Journal Reviewed: Reitman, Oonagh. "Cultural Relativist and Feminist Critiques of International Human Rights - Friends or Foes?." 1997, 100-114. This journal article, “Cultural Relativist and Feminist Critiques of International Human Rights - Friends or Foes?” by Oonagh Reitman seeks to rouse discussion about the similarities between two critiques of universal human rights: cultural relativists and feminists, despite the antagonistic position both groups tend to take against each other. In the beginning, he lays out the basis of critique of international human rights by each camp. Cultural relativists argue that the universal human rights which are earned simply ‘by virtue of being human’ (Donnelly in Reitman 1997, 100) are insensitive to the diversity of culture. Feminists, on the other hand, criticize that universal human rights guarantee only men’s rights and that ‘gender equality and freedom from discrimination for women is given a low priority in the international arena’ (Reitman 1997, 100). Reitman then examines the combative relationship between the two groups. Cultural relativists believe feminists are ‘protecting a Western notion of …show more content…
Feminists are accused of taking the perspective of a woman who is a product of Western ideology. Which is to say that feminists ‘assume that all women have similar attributes and experiences and ignore the impact of other variables such as race, class, wealth, and sexual preferences on the position of women’(Chalesworth in Nayak 2013, 86). That in doing so, they have effectively excluded other women of different culture, class, and religion. What I would like to emphasize here is that in pursuing equality, feminists have become the very ‘”elite” they criticizes. Feminists’ claims for human rights are Western based, as simultaneously feminists are claiming that human rights are
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This journal article, “Cultural Relativist and Feminist Critiques of International Human Rights - Friends or Foes?” by Oonagh Reitman seeks to rouse discussion about the similarities between two critiques of universal human rights: cultural relativists and feminists, despite the antagonistic position both groups tend to take against each other. In the beginning, he lays out the basis of critique of international human rights by each camp. Cultural relativists argue that the universal human rights which are earned simply ‘by virtue of being human’ (Donnelly in Reitman 1997, 100) are insensitive to the diversity of culture. Feminists, on the other hand, criticize that universal human rights guarantee only men’s rights and that ‘gender equality and freedom from discrimination for women is given a low priority in the international arena’ (Reitman 1997, 100).
Modern-day feminism is no longer about equality but more about superiority. Today, many feminists go around stating there isn’t a need for men, women can survive on their own, and that women are better than men. As Saira Khan states in her article on Spiked, “modern-day feminists engage in man-bashing rather than dignified demands for equality.” (Khan 1). It just shows how feminists would rather take their anger out on men rather than realize we a...
In his article “Cultural Relativist and Feminist Critiques of International Human Rights”, Oonagh Reitman (Reitman, 1997) delivered the similarities between cultural relativist and feminist critiques of international human rights where the former believed that the source of human rights is culture while the later argued that those who hold human rights are men and not women. The overall article is divided into three sections. The first section, Oonagh Reitman tried to explain relativist’s behavioral pattern made in the field of women’s human rights by elaborating their
Since its inception, and for the two centuries that followed, feminism has been engaged in what might be seen as a critical endorsement of Enlightenment principles of universal rights, equality, and individual freedoms. Universal principles of citizenship were generally considered fairer and more inclusive, having been developed in opposition to particularist rights such as those invested in castes, estates, or ethnic groups. While feminists have long sought to expose what in recent debates has been identified as the ‘false universalism’ of an exclusionary, androcentric liberalism, this critique informed a strategy that sought not to dispense with universalism but to ensure that it was consistently applied. Along with other disadvantaged social groups, women have demanded recognition as moral and juridical equals, and have deployed egalitarian arguments to advance claims on the rights associated with citizenship. However, while they claimed that they had the same entitlements to justice and political representation as men, they also insisted that women's ‘difference’ be recognized as...
My feminist theory draws influences from a variety of ideas I have come across during the course of this semester. My theory is rooted in radical-socialist feminism with a postcolonial approach. Postcolonial/transnational feminism, unlike other theories we have encountered in this course, does not explain a unique cause of women’s oppression but presents how oppression plays out differently depending on geography and culture. It also demonstrates the ways through which we can try to overcome women’s oppression globally.
Transnational Feminism is not monolithic understanding, but an umbrella term–with theories, issues, and concerns revolve around inclusiveness of topics such as activism in women's health, reproductive rights, race, correlation of power and poverty, gender equality, etc. Society has a tendency to lean towards hegemony and imperialism, which endangers feminism. It could be argued that through a transnational lens, feminism is about ending oppressions of us all, that it is a cutting-edge revolution and the fourth wave of feminism that strives for true equality. Sometimes the word feminism has been conditioned to an assumption of western feminism, but transnational feminism facilitates a new ideology of intersectionality, which transcends different boundaries in our lives. In the excerpt from Mohanty’s “Under Western Eyes” and Woyingi’s essay review of Angela Davis’ “Women in Egypt” we can better understand the de-conceptualization of “Third World Women’s Issues”, or in the non-West and how we should challenge negative representations and lack of perspective through a transnational lens.
Human Rights in international law have been an immense issue for long period of time and continues to be. International human rights began to come to question, from the way soldiers and civilians were treated in times of war. International human rights involving war issues then extended to consist of other rights. When colonialism broadened it brought problems with minorities, which led to questioning human rights. Then in western regions in the world the increase debate about women’s statu...
