Hasina’s Sisters Are Machine Women: Women’s Violated Bodies and/in Bangladeshi Garments Factories
Hasina and Shimu are garment factory workers; Hasina’s life is portrayed in Monica Ali’s 2003 debut novel, Brick Lane. Shimu is the main character of Rubaiyat Hossain’s 2020 film Made in Bangladesh. Hasina and Shimu suffer from violence enacted on their bodies by both male garment factory workers and their husbands. They suffer from male hegemonic masculinity, patriarchal norms, and discriminatory economic structures. Furthermore, the dominant image of a female garment factory worker as sexually promiscuous enables more violence against them. In addition, economic violence is used to control and limit women’s bodies. Their bodies become a site of control as capitalism becomes the controlling factor for a nation-state. Carol Pateman argues that capitalism is virtually a form of patriarchy. Yet, there is resistance as well. Hasina confirms that she is not like her mother or other garment factory workers. Shimu talks to a lawyer, studies the labor laws, and forms a union in her factory. Hasina and Shimu are the “new women” of Bangladesh who defy “the invention of ‘third world women’ as a category to be ‘intervened’ upon and ‘empowered’ by Western experts and technological interventions through global development discourse and practice” (Chowdhury, 2010, p. 302). In this article, I argue, with the help of Trinh T. Minh-ha, that “women must write through their bodies” (1988, p. 258). By looking at how Hasina and Shimu’s bodies have been violated, this article depicts what it takes to rebel against the norms of multiple patriarchies with power structures like global capitalism in a society that is changing.
"Hasina’s Sisters Are Machine Women: Women’s Violated Bodies and/in Bangladeshi Garments Factories,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 24:
6, Article 10.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol24/iss6/10