Blogging the Theoretical

Feminism in Mohanty

October 9, 2011 · 2 Comments

This blog post will talk about how aspects of our everyday life are impacted especially by gender and racial ideologies. Mohanty would argue this to be true particularly in higher education (colleges and universities), and in the work place. She would argue that gender and race is even more crucial when you are from a third country living in the United States. You are an alien, a foreigner, an immigrant and will always be one no matter how long you reside here. Questions always seem to arise as to when you are “going home”.  Mohanty then argues can anyone particularly third world women even have a home and if so, where is it? Where do they belong? Is home where you were born, or is home where you reside? Mohanty argues that where you are and who you are (genealogy and location) play a vital role in what people think of you as. She fought this very battle herself and still does today. Dependent upon where she lived in the United States she was associated with being Black, Native, and even Latina. Race plays an important role in how you are perceived in society and most importantly the “power” that one could achieve (attain).

When you are a “visitor” from another country especially a woman, everyone thinks of you as a “student”, no matter how many grey hairs you have in your head, or how many wrinkles you have on your face. Mohanty would argue no matter the degree (law or even doctoral) that women would still be less than. Women no matter what the race was still couldn’t even compare to the elite white man. The white man still is the man with all the power who set the standards for those who are “beneath him”. The third world woman is just another socially constructed image just as the pure woman and the whore. Mohanty says for in the context of First/Third world balance of power, feminist analyses that perpetrate and sustain the hegemony of the idea of the superiority of the West produce a corresponding set of universal images of the Third World Woman, images such as the veiled woman, the powerful  mother, the chaste virgin, the obedient wife, etc. In the film ten you saw some of these images reproduced except for the main character that didn’t fit into any of those categories. She was strong and independent, and didn’t need a main to complete her but wanted companionship instead.


Mohanty would argue just as Hill Collins has and would say that knowledge isn’t always produced in a formal, educational institution. There are sometimes obstacles in the way such as slavery for the blacks that prevented members associated with that race from receiving a formal and becoming literate. Mohanty would also argue that knowledge is formed through experience which also agrees with Hill Collins arguments. However, Mohanty would disagree with Hill Collins in the fact that no two woman experience life in the same way. Sure, they may have similar obstacles that they face, but they ways in which they face these obstacles, how they even came about, and how they choose to overcome those obstacles are very different.

Chandra Mohanty would argue that the economic system that we live in today called capitalism is to blame for the many false ideologies that came about and that we still live in today. Capitalism is all about money and the constant accumulation of wealth. Cheaper labor plus racism equals the “Other” (formed from ideologies) which equals profit. Why do you think woman get stuck doing the worst jobs? Why are there woman they work 18 hours or more in a factory. Not because their hands are smaller and better fit to use the machines. It is because of these so called gender ideologies that are in place and because women are taught at an early age to be subordinate to men. Most women have a fear of men and that is why it is ideal to have women working in those factories or in domesticated jobs because the men know these women are too afraid to stand up for themselves or to revolt. Do you not find it strange that only men are the supervisors of these factories?

Categories: Chandra Mohanty · Group Three · Star

2 responses so far ↓

  •   mvlave09 // Oct 10th 2011 at 11:12 am


    I think you did a good job of outlining Mohanty’s points across her piece. You used some good examples like when you discussed the Third World images that are perpetuated by the First World. I think that you could have had more of a focused structure though, and I would go back, proof read and pick out your more developed arguments and work on organizing. Good job!!


  •   esmarv09 // Oct 10th 2011 at 3:02 pm


    I think you did a good job of outlining examples of feminism throughout your first two paragraphs. It would be good to find some quotes from the book to support them and further these ideas.

    I agree with Maddy about working on a more focused structure. The last two paragraphs didn’t have as much about feminism.

    Good job!!

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