Merry, Sally Engle. 2003. Human Rights Law and the Demonization of Culture (And Anthropology Along the
There is such a thing as universality of human rights that is different from cultural relativism, humanity comes before culture and traditions. People are humans first and belong to cultures second (Collaway, Harrelson-Stephens, 2007 p.109), this universality needs to take priority over any cultural views, and any state sovereignty over its residing citizens.
Sandoval theory is influential within second wave feminism. The reasoning behind this article is to provide a framework for theorizing about oppositional activity and consciousness in the United States in the post-modern world (Sandoval, 1991). Primarily, interested in race, class, and culture third world feminist expand on the male/female division. Sandoval credits Louis Althusser for the use of his theory of ideology. Much of her article incorporates influential authors that we have previous discussed in our discussion including Sojourner Truth, bell hooks, and Barbara Christian. She first introduces the concept of hegemonic feminism by discussing the different periods in history: 1. Liberal: women are “as fully human as men” 2. Marxist: “women are different from men” 3. Cultural/radical: “women are superior” (Sandoval, 2001). She later argues that oppositional consciousness is topographical rather than typological. According to Sandoval, there are four cateofries that fit well into the hegemonic frame: equal rights, revolutionary, supremacist, separatist. Yet they add, differential to act as “the mechanism that permits the driver to select, engage, and disengage gears in a system for the transmission of power (Sandoval,
In her essay, “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses,” Chandra Talpade Mohanty explores the simplified construction of the “third-world woman” in hegemonic feminist discourses. In contrast, in her essay “US Third-World Feminism: The Theory and Method of Oppositional Consciousness in the Postmodern World,” Chela Sandoval specifically analyzes “US third-world feminism” and how it is the model for not only oppositional political activity, but also consciousness in the United States and how this has not been recognized by hegemonic “western” feminist discourses (). While Mohanty and Sandoval are analyzing and critiquing gender and gender politics, Mohanty is specifically focused on the simplified portrayal in “western” feminist discourses of “third world women” as victims, and Sandoval examines an oppositional mode of consciousness, which she defines as “differential consciousness” and how it is employed by “US third world feminism.” Both authors deconstruct gendered bodies of knowledge with an emphasis on the deconstruction of power, race, and colonialism. It is the deconstruction of these gendered bodies of knowledge that this essay will specifically analyze, as well as the depiction of what each author argues is missing from present discourses on gender, and finally, what they believe would be a better way to analyze gender discourses in a postmodern world. (maybe add another similar point, how western feminists are trying to portray “third-world women” and their motivation behind this act)
Academic discourse is the means by which new and old theories may be applied to a topic in order to reach a better understanding or challenge a notion raised within the field. It is through discussing and analyzing these concepts that individual voices may be applied to an academic community, allowing for a wider lens of thought to be picked up and further discussed. Grewal participates in this discourse in her article “'Women's Rights as Human Rights': Feminist Practices, Global Feminism, and Human Rights Regimes in Transnationality”. This paper shall analyze and discuss how Grewal applies previous theoretical concepts related to feminist discourse in order to offer a Transnationalist Feminist critique to the Global Feminist notion of Women's Rights as Human Rights.
“In the history of feminism universalism has played a crucial role. The revolutionary promise to realize the individual human rights of liberty, equality, and political participation has been the basis for women’s claim for citizenship in Western democracies since the eighteenth century. I would go so far as to argue that feminism, even as we know it today, would not exist without abstract individualism, not because abstract individualism included women in its definition, but precisely because it had such difficulty doing so. Feminism is not, as pluralist arguments might have it, an inevitable correction to the imperfect implementation of theories of universal individual rights. Nor will simple declarations of human universality solve the problem
“A feminist is one who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes” (Adichie, 2013). Feminism is not the belief that one’s sexual orientation or one’s power is superior over another. The very meaning of feminism demonstrates a complete resistance to this belief. Throughout the years, a range of categories of feminism philosophy have developed. They consist of goals in objectives, methodologies, and affiliations. Many feminists distinguish themselves with many branches of women 's activist thought. The three forms of feminism that this essay will consider are liberal feminism, socialist feminism, and radical feminism. This essay will argue that liberal feminism is the most valid theory of feminism as liberal feminist’s
Judith Butler describes the political reasons behind many feminists’ insistence on defining ‘woman. ' The political system we have had in the West needs representation of women to spread visibility and legitimize women’s issues in politics (I, 2). To achieve this representation, feminists had to create a language that defines ‘woman. ' Conversely, as Butler discusses, trying to define ‘woman’ poses problems of misrepresentation (I, 2). Some feminists’ assert that they are defining women merely as a political strategy; however, Butler says, even for strategic reasons, there are consequences to defining ‘woman’ (I, 6). Western feminists relied on universalizing not just the word ‘woman, ' but the patriarchy as well; women in countries where they suffer many oppressions gave Western feminists a legitimacy in politics to act urgently against misogyny (I, 5). Butler states that representation should not be the only method to political action; “identity of the feminist subject ought not to be the foundation of feminist politics” (I, 8). She calls feminists to break away from identity politics; to break free from attempting to define ‘woman’ (1, 7).