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Entries Tagged as 'Group Two'

Butler Quote 2 Group Two

November 5th, 2011 · 6 Comments

The terms by which we are recognized as human are socially articulated and changeable.  And sometimes the very terms that confer “humanness” on some individuals are those that deprive certain other individuals of the possibility of achieving that status, producing a differential between the human and the less than human. These norms have far-reaching consequences for how we understand the model of the human entitled to rights or included in the participatory sphere of political deliberation (Butler 2004, 2).

Tags: Brooke · Erika · Group Two · Jennifer R · Kate · Olivia · Troli

Butler Quote for Group Two

November 2nd, 2011 · 6 Comments

The body implies mortality, vulnerability, agency: skin and the flesh expose us to the gaze of others but also to touch and to violence. The body can be the agency and the instrument of all these as well, or the site where “doing” and “being done to” be equivocal. Although we struggle for rights over our own bodies, the very bodies for which we struggle are never quite our own. The body has its invariably public dimension; constituted as a social phenomenon in the public sphere, my body is and is not mine (Butler 2004, 21).

Tags: Brooke · Erika · Group Two · Jennifer R · Kate · Olivia · Troli

Mohanty: The Solution (Final Draft)

October 12th, 2011 · No Comments

By Brooke Hessney

Chandra Talpade Mohanty poses a unique outlook on the oppression Third World women in her book, Feminism Without Boarders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. It is evident that Third World women face adversity in all parts of the world but she sheds light on innovative strategies towards a common solution to the oppression of Third World women by, “…[generating new] ways to think about mobilization, organizing, and conscientization transnationally” (Mohanty 140). She argues that Third World women must make colonization and domination pedagogically transparent by learning the ways in which these ideologies function within a capitalist society as modes towards practicing solidarity. Mohanty further examines these concepts through a lens of the working-class, targeting the exploitation of Third World women. Essentially, these ideologies operate under the notion of difference based on the hegemony of the dominant culture.

Mohanty respects difference among Third World women but encourages the understanding of commonalities as a basis of solidarity. From Mohanty’s viewpoint, there is no singular woman, regardless of location, and it is a collective endeavor for women to create a mutual solidarity within a historically capitalist society or else there is little hope for future change. It is imperative to acknowledge a woman as part of a whole, despite geographic barriers, which is the foundation of transnational feminism, which seeks to promote the deconstruction of these established boarders. Mohanty herself recognizes the challenges that Third world women face through her own genealogical experiences and urges an emancipatory discourse to be instituted. This will in turn evoke the mobilization of Third world women. According to Mohanty, mobilization can be achieved by, “emancipatory action on the basis of the reconceptualization of Third World women as agents rather than victims (143). Ultimately, Mohanty seeks the reformation and reclamation of the historically capitalist normative discourses surrounding Third World women as a means to promote autonomous thinking. By this she explains that, “Capitalist patriarchies and racialized, class/caste-specific hierarchies are a key part of the long history of domination and exploitation of women, but struggles against these practices and vibrant, creative, collective forms of mobilization and organizing have also always been a part of our histories” (Mohanty 147-148). This further illustrates the strain that influence how capitalism positions the mobilization and conscientization of Third World women.

She indicates that Western hegemonic social ideologies serve as the basis for oppression of Third World women workers. Mohanty notes, “Patriarchal ideologies, which sometimes pit women against men within and outside the home, infuse the material realities of the lives of Third World women workers, making it imperative to conceptualize the way we think about working-class interests and strategies for organizing” (143). Thus, she encourages the deconstruction of the historically Westernized social institutions that strain the emancipation of Third World women within the work force by examining other marginalized women workers around the world that have been incorporated into the global economy. This is exemplified through her case studies on the women of Narsapur and Silicon Valley in which she states, “While in Narsapur, it is purdah and caste/class mobility that provides the necessary self-definition requires to anchor women’s work in the home as leisure activity, in Silicon valley, it is a specifically North American notion of individual ambition and entrepreneurship that provides the necessary ideological anchor for the Third World women” (155) Therefore, these two instances demonstrate the contradictory position of women in the working-class in context to their social identity which further exhibits Mohanty’s resolution for mobilization, organization, and a transnational feminist perspective.

