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How feminism becomes a tool of neo-imperialism

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During this year’s State of the Union address, President Donald Trump claimed that one in three women crossing the United States/Mexico border is sexually assaulted. Though the specific statistic he cited is questionable, it should come as no surprise that women crossing international borders face severe gender-based violence. What is surprising is that the president, who has minimized and mocked many of the at least thirteen women who have accused him of sexual harassment and assault, suddenly seemed to think gender-based violence was a problem.His rhetoric reveals more than simple hypocrisy. It manifests a set of epistemic habits associated with what I call “missionary feminism.” Missionary feminists filter information about the world in ways that turn analyses of the situation of “other” women into opportunities to confirm Western superiority. A danger of missionary feminism is that it makes imperialist attitudes and policies seem like they are required by a commitment to gender justice.The president’s portrayal of sexual assault is strategically silent about what makes sexual assault happen at the border. A New York Times investigation revealed that much of the sexual violence that women face crossing the border happens once they are in the United States at the hands of U.S Customs and Border Patrol staff. Even when women are sexually assaulted by smugglers, it is often within the supposed safety of US territory. Women migrants who are victims of sexual assault within the United States even face deportation.Not to mention that what makes women vulnerable in the first place is a set of US government policies that militarize the border and contribute to the conditions that make women need to cross the border to begin with. For example, the conditions provoking asylum seekers to leave Honduras were caused by Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández’s US-backed government.This strategic silence is an example of one epistemic habit constitutive of missionary. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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