Posts tagged feminism.

becauseiamawoman:

Made rebloggable by request.

  January 12, 2013 at 06:18pm
via

Two images of India that are recognisable to people today in both Britain and the USA are those of poverty and mystery. What ‘sells’ a country like India to the West, as seen in tourism advertisements for example, is its ‘exotic culture’ in the context of its economic poverty. In her exoticism and her misery, the ‘Indian woman’ has embodied the subcontinent itself: attracting and repelling at the same time, she is as absent in the construction of her image as India has been. As Said says: “in discussions of the orient, the orient is all absence, whereas one feels the orientalist and what he [sic] says as presence”. Said’s quote is significant because, as Billie Melman has shown, although he uses examples of the construction of women in literature as descriptive illustrations of orientalist discourses, he does not incorporate an analysis of gender into his conceptual approach. Liddle and Joshi, for example, show how gender formed one of the pillars on which imperialism was built, and that the divisions of gender mediated the structure of imperialism; and Sangari and Vaid demonstrate that both the coloniser and the colonised used the image of Indian women and the notion of Indian tradition in relation to gender to contain political and cultural change in both Britain and India. Although this orientalist discourse was largely constructed by men, Western women also contributed to it.

Feminism, Imperialism and Orientalism: The Challenge of the ‘Indian Woman’

Ramusack identifies the approach of most Western feminists of the time as “maternal imperialists”, including those who supported Indian nationalism but still believed that the colonial government improved the condition of women. As Jayawardena makes clear, they saw Indian women as their special burden, and saw themselves as the agents of progress and civilisation. The subject Indian woman in a decaying colonised society was the model of everything they were struggling against and was thus the measure of Western feminists’ own progress. British feminists saw Britain as the centre of both democracy and feminism, and when they claimed political rights they also claimed the right to participate in the empire, seeing female influence as crucial for the empire’s preservation. They sought power for themselves in the imperial project, and used the opportunities and privileges of empire as a means of resisting patriarchal constraints and creating their own independence.

The truth.

(via mehreenkasana)

mehreenkasana:

The feminist movement is generally periodized into the so-called first, second and third waves of feminism. In the United States, the first wave is characterized by the suffragette movement; the second wave is characterized by the formation of the National Organization for Women, abortion rights politics, and the fight for the Equal Rights Amendments. Suddenly, during the third wave of feminism, women of colour make an appearance to transform feminism into a multicultural movement.

This periodization situates white middle-class women as the central historical agents to which women of colour attach themselves. However, if we were to recognize the agency of indigenous women in an account of feminist history, we might begin with 1492 when Native women collectively resisted colonization. This would allow us to see that there are multiple feminist histories emerging from multiple communities of colour which intersect at points and diverge in others. This would not negate the contributions made by white feminists, but would de-center them from our historicizing and analysis.

Indigenous feminism thus centers anti-colonial practice within its organizing. This is critical today when you have mainstream feminist groups supporting, for example, the US bombing of Afghanistan with the claim that this bombing will free women from the Taliban (apparently bombing women somehow liberates them).
Brilliant.

(via mohandasgandhi)

theparisreview:

“There are as many dreams of Palestine as there are Palestinians. The Palestine I know, I know only through stories. Whenever I go back, I find myself jammed in-between two separate worlds. The actual place—that dry and yellow patch of deadly land, for which I feel a profound distaste—and that dreamland, a landscape of ghostly buildings full of merry songs and cocktail parties, a crowd of ghosts hovering through the land, living the good life, their laughter echoing in the dark. As each new conflict and each new clash unravels in Palestine, the landscape becomes more ghostly, drifts further into its own mists and the stories take on a new life. The real world is left even more a nightmare. The ghouls and the women are conflated, as are the soldiers and the men, and these monsters despondently waltz away their nights while bombs fly over the heads of the living.”

Read more of Karim Kattan’s reflection on Palestine and “The Dying Sea” here.

mehreenkasana:

The feminist movement is generally periodized into the so-called first, second and third waves of feminism. In the United States, the first wave is characterized by the suffragette movement; the second wave is characterized by the formation of the National Organization for Women, abortion rights politics, and the fight for the Equal Rights Amendments. Suddenly, during the third wave of feminism, women of colour make an appearance to transform feminism into a multicultural movement.

This periodization situates white middle-class women as the central historical agents to which women of colour attach themselves. However, if we were to recognize the agency of indigenous women in an account of feminist history, we might begin with 1492 when Native women collectively resisted colonization. This would allow us to see that there are multiple feminist histories emerging from multiple communities of colour which intersect at points and diverge in others. This would not negate the contributions made by white feminists, but would de-center them from our historicizing and analysis.

Indigenous feminism thus centers anti-colonial practice within its organizing. This is critical today when you have mainstream feminist groups supporting, for example, the US bombing of Afghanistan with the claim that this bombing will free women from the Taliban (apparently bombing women somehow liberates them).
Brilliant.

(via mohandasgandhi)

becauseiamawoman:

Fem Art Friday Feature: Barbara Kruger

You probably know Barbara Kruger best from her well-known pieces combining graphic design, collage, and photography to explore themes such as gender roles, consumerism, and media criticism. Typically, her pieces combine bolded text with even bolder statements juxtaposed on top of a photograph/found imagery. Quite clear throughout her work is the influence of graphic design and commercial art. In her pieces, she reclaims these mediums in the name of feminism. Her work remains an important part of the art world, influencing the design aesthetic of artists and designers such as Shepard Fiarey and his famous work “Obey” (1). 

fablesandfires:

Who Needs Feminism? — University of North Carolina Betas

(via fuckyeahfeminists)

becauseiamawoman:

Fem Art Friday Feature: Helen Frankenthaler

Helen Frankenthaler is best known for her work within the Abstract Expressionist Movement where she created her own unique painting style called “the stain” or “soak-stain”. This technique involved using turpentine to thin her paints and then pouring them onto the canvas.