Overall, Mohanty’s conception of the solution incorporates the reclamation of mobilization, organization, and transnational feminism and is by no means a static endeavor. It is essential to generate new ways of thinking about these ideologies saturated in Western culture in order for Third World women to collectively engage in reformation. She urges an emancipatory discourse to encourage change in the praxis of mobilization and organization among Third World women. Also, promoting transnational feminism recognized the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality in the context of developing global capitalism. In turn, this advocates for the title of Mohanty’s novel that suggests feminism needs to occur transnationally as a means to decolonize historically capitalist theory by practicing solidarity.

Reference:

Mohanty, Chandra Talapade. Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory,      Practicing Solidarity. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003. Print.

 

Tags: Brooke · Group Two

Please Knock First: An Examination Of How Capitalism Erodes Culture [Final]

October 12th, 2011 · No Comments

Kate Aseltine

There is a serious problem with the way women living in the “Third World” have come to be conceptualized in the West. Stationed within our own “Euro-centric” discourses, we often overlook the varying and distinctive cultural contexts these women occupy. By viewing these women only through the lens of Western capitalist ideologies, we are complicit in the controlling imagery that “undercuts women’s agency by defining them as victims of a process of pauperization or of “tradition” or “patriarchy” rather than as agents capable of making their own choices.”(Mohanty 151). We overlook the examples of Third World women who have carved a space for themselves, as teachers, as entrepreneurs, as leaders, or we disregard these women as “outliers” from the normative subjugation. Though Mohanty would not hesitate to concede that the lives of many women in the Third World are bleak, she argues that the capitalist strategies of the West are not a solution. In fact, these subversive and increasingly globalized forms of capitalism are, in her estimation, structurally responsible for their strife.

Yet again, we find capitalism painted as the antagonist, determined to thwart an egalitarian future, and with good reason. As Mohanty emphasizes,” The common interests of capital (e.g. profit, accumulation, exploitation) are somewhat clear at this point” (Mohanty 140). As I argued in my previous blog, capitalism functions by creating inequitable power levels, establishing dominions of domination and subordination, and designating social groups as the privileged or “the other.” Those who occupy the space of this “other,” or minority, are then positioned to be utilized as cheap labor and are stripped of their rights by de-humanizing controlling images.“In the United States, histories of slavery, indentured servitude, contract labor, self-employment, and wage work are also simultaneously histories of gender, race, and (hetero)sexuality, nestled within the context of the development of capitalism (i.e. of class conflict and struggle)” (Mohanty 146). Mohanty utilizes the example of slavery in the United States, when African American men and women were used as “chattel” to serve Caucasians and produce agriculture in the South, and the subjugation of people of color and women continues to be a salient issue today.

Mohanty also cites Dorthy Smith’s concept of “relations of ruling” to explain why capitalism is complicit in the construction of these inequities. Smith argues that there is a “specific interrelation between the dynamic advance of the distinctive forms of organizing and ruling contemporary capitalist society and the patriarchal forms of our contemporary experience,” which is maintained by, “government, law, business and financial management, professional organization, and educational institutions” (Mohanty 56). Mohanty asserts that the result of Western ideologies penetrating the space of Third World women has been the spread and intensification of these relations of ruling, rather than the dissemination of liberal feminisms. In her estimation Western discourses will continue to have toxic implications until they are removed from this matrix of domination. In spite of the role the American spirit of individualism has played in empowering women to demand fair compensation and agency, it is essential to keep in mind cultural distinctions that imperil the replication of this trend, unless we are conscious of the nuanced roles culture and tradition play in the lives of Third World women. We cannot diagnose an illness until we have evaluated all of its symptoms, and we would do well not to prescribe discourses with structurally oppressive side effects.

