Third World and postcolonial feminism



Third World feminism arises from Third World women, as the term implies. However, in this case, ‘Third World' should be viewed as a political rather than a geographic categorization. Chandra Mohanty has argued persuasively that the term "Third World Woman" refers to the formation of coalitions and solidarity among women who make political commitments. 

These groups of women voluntarily choose to unite in order to effect social, cultural, or political change. The imperialism, racism, and sexism that so many women face drives some to band together in opposition and resistance. 


Women who identify as ‘Third World Women' or ‘Third World Feminists' do so in the context of an opposing battle. 


Men and women in former colonies responding to and resisting the legacy of colonialism in their history is referred to as ‘postcolonial.' Third World feminism and postcolonial feminism contend that colonialism, exploitation, imperialism, sexism, and racism are at the foundation of oppression. When we look at the global allocation of resources, sexism and racism take on global dimensions. 

Wealthy countries misappropriate valuable assets from less developed parts of the world, and this misappropriation is frequently accompanied by the dumping of garbage and dangerous materials. The impoverished of the globe are disproportionately affected by this exploitation, and women account for the majority of the world's destitute. 


Importantly, the Third World feminist understanding of oppression also includes a critique of many mainstream Western feminist schools of thought. 


While feminists in developed countries had the luxury of fighting for the freedom to work and participate in politics, or for equal pay for equal labor, women in underdeveloped countries faced frequently brutal social and political repression. Of course, in certain situations, this was also a fight for survival. Women bear a disproportionate share of the burden of poverty. 

Another way to think about it is that Third World feminist philosophy highlights the relevance of colonial histories and how nations demarcate or confine individuals' daily lives. Survival, not simply supplies, becomes a political issue. Third-world and postcolonial thinkers stress history, memory, and narrative when thinking about emancipation. 


The memory of colonial oppression aids in maintaining a resistance mindset in liberation attempts. Racism, imperialism, misogyny, and other types of oppression have all played a role in the history of political marginalization and economic exploitation.


We are more able to understand the complexity of oppressive factors in day-to-day living if we know that human beings involved in praxis arise from these histories and circumstances of struggle. 

There are strong ties with socialist feminism and Womanist theory, both of which, like Third World feminism, seek to recognize the intersections and linkages between various types of oppression. 

Of course, there are distinctions, such as the fact that Third World feminism focuses on the context of struggle or resistance rather than the commonalities across oppression kinds. 

Another part of the postcolonial historical viewpoint is the Marxist criticism of history. If the colonizers record history, it will, of course, reflect not just their interpretation of reality but also their social standing in the process. 


The freedom of all people (particularly women) to construct their futures according to their own visions and in light of their suppressed histories is therefore interpreted as liberation from hegemonic culture. 


This would necessitate political, economic, and social autonomy, as well as the absence of sexual assault. 

Of course, there are other schools of feminist thinking, including ecofeminism, queer theory, and global feminism. Whatever drives feminist activity or explains feminist conflicts, all feminists believe that there is something about culture or society that affects women and has to be changed. To put it another way, they are linked by a critical activism effort aimed at ending sexism and other forms of oppression. 

Despite the fact that I have portrayed these schools of feminist thinking as unique, I believe it is evident that they have a lot in common. 


In truth, categorizing any particular feminist into a single school of thought is frequently both foolish and impossible. 


For one problem, a feminist could support Marxist techniques and motivations, but for another, she could support cultural feminism. 

Another feminist may have been a socialist feminist for much of her life, but when her focus shifts to larger global concerns, she may accept ecofeminism or postcolonial feminism. Nonetheless, these many approaches to feminism allow us to observe some of the great variation among feminists, as well as their reasons and recommendations for change.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan 


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