Empires, by their very nature, embody, institutionalize difference, both between metropolis/colony and between colonial subjects Imperial imaginary floods popular culture. Gender categories were one kind of bio-logic “new tradition” that European colonialism institutionalized in many African cultures. Infantilization of women as part of Western patriarchal system was also exported with the colonization of the mind. We should take into account issues as class, race, age, gender, even health as being fundamental to the female experience. Beauty norms are often measured with Eurocentric values, with white beauty narratives (thinness, youth, and whiteness) and ideals of beauty being strongly racialized. Whiteness is reinforced at the same time as the norm, while “otherness” becomes fetish and something “exotic”. The three central concepts that have been the pillars of Western feminism -women, gender and sisterhood- are only understood with a careful attention to the patriarchal nuclear family from which they have emerged, familiar form that is far from being universal.
Erotic, sexuality, sisterhood, motherhood, marriage, tradition, domestication, inclusivity of men…all this aspects with its own lights and shades in each society should come out in the same level in order to compare. Many racialized feminists believe that mainstream feminism has acted as invisible ballast on their backs, showing itself traditionally paternalistic and exclusive with other realities that don’t fit Western model, adopting it as a universal mantra, setting an agenda that doesn’t correspond to the concerns of the non-white world and speaking for the rest of the women of the planet. Decolonize feminism questioning the Eurocentric rational theoretical frameworks that construct gender categories in a universalistic manner.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about “The Danger of the Single Story”. Let us wish for new ways of relating genders, of new models of intercultural dialogues not based on supremacy nor on an excluding hierarchy, and maybe identities, both individual and community, could naturally develop towards a society which one wouldn’t have to be invisible in order to advance. Maybe understanding History we will be able to overcome the social and symbolic ascription only by the difference of sex and open the range to other factors for the construction of identity.