Postcolonialism and feminism are some of the critical discourse, which is bringing most theoretical attention topostcolonialism.
Feminists are gearedtowards the understanding of the Third world women and the decimation of genderin the racialized spaces. The postcolonial feminist also seeks to bring to knowledge,of unheard voices of women in the postcolonial works as most postcolonial issuescost by slavery and colonization but postcolonial feminist also came to showhow women were treated not only in the non-western world, but also in thewestern world. Postcolonial feminism also wishes to bring out the problemsfaced by women in the Third world.
Feminism metamorphosed into three waves, which is the first, thesecond and the third wave of Feminism. The first wave being the 19thcentury and the early twentieth century in the United States and the UnitedKingdom. Its focus was reclaiming the right of Women. Long history of prejudices and inhuman remarks against femalesprevailed over countless social and cultural texts ultimately led to theemergence of feminism in late 60s and early 70s of twentieth century in theWest. Since then feminists went all out to reexamine issues of sex, gender, andeven language (as by-products of patriarchy) in literary and culturaldiscourses. Feminism like Marxism and Post colonialism invalidates unjust powerrelationships. Feminists having an oppositional stance started questioningtheir inferior status and asked for amelioration in their social position(Freedman, 2002). As such, it calls for equal justice and equal opportunitiesfor females.
In short, feminism as a concerted attempt aims to get the natureof gender inequality, gender politics, gender roles and relations, powerrelations and sexuality. In other words, feminism as a reactive disciplineseeks to answer the question why women are treated as a second-class citizenoppressed and enjoyed lesser opportunities than males. Feminism is consisted invariegated; colorful approaches hence better to call such approach ‘feminisms’.It is culture-based line. In multicultural countries, feminist approach lookshighly fragmented and multi-valent.
The forms and colors of feminism in Indiancontext are unique and surprising. In multi-cultural settings, the complexitiesof feminine cannot be underemphasized (Raj Kumar Mishra, 2013). The second wave of feminism was dialed with the issues of economicand other forms of equality like having a carrier in addition to motherhoodwhile the third began in the early 1990s and was concerned with expandingcommon definitions of gender and sexuality.Postcolonial feminismemerged as part of the third wave of feminism, which began in the 1980s, in tandem with manyother racially focused feminist movements in order to reflect the diversenature of each woman’s lived experience. It is sometimes viewed sometimesviewed as ‘third world feminism’ born out of the critique aimed towards Westernfeminism, which is mainly a white discourse.Postcolonialfeminism is a relatively new stream of thought, developing primarily out of thework of the postcolonial theorists who concern themselves with evaluating howdifferent colonial and imperial relations throughout the nineteenthcentury have impacted the way particular cultures view themselves. However, itwas widely believed to be a critique of both western feminism and postcolonialtheory, but later became a burgeoning method of analysis to address main issueswithin both fields.
Unlike mainstreampostcolonial theory, which focuses on the lingering impacts that colonialismhas had on the current economic and political institutions of countries, postcolonial feminist theorists areinterested in analyzing why postcolonial theory fails to address issues ofgender. Postcolonial feminism also seeks to illuminate the tendency of westernfeminist thought to apply its claims to women around the world because the scopeof feminist theory is limited. In this way, postcolonial feminism attempts toaccount for perceived weaknesses within both postcolonial theory and within westernfeminism (wikipedia).The term oftenused to coin the depiction of women in the postcolonial world is “Doublecolonization” as they simultaneously experienced the oppression of colonialism andpatriarchy – a colonization of imperialism and theirmale-dominated world.Feminism can be defined as the social, political, and moralexperiences of women in a literary era. It stands for the social, political,and economic inequalities. Writers of feminist movements seeks to stop theinequality that existed between men and women.
In post-colonial literature,writers point out the inequalities experienced by the ex-slave and migrantwomen, which were caused by the white men, the political and the social andeconomic environments they found themselves in. Post colonialism is theresistance to colonization and its effects on culture, brought about bycolonization. It therefore, tries to bring back history in to the present tomake the colonizers realize their pass atrocities committed on the colonizedand the ex-slave migrants.The writers of postcolonial literature are mostly the colonizedpeople who seek to show their lost identities and gender marginalizationbrought about by colonization and migrations, due to the slave trade. Postcolonialfeminism is therefore the presentation of women by postcolonial writers whosomehow where victims of the colonization and slave trade.
