Decolonizing Culture Summary

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In the essay titled, “Decolonizing Culture: Beyond Orientalist and Anti-Orientalist Feminisms”, Nadine Naber discusses her own experience of growing up in an Arab-American household, and the pressure of upholding Arab culture, while also attempting to assimilate into American culture. She discusses how and why some Arab Americans have maintained traditions that reify orientalist conceptions of Arab culture, focusing on the central role of gender and its intersections with race, religion and sexuality in maintaining them. Yet, these norms are perceived by Naber, not as part of some authentic or longstanding culture, but as a way for Arab culture to be kept distinct from American culture. This is due to the fact that Arabs view American culture as trash culture, and being sexually depraved. Edward Said’s idea of Orientalism relies on an attempt to expose attitudes that are imperialistic and attempts to demonstrate that the West holds onto the notion that their culture is the norm and that all others are inferior or abnormal. Naber expands on Said’s original definition and mentions a new concept of Orientalism and how it has accepted new ideas. These ideas include that Arabs and Muslims…show more content…
Our perception of veiled women is that they are being oppressed by the “other” and that it is our duty to free these women from their so-called abuse. I find this very interesting, as the idea of who is oppressed and what is oppression is subjective to one’s own experience. These women may just believe that they are just adhering to their religious beliefs and they are not being oppressed. They might look at women from the West and think they are being abused by our male dominated culture and think that by being hyper-sexual they are being oppressed, even though they are “free” to live how they

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