Decolonial & Intersectional Interventions against (Neo)Liberal Feminism: Reflections on Tibetan Feminisms

Luna Enriquez

Drawing by Luna Enriquez

What is (neo)liberal feminism and what are its dangers? How can decolonial and intersectional theories and praxis counteract and refuse the cooption of feminism by neoliberal ideologies promoted by nationalist imperialist governmentalities? To address these questions, I engage the emergence of Tibetan feminism with neoliberal characteristics. This particular focus will allow me to animate my argument that (neo)liberal feminism’s focus on gender as an identity category fails to consider decolonization and intersectionality. Without such analytical considerations, feminism not only loses its liberatory potential as a praxis, but can become mobilized by nationalist imperialist governmentality to serve as the basis for racialized policies that target certain citizens within state purview and justify imperial occupations abroad. While neoliberalism feminism has been correctly assessed as a strain influenced by white feminism, it is wrong to assume that only white women practice neoliberal feminism. In fact, brown women practice it too. In the following, I engage Tibetan women practicing neoliberal feminism. Thus, this post tries to contextualize (neo)liberal feminism and its potential dangers, while at the same time outline how decolonial and intersectional feminism can counteract such dangers. For analytical considerations, I turn to Chandra Talpade Mohanty’s Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity (2003), Jasbir K. Puar’s Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (2007), and Ann Stoler’s Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times (2016) alongside other readings.

Over the course of few years, the Tibetan diaspora has seen a sharp rise in the number of Tibetan women who claim a feminist identity. What is Tibetan feminism, and how did it emerge? In the following, I track the rise of Tibetan feminism through the development of an online initiative called Tibetan Feminist Collective (TFC) based mostly in the west. Although TFC does not represent the diverse viewpoints of all women who identify as Tibetan and feminist, their version of feminism nonetheless becomes important to engage due to the initiative’s choice in leading and representing discussions regarding Tibetan feminism in Tibetan and non-Tibetan cyber and/or real worlds. Even though I use TFC as a Tibetan example of neoliberal feminism, they are not the only ones influenced by it. Other Tibetan women (alongside their male peers) not affiliated with TFC are also engaging neoliberal ideologies in shaping their individual pathways towards favorable professional outcomes that benefit themselves alone. Today we live in a world where the commodification of identities and activism, thanks to neoliberal ideologies, are so pervasive. Thus, it is important to think critically about the way neoliberalism shapes feminism (and other frameworks), and compromises their liberatory potential.

TFC has been influenced by Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA)—a prominent exile women-led organization based in the Tibetan refugee community in Dharamsala, India. Elsewhere, I’ve outlined how TWA’s embrace of western-produced liberal feminist ideologies worked to assist in politicizing and centralizing women’s issues in the exile political arena (Lokyitsang 2014). In the following, I address how the popularization of Tibetans feminism in the virtual world (Internet) was influenced not only by TWA in India, but also by western based feminist discussions and debates between feminists-of-color and white feminists.

(Neo)Liberal Feminism:

To understand what (neo)liberal feminism may look like, I turn first to Chandra Talpade Mohanty’s Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity (2003). In this book, Mohanty offers observations and interventions against, what she calls, “Colonizing, U.S.-and Eurocentric privileged feminism.” She identifies three “problematics within U.S.-based [radical and liberal] feminisms” (6). The first, careerist feminism, are those using feminism to advance individual careers whether in political and private sectors, rather than understand feminism as “a call for fundamental and collective social and economic transformation.” Second, neoliberal, consumerist (protocapitalist) feminism, are those concerned with “women’s advancement up the corporate and nation-state ladder.” She says this feminism is “symptomatic of the ‘Americanization’ of definitions of feminism” and is “profoundly individualistic.” And finally, “narrowing of feminist politics and theory” resulting from “critique of essentialist identity politics and the hegemony of postmodern skepticism about identity” that often dismiss and misunderstand Indigenous sovereignty movement as identity based nationalist movement rather than anti-colonial sovereignty movements.  She goes on to argue, “whereby either exclusionary and self-serving understandings of identity rule the day or identity (racial, class, sexual, national, etc.) is seen as unstable and thus merely ‘strategic.’ Thus, identity is seen as either naïve or irrelevant, rather than a source of knowledge and a basis for progressive mobilization” (6). To counteract this form of feminism, Mohanty suggests demystifying, decolonizing, and reorienting feminism.

