“… [T]he costs of intervention borne by the people that are supposed to be helped by it require greater examination. One part of that examination must include the complicity of Western states in a global system that exempt themselves from the consequences of violating international law; that support violence in the south; and prop up regimes that are illegitimate in the eyes of their subjects. … Rather than continuing to mouth hollow pieties about ‘women’s rights as human rights’, it is imperative now more than ever for first world feminists to critically theorize the local and discover how their own agendas have been used to further what can only be considered imperial power dynamics in the international sphere. I suggest that Liberal feminists think particularly carefully about the calls for use of international intervention to further women’s human rights decoupled from local contexts and understood as Liberal rights. Such uses of power as a means of progress resuscitate a colonial dynamic that is fraught with the peril of subjugation and violence towards the very people it seeks to liberate. …
“While I think it unnecessary to abandon second-wave feminism’s many contributions including the understanding that women in every culture live in a gender unequal system, critical theorists can give us a more nuanced approach that reveals how even within that system, women can maneuver and exert power and make choices. It can also give us the ability to recognize similar projects undertaken by women living in Muslim societies but not mistake these as projects that are the same as our own undertaken in our contexts. Moreover, it can make obvious the complex and contested nature of the global system particularly the role of economic disparity and increasingly environmental disparity and the way in which privileged women wield power — sometimes to the benefit and sometimes to the detriment of other women. Most importantly, it can underscore how the inequality in the global system cannot be ignored when engaging state power internationally or engaging international institutions for seemingly benevolent purposes.”
- Choudhury, Cyra Akila. “Empowerment or Estrangement? Liberal Feminism’s Vision of the ‘Progress’ of Muslim Women”. University of Baltimore Law Forum, Forthcoming; Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-10.