Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses

1658 Words4 Pages

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)

First, this essay wishes to examine the role of power and its deconstruction in Monhanty’s essay. Mohanty deconstructs the notion of power by critiquing three analytical assumptions that are found in western feminist...

... middle of paper ...

... She argues that while some situations may appear quite similar, they should not be treated as identical, as they have been, because they have very different, historically specifically explanations (64). It creates a false sense of commonality through oppression and overlooks that “beyond sisterhood there is still racism colonialism and imperialism” (64). Mohanty is not arguing that people of different identities and different backgrounds cannot join together to organize against a particular injustice; for example, she uses Indian women uniting against police brutality (65). However, she is arguing, “the analysis of these group identities cannot be based on universalistic, ahistorical categories” (65). So, while these women of different background can unite, it is always important that remember analyze the differences and not attempt to lump the women into “Women.”

Open Document