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Politics of Discourse:
Feminism as a Global Epidemic
|by Wazhma Frogh|
Talking to a friend that was criticizing someone for being a feminist and becoming friend with men, I glanced at him with an explicit question in my eyes and unintentionally laughed loud- maybe that loud laugh depicted the anger I had internally, not against him but against politicization of feminism as 'anti men' which I call 'violence against discourse'.
So I asked him what feminism meant for him and without a second thought he said, those who are pro women and hate men and some of them eventually marry women being women themselves because they hate men.
Now hearing such a definition from a development specialist was a bet to digest but rather than criticizing him for having such an idea about feminism, I want to look at the process in which definitely something gone wrong- my definition of wrong here is that 'something happened against what was intended unintentionally or by deliberate efforts.
So its important to see where does feminism come from or how it started? Now rather than giving you a history lesson, simply let's say that the theory was an invention of struggles for women's rights, struggles for women labors by social activists to integrate women and their existence into state and public spheres. No matter how feminism started, it meant o decrease the deprivation of women to live and contribute as an active member of any society, so that women also enjoy their fundamental human rights. I am sure that scholars and experts of feminism theory would agree with me that feminism epistemologically never meant to discriminate against anyone's human rights, even not of 'men'.
Today feminism has become like the antibiotic pill that its side affects are stronger than the treatment or curing of an illness, especially in the developing or less developed countries. So during the journey of around 40 years, feminism has carried a negative baggage, heavier than the healing it can provide for women in the so called 'third world' countries.
Working on women rights and gender equality, I have learned that most of those who created the 'agenda' of making feminism as anti men, labeling feminists as lesbians only, have created a more violent attitude of men towards women, which I don't criticize at all. Feminism theory or its movements were carried out in a way to isolate women and claim independence and authority for women, which is obvious that if women are in the corners not challenging their stereotypes, then they are independent, aren't they?
However, the main question would be 'is it all what feminism wanted to bring to the women of the world?' I do value the significant international movements that brought 'women's issues' to the fore front of the United Nations and other international instruments policies. In additions, I am sure women right activists that are now labeled as feminists; don't want to create a world only for women, but to have women having the equal rights as men in their societies. It is very important not to overlook the gender power relations among women and men that shape women's and men's identity in a society.
So the dilemma exists among the theory versus application that most of the time theories are developed with a certain parameters that may or may not fit properly with contextual feasibilities of any society. No matter how globalized the world has become today, still each society has its own context and characteristics that needs to be understood and recognized, otherwise anything alien to the context and characteristic would make an opposite impact.
So now it's also important for theorists and academia to understand that no academic doctrine can be effective in addressing global issues unless they aren't associated with realities of people's lives not only what they are, but why they are having certain subjectivities. This is very timely that lessons learnt from around the globe are incorporated in global discourses, researching and documenting the harms that are created by such discourses particularly 'Feminism' in various parts of the world, so that countries and communities especially women aren't the escape goat for the global theories that didn't change their lives but increased their burden and curses.
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