In further examining the relationship between the women of the Third World and the West, Mohanty evaluates the historic tradition of our interactions, positing that the Eurocentric colonizers of the past seem to have been replaced, by a modern model of infiltration disguised as “globalization.” Capitalist interests in the Third World have changed very little over the past 500 years. The West continues to strip women of the Third World of culture and agency, and leech their resources and labor. Women are the cheapest producers of foreign goods, and women of the Third World make the ideal employees. Using the example of female lace workers in Narspur, India, Mohanty asserts that jobs and tasks are established within an “ideological construction… in terms of notions of appropriate femininity, domesticity, (hetero)sexuality, and racial and cultural stereotypes.” These discourses drastically belittle what women, particularly women in the Third World, are capable of by portraying them as infantile, a controlling image we reinforce every time we think of them simply as victims. Job typing has facilitated the creation of a social identity: workers are isolated within their sex, race, and class, and this isolation perpetuates their subjugation. The work of these women is shaped within this framework, and “tedious” and “unskilled.” The effect of this definition of women’s labor is not only that it makes women’s labor and its costs invisible, but that it denies women power and agency, effectively trapping them within a position of subordination. Capitalist principles stress that valuable labor and laborers, exist only within the masculine sphere, which is why Mohanty argues that, “Analyzing and transforming this masculine definition of labor, which is the mainstay of capitalist patriarchal cultures, is one of the most significant challenges we face” (Mohanty 151).

Our role in the future of our increasing globalized, and capitalistic world is changing dramatically, and we must adjust our conception of ourselves accordingly. Within the globalized, capitalistic matrix of domination we no longer occupy the role of citizens –we are consumers. This has dramatic implications on the way we interact with our political systems, particularly the ones responsible for perpetuating this matrix. When we subscribe to controlling images of women of the Third World, we take a step backwards. When we vote for a system sustained by subjugation, we deny ourselves a more egalitarian future. To combat this, we must rethink what we know about positionality and experience. Mohanty suggests that by spreading globalized socialism, rather than capitalism, we can enable a system that would foster solidarity across borders, without violating the vital cultural contexts these borders represent.  Unlike capitalism, socialist ideologies stress the importance of a political climate that supports equality and assures individual agency is nurtured by the state- a political system for the people, as juxtaposed to a political system for the powerful. Commonality fosters cooperation, but productive solidarity cannot exist without an acknowledgement of culture, history, and difference.

 

Tags: Chandra Mohanty · Group Two · Kate · Uncategorized

Revised-Alexandra Troli

October 12th, 2011 · No Comments

Knowledge is power and individuals need to begin decolonizing it in order for radical change to take place, “not just working (or waiting) for a revolution” (Mohanty 4). One aspect of Mohanty’s book is based on the marginalization of “Third World Woman”. Individuals in the West need not to classify “the production of the Third World Woman as a singular, monolithic subject” (Mohanty 17). Even when women share the same culture, they are still different in their own way, for Mohanty stress’ that “our most expansive and inclusive visions of feminism need to be attentive to borders while learning to transcend them” (Mohanty 2); hence feminism without border’s.

