Gandhi's area of controversy and the 'third world woman'
Many causes are based on the concept of the need for the Western world to save the third world, a majority of these are focused on saving the 'third world woman' from both the Capitalist world which has reduced her to poverty and the men; First world and Third; that suppress her with ideas of their patriarchal authority. Gandhi's essay shows how this issue has become an area of contention between post-colonialists and feminists. The post-colonialist argument is that the idea of the third world woman encourages the all too common phenomenon of marginality which is often pulled out by the West to define themselves as the normal and the non-West as the marginal 'Other'. The women of the third world are regarded as having no differences and share characteristics which show them as being oppressed on two very different margins; by the their colonial leaders and the men who they have to deal with on a regular basis. The fact that these two groups are currently involved in a struggle in which the patriarchical government try to maintain the ideas of nationalism is especially complicated for the 'third world woman' as she can hardly abandon the ideas of the nationalist leaders in favour of more feminist ideals for risk of being accused of abandoning her people in their struggle for independence from the West. Even the ideals of the liberal feminists of the West can not entirely be seen as selfless and for the benefit of the 'third world' woman as the liberal feminist approach to the plight of the women of the 'third world' is also held as suspect. The western feminist are accused of upholding the idea of the third world woman being an 'Other' which when compared to the feminist of the West, elevates the feminists to a higher status as they are considered more emancipated and independent than their sisters in the third world. The Western feminists are then just as bad as the colonial masters of the old who viewed the peoples of their colonies as very different from them but all exactly similar to each other, thereby making themselves the centre of the world and all others the beings stranded at the edges.