Half the Sky Feminist Review Essay

2945 Words May 29th, 2011 12 Pages
Midterm: Half the Sky Review
Ryan Carr
University of San Francisco
March 11, 2011

Midterm: Half the Sky Review Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s novel, Half the Sky, is primarily a call for social equality and freedom from oppression for women across the globe. The authors are actively taking the first step of achieving a global feminist movement by informing Westerners of the injustices are that are being done to women worldwide in the name of tradition and culture; they do this through personal stories and by exposing legal or cultural inequalities. As Cynthia Enloe (2004) writes in The Curious Feminist, “if something is accepted as “traditional”- inheritance passing through the male line…it can be
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The authors focus on three particular important issues that need to be addressed, “sex trafficking and forced prostitution; gender-based violence, including honor killings and mass rape; and maternal mortality” (Kristof/WuDunn, 2009, p. xxi). On the other hand, feminist Liz Kelly writes that all women experience sexual violence at some point in their lives. Therefore, she argues that all women are victims to oppression from men and the only variance is to the degree of oppression. Kelly’s (1987) stance is that, “the use of the term ‘victim’ in order to separate one group of women from other women’s lives and experiences must be questioned” (p. 59). Through this logic, one would assume that Kelly would find common ground with Half the Sky that non-Western women are suffering from a very high degree of sexual violence which legitimizes them as victims in need. On the other hand, it is also a possibility that Kelly would disagree with the how the book separates the victimization of non-Western women to Western women since there is no mention of how Western women are victims anywhere in the book. This is not the only aspect of the book that some feminists would criticize. Peterson and Runyan (2009) write on the effects of “neoliberalism” and how

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