In "Postcolonialism + Feminism" Leela Gandhi posits "three areas of controversy which fracture the potential unity between postcolonialism and feminism: the debate surrounding the future of the 'third-world woman'; the problematic history of "feminist-as-imperialist'; and finally. the colonialist deployment of 'feminist criteria' to bolster the appeal of the 'civilizing mission'"
Explain what Gandhi means by the "area of controversy" having to do with "the colonialist deployment of 'feminist criteria.'"
Why does this cause the split between postcolonialism and feminism?
"the colonialist deployment of 'feminist criteria'" as an "area of controversy" within the mergence of postcolonial thoery and feminism is simple: the culture of oppression cannot be universalized.
This same split within feminism happened in the 60s and 70s between white and Black women, because white women attempted to generalize thier oppression, and ignore that which was unique to the Black experience.
We, as Western feminists, cannot see the world with our Western lens on. If we do this, we do not attempt to understand a culture and traditions and ways of life without our initial biases.
Western feminists, however, do this quite often. We see clitoridectomies, the veil and other cultural traits as violent oppressions, because we are not use to those traits within our own heritage. How much are we actually attempting to understand, however?
Take the veil for instance; many muslim women have come out demanding thier right to wear the veil within Western public spaces, because they take pride in wearing it. It is not an oppressive garment in this way.
We need to look at cultures, unashamedly see difference, and reconcile with that. We need to understand without any motivation to change. We need to talk without dominating conversations.