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Nnaemeka Reaction

smalina's picture

"But Western feminism is also caught up in its ambivalence: fighting for inclusion, it installs exclusions; advocating change, it resists change; laying claims to movement, it resists moving" (Nnaemeka 363).

This idea seems very related to globalization--the practice of creating global connection, and as a result, sameness, modeled after the West's example. Yet African and Middle Eastern feminisms existed long before globalization took effect. This really highlights for me the necessity of using a variety of frameworks by which to look at Persepolis and Americanah--and most importantly, that the frameworks belonging to their respective cultures be used as primary lenses for the texts. Which leads into my next thought:

"Arrogating to themselves the moral responsibility to intervene to rescue women victims from the 'weird regimes,' Western feminists have brought to the fore intense debates about the conception of good, social justice, and moral responsibility from which, unfortunately, the humanity of those to be rescued is relegated to the background" (371) 


"For women, the male is not 'the other' but part of the human same" (379-380). 

This notion that Western feminists have deemed themselves the saviors of all 3rd world women brings me back, again, to our discussion around the veil in Persepolis. Understanding that, in attempting to rescue, Westerners see only the issues that they themselves would presumably struggle the most with, I am questioning our focus on the veil. Yes, it is a very visible piece of a large, oppressive regime that treats women very differently from the way they are treated in the U.S., but isn't it so very Western to focus on the material, visible aspect of this oppression? Perhaps our efforts to rid the world of the veil would be better spent listening to Iranian women, to attempting to understand what aspects of their society they found most oppressing. Again, I'm brought back to the idea of the single story--even if Satrapi names it as a complaint high on her list, she cannot speak for the entire Iranian population, just as we cannot. 

This also makes me think about Americanah, and the assumption that Aunty Uju is failing to act as a feminist by becoming involved with The General. However, this is largely because we are looking at it through Western frameworks--we see a woman marrying a powerful man, instead of attempting to become powerful on her own. Yet, in America, we do not see men and women as part of the human same--a woman is, instead, liberated when she is freed from the need for a man. Aunty Uju could very well believe that she needs a man, not because she is less powerful as a woman, but because any woman needs a man and vice versa.