The presence of borders in one’s life can be both a positive and negative experience. These borders shape the way we see and experience the world around us. They can be both “exclusionary and enabling” (Mohanty 2). For example, in chapter eight Mohanty addresses the struggles she faces when she returns home when her own Hindu family dismisses her because her “nonresident Indian” status makes her unable to possibly understand the “Muslim problem”. However, that “same green card has always been viewed with suspicion by leftist and feminist friends, who demand evidence of her ongoing commitment to a socialist and democratic India” (Mohanty131). Another example involves the borders set in place for the Western woman. These borders allow the world to see her as “educated, modern, having control over their own bodies and sexualities, and the freedom to make their own decisions” (Mohanty 22). Contrary to the American women, border’s in place for the Third World Woman has allowed the world to view them as a homogeneous unit. “These women lead an essentially truncated life based on her feminine gender and her being Third World”(Mohanty 22) allowing some to be viewed as “ignorant, poor, uneducated, tradition-bound, domestic, family oriented, and victimized” (Mohanty 22). Unfortunately some of these borders are created from Western national and capitalist domination creating the assumption that the U.S corporate culture is the norm. This is especially the case in higher education and is emphasized when Mohanty critiques the methods used to analyze Third World Women by Western feminists. For example, it is common in Western scholars to identify Third World women as victims. This is why decolonizing knowledge is crucial because individuals need not to be corrupted by false generalizations and acknowledge the differences and commonalities among all women.

Decolonizing involves “profound transformations of self, community, and governance structures”(Mohanty 7) that will result in “not only the creation of new kinds of self-governance but also the creation of new men and women” (Mohanty 8).

Borders come in many disguises, for they are lines drawn through “nations, races, classes, sexualities, religions, and disabilities. Feminist with out borders must envision change and social justice to work across these lines of demarcation and division” (Mohanty 2). After all, there is a commonality of struggle for women around the world regardless of the borders that “define” them.

 

Tags: Chandra Mohanty · Troli

Mohanty and Feminism (Final)

October 11th, 2011 · No Comments

Within her book, Feminism without Borders, Chandra Talpade Mohanty chooses to express and highlight some problems in which she finds crucial. She argues that the problematic point is that women in third world countries are misrepresented because of the “Third world difference”. She goes onto to explain the context behind difference and that they rely on the relationship between being a ‘woman’ and ‘women’. Being a woman is the cultural and ideological composite which is constructed through the representations of the discourse. When it comes to women, they are real, historical subjects. These images are constructed but carried through the Western discourse. However, these distinctive representations of woman and women that shape them in society are not only the problem. The problem is that women, especially ‘third world women’, are seen as a powerless group, often victimized by particular socioeconomic systems. These examples can be seen in the ways women are represented in the workforce and how they are provided with educational opportunities.

Women have been always been in the workforce but “the fact of being women with particular racial, ethnic, cultural, sexual, and geographical histories has everything to do with our definitions and identities as workers” (142). This given due to the fact that   even though the power gap division that stands between women and men in these ‘third world countries’ is centralized, there is still a domination and exploitation in terms of race and gender. “Work becomes an extension of familial roles and loyalties and draws upon cultural and ethnic/racial ideologies of womanhood, domesticity, and entrepreneurship to consolidate patriarchal dependencies” (159); women’s identity as workers is secondary to their familial roles. The idea and concept behind the ideology of work, which in this case is considered an invisible form of work, is the ideologies of domesticity, dependency, and (hetero)sexuality, which designates women as housewives/mothers and men as economic supporters/breadwinners (159). This shapes the idea that the work women do outside the home, is not really considered work or labor because of this house wife ‘role’. This reflects the displayal of women as they concentrate more on domestic, housewife roles that are supposed to benefit the family and not really them. It shows how there is still an oppression of choice for the ‘Third World woman’ who has to reflect two roles, worker and housewife, instead of one. The role in society for ‘Third World women’ is to stay under the subordination of men and masculinity because the need for them to work doesn’t necessarily create their identity. It is the “identity of women as housewives, wives, and mothers that is assumed to provide the basis for women’s survival and growth” (160).

