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花旗国的半边天

An Exploration of Women's Issues

 
 
 

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我的女性文学课 (My Feminist Literature Class)  

2011-04-15 08:53:39|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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我的女性文学课 (My Feminist Literature Class) - 美国马尾妹 - 花旗国的半边天
 这 个学期,我学习了一门名为“跨国文本和性别”的文学课程。这门课的重点是探讨性别和全球化这两个因素如何塑造现代文学。课堂上,我们讨论了各种关于女性主 义的问题,其中包括该不该允许学生在公立学校戴宗教面纱,以及二十世纪末非殖民地化和后殖民主义对女性产生了怎样的影响。在这门课中,我发现很多话题和功 课中都反复提到一点——女性主义和多元文化主义的关系。特别指出的是,我们探讨了美国学生对女性主义的看法与别国的差异。

This semester, I am taking a literature class called “Transnational Texts and Gender,” which focuses on how issues of gender and globalization shape modern literature. In the class, we've addressed a variety issues related to feminism, including whether or not religious veiling should be allowed in public schools and how women were affected by decolonization and post-colonialism in the latter part of the twentieth century. One recurrent theme that I've noticed throughout many of the topics and works that we've discussed in this course is the relationship between feminism and multiculturalism. Specifically, we've discussed how our idea of feminism as American students may differ from the opinions of feminists from other cultures.


In America, the feminist movement has gradually created a set of values that reflect what women believe to be important. Among these are that women should have the same educational and professional opportunities as men, that they should be able to divorce their husbands, and that they should have access to abortion. However, these and other widely held beliefs that have become practically synonymous with feminism in the U.S. are not as universal as some feminists assume, within the U.S. or in other parts of the world. One article that my class read at the very beginning of the semester, “Under Western Eyes” by Chandra Mohanty, claims that Western feminists judge other cultures by their own values without considering the possibility of other strains of feminism. One specific example that Mohanty uses is Western feminists' tendency to universally criticize the division of labor by gender without taking into account the cultural significance that such a division may hold to a different culture. In America, division of labor today is sometimes interpreted to mean that women are being kept out of jobs by gender discrimination. However, in some other cultures, the division of labor has a historic and ideological significance that is not necessarily considered to be discriminatory by women and feminists within that culture. By using their own cultural norms as a standard by which to judge other cultures, Western feminists risk marginalizing the opinions of feminists within the culture that they are evaluating.


Another article that we read, “Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?” by Susan Moller Okin provided a different perspective on the issue of cultural differences and feminism. According to Okin, people's hesitancy to criticize other cultures leads them to overlook abuses of women's rights that they would find unacceptable within their own culture. She argues that certain practices, such as clitoridectomy, polygamy, and coerced marriage, though they may be conventional in certain cultures, are fundamentally harmful to women. Excusing these practices simply because they are culturally acceptable only reinforces traditional societal structures in which men are dominant over women.


In works that we've subsequently read for this class, the basic tension between these two arguments has become increasingly apparent; as Mohanty suggests, it is wrong to assume that one culture's feminist values are universally applicable, but at the same time, culturally relative feminism risks overlooking offenses against women for fear of being culturally prejudiced. It seems very difficult to strike a balance between these two opinions, especially because there is no consensus on what feminist values, if any, can be universally applied.


讨论:在女性主义的议题中,你认为核心的价值观是什么? (Discussion Question: What values do you think should be central to a feminist agenda?)


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