4 thoughts on “Are Borders Bad for Women?

  1. You’re so awesome! I do not think I’ve read something like that before. So nice to discover another person with a few unique thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that is required on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

  2. Speed’s piece is a devastating account of the violences that target indigenous women migrants in the Americas. I found it useful how she situates regimes of racial, gendered, sexual, and class violence imposed upon Ysinia within a hemispheric structure of law(lessness) that has its roots in the logics of colonial power. A question I have is her characterization of the telos of this mode of violence. “This was not supposed to happen,” Speed declares, because of the promises for expanded human rights tied to neoliberal modifications of state power in the Americas. Yet the neoliberal renovations to rights and the state and free trade were always reformist of an already illegitimate structure of power known as the state. They were always about keeping the self evidence of the state’s right to kill intact. Only now, to our bewilderment and detriment, has neoliberalism placed the state’s right to kill and punish on the auction block. This is why I also find Speed’s term “neoliberal multicriminalism” so illuminating and provocative.

    But this is also why I am curious about the brief glimpse of good faith attached to neoliberal reforms in this article, given the ample evidence it demonstrates about its absolute corruption and necropolitical tendencies.

  3. Speed’s piece sheds important light on the blurriness of borders, as Molly also recognized, that face indigenous migrant women. Her piece raised two questions for me. In the section on “Neoliberal Multicriminaility,” Speed correctly indicts the “illegal economies on a massive scale” that have “powers rivaling that of the state,” and state actions that increasingly rely on “authoritarian governance and militarizing to combat illegality.” I wonder, however, to do what degree a focus on illegal massive economies obscures the role played by their legal analogues. Her piece does a nice job of elucidating the powerful economic interests underlying the privatization of incarceration in the U.S., but how do these economic interests work globally/transnationally? I think this is part of the wider implication of her inquiry into the failures of “rights regimes of neoliberal democracies.”

  4. “Are borders bad for women?” is the question that we ask ourselves this week. Speed states that indigenous women are especially vulnerable to violence as they cross international borders. Yet she also notes that violence – abuse and mistreatment by husbands/fathers/uncles, and condoned or tolerated by community and societal structures – is often at the root of a woman’s decision to leave home, to migrate to a new location. This paradox leads me to wonder whether we are asking the right question, whether we need to alter our conceptualization of borders to better understand and analyze the experiences of women migrants – and indigenous women migrants in particular. For, is it not true that these women cross beyond just geographical borders? At a most basic, even stereotypical level, they may travel not only across nations but also across the divides between private and public spheres, between “traditional” and “modern” worlds, between internal colonialism and global imperialism, and through multiple cultural/linguistic/ethnic norms systems. Is it possible – or useful – to draw true lines between any of these spheres/worlds/systems?

    Speed implies that things are much less distinct than line-drawing allows. She refers to crossing the “blurry line” in one of her section subtitles. And through various sections she draws parallels between the violence perpetrated against indigenous women migrants by Mexican state agents (often in collusion with criminals of cartels and gangs) and the violence perpetrated by U.S. state agents via the legal and carceral systems. Underlying the whole article are the themes of terror by proxy, corruption, state responsibility, and lack of accountability. If violence and terror know no boundaries, why should women be confined to or defined by them?

    Another theme lies beneath the surface of this article, and Speed brings it directly into the light in the final paragraph of her draft when she notes Ysinia’s “remarkable strength and will” and the “tremendous agency” of other indigenous women migrants. This offers, perhaps, another angle from which to consider these women’s experiences: journeys from observer to participant, from object to subject, from victim to agent. As these women search for and seek to construct “spaces of freedom,” do politico-geographical borders even matter?

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