 I wonder if my pictures are more “lyrical” [that loaded word!] because I’m a woman. Looking at my paintings as if they were painted by a woman is superficial, a side issue, like looking at Klines and saying they are bohemian. The making of serious painting is difficult and complicated for all serious painters. One must be oneself, whatever.

becauseiamawoman:

Fem Art Friday Feature: Kara Walker

Contemporary artist Kara Walker deals with the complicated issues of race, gender, and sexuality in her art pieces. These themes are often explored through her well-known silhouettes pieces. In her own words…

“I was really searching for a format to sort of encapsulate, to simplify complicated things…And some of it spoke to me as: ‘it’s a medium…historically, it’s a craft…and it’s very middle-class.’ It spoke to me in the same way that the minstrel show does…it’s middle class white people rendering themselves black, making themselves somewhat invisible, or taking on an alternate identity because of the anonymity … and because the shadow also speaks about so much of our psyche. You can play out different roles when you’re rendered black, or halfway invisible.” [Source]

becauseiamawoman:

Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemsia Gentileschi

Interested in learning more about this painting or this badass Baroque artist? Check out this article, “Artemisia Gentileschi: Baroque artist and rape survivor painted strong Biblical women, By Kittredge Cherry”.

Women who are too sexual aren’t taken seriously, and women who aren’t sexual enough aren’t taken seriously. Women who are conventionally attractive get valued solely for their sexual appeal; women who aren’t conventionally attractive get dismissed for their lack of it. Women who are conventionally attractive are assumed to be dumb bimbos; women who aren’t conventionally attractive are assumed to be either bitter or desperate. Women who are conventionally attractive get trivialized; women who aren’t conventionally attractive get treated with pity and contempt. We can’t win.

Fashion is one of the very few forms of expression in which women have more freedom than men. And I don’t think it’s an accident that it’s typically seen as shallow, trivial, and vain. It is the height of irony that women are valued for our looks, encouraged to make ourselves beautiful and ornamental… and are then derided as shallow and vain for doing so. And it’s a subtle but definite form of sexism to take one of the few forms of expression where women have more freedom, and treat it as a form of expression that’s inherently superficial and trivial. Like it or not, fashion and style are primarily a women’s art form. And I think it gets treated as trivial because women get treated as trivial.

I think people are most afraid that “equality” for women is actually going to make them more powerful than men. People are concerned that a woman who has full control over her bodily functions is one that will have full control over the longevity of her species. And that’s exactly correct, and exactly the way nature created us. My hopes are that one day my daughter will be respected for her ideas and innovations, living in a society that says its okay to see a girl’s boob because everyone has them, and raising her children in a world where we tell boys its okay to show compassion and praise girls for their intellect instead of their beauty.

My Daughter, Our World

This is a really sweet and thoughtful piece, and it’s worth a read.

(via stfusexists)

Women who are too sexual aren’t taken seriously, and women who aren’t sexual enough aren’t taken seriously. Women who are conventionally attractive get valued solely for their sexual appeal; women who aren’t conventionally attractive get dismissed for their lack of it. Women who are conventionally attractive are assumed to be dumb bimbos; women who aren’t conventionally attractive are assumed to be either bitter or desperate. Women who are conventionally attractive get trivialized; women who aren’t conventionally attractive get treated with pity and contempt. We can’t win.

Qiu Jin: A Revolutionary Feminist

In the early twentieth century China was presented with a woman, a woman who many consider to be one of the world’s earliest feminists. Her name was Qiu Jin. At the age of twenty-six, she rebelled against her arranged marriage and fled to Japan. She started wearing Western male clothing and further developed her left-wing ideology. She immersed herself in discussion with fellow revolutionaries and after returning to China, she set out to change the lives of women throughout the nation.

Qiu published a women’s magazine, the first of its kind in that region. She encouraged women to seek financial independence through education and professional training. She wrote:

“Women must get educated and strive for their own independence; they can’t go on asking men for everything. The intellectuals are all chanting, ‘Revolution! Revolution!’ But I say the revolution will have to start in our homes, by achieving equal rights for women”

Even though it was still customary for Chinese women to bind their feet, Qiu called for an end to the crippling practice. She also condemned arranged marriages, the killing of female babies, domestic violence against women and the pressures on widows to remain chaste. In 1906 she, along with another female poet, Xu Zihua, founded a radical women’s journal and became head of a modern girls school in Anqing. She was also involved in revolutionary activities with her cousin, Xu Xilin, and together they worked in secret to overthrow the Qing Dynasty.

In June of 1907, one of Qiu’s revolutionary associates attempted an assassination on the provincial Manchu governor. Even though the assassin’s shot missed, the local students were inspired to attack the Anqing armoury. A battle took place throughout the province, and the final standoff was at Qiu’s school. She was subsequently arrested, along with many others. And on the 15th of July, 1907, Qui Jin was publicly beheaded at the age of thirty. She was immediately acknowledged by the revolutionaries as a female revolutionary martyr, and to this day, is still a symbol of women’s independence in China.

  July 29, 2012 at 12:36am
via blksvg