After this class, I felt all the more vindicated on the paper I wrote for SAIACS in the integrated module. I wrote on the new ‘third wave’ movement hitting feminism; a self-critical movement that looks beyond its categories that feuled it’s earlier movement. This is a crisis in feminism, yet I believed that this crisis (while not limited to the feminist discipline) was something that Christian feminism, with the
help of the larger church, could get out of.

The crisis in feminism arises from the second wave movement’s philosophical foundation, that assumes that there are universal categories (+ metanarratives) that cross cultures, races, classes. This Second Wave feminist tendency to globalise feminist motives was critiqued by Black/Asian feminists (who sometimes prefered to call themselves womanist or something that deviated from the western norm)… to remind everyone of the neocolonial power exerted by the white western woman who is out to save all women. Black/Asian/Indian feminists felt that they had their own resources to challenge society in their own unique way and hoped to develop feminism that was relevant to the context.

The Third Wave feminism however drew attention to how all these movements still share the same foundations, especially similar beliefs in metanarratives, foundations, beliefs in universal norms.

Third Wave feminism in effect is the postmodern critique of feminism, and it is a crisis that feminism must go through, I argued, and still assert.

In the response, one fellow student said that I did not use many Indian authors. While I accepted that critique, I did say that Indian feminism is weak in the area of ‘Third Wave’ feminism as it is limited to the ‘Second Wave’ methodology.

And it is at this latter point that I feel vindicated. Asian/Indian feminism (and contextual theology) is still stuck in the 1980s!

The paper presented today by Dr. Ms. Ivy Singh, was a classic example of Indian feminism, that employs 1970-1980 models for feminism, mixes it with contextual theology tools, and presents it as a ‘new paradigm’. Their main goal is the liberation of society from the mindset of patriachy. And they prioritise a woman’s experience for theology.

The liberative goal, experience as priority has all been critiqued by feminism. And Indian feminism has been deaf to this critique, as was evident in today’s presentation.

In her presentation, Dr. Singh critiqued the patriarchal systems, the bible, the church… and then, by prioritising woman’s experience said that women and men must work today for the restructuring/reordering of society.

I could think of many questions that could arise (some did in the discussion).

If the Bible is problematic, why should we continue to use the Bible as priority for our theology? On what basis can we pick and choose what is good in the Bible. But what society? Of Justice? What is justice? Is my justice, the same as the justice of another? Who is the woman? The poor oppressed woman? The single mother? The unmarried
daughter? The Naga/Kuki/Malto/Garhwali woman?

These questions (and many related ones) were either never verbalised, or ignored, or glossed over. These questions come out of the ‘postmodern’ context… that in the current UTC/Indian context (and I suspect SAIACS as well)… they term as ‘western’ and feel ok to ignore.

But as Dr. Kiran Sebastian said, postmodernism is a strategy, a method of looking at things. It can be employed by anyone. And even if we don’t arrive at the ‘answers’ that many western postmodern philophers/theologians arrive at… the questions are valid and need to be answered.

OK.. For now I’ve said enough. I may add a little later. But electricity has gone off and I need to send this fast before I lose it all.