Category Archives: feminism

Poverty and the One-Third World

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. Continue reading

Microcredit: “A political economy of shame”

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.” Continue reading

“The next big shift in feminism”

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. Continue reading

Retro Flashback: Ruminations on a Song and on a Word

by Latoya Peterson

Warning – Explicit Language

While I was researching a piece for Feministe, I stumbled across an old video.

The video is of a TV appearance for John Lennon and Yoko Ono, performing their song “Woman is the Nigger of the World” on the Dick Cavett show.

John Lennon goes into great detail as to how the record was made. He mentions that most of the people who have an issue with the title are white and male. Also in his explanation, he notes “All my black friends feel I have quite a right to say it.”

He also reads a statement from the then-chairman of the Black Caucus:

“If you define nigger as someone whose lifestyle is defined by others, whose opportunities are defined by others, whose role in society is defined by others, then good news! – you don’t have to be black to be a nigger in this society. Most of the people in America are niggers.”

Lennon goes on to say “I think the word nigger has changed, and it does not have the same meaning that it used to.”

They then go into the song.


Help Us Keep Bitching

by Latoya Peterson

So, I’m currently reading an advance copy of Tricia Rose’s new book, The Hip-Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip-Hop – And Why It Matters. I’ve already flagged pages to post as part of the “Quoted” series, as well as planning a few arguments around Rose’s ideas to post as part of the Hip-Hop Feminist canon. I even have an interview scheduled for next Tuesday, where I planned to spend about an hour dissecting the book with the author.

But unfortunately, y’all might not ever read my interview, or the article that was supposed to spring from our discussion.

That’s because on the day I received my contract in the mail, Bitch Magazine posted a video by Andi Zeisler and Debbie Rasmussen saying that they may not be able to publish the next issue because they don’t have the money. Bitch is $40,000 short of what they need to publish next month’s issue. (That’s how much it costs to publish an issue, y’all.)

So, please help.

If you like the fact that there is a magazine dedicated to a feminist critique of pop culture, please help by subscribing or donating.

If you don’t know what Bitch is, please check out their website and their back issues.

If you have a small business, an Etsy store, whatever, please consider taking out an advertisement.

And if you like what I do, and you like how I write, please help as well. Bitch is one of the few publications that will actually publish a lot of the things I write about, without me worrying about what gets filtered out, or if they are going to edit the racial/gender analysis out of my pitch.

I know there are about 5,000 of you reading Racialicious each day. (I’m not sure on how many people visit Feministe, where I am going to cross post this, but I hope a lot.) If half of you take the time to donate $5.00, we’ve raised $12,500.00 and we would be a quarter of the way there.

I already gave you a head start – I donated $10.

Here’s the video from Andi & Debbie:

Looking at Sarah, Somehow Seeing Condi

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. Continue reading

Feminism, Race, and Sexist Dating Guides

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.


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.


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

Continue reading

White Feminists and Michelle Obama

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

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.”

Continue reading