Term Paper: Transnational Feminism

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Transnational Feminism

Women's Culture-

This work will use the quote: "Culture...consists in the way analogies are drawn between things, in the way certain thoughts are used to think others" as a focal point or a beginning in making a connection between Shohat's argument that globalization...just be seen as part of the much longer history of colonialism in which Europe attempted to submit the world to a single 'universal' regime of truth and global institutional power' and the sexualization of female bodies in popular culture in order to analyze gendered politics of power that position women differently than men in relation narratives of progress, development, the modern, social evolution and their opposing narratives (i.e. primitive, underdeveloped, backward uncivilized, caught in a timeless past).

Introduction

The feminist agenda has changed a great deal since the earlier days of its existence with the agenda of gaining voting rights for women. The world has become more complex and more dangerous particularly for women and especially in cultures that accept and even expect domestic violence toward women. Colonialism's agenda and the agenda of the drivers behind globalization are not that much different but there is a difference in that women have acknowledged and recognized that there has to be a better more effective method than those utilized in the past by feminists pushing for a change.

The Feminist Agenda: Transnational Feminism

In a work in writing that addresses the agenda of the transnational feminist against war the author Bachetta et al. (2001) states that the first thing that must be done in reaching the goals set forth that first the thorough analysis of the "gendered and racialized effects of nationalism" must be addressed. Brenner writes that "Capitalist Globalization has had a profound yet contradictory impact on women's lives and on the possibilities for contesting male domination in both the core and periphery of the world capitalist system." And she states that "women's life conditions are in many respects growing worse." Brenner points out the fact that even though women in mass numbers are "not only mounting challenges in their own countries but are participating in a global feminist movement that is capable of affecting the policies of transnational organizations such as the UN [United Nations] and [EU] European Union" that working in 'Counterbalancing these developments, women and children, even more than men are victimized by global capitalist restructuring." (Brenner, 2000) It is also important to note Brenner's observation that the organizations that have traditionally supported women's causes "have emerged to defend women of the working class and the rural and urban poor" only to "find themselves caught in a contradictory field of power relations defined by three contesting forces: National States; Religious Fundamentalist Movements; and The Global centers managing the neo-liberal agenda." (Brenner, 2000)

Moghadam (2004) in the work entitled "From International to Transnational Organizing:: A Century's Feminist Journey" states "...Neoliberal capitalism and religious fundamentalism remain the key threats to women's autonomy, equality, and empowerment, and transnational feminists have linked both to violence against women. The Gloria Declaration -- issued by the 8th International Women and Health Meeting in Rio de Janeiro in March 1997 -- identified globalization of the market economy and religious fundamentalism as the two major systemic obstacles to achieving women's health, security and rights."

Women's Organizations: Whose Agenda Calls the Tune?

A great deal of tension is inherent in the definition of women's culture and Brenner (2000) reports that there is great conflict between women and the organizations that generally assist and enable women and states further that the reason this conflicts exists is because women are now in a position to be taken seriously on the world stage. However the globalization movement, even though there are surface actions that have been taken to improve the plight of women, the agenda of globalization must needs be questioned and researched. These women's organizations are operated from the nationalism point-of-view and since that is the agenda calling the tune for these organizations they are not actually representing women as such but are issuing forth assistance on the terms of those who are in control so to speak and on the basis of what the United Nations and the European Union dictates to be the rights of women on a very generic and impersonal basis.

Transnational Feminism: Different Cultures and Different Definitions

Equal Rights can be assumed to hold different meanings when those rights are experienced in two different countries as well as two uniquely different settings in culture. Therefore, equality would surely mean two very different things to women in different cultural settings. For example, equality for women in the United States and equality for women from the in third world countries very likely hold meanings that are quite different. In third world countries, where women are treated as nothing more than property, have never had the right to vote, have always appeared in public with their faces covered, never received much education, and never made their own life choices, the word equality is initially beyond their capacity to conceive.

Colonialism and Globalization: Same or Different Agenda?

Colonialism was a goal of molding all religions, cultures, and societies into one accepted protocol of operation that would be the same from one country to the other, and that would cross cultural, ethnic and religious boundaries. However, as it was soon learned the people and countries that were targeted for these changes resisted such changes as do those who are the target of change in today's world in which larger more powerful countries are promoting efforts of Globalization.

Globalization's Agenda

Globalization is indeed making the world a smaller place with its' integration of so many levels and layers of life from the East to the West and North to South. However, what must be understood is that globalization is 'international' in its basis however, in understanding transnational feminism it must be stressed that transnational is more than crossing of physical national boundaries but as stated by Jouvert (2000) transnational feminism is a crossing of national boundaries on the 'conscious' level and at the same time is a "superseding of nationalist orientations." (Jouvert, 2000))

Women in the New Millennium

If feminism or equal rights for women is ever to be realized in truth on a worldwide level then the transnationality of feminism must be realized within its fullest and broadest concept and must be realized on the 'conscious' level of all who support women and their rights in society. Jouvert (2000) candidly explains the dilemma that nationalism has placed upon the lives of women in her statement:

However, nationalisms are not just patriarchal. In the contemporary study of European women travelers revealed the ways in which Eurocentric discourses about the colonized woman as victim of her culture became widespread, they also suggest that these women travelers were expressing nationalist ideas about the superiority of their country and their capabilities and the inferiority of colonized Others. This explains why, for instance, British women in the late nineteenth century continued to believe that their own countries were havens of freedom when they themselves did not have the vote, and were struggling for their rights. It can also explain why many working-class women in Britain, locked in labor struggles, could still support the project of British colonialism. Nationalism creates these misrecognitions; that is, a deliberate and ideological forgetting, and such practices continue to this day. For instance, women from Islamic countries have obtained refugee asylum in the U.S. because they claim that their patriarchal cultures persecute them, even though the U.S. remains a country with an extremely high rate of domestic violence." (Jouvert, 2000)

Indeed Jouvert in the above statement has put into perspective the inherent different between feminism in terms of globalization and feminism that is transnational in nature.

Summary & Conclusion

Community-based movements have succeeded in mobilizing… [END OF PREVIEW]

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