Third World feminist theory

Postcolonial Studies @ Emory

Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism book coverChandra Talpade Mohanty defines the Third World geographically:

The nation-states of Latin America, the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, South and South-east Asia, China, South Africa, and Oceania constitute the parameters of the non-European third world. In addition, black, Latino, Asian, and indigenous peoples in the U.S., Europe, Australia, some of whom have historic links with the geographically defined third worlds, also define themselves as third world peoples (5).

Cheryl Johnson-Odim explains that “the term Third World is frequently applied in two ways: to refer to ‘underdeveloped’/over-exploited geopolitical entities, i.e. countries, regions, even continents; and to refer to oppressed nationalities from these world areas who are now resident in ‘developed’ First World countries.” Johnson-Odim further identifies problems some Third World women have with First World feminism:

While it may be legitimately argued that there is no one school of thought on feminism among First World feminists — who are not, after all, monolithic — there is still, among Third World women, a widely accepted perception that the feminism emerging from white, middle-class Western women narrowly confines itself to a struggle against gender discrimination. (314, 315)

FAQ

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What are American Feminists doing for women rights in third world countries? | Yahoo Answers


Third world countries!? They have more serious issues here in America! Some woman went to 8 coffee shops in America with a stopwatch and found the greatest injustice ever discovered - men supposedly get coffee 20 seconds sooner! THIS CANNOT CONTINUE.
</sarcasm>
I've said it before. American women acting like they're so mistreated is like a 16 year old getting a car for their birthday and complaining that it isn't a Lamborghini. (While the girl nextdoor doesn't even have shoes.) They're spoiled, and they don't know true oppression.

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How do you think that western feminists should engage with third world feminism on issues pertinent to women globally, such as genetic mutilation, the Taliban, equal rights in marriage and literacy?

The last few years have shown that the most effective way for western women to engage on these issues without risking cultural imperialism is to raise their voices and use their vote to insist that the international bodies such as the World Bank and the United Nations, as well as their own countries' foreign policy, channel resources and respect to local women's groups in the developing world so that those women can set their own agendas most effectively. Witness Madeleine Albright changing US policy on genital mutilations in response to African women's activism.


I was once told by a r…

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