FeministPerspectives and Cultural Dimensions
FeministPerspectives and Cultural Dimensions
Today, theworld’s culture is highly different, and people cultivateperspectives based on their understanding of their cultures.Moreover, the perception of people based on one’s culture points tothe stereotype aspects that people have cultivated throughouthistory. It is worth noting that the society has always been maledominated culturally, economically, politically, and religiously.Societies tend to repress women while women sees themselves asinferior to men or at least perceive men as the leaders of societies.A male dominated culture is a society whose political, economic andpersonal structure tends to favor the male child. Availability andprovision of jobs and education is prejudiced and bent to give anupper hand to the males. This is primarily the reason for theexistence of feminism. Feminism is a variety of politicalorganizations, ideologies and economic fronts that work relentlesslytowards a common goal, which is equality of social, political,personal and economic rights for women. In this regards, thediscourse offers an analysis of the ‘everything covered and nothingcovered’ cartoon by drawing a parallel on western and non-westerngendered standpoints and feminism. Moreover, the analysis covers theway transnational identity can help in balancing the gendered andfeminist perspectives for a more artistically knowledgeable form offeminist understanding.
The political cartoon depicts two women from dynamically differentcultures and lifestyles where one woman is a typical Westerner whilethe other one is an Arab. The Westerner is donned in a bright shadedswimsuit with red wedges, big sunglasses, and carrying a brightshaded bag while the other one is in a dark colored veil revealingnothing than her eyes. As they pass each other, they see each other’smode of dressing as a proliferation of male dominance. Thus, thecartoon depicts the cross-cultured element of female oppression asillustrated by the society. Although antipodal in their features andcountenance, both women share likenesses in their condescendingattitude towards each other. The women claim to be free off maledominance and the stereotypes often directed to Western andnon-Western women respectively to their counterpart, butunfortunately man manipulates their fashion or mode of dressing. Themale dominance is so innate within societies such that most womeneven those who regard themselves as feminist remain oblivious of themanipulation.
Westernand non-western perspectives
Today, a greatcontroversy exists between western and non-western perspective,especially on cultures and feminism. Both cultures have failed tobring together their separate domains, as well as, reconsideremotional, intellectual, and values. Body images and practices remaindynamically different between western and non-western perspectiveshence, the need to provide a juxtaposition implication of theviewpoints. Both western and non-western women have struggledtraditionally especially at the hands of male dominance and againstdifferent aspects of inferiority (Grewal, 2005). Genderedperspectives in both cultures define women identity according totheir customs, culture, and chauvinist past where men exert moreinfluence than women do. It is imperative to note that women havesomehow accepted the thinking and in some instances supported itespecially in relation to body images and identity orientation(Sandoval, 2000). Although women in some places, especially inWestern Europe and America, have overcome these typecasts andsubjugation, they still lack the full spectrum of liberties in sexand body images. Media and social constructions depict women in astereotype manner usually as sexual symbols and objects: flawless,demure, sexy, thin, and delicate.
