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Complexification of feminism and females in Pakistan

By Areeba Tayyab

I still remember what Shaista Khilji (Associate Professor of Human and Organizational Learning, George Washington University) said in The Third World Feminism Symposium at Lahore College for Women University and I quote “We are all on the same team with our differences”. A brilliant idea filled with optimism as one must say but to conclude that it caters the complexification of feminism in Pakistan; an in-depth analysis is certainly required. The application of singular feminism is also not supportive of the idea of a happy coexistence but viewing it in the context of Pakistan, the definition and redefinition of the term feminism is required in almost all sectors. For analysis, let us consider two main features of the heading i.e. Feminism and Females in Pakistan. To define feminism is not a piece of cake and one must realize that it cannot be defined it terms of specific rules and regulations. The term feminism requires a more demanding and burdensome explanation.The notion of feminism is reproduced, reduced, redefined and at times placed in binaries and deconstructed to have a clear version of it. To state that feminism is all about female emancipation or liberation will not do any justice to the criticism made on this particular field. Feminism as best described by Bell Hooks in her book Feminism is for Everybody states “Feminism is a movement against sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression.” A boarder definition enables to give a sense of likeliness among the women all around the world.

These women are considered to be victims of the male patriarchal culture and this is something that is prevailing all around the world. The sameness of oppression one way or the other forces the critics around the globe to put all the women under one definition of feminism. As Chandra mohanty says “The homogeneity of women as a group is produced not only on the basis of biological essentials but rather on the basis of secondary sociological and anthropological universals”. She further states that women are not identical because they have ovaries and breasts but the fact that they share the same social oppression around the globe.

The notion of homogeneity given by Julia Kristeva in “About Chinese Women”, highlights the fact that the model of China can solve the problems of the western world. The criticism was not easily digested and the notion of homogeneity and likeness of womanhood around the world was challenged. For Kristeva maybe it was just a suggestion, as she says that she intends to leave the paper open-ended but still she ignored the notion that is making the theory of feminism “an ambiguous general one”. What Kristeva did not realize was the fact that, while talking about feminism and female rights it is necessary to keep in mind the subtleties and nuances of particular context and social anthropology. Generalization may lead to the appropriation of one culture on another and one feminism on the other feminism.
The writer is the Lecturer of English at Superior University Lahore. Email: Areebatayyab26@gmail.com

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