Heroes, Victims, and Veils: Women's Liberation and the Rhetoric of Empire after 9/11

Kumar, Deepa
June 2008
Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table;2008, Vol. 2008 Issue 2, p23
Academic Journal
Since the events of 9/11, femininity has been constructed and reconstructed in old and new ways to serve an imperial agenda. This essay critically interrogates the "Muslim-woman-as-victim-in-need-of-rescue-by the-West" discourse, arguing that Muslim women are agents, capable of organizing for their own rights. It also examines the appropriations of feminism in service of an Orientalist construction of "West" and "East," and critiques the position taken by some feminists in support of empire. Finally, it offers an overview of the women's movement in Iran as a way to concretely re-conceptualize Muslim women's identity as agents rather than victims. As the US prepares to go to war with Iran, the author challenges feminist scholars to rethink some of the spatial and temporal limitations of liberal feminism and embrace a politics of international solidarity.


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