Critics take on feminism & post-colonialism
In The Post-Colonial Studies Reader by: Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin I found many critics opinions on Feminism and post-colonialism. In the introduction to Feminism in the text says, “The notion of ‘double colonization’ - i.e. that women in formerly colonized societies were doubly colonized by both imperial and patriarchal ideologies - became a catch-phrase of post-colonial and feminist discourses in the 1980s. (This theory is later discussed in Oyeronke Oyewumi)
Kirsten Holst Petersen wrote ‘First Things First: Problems of a Feminist Approach to African Literature’. She discusses German feminist trying to defend African feminist. Petersen then says, “This was not a dialogue! It was two very different voices shouting in the wilderness. and it pointed out to me very clearly that universal sisterhood is not a given biological condition as much as perhaps a goal to work towards.” She shows that people from other places cannot speak for women who are being oppressed, but they can sympathize and try and help (if help is wanted). Then Petersen asks the question, “which is more important, which comes first, the fight for female equality or the fight against Western cultural imperialism?” This shows how much both controls a persons life. Both powers are strong and need to be defeated, but by whom? The answer being the person who is under both powers/pressures. To be truthful they may not want to be freed from either power. France for example putting a law on Muslim women making it illegal for them to wear their veils. That is a strict observence of their religion and they may not want to be free of this confinement. Authority should not be able to take away rights nor restrictions in some cases. The Muslim women in France are not restricted to what they can do, because they are without their veils. How is this justice? So the best question from this is who should be in charge of giving “freedom”?
To conclude Petersen’s article she discusses Buchi Emecheta (author of Second Class Citizen) saying, “Buchi Emecheta… can recreate the situation and dificulties of women with authenticity and give a valuable insight into their thoughts and feelings. Her prime concern is not so much with cultural liberation, nor with social change. To her the object seems to be to gie women access to power in the society as it exists, to beat men at their own game.” This is Emecheta’s whole goal throughout Second Class Citizen. Emecheta wants to not take away restrictions, but give women more power. This gian of power would/can allow them to take hold of their own destinies. True, this giving of power takes away their socieites restrictions, but to change things you need power. Power which otherwise would not be obtainable to these women.