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Feminist-as-imperialist

I typed up an entry previous to this, but my log-in timed out, so I am going to try to remember all of my points.

I think that the biggest area of controversy surrounds Gandhi's discussion of the memsahibs. After reading the section about memsahibs, I was still confused about who they were and their role. I understand that memsahibs were Englishwomen in India, but not much more than that. Gandhi focuses on Barr's analysis of the memsahibs in a positive light as well-meaning women. However, Gandhi goes on to talk about the negative effect they have on the Indian communities. Does it matter that the memsahibs are well-meaning if they have a negative effect? The memsahibs consider the "Indian female" to be backward, and need someone to speak for them. Therefore they speak for and about the native women of India, but they do not speak to or with the native women. As feminists-as-imperialists, they still have the colonistic and imperialistic ideals. The memsahibs believed they knew what was best for the "Indian female." They feel the need to save the native women from the Indian patriarchy. Yet the native women do not get to give their opinions or feelings on any of the matters. As Gandhi writes, "Meanwhile, in the wings, Spivak's 'gendered subaltern' silently awaits further instruction." The loud voices of the feminists-as-imperialists silence the native women. As Spivak says, "White [women] are saving brown women from brown men." As the memsahibs enforce their beliefs and opinions on the native culture and communities, we lose the important voice of the native women.