They present thewomen in the pre-colonial and post-colonial periods, bringing out the Genderinequalities, which exited in the societyThis studywill throw more weights on the postcolonial feminism mirroring one of the worksof Dabydeen in “A Harlot’s progress” where slavefrom unknown African village has struggled with issues of self?representation.David Dabydean is a Britishwriter of Guyana origin who aims at making the conditionsand discrimination of migrant women in Britain and countries of formalcolonizers known to the society especially western feminists to exercise achange. He believes this brings about gender equality through the lifeless, undistortedand non-stereotypic representation of the ‘third world women’.In his novelA Harlot?s Progress, David Dabydeen extends his scholarly interest in visual representationsof blacks in eighteenth century England from historical commentary to creativefiction.There are manyinstances given in Harlot’s progress where imperialism had negative impacts onthe lives of women in Africa. One of such instances as narrated by writer is acase where he sees banished women to forbidden forests for their barrenness ascrude idealogy just because of imposed religious brought to his people.
He seesthe idea of women being used as sex apparatus a night before their husbands goto a battle or for a hunt as primitive. Rima recounts to Mungo the superiorityof the male counterpart is visibly obvious, as men have to be addressed asmasters.He exposes thedominance of men in the presence of their wives.
He cites a case where a manmaintains his composure just because his wife has undermined his authority byspeaking of a matter he is ignorant of and pronouncing so decisively on it; inaddition, a matter that is properly the business of men.In view of inferiority complex shown by females, it isbelieved females need education to acquire skills to compete with men in theoutside world and hence a loss of feminine (spiritual) virtues; even though thegeneral belief is female counterparts are not met to be educated as it iscounted as waste of money and time. They are seen as tool for motherhood.Sex exploitation of women — a character’s crippled condition becomes ameasure of their own. Her virginity is taken in return for a drink of secretwater. This case of sex exploitation is seen as a norm in amale-dominated world.
Ladies are called vulgar words like cunt, honeycomb andtheir sex becomes a thing of ridicule in a communal clan. In view of sexualexploitation, Dabydeen here is pointing how women who are poor and have few options for survivalmay fall victims to traffickers or may prostitute themselves when theyseemingly have no other choice. Without the possession of cultural or socialcapital, women ranging from exotic dancers to trafficked women struggle againsteconomic, social, and sexual oppressions. Women would not be compelled to sellsexual or erotic services if the political environment at the policy levelafforded equal opportunities to gain social capital, thus increasing poorwomen’s vulnerability to being preyed upon or trafficked. Proponents of thepolitical economy perspective point to studies with disproportionatepercentages of housing instability and poverty among youth who trade sex tosurvive, as well as the lack of economic options for girls and women who engagein prostitution. Human trafficking migration patterns tend to flow fromEast to West, but women may be trafficked from any country to another countryat any given time and trafficking victims exist everywhere.
Many of the poorestand most unstable countries have the highest incidences of human trafficking,and extreme poverty is a common bond among trafficking victims. Where economicalternatives do not exist, women and girls are more vulnerable to being trickedand coerced into sexual servitude. Increased unemployment and the loss of jobsecurity have undermined women’s incomes and economic position. A stalledgender wage gap, as well as an increase in women’s part-time and informalsector work, push women into poorly-paid jobs and long-term and hidden unemployment,which leaves women vulnerable to sex traffickers.
Health-relatedissues are linked to poverty.Woman’s plightsare dismissed as irrelevant myth belonging to the past; it is a tale more thanordinary. Dabydeen is against portrayal of postcolonial women primarilyas ignorant, poor, uneducated, tradition-bound, domesticated, family-oriented,and victimized. He feels that in such negative characterizations scantattention is paid to history and difference. Postcolonial feminists disapprovepostcolonial tendencies to construct a single category of the colonizedignoring differences.
Even though there are arguments that colonial oppressionundoubtedly hurt sentiments of both men and women but nature of oppression wasquite different, this is what is called doublecolonization, first as a colonized subject and second as simply being a womanby patriarchy.