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Global Gender and Sex Week 4
Transcript of Global Gender and Sex Week 4
Gender and Sexuality in the Global Context
Global Gender Inequalities
Historical Global Context
How we understand, construct, and enact gender and sexuality related to historical and global shifts
e.g. argument in film
The Gods of Our Fathers
with civilisation, mass society, the state and private property came shifts in status of women, then...
with greater international contact came greater threat, militarism, and therefore subjugation of women or
The dominance of men over women.
argument: economic change
Colonialism / Imperialism
Colonialism = settlement which is subject to control by the parent state
Imperialism = what is happening from 'parent state /, centre of the empire; colonialism is what is happening to the colonised
European expansion from C16th onwards
By the 1930s 84.6% of land surface of globe colonised (Loomba 2005, p.15)
Power implications: 'conquest and control of other people's land and goods' (Loomba 2005, p.2)
How is 'newer' colonialism different from the past? The outcome of restructured economies, 'whichever direction human beings and materials travelled, the profits always flowed back into the so-called "mother-country".' (Loomba 2005, p.4)
Impact of Colonialism on Gender
Impact of Colonialism on Sexuality
‘the introduction of homophobia through missionaries and colonial administrators among the groups who had previously accepted women’s same sex relations. We concluded that homophobic postcolonial governments perpetuated colonial policies in denouncing same-sex relations, and that it seemed a perverse distortion of African history to label same-sex relations as a “western import”’ (p.13)
Decolonisation / Postcolonialism: Legacies and Paradoxes
Post- as in after?
Cultural, political and economic legacies
‘anti-colonial movements have rarely represented the interests of all the peoples of a colonised country’ (Loomba 2005, p.11)
‘the dismantling of colonial rule did not automatically bring about changes for the better in the status of women, the working class or the peasantry in most colonised countries’ (Loomba 2005, p.12).
broad North-South divide
Precolonial Africa and Gender Stratification
colonial (and now neo-colonial) imposition of particular construction of gender on to other social structures:
‘a “neutral” complementarity, rather than a superordination/subordination, more accurately describes the relationship between certain female and male roles in various precolonial African societies’ , (Sudarakasa 1986, p.101)
‘The essence of neo-colonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside.’ (Nkrumah 1965, p.1)
‘A country may be both postcolonial (in the sense of being formally independent) and neo-colonial (in the sense of remaining economically and / or culturally dependent) at the same time.’ (Loomba 2005, p.7)
Cultural / Religious Legacies
Pastor Martin Ssempa of the Makerere (Protestant Evangelical) Community Church, Uganda:
‘Some of you know about the HIV/AIDs conference. Its not a church. Its like Sodom and Gomorrah just to be there…should the godless be the only ones telling us what to do about HIV?...we know that if we kept sex for within marriage and if we waited for sex within marriage AIDs would go away…the way to protect ourselves from HIV/AIDs is in [the Bible] … abstinence …laws must bow down to Jesus’ (2007 from IASSCS)
A warning against 'nativism' (Spivak) and reduction to simplistic power relationships:
‘The survey findings suggest that many Africans are deeply committed to Islam or Christianity and yet continue to practice elements of traditional African religions. Many support democracy and say it is a good thing that people from other religions are able to practice their faith freely. At the same time, they also favor making the Bible or sharia law the official law of the land.’ (http://www.pewforum.org/executive-summary-islam-and-christianity-in-sub-saharan-africa.aspx )
homophobia in Zimbabwe
‘The transphobia in African culture is now coming out in explicitly homophobic terms in response to various aspects of colonial rule / apartheid, Christian missionary propaganda, and the structures of the racial, capitalist economy…homophobia, not homosexuality, is the real “white man’s disease” in the region. The imported, derogatory language used by some of the more vocal of Zimbabwe’s anti-homosexual vigilantes supports this possibility. Certainly, there is no indigenous Shona or Ndebele word for “poofs.”’ (p.133)
An example of 'hybridity' as a reaction to Globalisation: the bissu in South Sulawesi in Indonesian
The Gendered Ironies of globalisation (SUNY)
Globalisation as liberalisation:
“an expansion of a neoliberal market economy” (Ganguly-Scrase 2003, p.545)
“The complex and contradictory impacts of globalization are notably marked in the
situation of women” (UNESCAP p.1)
Gendered Ironies of Globalisation
Economic independence and self-esteem
Global networking, organising and mobilising
Women are paid less
Hierarchies recreated: women in lower roles
crisis in gender roles
the 'double burden' for women
global economic exploitation
(UNESCAP / SUNY)
Where are we now?: contemporary terminology in sociology
Gloabl south = 80% of the population, 15% of the global wealth
The North-South language provided an alternative to the concept of “globalization,” contesting the belief in a growing homogenization of cultures and societies.’ (Dados & Connell 2012, p.12)
‘North-South terminology, then, like core-periphery, arose from an allegorical application of categories to name patterns of wealth, privilege, and development across broad regions. The term Global South functions as more than a metaphor for underdevelopment. It references an entire history of colonialism, neo-imperialism, and differential economic and social change through which large inequalities in living standards, life expectancy, and access to resources are maintained.’ (Dados & Connell 2012, p.13)
• To become familiar with terminology for thinking about global power dynamics and inequalities.
