Narsapur vs. America
This Women’s Studies Senior Seminar class has provided the opportunity to read about many cross-cultural issues pertaining to women. In the article, “Women Workers and Capitalist Scripts: Ideologies of Domination, Common Interests, and the Politics of Solidarity” by Chandra Talpade Mohanty, issues of “poor women worker in the global capitalist arena” (3) are addressed. Mohanty focuses on the plight of exploited, poor Third-World women. She illuminates specific issues that relate to the transformation of developing countries to capitalism. Mohanty’s article is split up into sections, the section that I want to focus on in order to compare key issues between Narsapur and America is called “Housewives and Homework: The Lacemakers of Narsapur."
In this specific article Mohanty illuminates the effects that capitalism has on areas that are being developed, she portrays its effects on women as well as men. In Narsapur the lace making industry skyrocketed between the years 1970 and 1978. As a result of the increased demand, the process of making lace and the final product, which is lace, has been feminized while the trade or exportation of the lace is viewed as business, as a masculinize activity. Women working outside the home in this culture are defined as housewives, hence the job of being a lacemaker is defined as housework. Mohanty argues that the “definition of women as housewives also suggests the heterosexualization of women’s work - women are always defined in relation to men and conjugal marriage” (12). As a result of the heterosexualization of women’s work plus the feminization of the process and product and the masculinization of the trade “men sell women’s products and live on profits from women’s labor” (12).
I think there are similarities between the hegemony in Narsapur and in the United States. Our society’s practices and treatment towards women’s work and the treatment of women’s work in Naraspur can be compared. One comparison in the U.S. is the treatment of women’s work outside of the job force. By sheer lack of acknowledgement, women’s work inside the home is overlooked and hence not considered to be work at all. Work that receives no recognition is invisible and invisibility of work carries with it no economic power. American women are still perceived as primarily being housewives first, then they are doctors or lawyers or you can fill in the blank.