In the section, “Decolonizing Feminism,” Mohanty critiques the monolithic construct of Third World Women found in Western feminist discourse. In such narratives, Third World women are nearly always framed as victims of their patriarchal cultures. Choosing to focus solely on the category of women, such narratives draw on dispersed examples of women experiencing gender oppression across cultures to paint a universalizing portrait of the oppressed women in Third World countries. This unspecific anti-historical approach constructs a homogenous characterization of Third World women devoid of agency. Instead, they are portrayed as passive recipients of their community’s patriarchal dominance.

Conversely, such narratives portray western feminists as agentive figures who are called upon to support their non-agentive oppressed “sisters” against their men in the Third World. She writes, “we see how Western feminists alone become the true ‘subjects’ of this counterhistory. Third World women, in contrast, never rise above the debilitating generality of their ‘object’ status” (39). Such discourses, argues Mohanty, “colonizes and appropriates the pluralities of the simultaneous location of different groups of women in social class and ethnic frameworks; in doing so, it ultimately robs them of their historical and political agency” (39). Though Mohanty does not directly engage neoliberal feminism and war, Jasbir Puar briefly mentions how this discursive tactic, which politicize gender, gets mobilized by (neo)liberal feminism in the west to justify waging wars against Muslim men within their own states and in the Middle East to save Muslim women.

In her book, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, Puar also articulates how sexuality, like gender, becomes mobilized by the white nationalist imperial projects to justify violence and the colonization of Muslim people and their worlds (2007). Further, such narratives, argues Puar, also confuses Sikhs who are not Muslim but are marked as terrorist-look-alikes (because race) as backward heteropatriarchs, who also become targets of state sanctioned violence in the name of national security in the west. Puar’s focus is on norms of white-hetero-patriarchy. She explains how through racialized nationalist imperial projects, queerness, which is about experiences and positions that resist mainstream norms in every way, becomes narrowed down to just sexuality—in which case, male Sikh immigrants in the West, who are ‘queer’ due to their citizen status, religious orientations, appearance (Turban), culture, politics and so on, become just their supposedly dangerous racialized sexuality. This ends up narrowing queer theory in general. Narratives about conservative brown-skinned apparently ‘Arab look-alikes’ justify racialized and imperialist projects against queered subjectivities of Muslims and Muslim-mistaken Sikhs who either refuse to or do not fit into state sanctioned forms of masculine norms (this is why following the announcement of the Muslim Ban, the US saw a sharp rise in racialized violence against South Asians and their ‘look-alikes’). Overall, Puar tells us, such narrow-minded frameworks—which emphasize categories of just gender or sexuality—not only work to racialize Third World peoples as non-agentive collectives, they also serve to justify violence against Muslim men within western states and imperial occupations abroad. But how does this discussion contribute to understanding the emergence of Tibetan feminism?

Tibetan feminisms: Liberal feminism

In “Conflict of Desires: Female Tibetan Leaders and Gender Advocacy,” I write on the subject of Tibetan women’s leadership roles in exile India (Lokyitsang 2014). The essay tracks exile Tibetan women’s political involvement in constructing and shaping the exile community in India following China’s invasion of Tibet in 1959. Initially, due to a lack of people with professional training to cater to a growing number of Tibetan refugees flowing into Nepal and India, women of aristocratic backgrounds were recruited by a male dominated apparatus to cater to the growing needs of Tibetan refugees. Such figures later went on to become the faces of the newly instituted Tibetan Women’s Association—a non-governmental organization that promoted the political careers of many of its own members. Beginning in the late 1980s and early 1990s, following increased engagements with western feminism through international women’s conventions—where TWA represented the political interests of Tibetan women—TWA began embracing and promoting notions of women’s empowerment influenced by liberal ideologies. These ideologies stressed women’s empowerment in terms of becoming flexible individuals through the embrace of modern education and professionalism. According to TWA, such pathways would provide refugee women with the skills needed to become independent and self-producing—a crucial skill needed in surviving the precarious conditions of refugee life. This organization’s embrace and promotion of liberal feminist ideologies worked to elevate some women into political careers within the male dominant apparatus of the exile administration and created space for female politicians to voice gendered concerns. However, I am ambivalent about the wholescale adoption of such liberal ideologies. The lack of a critical stance towards liberal ideologies failed to consider the devaluation of other gendered subjectivities (such as Indigenous produced subjectivities), thus producing subaltern female subjects.

