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Gender, Race, and Nation

Gender, Race, and Nation: A Global Perspective

Vanaja Dhruvarajan
Jill Vickers
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 300
  • Book Info
    Gender, Race, and Nation
    Book Description:

    Dhruvarajan and Vickers call into question feminism's presumed universality of gender analysis, and bring to the foreground the voices of marginalized women in Western society, and of women outside of the western world.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7519-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-22)

    Consider the following conflicts that have occurred in recent years. A young Somali woman is sitting in one of our classes. Although she is dressed in jeans and sneakers, she still stands out because she is Black and wears a head scarf symbolizing her commitment to her faith. Her classmates, who are mostly white and bareheaded, tell her: ′You justcannotbe a feminist, if you let yourself be manipulated by some man into wearing that thing!′ The Women′s Press, established in 1972, splits up despite long, well-meant debates and affirmative action policies. The cause? According to author Marlene Norbese...

  6. Part I:

    • Chapter 1 Gender, Race, and Nation
      (pp. 25-63)
      Jill Vickers and Vanaja Dhruvarajan

      Women′s studies emerged in Western countries in the 1970s in the heyday of undifferentiated ′sisterhood.′ Its key texts focused on similarities among ′women′s′ lives and constructed ′difference′ mainly as a distinction between men and women. Poor women and women of dissimilar race, faith, language, or ethnicity were marginalized. Nor were the voices of lesbians and women with disabilities often heard. Women who were ′different′ were dealt with through ′normalized absence, problematized presence′ (Pettman 1992). Women who were ′different′ were invisible unless their ′difference′ was seen as a problem or was judged to create a problem such as violence. In the...

    • Chapter 2 Methodologies for Scholarship about Women
      (pp. 64-90)
      Jill Vickers

      In this chapter we explore issues of methodology for scholarship about women. Women′s studies as an interdisciplinary field draws on many different disciplines and fields, so methodology has always been controversial. Moreover, scholarship about women now exists in many different disciplines and fields, each of which uses a different methodology. We believe it is important for students to understand the basis on which feminist and women-centred knowledge claims are made. So our goal in this chapter is to outline some key methodological issues and to suggest ways of choosing among available methods.

      The chapter has two parts. In Part I,...

  7. Part II:

    • Introduction
      (pp. 93-98)

      The paradigm we outline in this book is based on a one-world approach that respects both the commonalities and the differences women experience. Methodologically, this requires that we think through differences among women – indeed among people – as they are manifested in both local and global contexts. We critically analyse differences in power and privilege because we believe such understanding is vital if we are to resist oppression and exploitation and usher in a society that is just and caring for all. In this emerging new paradigm, globalization can be perceived in two somewhat conflicting ways. We challenge the...

    • Chapter 3 Women of Colour in Canada
      (pp. 99-122)
      Vanaja Dhruvarajan

      Women of colour have been victims of racism, sexism, and classism. They share the burden of racism with men in their ethnic groups, and they share the burden of sexism along with all women living in patriarchal contexts. They also suffer because of class inequalities in society. Their struggles against racism, sexism, and classism continue in the present day.

      In this chapter I first discuss the experiences of women of colour in Canada. Then, I examine how multiculturalism policies address issues pertaining to racism at various levels. I also scrutinize the impact of these policies on women of colour, as...

    • Chapter 4 Working Canadian Women: Continuity despite Change
      (pp. 123-146)
      Parvin Ghorayshi

      More than ever before, problems of work are at the forefront of both public and academic debates. The twentieth century experienced a major transformation in the workplace: the nature of work evolved gradually, but the character of the labour force changed drastically. Many factors, including technology, the changing structure of the family, time diversity of workers and their experiences, and above all the growing participation of women in the paid labour force, have generated heated discussions. Over the past century there have been profound changes in how and where Canadian women work and for whom they work. These changes must...

    • Chapter 5 Between Body and Culture: Beauty, Ability, and Growing Up Female
      (pp. 147-183)
      Carla Rice

      Of all the concerns young women face growing up in the Western world, their changing relationships with their bodies is one of the most challenging. Young women today receive a confusing range of messages about their bodies in Western culture, from the affirming to the derogatory. These messages can strongly affect a young woman′s developing sense of her body as well as her evolving sense of self. However, though body image is an important topic for many women exposed to or immersed in Western culture when they are growing up, all women do not develop the same body image problems....

