Postcolonial Theory & Feminism
Postcolonial Theory & Feminism
Postcolonial theory is actually a growing as well as a controversial field. Some of the critics understand postcolonial theory as hypothetically and incoherent not worth mentioning at its best and political harmful at its worst. Post colonial theory is however superficial as an uncritical condemnation of the Western nations, cultures as well as values. For some reasons, these wrong interpretations materialize from a lack of intellectual commitment with the topics in that same field.
These critics are actually motivated by a political desire which is out to sustain and legitimize the power of Western values, nations together with the cultures. This paper will respond to these types of distortions. The paper will identify how philosophical reflections might assist people to understand the nature of connections between dissimilar cultures. After the introduction together with the main problems in the field of postcolonial theory, the paper will talk so much about the early theorists of anti-colonialism.
However, postcolonial theory must be conceptualized as an extension of the aforementioned anti colonial struggles. In this situation one is able to understand fully the connections between colonialism and the western philosophy. At times when the West tends to control as well as shaping different cultures and the way of their thinking, the study of the way different cultures interacted during the past seems tremendously necessary. As a result, feminist theory is the expansion of feminism into philosophical or theoretical position.
It tends to encompass the work done in a very broad variety of disciplines, importantly including the approaches towards women’s roles and lives together with the feminist politics in sociology and anthropology. Feminist theory always aims at understanding the natural history of inequality and it actually focuses on power relations, femininity politics as well as sexuality (Tiffin, 9). Postcolonial feminism is the main form of feminist philosophy which tends to criticize the Western forms of feminism, particularly liberal feminism as well as fundamental feminism plus their universalism of female experience.
The postcolonial feminists argue that the cultures that are impacted by the colonialism are often vastly different and it should be treated that way. Colonial oppression might result in glorification of pre-colonial culture in which in cultures with traditions of stratification of power along the lines of gender, could somehow mean the acceptance or refusal to deal with, inherent matters of gender inequality.
Postcolonial feminists does not present a united front on feminist issues, but it can be described as the feminists who have always reacted against both universalizing tendencies in the Western feminist thought as well as a lack of attention to gender issues in mainstream postcolonial thought (Tiffin, 9). A lot of postcolonial feminists tend to argue that the oppressions connecting to the colonial experience, more especially class, radical together with ethnic oppressions, have marginalized women in postcolonial societies.
In one way or the other, they tend to challenge the assumption whereby the gender domination is the most important force of patriarchy. Furthermore, postcolonial feminists point to the superficial interpretation of women of non-Western societies just like the passive and people who don’t have a voice, as opposed to the depiction of Western women as educated, modern as well as empowered. At the same time as demanding gender oppression contained by their individual cultures, postcolonial feminists in addition tends to fight the charges of being “Western”, just the way some would contend within their cultures (Reina, 46).
As a result, feminism is the conviction in the social, political as well as the economic equality of women. It involves a variety of movements, philosophies and theories which are concerned with the idea of gender dissimilarities as well as campaigning for the rights of women together with their interests. Feminist theory came as a result of these particular feminist movements. The idea of postcolonial feminism arose right from the gender history of colonialism. The regal powers regularly imposed Westernized norms on top of colonized areas.
In the year 1940 to 1950, immediately after the creation of the United Nations, previous colonies were being supervised for what was deemed as social development by Western principles. The progression of women, in the middle of other variables, has always been supervised by questionably Western organizations for example the United Nations. Consequently, customary practices together with the roles taken up by women from time to time is regarded as objectionable by Western standards which could sometimes considered as a type of rebellion in opposition to colonial oppression.
Postcolonial feminists, they really work so hard in order to fight femininity oppression in their individual cultural models of the social order relatively than from those of the Western. The fundamental theoretical principle of postcolonial feminism is that the concept of freedom, equality as well as rights stems right from the enlightenment together with privilege European and Western norms, instead of representing a universal ethical system (Boniface, 14). Postcolonial feminist writing tends to overlap a great deal with transnational feminism together with the third world feminism.
Postcolonial feminism is somehow connected with post colonialism. However, there is an essential alliance among black feminists plus the postcolonial feminists because both of them have really struggled for identification by the Western feminists as well as men in their own individual ethnicity. As a result, feminist discourse actually shares a lot of similarities with post colonial theory and consequently both fields have always been thinking of being associative. They are both predominantly political and they are concerned with the struggle against injustice and oppression.
