In "Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourse," Chandra Talpade Mohanty suggests a fundamental flaw in most western feminist analysis: the presupposition that women, "across classes and cultures, are somehow socially constituted as a homogenous group identifiable prior to the process of analysis." It is a flaw in thinking that results in "the assumption of women as an always-already constituted group, one which has been labelled 'powerless,' 'exploited,' 'sexually harassed,'etc., by feminist scientific, economic, legal and sociological discourse." For Mohanty, such erroneous thinking results in feminist discourse "quite similar to sexist discourse labelling women as weak, emotional, having math anxiety, etc." In such feminist discourse, "the focus is not on uncovering the material and ideological specificities that constitute a group of women as 'powerless' in a particular context. It is rather on finding a variety of cases of 'powerless' groups of women to prove the general point that women as a group are powerless" (200).
Furthermore, Mohanty suggests that there exists a "claim to authenticity," a claim, in her view, too often ignored by Western feminists--the idea that "only a black can speak for a black; only a postcolonial subcontinental feminist can adequately represent the lived experience of that culture" (201).
Mohanty's arguments are well worth considering: the stereotyped categories of oppression that Mohanty notes as being typical of western feminist analysis (women as victim of male violence, women as universal dependents, married women as victims of the colonial process, etc.) can indeed be nearly as reductive, co...
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... Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourse." Feminist Review. 30 (Autumn 1988): 65-88.
Nnaemeka, Obioma. "Gender Relations and Critical Meditation: From Things Fall Apart to Anthills of the Savannah." Challenging Hierarchies: Issues and Themes In Colonial and Post colonial African Literature. Society and Politics in Africa. Vol 5. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 1998. 137-160.
Opara, Chioma. "From Stereotype to Individuality: Womanhood in Chinua Achebe's Novels." Challenging Hierarchies: Issues and Themes In Colonial and Post colonial African Literature. Society and Politics in Africa. Vol 5. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 1998. 113-123.
Podis, Leonard A. and Yakubu Saaka, eds. Challenging Hierarchies: Issues and Themes In Colonial and Post colonial African Literature. Society and Politics in Africa. Vol 5. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 1998.
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