    • Chapter 6 Men and Feminism: Relationships and Differences
      (pp. 184-204)
      Amanda Goldrick-Jones

      In its broadest sense, patriarchy encompasses a vast network of attitudes, behaviours, and institutional structures that enable men to exercise power and claim privileges. Yet patriarchy has never extended carte blanche privileges to ′all men′ at the expense of ′all women.′ The offspring of patriarchy – capitalism, racism, heterosexism, and the equation of masculinity with physical power and strength – can turn easily against their own fathers. Patriarchal thought has oppressed and continues to oppress women of all races and classes, but various constituencies of men have also suffered under ′the rule of the fathers′: the enslaved, the poor, the...

    • Chapter 7 Feminism, Reproduction, and Reproductive Technologies
      (pp. 205-221)
      Vanaja Dhruvarajan

      Control over reproduction has always been a concern for women everywhere, and there is a commonsense understanding that reproductive technologies (RTs) help women achieve the control they want. In this chapter I consider whether RTs actually do help women control their reproduction. In the first section, I identify old and new RTs (ORT, NRT) and discuss the different ways in which they cater to women′s needs.

      In the second section I discuss the concerns feminists have regarding the impact of RTs on women. In the third section I discuss feminists′ strategies for addressing these concerns. Since feminists do not speak...

    • Chapter 8 Thinking about Violence
      (pp. 222-246)
      Jill Vickers

      A great achievement of women′s movements worldwide has been their success in ′breaking the silence′ about male violence against women in intimate relationships. As a result of women′s collective efforts, we now realize that such violence is a risk for all girls and women and takes many forms, including rape, battering, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, incest, and femicide. Women′s movements have created shelters, safe houses, and crisis centres to aid women, who are often literally fleeing for their lives. All are vulnerable before birth, in childhood and as adults; from young women struggling to resist date rape and sexual harassment...

    • Chapter 9 Feminists and Nationalism
      (pp. 247-272)
      Jill Vickers

      Western feminism has had a rocky relationship with other ′big′ identity movements, including nationalisms. One reason is that male leaders often see women′s movements as competitors for women′s loyalties, and fear that if women pursue their gender interests through women′s movements, their support for other causes will be weakened. Ann McClintock observes: ′All too frequently, male nationalists have condemned feminism as divisive, bidding women hold their tongues until after the revolution′ (1993: 7). Especially outside the West and in former colonies, nationalists often view feminism with suspicion as ′an American contagion′ (Margolis, 1993: 383). But many feminists seem equally suspicious...

    • Chapter 10 Religion, Spirituality, and Feminism
      (pp. 273-294)
      Vanaja Dhruvarajan

      Religion often invokes the deepest of human emotions and commitments. Spiritual expression may well be a basic human need, and religion provides by far the most important avenue for it. Religion in one form or another is present in all known societies. As sociologists have consistently pointed out, religion serves many important functions in social life.

      Religion provides meaning for life and specifies the purpose of life. It provides answers to bewildering questions and uncertainties such as these: Where did we come from? What happens after we die? Why is there so much suffering in. life? Why does it seem...

    • Chapter 11 Feminism and Social Transformation
      (pp. 295-316)
      Vanaja Dhruvarajan

      Inequalities persist worldwide. They are built into structures and reinforced through social practices. Pervasive ideologies of sexism, racism, and classism, among others, legitimate these inequalities. Cross-cultural insight shows that the historical legacy of colonialism and the globalization of free markets have done much to establish systems of oppression (Mies and Shiva, 1993a). These systems are interrelated yet distinct – none is reducible to another. Rather, as Huey-Li suggested in 1993, the patriarchal, dualistic, hierarchical, mechanist world view provides the conceptual roots forallkinds of exploitation and domination (1993). Dominant groups impose their beliefs and values on subordinate groups in...

  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 317-346)
  9. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 347-348)
  10. Index
    (pp. 349-359)