Gender Studies: Feminism Varieties
Crenshaw observes that women have consistently gone through various forms of injustices in the society and the main problem that almost each of them faces is violence, which has always characterized their lives. However, the author notes that women are gaining consciousness to an extent that some have organized into political groups with an aim of forming strong alliances to enable them to fight for their rights.
This comes upon the realization that the demands of millions speak more forcefully than the appeals of a few isolated individuals. In fact, violence is understood in a different way in the modern society owing to the new developments instituted by feminists. Wife-beating and rape are now issues of public concern unlike in the traditional society where these problems were not discussed in the public (Crenshaw 1244).
Additionally, the new law is in place to check errant sexual aggression implying that it is unlawful to engage a woman in sexual activities without her consent, irrespective of whether the relationship is formalized through marriage.
Women consider themselves a special class that suffers from similar problems, among them male domination and issues related to reproductive health. African-American feminism is dominated by these new demands and it has become the identity of many women of color, gays, and lesbians.
Unfortunately, feminist groups have failed to achieve their interests through political means because of the thorny issue of social justice, as it is noted that women should aspire to realize their interests through the acceptable techniques, including presenting their problems to government, as well as other global organizations that deal with the problems that minorities face.
Liberalist approach is believed to fight for the rights of the minorities since it insists on democracy where the majority should always have their way, but the minorities must have a say. Crenshaw underscores the fact that identity politics does not appreciate intergroup differences meaning that not all women face similar challenges.
For instance, the major concern of African-American women is healthcare whereby they call on the government to provide avoidable maternal care, free checkup, and facilitate abortion, as a woman has the right to do away with the pregnancy given the fact that it affects only her and not a man (Gray-Rosendale 67).
Based on this, black feminism instructs men to keep off from female related issues. For white feminists, their concern is economic and political empowerment implying that they call on the government to provide equal opportunities that would allow them to own property and run for political offices.
On the issue of violence against women, identity politics rarely distinguishes various forms of violence that women are likely to go through. The main forms of violence among black women are battering and rape while white women face the problem of inheritance and recognition in the society. Even though women of all races face similar problems, they have never come together to fight as a group since some of their problems are still different.
The author mainly focuses on the women of color, as they have gone through various forms of injustices throughout history. While they have to deal with the challenges that their husbands pose, they as well have to cope with the accusations that their white counterparts present.
Black women have never been given an opportunity to enroll in institutions of higher learning because the few positions are often taken over by men and this makes them isolated further. In the labor market, no black woman has ever held a position of influence, such as CEO, because of lacking adequate skills and experience needed in the accomplishment of tasks. This leaves them with only one option, which is to serve men in their families.
Francis White presents the views of a lesbian woman who happens to be a feminist who advises women to participate in homosexual relationships because they will satisfy their needs. In the book, the author traces the origins of racism and nationalism right from the time of Charles Darwin to the present demands of the Muslim women.
The scholar observes that black women have always played a critical role in the American intellectual heritage, but the society has never appreciated them because all major inventions and academic thoughts are attributed to men erroneously (White 16). In fact, identity politics is a complex phenomenon that cannot be achieved because of varying interests.
While the interest of white women is to excel academically, black women are still faced with healthcare problems. Through family experience, she observes that a woman will never be given an opportunity to exist peacefully because culture supports a system that is skewed towards one gender.
For instance, young girls are given specific instructions to respect their male counterparts and they have to do things that are consistent with the societal standards and aspirations. Since each race has its specific culture, it means that feminism will never achieve its objectives without each group identifying the problems facing it. The European culture teaches women to behave differently while the African culture has another set of laws and regulations.
Crenshaw, Kimberle. Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics and violence against women of color. Harvard Law Review, 43.1 (1993): 1241-1302. Print.
Gray-Rosendale, Laura. Fractured Feminisms: Rhetoric, Context, and Contestation. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2003. Print.
White, Francis. Dark Continent of Our Bodies: Black Feminism and the Politics of Respectability. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001. Print.
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