• To get an overview of global political, economic and social changes throughout history and more contemporaneously, and how these impact on gender and sexuality.
• To understand the historical and global context of gender and sex issues and dynamics
• To understand the specificity of northern sociology and its particular perspectives
'Paradoxes of Globalisation, Liberalization, and Gender Equality: The Worldviews of the Lower Middle Class in West Bengal, India''
Most women in study felt 'empowered' by globalized economy
BUT economic liberalization has had negative impacts on Indian women overall
increasingly feminised poverty vs. desire and consumerism (economic and cultural)
Definition Recap: Neoliberalism
Dominant contemporary political and economic ideology
Neo-liberal, i.e. influenced by, but developed from, liberalism
Free-market / free-trade
logic of the market (blind faith in the market)
minimal government intervention (deregulation / privatisation)
institutions as mediator of the market
Flow of capital
Terminology sidepoint: Global South / North
"the use of the phrase Global South marks a shift from a central focus on development or cultural difference toward an emphasis on geopolitical relations of power" (Connell & Dados 2012, p.12)
First world / third world
Core / periphery
Developed / developing / under-developed
East / West
All of these terms have colonial spectres
Global south as low-income and politically or culturally marginalised in global context
Gloabl south = 80% of the population, 15% of the global wealth
also majority / minority world terminology
about wealth, privilege and development
in historical context
Colonialism and gender theory
"both as object of colonialist histiography and as subject of insurgency, the ideological construction of gender keeps the male dominant. If, in the context of colonial production, the subaltern has no history and cannot speak, the subaltern as female is even more deeply in shadow” (Spivak 1988, p. 28)
Engels 'Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State' (1884)
Nuclear family began with the notion of private property
Control of women’s sexuality through monogamous marriage became important so that men can know who their children are and pass on wealth to them.
i.e. argument that economic shift to private property
preceded and caused
patriarchal social organisation
the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas:
Colonialism IS gendered: Objectification, gendering, domination and colonialism
Recall last week's discussion of French colonial (double: racialised and gendered) objectification of Algerian women
"I argue that the micro-level violences shown in the Abu Ghraib pictures are neither just aberrations nor a sign of gender equality. Rather they follow a pre-constructed heterosexed, racialized and gendered script that is firmly grounded in the colonial desires and practices of the larger social order and that underpins the hegemonic ‘save civilization itself’-fantasy of the ‘war on terror’. I explore how the participation of some of the US Empire's internal Others, namely White western women, may disrupt some of the social processes of normalization underpinning this colonial fantasy, but nevertheless serves to re/produce the identity and hegemony of the US Empire and its heterosexed, racialized and classed World (Dis)Order."
Example: Nigeria colonized by British 1851-1960
‘Before the British advent in Nigeria, life there was mainly agricultural, and there was division of labour between men and women. The men cultivated the land and sowed, and it was chiefly the duty of women to reap. Women owned property, traded and exercised considerable political and social influence in society…Whatever disabilities there [existed] were endured both by men and women alike. With the advent of British rule, slavery was abolished, and Christianity introduced into many parts of the country, but instead of the women being educated and assisted to live like human beings their condition deteriorated.
The women of Nigeria are poverty-stricken, disease-ridden, superstitious and badly nourished, although they are the main producers of their country’s wealth… The men sow and hoe and the women do the rest of the work. Yet they hardly reach an appreciable income… The reason is that most of their products are bought by the Combine Mercantile Farms which dictate the buying prices’ (Kuti 1947, p.545)
A 'civilizing' process OR
Entrenched gender hierarchy
Homogenisation of diversity?
Another e.g. : Constructed 'tradition' in post-soviet Russia and other post-soviet states
"‘Traditional morality’ has become the signature discourse of the Russian Orthodox Church which is attempting to construct ‘tradition’ by drawing upon a partly imagined ethos of imperial Russia and the late Soviet Union. Traditional family values are central to the church’s rhetoric. The authors of these texts see a presumed decay of traditional values as the main danger that must be opposed. They usually trace the source of this danger directly to the contemporary West. By contrast, they see Russia as a protective shield against these global influences."
Colonialism, gender and intersectionality
"White women’s imaginings of Aboriginal mother’s capabilities, and their so-called concern for our children is more than creepy – it’s actually dangerous.
Angie summed it up all in her final sentence where she proclaimed “these policies should be changed”. You see, white women are not simply PR agents of the colonial project, they too are its architects. Whether as a nurse, social worker, teacher, journalist or commentator, white women have always exercised power over Aboriginal women and our children, often bearing false witness, unchecked and unrestrained everyday in this country on hospital wards, on brekky TV, in national broadsheets and on the floors of parliament.
Regardless of my capabilities as an Aboriginal women or mother, the anonymous, uninformed random white woman will always hold more power and influence in what is sayable and doable to our lives and those of our children."
Chelsea Bond (2018), 'A White woman stole my baby' https://indigenousx.com.au/chelsea-bond-a-white-woman-took-my-baby/#.WrMoDmpuaUk