In 2015 a new blog named Tibetan Feminist Collective (TFC) came into existence (http://www.tibetanfeministcollective.org/). Prior to this blog’s emergence, feminist was a word that many Tibetan women used to describe themselves. However, public proclamation of one’s identity as a feminist was not necessarily the norm. Tibetan women proclaiming their feminist identity who were mostly based in the west (although women in India and Nepal also participated) emerged during a time when gender as a topic was experiencing intensified engagements both within the Tibetan diaspora community and the west (Lokyitsang 2014). On the one hand, heated debates on gender violence and equality became prominent in the Tibetan diaspora’s virtual world for several years, during which, many began proclaiming their feminist identities to counter prevailing patriarchal beliefs publicly on different social media platforms. At the same time, on the other hand, feminist conversations and debates between white and women of color feminists in the west were intensifying especially on Twitter—influenced mostly by feminists of color who were advocating against state sanctioned violence against Black, Muslim, and Native communities who critiqued white feminists who they saw as complicit in the structural violence such communities were continuing to experience. It was during this period that TFC emerged on the Tibetan virtual world.

While it’s unclear who started the blog, it was clear that more than one individual ran the site. Under their “about” section, they’ve written that TFC is “a multimedia platform comprised of an Editorial Board of Tibetan women” (http://www.tibetanfeministcollective.org/about/). Initially, the “editorial board” was made up mostly of women who are born and/or raised in the U.S. with one living in India being the exception. Since its inception, the blog has lacked a mission statement. Instead, it operates as an editorial. Publishing personal narratives written by women sharing gendered experiences. However, the editorial board has not maintained consistent leadership—with the regular entrance of new members while old ones leave.

Presently, it is unclear what the retention rate is and how many of the old cohort remain. In addition to publishing personal narratives, the blog also runs Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts under the same name. According to their blog, they use their social media platforms to promote their “multimedia projects” that highlight their hashtag campaigns: #BurningFeminist, #TIBFCF (Tibetan Feminist Crush Friday), and #NepalQuakeRelief (http://www.tibetanfeministcollective.org/multimedia/). While the #BurningFeminist campaign posted pictures of Tibetan and non-Tibetan women on their social media accounts alongside this hashtag, the editorial board “choose a Tibetan feminist who inspires” every Friday to feature on its social media platforms using the hashtag #TIBFCF. The #NepalQuakeRelief was a twitter campaign that encouraged its followers to donate to ACHA Himalayan Sisterhood—another organization made up of Tibetan women in the US who periodically flew to Nepal to volunteer in relief efforts (https://achahimalayansisterhood.org/category/campaigns/). While TFC has a functional board and blog, it is not a registered NGO. However, on their blog they have a donation section that encourages supporters to give money to help expand “advocacy further” (http://www.tibetanfeministcollective.org/donate/). As of March 10th, 2017, the blog has no new content. TFC’s twitter account, which consists mostly of retweets, has been inactive since February 26th 2017 (https://twitter.com/TibetanFeminist). Although their Instagram account seems to still be active (https://www.instagram.com/tibetanfeministcollective/).

