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Feminist as Imperialist

According to Gandhi one of the controversies that arises is the "feminist-as-imperialist". This label refers to the western/first-world feminist reaching over to oppressed third-world woman. With the notion of western feminists being civilized, educated, aware of their oppressors, and ability to take action against their oppressions; gives a certain degree of assumed hierarchy/top-down power and ideology. (western feminists on the top and third-world women on the bottom of power) In response to this display of power, Gandhi states, "The representation of the average third-world woman as 'ignorant, poor, victimized ' [...] facilitates and privileges the self-representation of Western women 'as educated, modern, as having control over their own bodies,' [...] the implied cultural lack of the third-world woman fortifies the redemptive ideological/political plenitude of Western feminism," (Gandhi 472). It is this self-affirming ideology of Western Feminism that becomes oppressive and when applied to other nations, cultures, communities and women, becomes an imperialist ideology. Gandhi makes the argument that western feminists become dangerous and oppressive when they assume the roles of "saving" third-world women. What is important to ask ourselves and these feminists-as-imperialists is have we truly considered the "third-world" woman's social, political, and economical structures within her society? her religion and system of beliefs? And more importantly, have we asked her to SPEAK for HERSELF? All too often do feminists assume the responsibility of representation for the third-world woman and in doing so turn their feminist beliefs into hypocrisy.