Imperialist feminism

…As I described in my essay titled “Imperialist feminism and liberalism,” the key focus of [Meredith] Tax’s attack, the framework of Imperialist Feminism is “based on the appropriation of women’s rights in the service of empire.” This framework has a long history that goes back to the 19th century.

A range of scholars such as Leila Abu-Lughod, Reina Lewis, Leila Ahmed, Marnia Lazreg, Rana Khabani, Saba Mahmood, Lata Mani, and others have written extensively about what has variously been called colonial feminism, gendered Orientalism and imperial feminism.

If Gayatri Spivak coined the phrase “White-men-saving-brown-women-from-brown-men,” to describe this phenomenon, Abu-Lughod in her recent book Do Muslim Women Need Saving analyzes the development of imperial feminism since then.

She argues that since the Afghan war a new ubiquitous commonsense has emerged that sees militarism as the means to advance women’s rights.

Historically, brown women have not been “liberated” by imperial action, as we see from Egypt under British occupation to Afghanistan under US-NATO occupation…

Next time you wonder why feminists in the West keep quiet: here is your answer—that would be “imperialist.”

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