Neoliberal Feminism:

So, why is TFC important to this discussion? As previously stated, while claiming feminist identity was not new to Tibetan women, TFC formed a “collective” based on a feminist identity and encouraged supporters to proclaim their feminist identity loud and proud. Encouraging followers to politicize and display their feminist identity. To date, this is the first Tibetan-led initiative to include the word ‘feminist’ in their title. Thus, began the cohesive emergence of a Tibetan feminist collective on the virtual public arena of the Tibetan diaspora—a space where the diaspora community converge to publicly discuss a range of topics with one another through different social media platforms with Facebook being the main site for such diasporic/communal engagements. Initially, this group was welcomed and encouraged by the Tibetan virtual world. However, it soon became confusing what function TFC served beyond being a platform for sharing personalized gendered narratives through its blog. In the following, I consider how TFC’s brand of feminism was particularly neoliberal.

In terms of structure, TWA is a community based organization with a structural body consisting of board members and a physical office with paid staff. All of whom are answerable to members and chapters spanning across the diaspora. Their work consists of political advocacy on behalf of women within the exile political arena and women-oriented welfare projects meant to alleviate vulnerable conditions that refugee women face. In comparison, TFC is a virtual initiative that exists only on the internet. The only structural body it has is in the form of its “editorial board,” which consisted of several women who are answerable only to each other who decided on the content and direction of TFC’s virtual presence. Their work consists of editing and posting blog entries and hashtag activism. Like TWA, few members of TFC have found opportunities in advancing personal careers by representing Tibetan feminist views to participate on different speaking and/or writing engagements based in and outside the Tibetan community. Unlike TWA, however, TFC does not organize nor engage grassroots projects within the community that focuses on the well-being of Tibetan women. This has much to do with TFC being a new initiative only several years old.

However, many of my peers became confused when they created a donation section on their blog soliciting monetary cash. There was also the problem with calling themselves a “collective”—which implies there’s a collective supporting this initiative—when it was only a select group of women as “editorial members” who were answerable to no one but each other. Although blog entries that consists of personal narratives and thoughts on communal approaches to gender could be considered community engagement. Their Twitter and Instagram activities, however, aimed to introduce Tibetan women they felt were exemplary feminists—an activity that TWA too engages in through their publications, although they shied away from using the word feminist and preferred ’empowered’ instead. The branding of TFC as a collective that represented a select few, the ability by certain members to promote individual careers, and the soliciting of monetary donations without clear objectives outlining projects that orient the Tibetan community, is what I argue makes this, in Mohanty’s words, neoliberal, consumerist (protocapitalist) feminism (2003).

While there was some ambivalence regarding TFC, it was the personal narratives that they published on their blog early on that many applauded and encouraged. Among an array of topics, TFC began publishing personal narratives focusing on gender violence experienced at the hands of community and family. The intention of such posts are to make visible different forms of gendered oppressions that Tibetan women continued to face. The purposes of these narratives seemed to be to encourage the larger diaspora to acknowledge the on-going gender oppression that women faced at the hands of men within the community and possibly encourage actions. However, such narrative angle, which emphasized just gender, began losing appeal for Tibetans who felt such narratives failed to contextualize gender alongside other precarious circumstances that Tibetans faced and continue to live through due to colonization and refugee status. In other words, the sole focus on gender, failed to consider intersectional subjectivities in the past and present that Tibetans move through—a challenge that Black feminists originally posed against white feminism (The Combahee River Collective 1997, bell hooks 1989, Kimberle Crenshaw 1995, Audra Lorde 1993).

The lack of intersectional consideration placed gendered oppressions experienced by Tibetan women (past and present) in a vacuum. Where the story being told is a simplified version that ultimately suggests the main problem of Tibetan women is Tibetan men. In this narrative format, Tibetan women and men, like their Muslim counterpart, become separate categories of a homogenized “collective” with a singularized story that empties them of agency both in the past and present. Within the Tibetan context, such narratives also fail to account for vulnerable subjectivities like that of semi-orphans—individuals who grew up at Tibetan refugee schools in exile away from their families in Tibet and are now adults living challenging present circumstances (Lokyitsang 2016). Unlike those of us with families, semi-orphaned Tibetan’s gendered experiences are compounded by worries over the need for familial care and security. In their narratives, it isn’t just men in the community that commit violence against them, it is their precarious circumstances, brought on by China’s colonization of Tibet, being a refugee, lacking family and finances, among other precarious circumstances, that cause vulnerabilities that are not exclusive to their gender. A critique that centers just gender in the Tibetan diasporic community fails to contextualize multiplicities of oppressions that semi-orphaned Tibetans, for example, have lived through and continue to do so. It also fails to account for vulnerabilities that are specific to semi-orphaned males that I do not face despite being a woman due to many of the privileges I enjoy because of my access to a family, and thus, security. So, how might Tibetan feminism proceed?