The westernperspective defines women in terms of demure, flawlessness, erotic,and gentle while the non-western perspective often define women interms of their modesty. Both perspectives, as supported by thecartoon, are prevalent and injurious to women. For example, women inthe US have taken to dieting and thinning, as they want to look sexyand thin. Women in western countries tend to become dissatisfied withtheir bodies if they suspect they are becoming chubby, which pointsto a social control. Moreover, the dissatisfaction is not grounded onwomen’s psychological or biological inequalities, but it is rootedin the domineering gender customs that many women assume (Heredia,2009). People often view women in terms of their dressing thus, inthe cartoon, each woman sees the other as immodest, or as oppressedby man. Today, it does not matter whether a woman wears a veil or abikini out of choice or through requirements since people will alwaysconstrue an identity of women according to their cultures. Despitethe increased liberation of women, the society continues to sexualizewomen
Feminism withoutborders, on the other hand, expresses concerns on the politicssurrounding difference and solidarity, decolonization theory,democratization of feminist practices and the crossing of borders.People determine a child’s sex by their physical genitalia, but thesocietal identity a child takes after growing determines theirgender. Thus, gender is more multifaceted than sex as it includesextreme social implications, systems of identity and gender, and thecultural constructs than one assumes. In defining gender, it isessential to define feminism to understand the differences that existamong women of different cultures. The world has become amulticultural society with people from diverse colors, classes,creeds, races, identities, and cultures hence, the need to confrontthese differences and develops a society that defines peopleaccording to their identities. Mohanty (2004) asserts that thefeminism constructed should be devoid of borders and one thatembodies internationalist commitment. In most cases, feministconstructs developed only look at a specific region, for example,feminist perspectives and constructs in America rarely stress issuesin Islamic countries. Thus, Mohanty (2004) suggests that feministsshould be both observant to borders, as well as, learn to surpass theborders. In his definition of ‘feminism without borders,’ Mohantysays that it differs greatly from a borderless feminism since in a‘feminism without borders’ individuals acknowledge the oblivioussense of border, as well as, become aware of the lines betweencolors, classes, identities, and sexualities. This form of feminismconstructs embodiment and aspects without exclusions and focus on thetension between different perspectives often trying to cultivatesolutions to male dominance and stereotypes directed to women.
Socialconstruction of gender in relation to notions of feminism
The cartoonshows that despite people’s cultures and identities, they oftendefine people according to their cultures. It is imperative to notethat each culture has its own perspectives on specific issues andaspects hence, it is impossible, wrong, and to an extent insolent toperceive the embodiment of another custom or culture through thehegemonic lenses of the stranger. The current feminism has alsocreated a misaligned construct especially on the identity of womensince feminist allow the continuation of viewing women in astereotype manner. For example, the bikini-clad woman sees the veildressed woman as oppressed and subdued while the veil dressed womanalso sees the bikini-clad woman as subdued and dominated by male.Male domination and subjugation exists, but they do not represent themajority thus, the society needs to hear women and cultivate a goodworld for her. In most cases, the construction of the subjugated,oppressed, and subdued women is usually because of conflictingviewpoints of the world. Some women dress the way they does as itmakes them liberated while others do so to look sexy in front of menor to remain modest hence, the society should stop viewing women inan iconographic image. Mohanty (2004) suggests that women shouldencompass solidarity in their struggles and develop a notion ofinclusivity, which will greatly inhibit the created typecastregarding their identities and gender, as well as, promotedecolonization or transform themselves. Feminists need to understandthat the society often creates the existing depiction on women basedon cultures. For example, if the veil-clad woman removes the hijaband dress in a bikini, the western society will no longer see her assubjugated by male because she now holds the image and values of thewesterners.
The westernfeminism despite the success it has seen remains patriarchal andexclusive to a small number of women. Depiction among between blackand white women often shows the differences between the two women asconstructed by the society, which means that the western feminismre-instill the subjugations of patriarchy and the detrimental aspectsof male dominance. Moreover, feminist structures have focused onbeauty among women rather than cultivating means that stop maledominance, which means that women perceive beauty as the means out ofmale dominance, which is overly wrong. The history of feminism pointsto grave aspects about feminism and the struggle of women sincefeminism has always cultivated issues that question its mandaterather than stop male dominance. Feminism started with women of colorand their challenge of white feminist norms on the importance of sexthen the challenge changed to illustrating the differences betweenwestern and non-western feminism. Today, feminism is usually drivenby women from developing countries who criticize western norms thatthe essence of being a woman is enough to unite women worldwidebecause of the existing socio-economic differences between the twoset of women. In this regards, Mohanty (2004) calls for adecolonization of feminism and narrowing of feminist politics, whichwill allow women to address all issues. Moreover, feminists need tonetwork and cultivate a matriarchal position, which will greatlyreduce male dominance or any other sort of dominance.
