Feminism in India

While Western feminists and Western theoretical models of feminism have done a commendable job of deconstructing several age-old binaries that have characterised dominant philosophical and political thinking on gender, what is remarkable is the continued existence and even valorisation of the dichotomy of the West and ‘the Rest’ in their discourse. Readers on feminist theories, even if they claim to give ‘multicultural’ or ‘global’ perspectives on women’s studies, are still dominated by Western debates and taxonomies. Feminist perspectives from the global South, if included at all, are usually relegated to one chapter. The implication is that there is uniformity or even agreement on what feminism means in these very diverse cultures of the global South. Different geographies and histories are conflated until difference is lost and one ‘third world feminism’ becomes interchangeable with another, collapsing into one theoretical model the multiple struggles of very different women under very different conditions. Even in collections that forefront non-Western feminisms, the incredible range, complexities and contested nature of ‘feminisms’ within different national histories is reduced to a singular unitary voice.

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