Under The Western Eyes Analysis

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Chandra Mohanty, writer of “Under the Western Eyes,” tries to challenge the traditional “Western feminist” discourse on women in the third world. Mohanty’s purpose is not to question the knowledge and value of Western feminist writings on women in the third world, but to uncover ethnocentric universalism (presuppositions and implicit principles). She claims that women in the third world are portrayed as sharing a homogeneous oppression. Instead, she asks Western feminists to take into account the complex interaction between social, economic, class, religion, culture, etc. frameworks before describing women in the third world. Mohanty states that ignoring these frameworks creates the false assumption of women in the third world as an always …show more content…
The five categories are: Women as Victims of Male Violence, Married Women as Victims of the Colonial Process, Women as a Social Construction in the Family, Women as Universal Dependents, and Women as Subsumed under Religion. These categories share a common aspect: they are based on generalizations. These generalizations assume that “all the third world women have similar problems and needs.” (63). Moreover, she states that “practices which characterize women’s status and roles vary according to class” (e.g. she gives the example of how Egyptian housewives have different interests and better ways of living than their maids – because of class, of course, however, when studied by Western feminists, they are grouped together). Furthermore, Mohanty describes that the main problem of the Western feminists’ notions about women in the third world is that “it assumes an ahistorical, universal unity between women based on a generalized notion of their subordination” (64). To conclude, Mohanty urges that the discourse on women in the third world cannot be based on ahistorical categories and/or universalistic

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