Bordercrossing and the transnational identity
Transnationalfeminism is an imperative and a present feminist pattern thatemphasizes the difference between transnational and internationalnotions of feminism. Transnational feminism is important inconstructing embodiments and identities for women as it resists theconcepts of global sisterhood and incline to intersections amongrace, nationhood, sexuality, gender, and economic. As defined byGrewal (2005) and Mohanty (2004), transnational feminism allowsfeminists to build partnerships and networks through solidarity whileaware of the differences that exist. The theory looks at gender onaspects such as modernization, colonialism, and feminist movements.It is essential to note that migration and colonization have allowedthe construction of femininity and masculinity based on the sourcecountry. Crossing the border and focusing on cultural and nationalintersection allow people to question the construction of modernsubjectivity and gender. Heredia (2009) asserts that crossing bordersallow feminists to understand the historical and social context ofother cultures, which means that the feminists cultivate a balancedand a culturally competent perspective. Heredia (2009) draws aparallel on different women writers such as Cisneros, Arana, Cruz,and Chavez, which shows how transnational feminist allow women andthe society to construct identity-based on accurate and balancedperceptions.
People who crossborder, for example, an American who goes to Saudi Arabia andinteract with the Arabs understand the meaning of the veil and willperceive Muslim women differently than a woman who has never gone toSaudi Arabia. The same case applies to Mexicans and Latinos who livein America. It is worth noting that some people in developingcountries would view the bikini-clad woman as brainwashed by westernideologies. The society should reconfigure gender and genderedideologies to engage in cultural politics of differences thathighlight historical structures. By considering the real identity ofgender without going to stereotypes, individuals manage to indicatehow multiculturalism and gender function along the emblematicspectrum between practices and perceptions (Guevarra, 2009). Forinstance, within the American culture, people objectify andtropicalize Latinos, Dominicans, and Chicanas. The sexualization andracialization especially of Latinos within the American contextemphasizes on voluptuous female bodies, olive skin, andhypersexualized excess, which shows that whites often associatenon-whites with everyday needs of the body and the body image. Infact, Guevarra (2009) and Heredia (2009) in assessing women assertthat Americans often objectify Latina’s bodies, especially in ahegemonic aspect while they see Puerto Ricans as resisting theirnormative beauty. On the other hand, Mexicans who cross over oftenperceive themselves as both the colonizer and the colonized as theyengage the multifaceted culturalism that they encounter.
Crossing overand the transnational identity allow people to reimagine sexualityand redefine oppression especially in terms of commodification,imperialism, and conditions of poverty. For example, although maledomination has always been prevalent across the globe, thecommodification of women, especially through their mode of dressing,has been an imperial aspect. Transnational identity allow feministsto find the missing bodies of modernity in a manner committed todecolonization and one that endeavors to access the lives ofmisidentified women (Sandoval, 2000). Heredia (2009) opines that thetheory allows people to understand that every nation has an imaginaryzone on what it includes or excludes thus, people need to embodywomen based on a representational identity rather than theirhegemonic lenses. The society needs to learn, appreciate, and revereall cultures to avoid misunderstandings, as well as, enhancemulticultural and reduce stereotypes (Sandoval, 2000). The societyneeds to be competent enough in addressing multicultural issues andunderstand that the differences in cultures will remain.
The feminist perspectives do not help women to define themselves orget away from the grips of male dominance. Depending on theircultures, women either bare much of their bodies or cover much oftheir bodies to look sexier for men or hide their sexuality from men,which points to misaligned perspectives and the dominance of men. Thedefinition of women has taken a repressing aspect whereby the societydefines women based on their mode of dressing or bodies. Thedefinition has allowed the permeation of manipulation and dominance,which has led to mistreatment and mishandling of women. In fact, thedefinition of women based on man’s perception, as well as, based onwomen’s bodies has led created a spectrum where women have becomesex symbols
Grewal, I. (2005). Transnational America: feminisms,diasporas, neoliberalisms. Duke University Press.
Guevarra, A. R. (2009). Marketing dreams, manufacturingheroes: The transnational labor brokering of Filipino workers.Rutgers University Press.
Heredia, J. (2009). Transnational Latina narratives in thetwenty-first century: The politics of gender, race, and migrations.Palgrave Macmillan.
Mohanty, C. T. (2004). Feminism without borders: Decolonizingtheory, practicing solidarity. Zubaan.
Sandoval, C. (2000). Methodology of the Oppressed (Vol.18). U of Minnesota Press.