Intersectional Feminism:

I turn to Mohanty’s intersectionality (2003) and Puar’s assemblage (2007, 2012). For Mohanty, intersectionality serves as the basis for understanding solidarity not in terms of sisterhood but actual solidarity. In critiquing sisterhood, Mohanty writes, “To define feminism purely in gendered terms assumes that our consciousness of being ‘women’ has nothing to do with race, class, nation, or sexuality, just with gender.” For solidarity to be actualized, she insists on acknowledging “the idea of multiple, fluid structures of domination that intersect to locate women differently at particular historical conjunctures, while insisting on the dynamic oppositional agency of individuals and collectives and their engagements in ‘daily life” (55). However, for Puar intersectionality must be supplemented by assemblage theory (2012:50)—assemblages “For Deleuze and Guattari,” writes Puar, “are collections of multiplicities” (2007: 211). Without which, argues Puar, it inadvertently ends up constricting different intersectional identities as fixed, rather than as assemblages—a perpetual process of becoming. In Puar’s Terorrist Assemblages, she looks specifically at how femonationalism and homonationalism assembles the Muslim body as heterosexist patriarchies and thus deserving of (biopolitical (Foucault 2008) and necropolitical (Mbembé 2003)) violence and imperial conquest (2007). Further, in such makings, other brown bodies, such as those of Sikhs, also become assembled as terrorist-look-alikes, who are also deserving of the same violence, argues Puar. “I rearticulate terrorist bodies […] as an assemblage that resists queerness-as-sexual-identity (or anti-identity)—in other words, intersectional and identitarian paradigms—in favor of spatial, temporal, and corporeal convergences, implosions, and rearrangements” (2007:205). Like Mohanty, Puar too warns against the fixity of identity categories such as gender and sexuality into assumed generalities. Rather, intersectionality considered alongside assemblage theory, forges ways of thinking about intersectional identities as always in fluctuation depending on the different temporal frameworks it’s working within. Thus, identities for Muslim and terrorist-look-alike bodies that the nationalist imperialist project construct end up defining and justifying how such bodies will be treated in the present and future.

If Tibetan feminists were to consider intersectionality alongside assemblage theory, then gender as an identity category would lose its fixedness that presumes general assumptions about all gendered experiences of Tibetans past and present. Rather, it insists on understanding gendered subjectivities as always in fluctuation alongside other subjectivities that are directly impacted by “collections of multiplicities” that are “spatial, temporal, and corporeal convergences, implosions, and rearrangements” (Puar 2007). It also suggests gender itself, is not a static singular category. Instead, it is a social category that is malleable, fluid, and multiple. According to Linda Nicholson, the category of woman should be thought of as always emergent rather than assumed based on biological features (1994). Such an approach would account for multiplicities of Tibetan experiences in the past and present. It would account not only for male-produced gender violence in the community but also how it connects to on-going Tibetan circumstances of having become colonized in Tibet, or refugee in India, or undocumented illegal immigrant or working-class immigrant in the west, among other experiences. Additionally, it would also account for engaging subaltern female figures of Tibet’s pasts as mediums not only to engage gendered pasts but also Indigenous informed pathways for liberatory frameworks that can be considered alongside existing frameworks in the present that we continue to be influenced by in our multiple locations (Lokyitsang 2015). More importantly, the emphasis on multiplicities also suggests Tibetan feminism isn’t singular but plural. Acknowledging multiplicities of Tibetan feminisms accounts for intersectionality. However, such an intersectional assemblage approach cannot proceed without engaging decolonization theories and praxis.

