Category: feminism

December 17, 2008 / / activism

by Guest Contributor Tagland, originally published at Tanglad

I am an immigrant woman of the Two-Thirds World, who is living with the One-Third World.

I first came across Esteva and Prakash’s concept of the One Third/Two Thirds World via Chandra Mohanty’s Feminism Without Borders. The concepts recognize the transnational nature of capital, and how policies instituted by people in the One-Third World (middle and upper classes in the North and elites in the South) destabilize the lives of those in the Two-Thirds World, comprised by majority of the world’s population.

And most of the time, those of us in the One-Third World remain unaware of how our actions, well-meaning or otherwise, generate and perpetuate poverty and hardship.

For example, many of us in the One-Third World rarely reflect on our patterns of consumption, on how overconsumption contributes to substandard working conditions in Export Processing Zones around the world. If you’ve ever bought clothes from Nike, the Gap, or purchased products from Walmart and Target, for example, please take a minute to consider why your purchases seem so “affordable.” Ditto with that $2 bottle of wine from Trader Joe’s.

If you want to help those in poverty, take some more time to consider the consequences of top-down assistance programs that are instituted without any input or consultation from the communities themselves. This includes turning a critical eye on programs that present capacity-building and microcredit as solutions to poverty, rather than stopgap measures to systemic problems that are exacerbated by globalization. This means actually listening to the people in communities when they say that they need healthcare and education programs instead of yet another start-up handicraft business. Read the Post Poverty and the One-Third World

December 16, 2008 / / academia

by Guest Contributor Tanglad, originally published at Tanglad

It’s easy to understand the appeal of microcredit. Poor women from the Global South use loans as small as $20 to start businesses and lift themselves from poverty. The creditors make a profit when the loans are repaid. Win-win.

What do they say about things that look too good to be true?

A whopping 90 to 99 percent of these loans are paid back with interest, another shining indicator of microcredit’s success. But there is an ugly side to ensuring repayment, where poor women are made to police one another and punish defaulters with collective acts of aggression.

In her study of Grameen Bank microcredit programs in rural Bangladesh,* Leila Karim finds that the focus on the 98 percent loan recovery rate hides how beneficiaries are co-opted into “a political economy of shame.” Read the Post Microcredit: “A political economy of shame”

by Guest Contributor Tanglad, originally published at Tanglad

Camille Paglia recently wrote a number of gushing statements about Sarah Palin, but here’s the one that made my eyes roll the hardest:

I stand on what I said (as a staunch pro-choice advocate) in my last two columns — that Palin as a pro-life wife, mother and ambitious professional represents the next big shift in feminism. Pro-life women will save feminism by expanding it, particularly into the more traditional Third World.

It’s amazing how many wrong assumptions can be crammed into two short sentences. Twenty years after Chandra Mohanty’s Under Western Eyes, and we still have Western feminists advocating colonialism for the good of Third World women?

Feminists like Paglia still refer to a monolithic Third World, a categorization that assumes a homogenous oppression of all brown and black women. Of women who are characterized by all the stereotypes attached to the word “traditional” – backwards, primitive, uneducated, victimized, poor. Read the Post “The next big shift in feminism”

October 28, 2008 / / feminism
September 16, 2008 / / action alert
September 15, 2008 / / feminism

by Latoya Peterson, originally published at Feministe

As the uproar over the Palin VP pick enters its third week, the media and the blogosphere show no signs of letting go of mining every aspect of the controversy. Feministing put up a Friday Feminist Fuck No as to whether or not Sarah Palin is a feminist, Octogalore says we need to focus on the double standards being aimed at Palin, Alternet is comparing Sarah to Barbie, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez is trying to talk her friends out of voting for her, Camille Pagila claimed Palin is a new “feminist force,” and Katha Pollitt ripped her a new one in her piece “Lipstick on a Wingnut.

Throughout this all, it appears that there are two dominant ideas swirling around this debate:

1. Palin cannot be a feminist because her views are in complete opposition to what is meant by feminism as a movement.

2. Palin should be supported because she is a strong woman, who represents what feminism is about and in many ways shows what the feminist movement has done for women.

Now, I’ve been following this debate with some interest, and watched many women mount impassioned defenses of Palin, and chide feminists for not providing more support to this strong woman candidate. I don’t care for Palin’s politics at all, and while I can see she was a smart pick for the GOP, there’s a big trump card for me. Palin doesn’t represent anything close to the womanhood I know. So while I listen with interest while people argue about how Palin represents “every woman,” I can’t relate. I just don’t see her in those ways.

But I can put Sarah Palin into context fairly easily, as the issues surrounding Sarah Palin, (white) women, and feminism correspond with the issues around Condoleezza Rice, black (women) interests, and racial politics. Read the Post Looking at Sarah, Somehow Seeing Condi

September 3, 2008 / / dating

by Latoya Peterson

One of the many issues I have with feminism is how my racial identification is treated as a problem, separate from the “real issues” that feminism seeks to deal with – despite the fact that the world perceives me as a “black woman” rather than a “woman.” (The “white” that goes before “woman” is silent.) My race is supposed to go unmentioned and unnoticed – until, there is some kind of “black culture” thing to tsk-tsk and blame on the inherent sexism in the black community.

So, it was with great trepidation that I clicked on a header post from Feministing. Titled “Dating Advice from Assholes: ‘Stop Treating Women Well,‘” Ann summarizes a Washington Post article about yet another crappy book about how to catch a man.

Titled “The Re-Education of the Female” (charming, right?) some bama basically regurgitates the same bullshit being spouted at women since time eternal – cook, clean, fuck, and STFU. The cover lets me know that my initial eye-roll was the right reaction.

Boooo!

Now, Ann’s post was cool, and I was about to click off to some other part of the internet, but for some reason, I decided to read the comments.

The first ten or so were cool, expressing general disgust at the ignorant sentiments. And then, we get to this one:

I echo the sentiments already expressed. I am disgusted by this.

I am also disheartened by the fact that this filth is targeted at black women. I have a feeling that black women generally (but not all, of course) would be more susceptible to these ideas. There seems to be an a fairly strong sentiment among many black women that they need to stand by “their” men, as though they are disgracing themselves and their heritage by dating outside of their race. I have several times seen reference to the shrinking number of black men due to incarceration and consequently a shrinking dating pool, the implication always seeming to be that women have little choice but to date in this pool. Furthermore, there is the specter of single motherhood looming over black women. I fear that the expectation that black women date black men and the fear of scarcity of good black men will cause the women who identify with these issues the most to buy into these horrid ideas for fear of ending up alone otherwise.

*sigh*

Paging the white savior – the Negro women need your guidance!

Read the Post Feminism, Race, and Sexist Dating Guides

August 27, 2008 / / feminism

by Special Correspondent Nadra Kareem

Should white feminists be taken to task if they don’t defend Michelle Obama from the misogynistic attacks sure to continue coming her way as the presidential campaign unfolds? Not necessarily, say Corinne Douglas and Jacquelyn Gray, who wrote an editorial called the “Cost of Silence” at the Root.com.

In the article, Douglas and Gray argue that black women remained silent when Hillary Clinton suffered a litany of misogynistic attacks. Therefore, white women can’t be held accountable if they refuse to defend Michelle Obama from the evils of sexism. Douglas and Gray write:

“The misogynistic savaging of Hillary Clinton was one of the most inexcusable elements of the primary campaign, and the silence from black women in the face of those attacks, because they supported Obama, was, at least, a tactical mistake. It is entirely unacceptable to go along with unfair attacks against women simply because you disagree with the particular woman under attack.”

Read the Post White Feminists and Michelle Obama