1) Outline, explore and demonstrate with theory and examples from your course materials how feminist political economy makes sense of “changes in the gendered structure of labor by analyzing how the symbolic power of gender is put in the service of neoliberalism” (Robin Truth Goodman 2013).
2) How and why do your authors argue transnational feminist “resistance is necessary to counter to excesses and negative consequences … of global capitalism, “such as poverty and uneven development”? What makes this possible? What needs to change to make this possible? Document, demonstrate and specifically explain your answer in full building from your course materials
Feminism and Global Capitalism
Recently, there has been an unprecedented rise in individuals identifying themselves with the feminist tag, so much so that the subject of feminism has become wholly entangled with capitalism. This is so because it has not only become a source of pride, but has also been deeply inundated into mainstream media and consequently, into politics and global markets (Goodman, 2013). Different from post-feminism, there has emerged a new form of feminism, that shifts its focus from merely appreciating the gender wage gap as well as issues such as sexual harassment, to more capitalistic tendencies as acknowledging the contribution of women to the growth of economies, which incessantly incites women to accept their equal share of responsibility in the economy.
Neoliberal feminism encourages women to focus on their aspirations, though it has largely become exclusionary since it dovetails with capitalism (Herr, 2014). Since this form of feminism closely intertwines with the political economy, the fight for gender parity has almost always been mistaken for a feminist movement, aimed at empowering women at the behest of their male counterparts. The symbolic power of gender, thus, positions women as the victims, and the males as those with excess advantages that need to be trampled upon. The labor market is increasingly becoming dominated by feminists, parading under the umbrella of gender equality. This, without notice, is swiftly handing over power to the feminists, instead of creating a levelled ground for bother genders to benefit justly and contribute equally to the development of the economy, as informed by the founding tenets of neoliberalism.
Truly as it were, most justified feminist fights and advocacies, which aimed at making the economic world more liberal, egalitarian, and accommodating for women, have been used unjustly by “militant feminists” to further courses of inequality and exploitation (Herr, 2014). The movement for women’s liberation has, simply put, ben dangerously entangled with neoliberal efforts to build a better and more free market for all. The feminist political economy must, therefore, be monitored in order for the true goals of neoliberalism to be realized.
Global capitalism, if allowed to fully mature without necessary controls, would ensure that the less fortunate in the society such as the weaker gender, poor countries, and less powerless economies are made more pathetic and dependent, as capitalism’s only goal is to make as much profits as possible, even at the expense of the other party. Feminist movements have been constant monitors, fighting for the emancipation of women, their empowerment and conferment of equal opportunities in the economic growth. Transnational feminist resistance would ensure that women from across all countries are united in one fight, a just course that would closely guard the interests of women across the globe (Goodman, 2013). This contemporary feminist paradigm is concerned with the manner in which capitalism and globalization affects the lives and economies of people across nations, classes, sexualities, genders, and races. With a new intersectional approach to gender balance, this approach focuses on how capitalism connects with labor, geopolitics, and other theoretical applications.
The term “Transnational” is a culmination from “global” and “international” feminism, which were viewed to be exclusionary and imperfect in their representation of women of all color, races and nations (Dempsey, Parker, & Krone, 2011). This approach originates from postcolonial feminist theories that draw their lessons from the past oppression of women across the globe. To make the structure and power of transnational feminism real, to an extent that it can put in check the excesses of global capitalism, various changes have to take place. For instance, the ancient ideal of a male breadwinner and female homemaker family setup must be vanquished, since it subjects women to low wage bills and inferior consideration in workplaces. Secondly, every economy has to put in place enabling laws to empower women, that do not have a constricted view on “gender identity”. Lastly, for a transnational feminist movement to thrive, it must completely thwart the deep-seated construct of a ‘global sisterhood”, while working tirelessly to resist such structures as capitalist, patriarchal power (Dempsey, Parker, & Krone, 2011). With such rejection of utopian ideas of colonialism, imperialism, sexuality, and racism, the movement will be successful in at least slowing down the excesses of global capitals, by laying a groundwork for more equitable social relations among women from all walks of life.
Dempsey, S. E; Parker, P. S; & Krone, K. J. (2011). “Navigating Socio-Spatial Difference, Constructing Counter-Space: Insights from Transnational Feminist Praxis”. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication. 4 (3): 201–220.
Goodman, R. T. (2013). Gender work: Feminism after neoliberalism. In Gender Work (pp. 139-173). Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
Herr, R.S. (2014). “Reclaiming Third World Feminism: or Why Transnational Feminism Needs Third World Feminism”. Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism. 12 (1): 1–30.