Just as colonization denies the colonized a voice in their own culture, feminists argue, most women in most patriarchal cultures have been deprived their own voices. But by adopting this 'men-colonizer and women-colonized homology' in my theorizing, I run the risk of oversimplifying the complexity of the empire-experience of neo-colonization/ neo-imperialism today. I cannot, however, deny the fact that this metaphor possesses power, particularly in articulating the oppression of Asian women today.
dominating/ruling power. So even though the terms colonialism and imperialism are used interchangeably, imperialism refers to the specific actions of colonizers to constitute their power as a political machine that rules from the centre and extends its control to the peripheries. Cf. Robert J. C. Young, Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), p. 27, and also see Keller et at. (eds.), Postcolonial Theologies, p. 42.
Sheila Rowbotham, Women, Resistance and Revolution: A History of Women and Revolution in the 28 Modern World (New York: Vintage Books, 1971), p. 201.
Marilyn French, Beyond Power: On Men, Women and Morals (New York: Ballantine Books, 1985), p. 121 and p. 122.
THE HEGEMONIC TWINS: THE HOMOLOGY OF KYRIARCHY AND EMPIRE
Women in patriarchy, as the colonized in colonization, are Othered in many different ways. The creation of Other is the necessary precondition for the justification and legitimation of both imperialism and patriarchy. The colonized is portrayed as opposite to the colonizer. The colonized is purported to carry all the negative qualities.29 In this Othering, the desire to dominate gains its end. Empire-building is therefore all about powerbuilding by creating a devalued Other. The Othered subject is then dominated by the empire. Interestingly, in the construction of the empire, the colonized is often feminized. A ruling being is created that sees itself as located at the centre and possessed of all good qualities. As Memmi rightly elaborates:
[T]he colonized is always degraded and the colonialist finds justification for rejecting his [sic] subjectivity ... The colonialist removes the factor from history, time and therefore possible evolution. What is actually a sociological point becomes labelled as being biological, or preferably, metaphysical. It is attached to the colonized's basic nature.30
Here I would like to use a neologism coined by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, kyriarchy, instead of patriarchy, simply because patriarchy does not show the complex system of domination and subordination in a contemporary neo-imperial, empire-building situation. Schussler Fiorenza argues that the concept of patriarchy needs to be redefined when it is understood, as usually, as simply the rule of men over women in the sense of gender dualism. It is limited because a social pyramid of domination and subordination is quite complicated. Kyriarchy means, according to Schussler Fiorenza, 'the rule of the emperor/master/lord/father/husband over his subordinates'.31 It should be noted that women are neither the 'pure victims' nor are men the 'pure victimizers'. This exclusive gender dualism does not reveal the power imbalance among women of different race, ethnicity, class or sexual orientation. By adopting the term kyriarchy instead of patriarchy, I would like to reveal the underlying epistemology of empire-building in relation to women's subjugation and, furthermore,
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