Decolonization:

Decolonization has become a mainstream vocabulary, but what does it actually mean? According to decolonization scholars, to decolonize is to identify and dismantle historical legacies of imperialism (for more, see my article “Decolonizing Ethnographic ‘Responsibility’). In the current political climate of US and Europe, right-wing conservative political parties have coopted rights-based discourses to advance racialized policies that target citizens-of-color and immigrant communities in the name of national security and advancement. Popular figures, such as Trump in the US, Le Pen in France, and Milo Yiannopoulos in England, have successfully platformed the rhetorics of racialized identity (whiteness) favorably towards personal and political gain—Trump won the presidential candidacy in the US 2016 elections. In addition to platforming whiteness, Le Pen and Milo Yiannopoulos have also won political and social influence by politicizing their other identities as feminist and queer. While Mohanty’s Feminism Without Borders (2003) outlines the problems of individualistic driven notion that essentialize collections of people and empowers just the self, Puar’s Terrorist Assemblages (2007) helps us understand the ability of such identity based notions of feminism-as-gender and queerness-as-sexuality to mobilize and justify racial and imperial based violence against groups of people not considered the norm.

Part of the problem, according to Ann Stoler’s Duress, is the durability of colonial logics that continue to function anew as “common sense” in, what we consider to be, a postcolonial era (2016). For Stoler, this durability has much to do with the discursive promotion of aphasia (128) and occlusion (10) that the neoliberal university and its researchers promote. Scholars that advance notions of linear time as though we’ve entered the era of “postcolonial” nation states (ix), for example, serve to occlude ongoing patterns of “imperial formations,” argues Stoler (190). According to Stoler, the epistemology of race and racism and practices of racial states—like that of the US, Israel, and France—continue to function from its Enlightenment and modernity beginnings (342). However, such unchallenged notions of “common sense” are identified with the past, instead of reflections of an “ongoing quality of processes of decimation, displacement, and reclamation” (56), that Puar outlines in her book. Thus, Stoler suggests the importance of decolonization that she tasks for “a renewed (post)colonial studies,” that would sharpen, “how to track the tangibilities of empire as effective histories of the present. […] to refocus a sharper and finer historical lenses on distinctions between what is residual and tenacious, what is dominant but hard to see, and, not least, what is emergent in today’s imperial formations—and critically resurgent in responses to them” (378). The challenge, according to Stoler, “is to track how new formations in our social fabric and new forms of debris work on matter and mind to eat through people’s resources and resiliencies as they embolden new political actors with indignant refusal, forging insurgent vocabularies and unanticipated, entangled, and empowered alliances” (378-79).

Much of Stoler’s critique is shared by Indigenous feminists who also highlight the aphasia that is structurally embedded. Like Stoler, Maile Arvin, Eve Tuck, and Angie Morrill also calls out the neoliberal universities, but particularly gender and sexuality studies and ethnic studies for their role in occluding the ongoings of colonialisms. To decolonize, Stoler suggests a focus on ruins of empire, which she argues would “emphasize less the artifacts of empire as dead matter or remnants of a defunct regime than to attend to their reappropriations, strategic neglect, and active positioning within the politics of the present” (350). Arvin, Tuck, and Morill, on the other hand, suggest an active engagement of, what they term, Native feminist theories (also plural, not singular) as a way to actively engage colonial presents (2013). Native feminist theories “demonstrate that feminisms, when allied with other key causes, hold a unique potential to decolonize the ascendancy of whiteness in many global contexts,” argues Arvin, Tuck, and Morill (11). Further, they content that “Native men are not the root cause of Native women’s problems; rather, Native women’s critiques implicate the historical and ongoing imposition of colonial, heteropatriarchal structures onto their societies” (18)—a claim that gets taken up by Nivdita Menon who outlines how patriarchy becomes legalized under the nationalist state. According “Family,” Menon showcases how colonial policies that redesigned India’s heterogeneous ways of conceiving family (and so, gender) into standardized versions, which forced families into becoming nuclear and patrilineal, were reincorporated and normalized under the nationalist government following independence (2012). In this, Native feminists are not making the argument that men are not a problem but rather that toxic masculinities need to be considered in terms of the historical, structural conditions that produced them and that whole communities have lived through. Centering settler colonialism Arvin, Tuck, and Morill argue, brings into the present histories of colonial invasion, its hetero-patriarchal state structuring, and continuity under the modern national order. Doing so, according to Arvin, Tuck, and Morill, denaturalizes settler colonial governmentality and its logics—that the nationalist state continues to promote as “common sense,” argues Stoler (2016). Further, a focus on Native feminist theories also serve to center Indigenous temporalities prior to and beyond colonial invasion in which Indigenous epistemologies not only decolonizes Indigenous pasts, but also presents and futures. Thus, Arvin, Tuck, and Morill, argue that “there cannot be feminist thought and theory without Native feminist theory” (2013:14). For Tibetans, this becomes especially important since we too continue to aspire for anti-colonial futures in a Free Tibet. (A notion I explore in my “Conflict of Desires” essay, through the ways in which feminist and anti-colonial politics have been divorced in exile by some Tibetans.)

