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Mohanty:Gender in Third World Countries

October 7, 2011 · 3 Comments

Mohanty: Gender in Third World Countries

Chandra Mohanty’s “Feminism without Boarders,” makes the argument on how Western scholars and feminists fail to properly examine the “third world women” and critiques the many issues faced between U.S and Third World customs.  Mohanty discusses her interpretation of theory and the importance of individual experiences. She says, “…Theory is a deepening of the political, not a moving away from it: a distillation of experience, and an intensification of the personal” (Mohanty 191). Mohanty emphasizes that people should never stray away from having a knowledge of understanding based on the political historical content of one’s country, specifically in third world countries. She argues that western feminist and scholars have this preconceived notion that all “third world women” have a similar problem when it comes to gender equality based on an economic dilemma. What they fail to realize is that it is more than just the economy, it is political problem.

To further her theory, Mohanty challenges the idea of “women as a category of analysis” or “All sisters in struggle”. Mohanty indicates, “…in any given piece of feminist analysis, women are characterized as a singular group on the basis of shared oppression. What binds women together is the sociological notion of the sameness of their oppression” (Mohanty 23). She argues that Third World women are theorized and categorized as a whole based on gender. She adds on by saying, “This results in an assumption of women as an always ready constituted group, one that has been labeled powerless, exploited, sexually harassed, and so on…” (Mohanty 23). Mohanty clearly depicts the assumptions that many Western scholars and feminist make in regards of the third world women that all “women’s” life experiences are the same. However, every woman is shaped differently based on their unique experiences and that is what Mohanty is emphasizing. Mohanty addresses the fact that among the women of the third world their history of  the political makes them more than just objects.

Mohanty, Chandra. Feminism without Boarders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2003. Print.




Categories: Group One · Jennifer M

3 responses so far ↓

  •   janico08 // Oct 9th 2011 at 10:48 am


    I think this is a great start. I noticed you accidentally added an extra ‘a’ in Borders of the title of the book in your first sentence. I also think it might be good to talk about the different perceptions of Western women/feminist and Third World women/feminist. Or how Western feminists stereotype Third World women. For example on page 47, Mohanty states “scholars often locate ‘Third World women’ in terms of underdevelopment, oppressive traditions, high illiteracy, rural and urban poverty, religious fanaticism, and ‘overpopulation’ or particular Asian, African, Middle Eastern, and Latin American countries.”


  •   ahvang08 // Oct 9th 2011 at 3:43 pm

    It could be beneficial for you to address the generalizations she makes about 3rd world women and explain how those also create discourses for men as well. At the end of the first paragraph you discuss gender as a political and economic problem, you should give some examples are develop a bit more on this point. I think your quote from page 23 in your second paragraph is crucial!
    Good Job!

  •   rcrich09 // Oct 9th 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Good stuff, I love your quotes they really tie your entry together. The focus on “All sister’s in the struggle” is fantastic as well but I would like to see you go more in depth on it. All in all great start!

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