Another factor that plays a role in the feminist outlook is the issue of educational opportunity. With the constant growth of industries and the attempts to maintain poverty within a certain level, it is the reason behind many controversial issues that have affected those who are least opportunistic. “If American higher education is in the process of undergoing a fundamental restructuring such that yet again it is women and people of color who are at risk…” (186). This economic cycle of limiting opportunities for those who are less likely to surpass their class status has circulated the mainstream economic system for quite a while. If we compare the education accessible in ‘Third World’ countries to the educational opportunities sustained in the U.S today, one can notion that it is still women and people of color who are less likely to attend prestigious schools where they can get a ‘well balanced supplemental education’ or any education for that matter. They are the ones being disadvantaged due to the lack of recognition they receive in society. Education is perceived to be more ‘tolerable’ for the men who are the dominate form and the so called ‘supporters and breadwinners’. They are the ones encouraged to attend school since they will be the ones going out into the labor force supplying the family. However, when I say dominate form, I refer to the white male domination because just like women, people of color are limited to the educational opportunities and are in a sense ‘privileged’ if they do attend a higher institution.

These forms of gender, labor, educational and other oppressions make us question whether or not the evolution of women oppression has surpassed throughout geographical locations –such as, Africa, the U.S., Mexico, India and etc. Do women of ‘Third World’ countries and the U.S. differ? Are they not both oppressed and limited to opportunities that are more available to men and the dominate norm? These limitations reflected onto women due to certain limitations enable the construction of ideologies that enable us to keep considering possibilities outside of the norm and as women, it helps us challenge them. From oppression, we choose to become activist and feminist and seek knowledge. And as feminist, we tend to use that knowledge to answer the same questions we continue to raise.

Tags: Group Two · Jennifer R

The Privitization of Higher Education (Final)

October 10th, 2011 · No Comments

The Privatization of Higher Education

 

 

The education system we have come to know, appreciate, and strive within is changing and fast. In fact, it has already changed. We are unknowingly living in an exploitive educational environment, which is slowly draining our opportunities for creative and introspective thought. We are being primed as political and global consumers, and those who do not economically fit within this scheme of privatization are being phased out. Mohanty discusses these power dynamics and the negative change they are having on higher education, specifically how these changes are affecting women and people of color.

As the system of higher education has developed it became a space to expand ones own knowledge, to foster creativity, to ask questions, and to probe society. “It is one of the few remaining spaces in a rapidly privatized world that offers some semblance of a public arena for dialogue, engagement, and visioning of democracy and justice” (Mohanty 170).  Thus, “The Academy”, as Mohanty refers, has been the leading location for feminist conversation, debate, and change. Through such outlets, leading feminist academics have developed their theories and have made a significant impact on our world and understandings. Through this system of knowledge development the University came to serve as a system of “non-repression”(174).  However, this growing concept of “globalization” and the expanding global political economy is privatizing the academy, changing its students from democratic and informed citizens to consumers in an education/profit driven matrix.

Intellect has become a primary marketable commodity. Education is undergoing a second revolution, in which research is encouraged, so that it can be translated “into intellectual property, a marketable commodity, and economic development” (173). We have begun to put a price on the intelligence of the future generations, and even more so on the fields of education that have the potential to garner a large margin of profit. Thus, we are seeing an emphasis’ on studies similar to economics, government, business etc, and “the simultaneous marginalization and cooptation of feminist, race and ethnic, and gay/lesbian/queer studies agendas in the service of the corporate academy” (174). This meaning, that in the near future we will see a decrease in the number and importance of the humanities, and courses geared toward challenging the “man”, for their role the market will become “ornamental”. We will be phased out of sorts, our position within the academic matrix lost/stolen by a monster called privatization.

Why does this affect us, you may ask? Not only are the humanities at risk of extinction but also the opportunity for all to be educated is severely at risk of being eliminated. With this move towards marketing intellect, is the “growing link between money, the ability to consume and own goods, and the participation in public life (democratic citizenship)” (183). Mohanty argues, that this opportunity or “free-choice” for education is only available to those with economic means. Wealth determines ones ability to not only be educated but to have a say on the ebb and flow of educational change. The education system is undergoing a deliberate transformation for the sole purpose of profit making.

