The Identity of Women

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By tomalmonirul
Words 1178
Pages 5
Though feminism in the 'Third World' has simultaneously contributed to and occasionally benefited from the progress of nationalism, these two movements and ideologies often find themselves at odds with each other. Secular state-sponsored nationalisms mobilize sexualized images of the nation, usually presented as a 'modern' woman eager to serve the international capitalist economy. By contrast, 'ethnic' and religious nationalisms make use of images of the ideal 'pure' woman, filled with traditional values and untainted by the foreign, mainly Western, world. Within these gendered conceptualizations of nationhood, individual women are identified as highly valuable, though dangerous, guardians of national culture, thus leaving them more open to state control and vulnerable to abuse by outside 'invaders'. Power over women's bodies and behaviour becomes central to discourses of national identity, simultaneously justifying this control by the state while potentially leaving women with the ultimate ability to shape images of nationhood through their agency. As a part of their popular resistance to colonialism, many national liberation movements expressed their (generally sincere) commitment to women's social and political causes. Though women contributed greatly to independence struggles throughout the formerly colonized world, the process of constructing the new nation was a highly gendered one that saw the often quite sudden marginalization of feminist issues and women themselves from the dominant national discourse upon independence. States did not completely abandon women's issues; rather, they mobilized them as a political resource in the construction of a highly gendered form of nationhood. Feminist organizations, such as those in Singapore, were driven underground or completely depoliticized as the state attempted to unilaterally determine women's place in…...

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