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Asians do not use English as their first language.6 English, as an international language, privileges and benefits feminist theologians and scholars in the west and entitles them 'universal/global' and other people 'particular/local/vernacular'.

The major methodologies that Asian woman theologians adopted for their theological articulation, especially when writing in English as a second language, were case studies and storytelling of grassroots people. Storytelling can be used constructively to enable women to talk about personal experience. But it is meaningful only when such experience is placed in a wider theoretical and structural context. Such individual experience should be connected to a collective reality so that the storytelling and case studies can be a process of conscientization and politi-cization. What has been lacking in Asian feminist theological discourse is the theorization of such stories of Asian women. And there is a danger that this methodology of narrative can promote a construction of stories of Asian women's experience that becomes so normative that all experience that does not fit the model of 'normative' Asian women's stories is regarded as illegitimate.

In Asian feminist theological discourse, Asian feminist theologians have presented Asian women as a unitary group. Although this was politically unavoidable, especially at the initial phase of forming a coalition among them, there are underlying problems. The capacity to transform the concrete representations of women in theology and their condition in ministry has been hampered by an under-/mis-representation of the tremendously diverse reality of Asian women themselves. But in its primary stage of liberation from western discursive imperialism and in the process

6 I am becoming more convinced that the use of English as an international language carries discursive imperialistic implications, especially in an era of globalization. The discursive hierarchy between English-speaking nations and non-English-speaking nations comes to take a form of discursive hegemony. Moreover, the strong tendency of the standardization of academic language only in the four former colonial languages — English, French, German and Spanish — in the US academia makes Asian look more inadequate for the production and reproduction of academic discourse. In the introduction to Asian feminist theology by Rosemary Radford Ruether, for instance, it is not even mentioned that the resources that are available in English must be only a part of the whole range of feminist discourse in Asia. For my criticism on this issue, see Kang, 'Who/What Is Asian?', in Keller, Nausner and Rivera (eds.), Postcolonial Theologies, pp. 109—14.

In this era of globalization and of neo-imperialism, non-western academics do not have the luxury of ignoring what is happening in the US academy, because of its powerful influence on the global and local context of academic discourse and disciplinary structure. It seems hard to deny that English linguistic imperialism, by which I mean 'the dominance of English is asserted and maintained by the establishment and continuous reconstitution of structural and cultural inequalities between English and other languages', has been at work in the academy of the west. See Robert Phillipson, Linguistic Imperialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 47.

of its own theological construction, it is understandable that Asian women were characterized as a unified entity in terms of 'discriminated against, exploited, harassed, sexually used, abused',7 who are pure victims of extreme poverty and exploitation. Asian women as 'pure victims' can be found in many early works by Asian feminist theologians. A typical example of this stereotyping of Asian women as 'pure victims' and Asian men as 'pure victimizers' is as follows:

Asian women are beaten by their fathers or sold into child marriage or prostitution. Asian women's husbands ... batter their wives ... Asian women's brothers ... often further their own higher educations by tacitly using their Asian sisters, ignoring the reality that their sisters are selling their bodies to pay for tuition.8

Ironically, these oversymplifying and homogenizing stories about Asian women, disseminated in English, seemed to enjoy a welcoming reception in the west rather than in Asian countries. For western readers, the satisfaction of these stories seems to derive from their depiction of the images of Asian women as totally different from the images of western women, but as entirely the same among Asian women themselves. Some Asian feminist theologians in the west cling, in their feminist theological discourse, to the stories and case studies of Asian grass-roots women and moralis-tically criticize 'the west' in the name of real 'Asian women's experience', while enjoying the privilege of living in the west. They become providers of knowledge about Asian women's 'authentic' experience and Asian culture, which is purported to be entirely different from the western version. In the process of discursive 'authenticization' of Asian women's experience, they contribute to the stereotyping of Asian women. As an Asian woman myself, I wish to problematize the very notion of 'Asian-women' and their stereotyped image as the point of ongoing struggle of liberation, because stereotyping a specific group of people is a primary form of oppression. It seems to me that the 'Asian-women' portrayed in the Asian feminist discourse, especially in English and not in vernacular language, are culturally essentialized.

Here it is worth noting that the gendered subject is 'simultaneously a racial, ethnic, and class-determined subject',9 and that this subject occupies

Virginia Fabella and Mercy Amba Oduyoye (eds.), With Passion and Compassion: Third World Women Doing Theology (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1988), p. 119.

Hyun Kyung Chung, Struggle to be the Sun Again: Introducing Asian Women's Theology (Maryknoll: Orbis, 1990), p. 54.

Teresa de Lauretis, Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theory, Film, and Fiction (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987), p. 137.

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