One shocking example of this change is the new St. Lawrence strategic action plan.  Previous to the current President, St. Lawrence strove for diversity. We aimed to rise our inclusion of minority students, and had a huge emphasis on financial aid. We sought students who were academically strong enough for the rigor, but not able to finance their education. However, with the induction of the new president, circumstances of the university are changing. SLU is in serious debt, and so now things must change.  In addition to the new business major, enrollment is desired to go up, international students are only accepted if they can pay full tuition, and we are now “expanding admissions reach to enhance good fit and Financial Strength” (Fox). The SLU I know and have loved for the past four years is on the brink of serious change. The powers at be are moving away from goals of diversity and towards goals of profit. The president, no longer looks to expand the intellect all those capable of SLU, but rather only to those students who have the fiscal means to pay their way through. We will lose our being; we will lose the university we are today, and who is to say that we haven’t already lost it?

Finally, I wish to move back towards Mohanty, and further discuss this change and its global impact on the education of women and People of color. This change in education is pertinent to us. We are at serious risk to lose our education. The restructuring of higher education enables the wealthy to become wealthier, and the opportunity for education and self-development dwindles to only those who can afford it. One must look at this global privatization as a structure of power, geared only to fiscal production. If we do not strive to be aware of these changes and attempt to stop or delay them, then we threaten to lose ourselves. We will be giving in to the hierarchy of privatization, and letting the powers at be to take over.

 

 

Works Cited

 

Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. Feminism without Borders :Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003.

 

“St. Lawrence University: Strategic Map.” Stlawu.edu. William Fox, N.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2011. https://www.stlawu.edu/president/strategic_plan/index.html

Tags: Chandra Mohanty · Group Two · Olivia

Mohanty and Gender (Final)

October 10th, 2011 · No Comments

Chandra Mohanty’s Feminism without Borders addresses many critical and multifaceted issues and present-day feminism. Mohanty establishes essential links and connections between the working lives of women in the Third World as well as the United States and how these connections show similar ideological patterns within varying class/ cultural structures. Mohanty looks at the gendered politics within the global labor force. Mohanty deconstructs the ideologies around female labor forces in Narspur, India and the Silicon Valley, California and how the out-of-the-home jobs are seen as secondary to their wife and motherly duties.

The second section, Demystifying Capitalism, looks at the exploitation of Third World women workers, by comparing various situations in many diverse locations. First, Mohanty expresses the idea of “the sexual politics of global capitalism” (141) and how globalization has led to the exploitation of women workers across national borders. Mohanty goes on to discuss a few key examples of women workers in the Third World and how the work they are doing, or how they are viewed doing the work leads to patriarchal domination. Before going into the specifics of the examples, Mohanty sets the stage very nicely by stating: “While the global division of labor looks quite different now from what it did in the 1950s, ideologies of women’s work, the meaning and value of work for women, and women’s struggles against exploitation remain central issues for feminists around the world. After all, women’s labor has always been central to the development, consolidation, and reproduction of capitalism in the United States and elsewhere” (146). Mohanty looks at the ways in which women of different races, ethnicity’s, as well as social classes have profoundly different experiences of work in the developing economic world. The increasing division of the world into consumers vs. producers has had a tremendous effect on Third World women workers who have been seen internationally as anything from agricultural workers, manufacturing workers in textiles, electronics, garments as well as toys, to workers of the sex and tourist industry (146). This is further deconstructed when Mohanty says: “The value, power, and meanings attached to being a consumer or a producer/ worker may vary enormously depending on where and who we happen to be in an unequal global system” (146-47). In comparing situations of women workers, Mohanty first looks at the lace makers in Narspur. The women of Narspur are responsible for making products, and ultimately mean that men “live on profits from women’s labor” (149). Mohanty discusses the polarization between that of men and women’s work. “Men actually define themselves as exporters and businessmen who invested in women’s labor, bolstered the social and ideological definition of women as housewives and their work as ‘leisure time activity’” (149). Through this we see a patriarchal definition of work and Mohanty looks at this definition of work to further her discussion of worker and non-worker, and ultimately how it leads to the further exploitation of women. “In other words, work, in this context, was grounded in sexual identity, in concrete definitions of femininity, masculinity, and heterosexuality” (149). Naomi Katz and David Kemnitzer show a comparison of the Third World “women’s work” to that of “women’s work” within the US in looking at the production strategies/ processes that produce an “ideological redefinition of normative ideas” of Third World factory workers in the Silicon Valley of California, where immigrant women are the primary workforce. Katz and Kemnitzer discuss that gender stereotypes are used in the Silicon Valley to attract females who may be “more suited” to perform “tedious, unrewarding, poorly paid work” (Mohanty 153). Through this patriarchal view of women and women’s work we see how the “normative definitions of women as wives, sisters, and mothers- always are in relation to conjugal marriage and the ‘family’ (150). Clearly these stereotypes and heterosexual, patriarchal ideologies around gender are used to devalue the work that women do outside of the home. Here we see a disparity between the labor of men and women once again. Men are seen as the “businessmen, the exporters of goods” (149), and the so-called basis for capitalism, but in all actuality the men are “running of the same economic wheel” as the women, but the work of men is always more highly regarded. Men’s work is seen as something of great value as well as believed to be the basis for the economic system. Since men run the economic system, the work of the women in production and manufacturing is not highly regarded and the women get looked over. The work of men is being commodified and the work of women is not even acknowledged on the same scale to be considered an asset to the global economy, almost as an unnecessary/ disposable resource. Men should try to sustain a global economy without the use of women’s work in production and manufacturing as see just how “disposable” or unnecessary women’s work is and see how far they get!

