Thursday, September 6, 2007

Third World Feminism

My type of feminism is third world feminism. Obviously, it deals with women in the third world countries. However, it is important to define, in feminisms terms, what a third world country actually is. Third world countries are: “A group of 145 developing countries of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, that are characterized by low levels of living, low-income per capita, low education provisions, poverty, and starvation.” (1). It is also important to note that third world feminism deals with extreme and taboo topics. Some of these topics include: footbinding in China, sati (Self-immolation by Hindu widow on the funeral pyre of her husband) in India, veiling in Middle East, and female genital cutting in Africa. These, among many other things, makes third world feminism a truly unique form of feminism. Also, this form of feminism is deeply rooted in the specific local and historical regions throughout third world countries that tend to me overlooked.
Moreover, the core tenets of third world feminisms are the very similar to the common form of feminism found in the west. Women in third world countries desire equality, in society, work, religious settings, and personal relationships. However, for women in the third world they face horrible and inhuman conditions that are much worse than most other women in the US face. To see an example of this check out this site on female genital mutilation (no graphic pictures):
I can say with certainty that I believe in the main tenet of third world feminism that women should be treated equally in all aspects of society. I think it is especially important in these countries where women are mutilated and have no rights at all. However, I do not agree with the terminology of “third world feminisms”. I think “third world feminism” is a catch all phase for any women movement in a poor country. Moreover, it does not separate different groups of women that live in totally different cultures. It ignores the fact that the world is a heterogeneous mix of people, cultures, ideas, and traditions. I defiantly think there should be multiple sub-groups under third world feminism.
Lastly, I would call myself a third world feminismist because I think that it is crucial that these women be recognized and treated how they are supposed to be treated. It is very sad in this day and age that women are treated so terribly throughout the world.

Third World Traveler. (date unknown). Third World: Definitions and Descriptions.
Retrieved January 17, 2001 from the World Wide Web:
Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. (1991). Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses. In Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Ann Russo, & Lourdes Torres (Eds.). Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
I would defiantly check out this website:, it provides excellent information about a wide variety of topics in third world feminism.

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