same "trickle down" of our share of corporate profit, secured by tax benefits for the wealthy, that has yet to land on our kitchen tables, our paychecks, or our children's public school educations. Social change does not occur through tokenism or exceptions to the rule of discrimination, but through the systemic abolishment of the rule itself.
- Cherríe Moraga, "Catching Fire," Preface to the Fourth Edition of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (2015), p. xvii