In these instances we see how Mohanty examines globalization and capitalism in terms of division of labor to show how ideas of “woman’s work” come into play, not only in Third World countries, but within the United States as well. These examples of the lace workers in Narspur and the electronic workers in the Silicon Valley show the “gendered” politics of the global labor market. Mohanty establishes essential links and connections between the working lives of women in the Third world as well as the United States. These connections show similar ideological patterns within varying class/ cultural structures. Woman’s work is viewed in terms of leisure time or something to do in their “free time” and comes secondary to their roles within the family structure; taking care of the children, the house, and being their for the husbands. Based on these ideas woman’s work outside the home is judged on a completely different scale compared to men, but Mohanty explains how woman’s work has indeed been the backbone of the capitalist system for some time.

Tags: Erika · Group Two · Uncategorized

Knowledge

October 7th, 2011 · 7 Comments

Alexandra Troli

Knowledge is power and individuals need to begin decolonizing it in order for radical change to take place, “not just working (or waiting) for a revolution” (Mohanty 4). One aspect of Mohanty’s novel is based on the marginalization of “Third World Woman”. Individuals in the West need not to classify “the production of the Third World Woman as a singular, monolithic subject” (Mohanty 17). Even when women share the same culture, they are still different in their own way, for Mohanty stress’ that “our most expansive and inclusive visions of feminism need to be attentive to borders while learning to transcend them” (Mohanty 2); hence feminism without border’s.

The presence of borders in one’s life can be both a positive and negative experience. These borders shape the way we see and experience the world around us. They can be both “exclusionary and enabling” (Mohanty 2). For example, in chapter eight Mohanty addresses the struggles she faces when she returns home when her own Hindu family dismisses her because her “nonresident Indian” status makes her unable to possibly understand the “Muslim problem”. However, that “same green card has always been viewed with suspicion by leftist and feminist friends, who demand evidence of her ongoing commitment to a socialist and democratic India” (Mohanty131). Another example involves the borders set in place for the Western woman. These borders allow the world to see her as “educated, modern, having control over their own bodies and sexualities, and the freedom to make their own decisions” (Mohanty 22). Contrary to the American women, border’s in place for the Third World Woman has allowed the world to view them as a homogeneous unit. “These women lead an essentially truncated life based on her feminine gender and her being Third World”(Mohanty 22) allowing some them to be viewed as “ignorant, poor, uneducated, tradition-bound, domestic, family oriented, and victimized” (Mohanty 22). Unfortunately some of these borders are created from Western national and capitalist domination creating the assumption that the U.S corporate culture is the norm. This is why decolonizing knowledge is crucial. Decolonizing involves “profound transformations of self, community, and governance structures”(Mohanty 7) that will result in “not only the creation of new kinds of self-governance but also the creation of new men and women” (Mohanty 8).

