The Blackwood Research Group

I want to call attention to a exchange that started in npr a couple of months ago. This exchange started with a question: Is Latin America or the Middle East more sexist? I am attaching the first article, a response, and the latter response to criticism by the original author. Part of the original attempt of the first article was to question the way we measure “the freedom of women,” specially the way we might talk about the Middle East as being particularly sexist. However, this article failed as it continued to work inside a discourse that is essencialist and othering. Lourdes García-Navarro finishes her first piece with “even having all the freedom in the world can be its own cage” pointing to what the sexism that she sees in Brazil. We could overlook the obvious problem of creating “the Middle East” or “Latin America” as a concrete unit, or even the issues of using one country, despite its own diversity, as a token to represent an entire continent. Even then, we remain with the question, which both the other pieces left unproblematized: who are we comparing Latin America or the Middle East too. These articles continue positioning the women in Latin America and the Middle East as others and as victims. What is more, a discussion of sexism in Europe or the US speaks through its absence. These discussion continuous a narrative that allows the US to overlook its own issues, because, at least, they are not that bad compared to the Other.

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