However, both of them tend to refuse the established patriarchal, hierarchical system which is actually conquered by the hegemonic white men as well as passionately denying the hypothetical supremacy of mannish power together with the authority. The demoralized women are in this sense of the same kind with the colonized subject matter. Basically, exponents of post colonialism are very much reacting in opposition to colonialism in both the political and economical sense.
The feminist theorists on the other hand are refusing colonialism of a sexual environment. In one way or the other, colonialism is the biggest iniquity for the reason that it mechanically entails the danger of misogynistic. Colonial oppression do affect the lives of women both socially and economically whereby it has forced postcolonial critics to take on a keener awareness of gender roles during the time when they are discussing imperialist exploits.
In the same way, feminism has become very much aware of the post colonial counterparts in the latest period of time. The failure to acknowledge the historical specificity is actually damaging like any other assumptions which are based in chauvinism as well as ignorance. Feminists also tried to apply the intolerance of blanket terms towards post colonialism and they as well have subsequently been so much critical of post colonialists’ tendencies to construct one category of the colonized, hence ignoring the essential issues of gender differences (Reina, 29).
There are quite a number of significant literary texts which are written both from post-colonial and feminist stand point. The texts usually share views about individuality and disparity of the subject and agreements on shared strategies of resistance against the external forces that are doctorial. Bill Ashcroft in his book, “Key Concepts in Post Colonial Studies” compares “writing place” in post-colonial theory to “writing the body” in feminism. This clearly indicates that colonized space in the discourse of feminist is the highly vulnerable body of the female.
This therefore reflects the fertile and productive nature of the place and body that has got the power to yield crop and also to destroy it. They are both capable of ruthlessness when forced to it. Caryl Churchill’s controversial play “Cloud Nine” written in 1979 deals in a broader length with ‘double colonization’ towards women by their male counterparts and the colonial powers. Consequently, there is a critic of gender of familial and sexual duties in the ‘Victorian colonial society’.
The play utilizes both cross-dressing and role-doubling in a comical way to fully explore the association between colonial and sexual oppression throughout history. The first act takes place in a British colony within Africa whereby Clive, one of the racist and sexist colonial administrator brings forth his stringent ideals both to his family and the natives of Africa. Being the superior white male, he identifies the roles that women and the natives must play. His doting and self effacing female counterpart is Betty.
She says she is a man’s creation and what men want is what she wants to be. The boundaries of gender are fully closed as Betty is played by a man. This foregrounds her gender as a fiction that is constructed by a “male gaze”. The patriarchal society of Clive can not be able to envision the identity of women. Betty therefore, must just be played by a male actor and through Betty’s character; Churchill satirizes the traditional role of women who are subordinate in history.
This forces us to recognize that the female identity is both a historical and a cultural construction. There are also some constructions of the pre-colonial that are strongly influenced by phallocentrice prejudice which defines a native woman as passive and subsidiary inferior. There are also more representations of female native figures in Western Art and Literature which perpetuate the myth of the female that is charged erotically. For instance, the primitive exotism danger of Ayesha in H. Rider Haggard’s novel “She” which is full of prejudice.
And truly much of the 19th century, the black skin depicted sexual promiscuity and bad behavior It has been made clear that during the time the artists were attempting to make an ultimate change and the oppressive power connections encoded in the sense of nation, race and empire, together with those of class, gender and sexuality in tracing a path of feminist postcolonial concerns. The present feminist postcolonial theory goes on exerts a pressure on mainstream postcolonial theory on its constant iteration of the necessity to consider gender issues.
Some time ago, feminist postcolonial theorists tent to criticize male theorists because of assuming the behavior of British men might take a stand for the behavior of imperial subjects in general or to symbolize the empire as a whole. The feminist postcolonial theories always engage the two fold project, to racialise mainstream feminist theory as well as to insert feminist concerns into conceptualizations of colonialism and post colonialism. Feminist postcolonial theory is concerned, among other things, to analyze the relationship among the western women and that is indigenous women (Tiffin, 9).
Feminist is at present abandoned in a good number of feminist theories. The acknowledgment of subjectivity which tends to ground the feminist practice apparently doesn’t ground it for others. People don’t think the same way. However, ant-liberal feminist theory as well demonstrated and enacted its own failure to resolve the conflicts it debates so energetically. The conflicts are not going to be resolved by the theory. They cannot be resolved for the reason that women are human beings in spite of everything. Finally, that unbearable reality makes feminist theory important.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 9 November 2016
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