Monday, July 12, 2010

Third Women

I believe that it is very important to take into account the differences among women around the world. Although all women push for equality between women and men; certain women have a harder time making forward strides for equality. Third women are women that are living in the third world. Many of these women rebuke the idea of feminism because they believe that it is just an issue that deals with Western society. Although majority of women in the United States only consider gender as an area of oppression, that is not the case with all women around the world. Women around the world also deal with the issues of race, socio-economic level, culture, etc. Therefore these women experience oppression differently than the women in the United States. 
I never really thought about the different treatment that women get from around the world and how those differences can affect their view on feminism. If you think about it even traditional Southern women are viewed and treated different than the stereotypical northern woman. For traditional Southern women they are expected to stay at home, raise the family, cook great meals, keep the house clean and care for their husband. Then there are the 21st century Northern woman who is seen as someone who works outside of the house just like the man and doesn't feel the need to wait on her husband the way traditional 'Southern Bells' may. Although I am not trying to say that all Southern women wait on their man and family hand and foot and all Northern women don't do anything around the house, I am using this more to compare extremes. As you can see the ideas about feminism and equal rights may also vary between these two types of women. Now multiply that and think about the women that are from third world countries. Just as Levitt's put it in his study of african women from 1999-2004; 52% of women surveyed say they think that wife-beating is justified if she neglects the children; around 45% think it's justified if she goes out without telling the husband or argues with him; 36% if she refuses sex, and 30% if she burns the food. And this is what the women think. The differing views that women have based on their society, culture, race, ethnicity, etc. can allow them to view feminism and women's rights in different ways. We can not normalize the issue and make it universal because no woman's standpoint is identical to that of another woman's. We have to understand the differences that do exist and make an effort to customize the process of achieving equality to all women. 

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