Borders come in many disguises, for they are lines drawn through “nations, races, classes, sexualities, religions, and disabilities. Feminist with out borders must envision change and social justice to work across these lines of demarcation and division” (Mohanty 2). After all, there is a commonality of struggle for women around the world regardless of the borers that “define” them.

Works Cited

Mohanty, Chandra Talapade. Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003. Print.

 

Tags: Chandra Mohanty · Group Two · Troli

Mohanty and Feminism

October 7th, 2011 · 4 Comments

Within her book, Mohanty chooses to express and highlight some problems in which she finds crucial. She argues that the problematic point is that women in third world countries are misrepresented because of the “Third world difference”. She goes onto to explain the context behind difference and that they rely on the relationship between being a ‘woman’ and ‘women’. Being a woman is the cultural and ideological composite which is constructed through the representations of the discourse. When it comes to women, they are real, historical subjects. These images are constructed but carried through the Western discourse. However, these distinctive representations of woman and women that shape them in society are not only the problem. The problem is that women, especially ‘third world women’, are seen as a powerless group, often victimized by particular socioeconomic systems. These examples can be seen in the ways women are represented in the workforce and how they are provided with educational opportunities.

Women have been always been in the workforce but “the fact of being women with particular racial, ethnic, cultural, sexual, and geographical histories has everything to do with our definitions and identities as workers” (142). This given due to the fact that            even though the power gap division that stands between women and men in these ‘third world countries’ is centralized, there is still a domination and exploitation in terms of race and gender. “Work becomes an extension of familial roles and loyalties and draws upon cultural and ethnic/racial ideologies of womanhood, domesticity, and entrepreneurship to consolidate patriarchal dependencies” (159); women’s identity as workers is secondary to their familial roles. This reflects the displayal of women as they concentrate more on domestic, housewife roles that are supposed to benefit the family and not really them. It shows how there is still an oppression of choice for the ‘Third World woman’ who has to reflect two roles, worker and housewife, instead of one. The role in society for ‘Third World women’ is to stay under the subordination of men and masculinity because the need for them to work doesn’t necessarily create their identity. It is the “identity of women as housewives, wives, and mothers that is assumed to provide the basis for women’s survival and growth” (160).

Another factor that plays a role in the feminist outlook is the issue of educational opportunity. With the constant growth of industries and the attempts to maintain poverty within a certain level, it is the reason behind many controversial issues that have affected those who are least opportunistic. “If American higher education is in the process of undergoing a fundamental restructuring such that yet again it is women and people of color who are at risk…” (186). This economic cycle of limiting opportunities for those who are less likely to surpass their class status has circulated the mainstream economic system for quite a while. If we compare the education accessible in ‘Third World’ countries to the educational opportunities sustained in the U.S today, once can notion that it is still women and people of color who are less likely to attend prestigious schools where they can get a ‘well balanced supplemental education’ or any education for that matter.

These forms of oppression make us question whether or not the evolution of women oppression has surpassed throughout geographical locations. Do women of ‘Third World’ countries and the U.S. differ? Are they not both oppressed and limited to opportunities that are more available to men and the dominate norm? These limitations reflected onto women due to certain limitations, enables the construction of ideologies that enable us to keep considering possibilities outside of the norm and helps us challenge them.

Tags: Group Two · Jennifer R