woman off colour • person of culture

 the (in)visibilised is politicised

"It appears that the message of colonialism in the early period very much rested on, among other things, an argument for the need to liberate these women from these heathen, brown, uneducated, abusive, whatever, men, and it was part of the “white man’s burden” to help these women. Now, the irony is, these same men were not necessarily feminist-oriented in their own communities. The leader of much of the English colonialist work in Egypt, back home, was former president of the men’s organization against women’s suffrage. So clearly he was not for women’s rights across the board. I don’t think it takes much to notice the same thing is happening today when the United States led the coalition in Afghanistan purportedly to go after the people who attacked us on 9/11 but obviously stayed and did much more beyond that. One of the justifications you saw all over the western media and the American media in particular was the burqa-clad women in Afghanistan. We were going to do something about that. That had something to do with changing the public perspective on the need to go in. When you appeal to Muslim women as submissive and oppressed and downtrodden by Muslim men, it somehow triggers some kind of emotional reaction in the public that seems to trump a lot of other factors and it’s very effective. So what I think western feminists need to realize is that I know they don’t have the same motivation as the colonialists did, but the people on the receiving end of the same rhetoric, the same language, don’t always recognize that. It seems like the same thing. It doesn’t help to use the same kind of tropes, “we’re going to liberate you,” as the colonialists did. It just looks like the same thing in a new package and I don’t think that the international feminist community recognizes the emotional impact of that on the effectiveness of their work."

Asifa Quraishi-Landes on “Feminism, Activism and Sharia”

For emphasis: “The leader of much of the English colonialist work in Egypt, back home, was former president of the men’s organization against women’s suffrage”

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