We praise people for being “naturally” smart, too, “naturally” athletic, and etc. But studies continue to show, as they have for some time now, that it is generally healthier to praise schoolchildren for being hardworking, than for being naturally gifted. We know now that to emphasize a child’s inherent ability places pressure on that child to continue to be accidentally talented, which is something that is hard for anyone to control. When the children who are applauded for their natural skills fail, they are shown to take the failure very personally. After all, the process of their success has always seemed mysterious and basic and inseparable from the rest of their identity, so it must be they who are failing as whole people. When students are instead complimented and rewarded for their effort and improvement, they tend to not be so hard on themselves. When they fail, they reason, “Well, I’ll work harder next time.” They learn that they are capable of success, rather than constantly automatically deserving of it, and they learn simultaneously that they are bigger and more complex than their individual successes or failures.
— The Stupidity of “Natural” Beauty | Kate of Eat the Damn Cake
Touched | VAST
One of my favorite songs. Look this band up!
To assume that the mere practice of veiling women in a number of Muslim countries indicates the universal oppression of women through sexual segregation not only is analytically reductive, but also proves quite useless when it comes to the elaboration of oppositional political strategy…. This mode of feminist analysis, by homogenizing and systematizing the experiences of different groups of women in these countries, erases all marginal and resistant modes and experiences…. It limits theoretical analysis as well as reinforces Western cultural imperialism. For in the context of a first/third world balance of power, feminist analyses which perpetuate and sustain the hegemony of the idea of the superiority of the West produce a corresponding set of universal images of the ‘third world woman,’ images such as the veiled woman, the powerful mother, the chaste virgin, the obedient wife, etc. These images exist in universal, ahistorical splendor, setting in motion a colonialist discourse which exercises a very specific power in defining, coding, and maintaining existing first/third world connections.
— Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses | Chandra Talpade Mohanty (1984/1991)