Puerto Rican women years after the fact knew widely of la operación García

Puerto rican women years after the fact knew widely

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sterilized many women of Color such that at one point ¼ of Native women were sterilized. Puerto Rican women, years after the fact, knew widely of “la operación” (García). These operations occurred without the women’s consent, without knowledge, and without regard for anything but the predominance of the “white race.” Mainstream reproductive rights activists often promote the “right to choose,” but many women of Color were denied such a choice. This history is not integrated into the political platform of the contemporary mainstream reproductive rights movement. The second wave of feminism is said to have been sparked by Betty Friedan’s 1963 monograph The Feminine Mystique . In Friedan’s text, she focuses on the plight of the middle- class housewife whose boredom about household drudgery is taken as the pinnacle of gender exploitation. While she mostly fails to involve women of Color in her discussion, she brings them into the conversation when it is convenient to her argument. She quotes some of Sojourner Truth’s 1851 speech, for example, and then moves on to discussing working-class white women who also contradicted the “image of empty gentility” (157). Friedan also mentions foot binding in China, suggesting to readers that American housewives were similarly immobilized (164). There are very few other mentions of women of Color and it seems that Friedan wrote her book without considering non-white women as a part of her audience. In “Black Feminist Thought
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14 and Difference in the Third Wave: The Identity Politics of Postmodern Feminism and Colorblind Ideology,” Ingrid Banks and Stacey Floyd Thomas point out that second wave feminism, although supported by Black women, did not advocate significantly for women who were not privileged by race and class or “for women outside of Friedan’s canon of women’s oppression” (35). While explaining how the three waves of mainstream feminism provide insight into the institution of white feminism, Banks and Thomas reinforce the necessity to analyze race from a women’s and gender studies perspective and to analyze gender from a racial justice perspective. The authors explain that the women’s movement, while mostly advocating for white women, emulated the strategic direction of people of Color movements: As the Black power movement pushed for the inclusion of Ethnic Studies programs at universities, the women’s movement also fought for Women’s Studies programs, prioritizing “academic legitimacy” rather than a political agenda (35). “The term ‘third wave’ was used first by women of color in the late 1980s to position themselves outside of the second wave” (36). Popular culture, however, states that the third wave of feminism resulted from a desire for a younger generation of feminists to distinguish themselves from the second wave, effectively pushing out attention to racial difference in favor of colorblind generational difference. Banks and Thomas reveal the contradictory and problematic impacts of the third wave, critiquing the post-modernism of the academy:
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  • Summer '19
  • Maria Yvonne Dy

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