Decolonial and intersectional theories and praxis not only become imperative for Tibetan feminisms but feminism in general. Without such a praxis, feminism can easily become colonized by neoliberal ideologies that not only essentialize, homogenize, and commoditize, but also function anew under the nationalist imperialist project to justify racialized policies that target non-white bodies and countries for imperial conquest. Thus, to prevent feminism from becoming coopted by the nationalist imperialist project, it must be intersectional and decolonial. Native feminist theories offer an avenue through which such a praxis could be realized. Such a feminism would also ensure feminism continues to be a liberatory framework that elevates society.

Works Cited:

Arvin, Maile, Eve Tuck and Angie Morrill. 2013. “Decolonizing Feminism: Challenging Connections between Settler Colonialism and Heteropatriarchy.” Feminist Formations. Volume 25, Issue 1, Spring.

Crenshaw, Kimberle. 1995. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color.” Critical Race Theory, (New York: The New Press).

Foucault, Michel. (2008). The birth of biopolitics: lectures at the Collège de France.1978-1979. Spring.

hooks, bell. 1989. “Feminist Theory: A Radical Agenda.” Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black (Boston: South End Press). 35-41.

Lokyitsang, Dawa. 2016. “Tibetan Refugees and the Negotiation of Relatedness: Semi-Orphans of the 1960s and 1990s.” Lhakar Diaries. Retrieved May 8, 2017. https://lhakardiaries.com/2016/05/18/tibetan-refugees-the-negotiation-of-relatedness-semi-orphans-of-the-1960s-1990s/

Lokyitsang, Dawa. 2015. “On Being Tibetan and a(n Intersectional) Feminist.” Lhakar Diaries. Retrieved May 8, 2017. https://lhakardiaries.com/2015/04/15/on-being-tibetan-and-an-intersectional-feminist/

Lokyitsang, Dawa. 2014. “Conflict of Desires: Female Tibetan Leaders and Gender Advocacy.” Hysteria. Retrieved May 8, 2017. http://www.hystericalfeminisms.com/conflict-of-desires-female-tibetan-leaders-and-gender-advocacy/

Lorde, Audre. 1993. “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.”

Menon, Nivedita. 2012. “Family.” Seeing Like a Feminist. Penguin UK, 2012.

Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 2003. Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Zubaan.

Mbembé, J-A., and Libby Meintjes. (2003). “Necropolitics.” Public culture 15, no. 1: 11-40.

Nicholson, Linda. 1994. “Interpreting Gender.” Signs. Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 79-105.

Puar, Jasbir K. 2007. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Duke University Press.

Puar, Jasbir K. 2012. “I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess’: Becoming-Intersectional in Assemblage Theory.” PhiloSOPHIA: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, 2.1: 49-66.

Stoler, Ann Laura. 2016. Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times. Duke University Press.

The Combahee River Collective. 1997. The Combahee River Collective Statement.

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