What does Gandhi mean by the â€œarea of controversyâ€? having to do with â€œthe deployment of â€˜feminist criteria?â€™â€?
Leela Gandhi proposes that Western feminist ideals regarding oppression, when applied across cultures, become a form of epistemological dominance. This is addressed in the form of controversies between postcolonialst and feminist theories. Gandhi argues that the concept of universalized experience and/or oppression, especially when applied to those on the margin, silences those with alternate experiences within that group. Specifically, when liberal feminists speak for women on the margin and thus impose their ideals, they silence the women they speak for and even incite violence. Gayatri Spivakâ€™s critique of Julia Kristevaâ€™s About Chinese Women as â€œepistemic violence,â€? and as an example of the â€œgendered subaltern,â€? is given is exemplary of this silencing. It seems that Gandhi argues that oppressions within a culture need to be defined in terms of that specific culture, and oppressions that apply in the Western culture do not necessarily apply to other cultures. She suggests that the agreement between postcolonialism and feminism regarding the nationalist and colonialist uses of masculinity has greater â€œpotentialâ€? in theorizing oppression in non-Western cultures.