Category: Analysis Essay

Concepts of Feminism

Today people of the Western culture are used to the idea that women have the same rights and equalities as men. Females, who belong to this form of society, find that it is their obligation to spread the idea of gender equality to the females of other cultures with different social structures and orders. The analysis of the works presented by writers, who belong to non-Western or Third World states, demonstrates that contemporary feminism activists should revise their approach concerning the spread of their ideas since it is difficult for women of other cultures to accept their concepts and views on the role of females in society.

Narayan in her work Dislocating Cultures claims that the perception of feminism in her native country is grounded on the Indian cultural dynamics dictated by her family life, which has surrounded her as a child. The author states that her grandmother used to torment her mother since she was her daughter-in-law (Narayan, 1997, p.7). Simultaneously, her father did not interfere since it was inappropriate for a son to tell his parents what to do. This fact offered him an excuse, although he possessed a Westernized education and understood that it would be right for him to protect his wife. Nonetheless, women in India confront Western feminism. Therefore, the author tries to explain and remind women that they are undergoing a variety of troubles and rather often painful experiences.

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Narayan claims that the rapport of the Indian women with their mothers reminds their relationship with native lands and mother cultures because both of them give Indian women rather contradictive messages. On the one hand, they encourage women to be confident, with high self-esteem; however, on the other hand, they confront feminism (Narayan, 1997, p.8). For example, the author states that her mother, simply like many other women of specific middle-class castes, believed that education is an important thing for a young woman. Thus, they supported economically the studies of their daughters. At the same time, these females, who wanted their daughters to study and get a degree, criticized the effects and results of the education they previously supported. Many women in India believe that some ideas from the books will poison young girls, preventing them from being a good wife (Narayan, 1997, p.8). Consequently, the general opinion claimed that education would destroy the image of the good Indian wife.

Narayan states that the main difficulty for women of the Third World to correctly perceive the Western concepts of feminism lies in a great number of cultural differences between the two worlds. The author claims that contemporary Third World states were created on the basis of the past colonies (Narayan, 1997, p.13). Thereby, there are a number of distinctions between the cultural values. Since the Western civilization featured such notions as equality or liberty, it was usual to present the Western culture as superior and colonized cultures and territories as the victims of the static past, which were not ready to change their traditions, caste system, and customs. One of such traditions, which were hard to change, was the position of a woman in the society.

Since many colonial territories struggled for their independence, and thus did not accept the Western culture and traditions, many women joined the nationalist views that national culture was much better than any culture imposed by the Western powers. Thus, regardless of the fact that the West was able to implement some positive change in Indian society, the latter rejected this opportunity. The author claims that women of the Victorian period believed that they had to save the poor Indian females (Narayan, 1997, p.16). Moreover, in their struggle with the colonial order, even Indian men claimed that one of their goals was to improve the status of the Indian women; though, in general, the male-dominated colonial governments and political movements usually obscured the fact that women were the second-class citizens. Nonetheless, Indian women saw their roles as the carriers of the national spiritual essence (Narayan, 1997, p.17). Thus, it was very hard to develop and spread the concepts of feminism in the territory of the Third World states.

Narayan believes that it is important for the contemporary feminist ideologists to take into consideration the factor of nationalism and national traditions as well as customs when developing feminist concepts. It becomes evident that national contexts are crucial for understanding the instruments needed for successful struggles in some specific territories. Moreover, the author concludes that modern transnational economic systems negatively affect distinct groups of people, including women. Accordingly, an increasing feminist cooperation is required to reach some positive change.

Kandiyoti in the article Bargaining with Patriarchy argues that the analysis of the contemporary females strategies and coping mechanisms aids in understanding the nature of specific patriarchal systems and makes it possible to remove the existing abstract notion of patriarchy, which can be found in the modern feminist theory. A close systematic examination of the w