Women’s experiences are important

Toluwalase Solomon , Columnist

There is a need to be careful when the transfer of knowledge on feminism and its liberation process are seen as a power move, not a move toward truth.

To solidify this claim, feminist standpoint scholars inform that knowledge is manufactured from different women social experiences and situations. As a result of this, the creation and transfer of knowledge on the liberation of women from oppressive issues should not be influenced by particular perspectives, value commitments, community bias and personal interests but should be an amalgamation of various perspectives.

There is a crucial need to uncover the trickery of what defines objectivity in a world where powerful individuals manufacture knowledge to preserve the interest of the privileged group and marginalize the less powerful groups.

In the pursuit of objectivity, standpoint theories intend to bring in multiple perspectives of oppressive issues of different women in the world to amplify their voice to make rational knowledge claims.

The metaphor of a cage, web and a psychic prison expands my understanding of feminist objective power. Authorities and policymakers create structures by enabling, and at the same time constraining, a wide range of people to think in a box.

This is problematic because women of the world internalize knowledge claims about what the liberation process entails from the western point of view, and then surrender to those claims as the ideal type or reality.

This controlled mechanism of feminism knowledge turns to a process, which leads to the re-enactment and reproduction of knowledge that only limits ideas and perspectives to certain boundaries. Also, I understood the God trick as knowledge claims that constantly influence our thoughts, actions and decision-making.

Unfortunately, those knowledge claims are subjected to social patterns and standards of the western world. On the other hand, the critics of standpoint theory claim that a potential move toward shared values of humanity and desired change is to integrate all womens’ situations and experiences across race, culture, ethnicity, nationality, identities to the transfer of knowledge liberate the world of not just womens’ issues but political thought in general.

Scientific research has high tendencies to belong to the category of unlocatable knowledge claims. Therefore, the concept of subjugated standpoints are preferred because they seem to promise more adequate, sustained, objective and transforming accounts of the world. Also, the concept of relativism informs why there should be the pursuit of universality over partiality. There is no such thing as universal or objective truth.

Instead, each point of view has its unique truth that guides their actions and behavior. A move for feminist objectivity is to deconstruct that knowledge that holds women in various parts of the world down just because they seem lawful, but not helpful.

For example, there is a law in some part of African culture that oppresses women by passing them like cards to get married to the immediate brother of a deceased sibling to get married to, but they have become dogmatic because their society defines morality and faithfulness when they conform to the laws of getting married to the sibling of a deceased husband.

Such women experiences have been ignored or unidentified in the works and feminist research due to the lack of openness to understand different perspectives and a move for liberation that would save humanity.  

Harding, S (2004). Introduction: Standpoint theory as a site of political, philosophical, and scientific debate. In Harding(Ed.), The feminist standpoint theory reader: Intellectual and political controversies (1-20). New York: Routledge

Harding, S (2004). Rethinking Standpoint Epistemology: What is “Strong Objectivity”? New York: Routledge

Toluwalase Solomon is a graduate in communication studies. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].