jordan179 - A Source of Sad Wonder -- The Western Left's Abandonment of Muslim Women
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A Source of Sad Wonder -- The Western Left's Abandonment of Muslim Women|
When I saw that science fiction writer jaylake had posted the following article by Jonathan Lyons, "Islam, Women and the West," essentially dismissing the Western image of Muslim women as oppressed as a mere Orientalist delusion
on his blog at
I felt I had to comment. Here's the comment
It is a source of never-ending wonder to me that the Western Left is willing to cooperate in the assignment of lesser rights to Muslim women compared to Western women, and term this progressive. Legally and extra-legally punishing Muslim women for being unveiled would alone damn the Muslim world to condemnation by any rational man lacking misogynistic sentiments, but this is the least of what Muslim men do to Muslim women in countries under Muslim rule.
And no, we're not as bad here. In fact, women are oppressed more extremely in the modern Mideast not only than they are in the modern (20th-21st century) West, but also than they were in the West of the 19th or even 16th-18th centuries. Yes, the European Ancien Regime on the average treated women better than do modern Iran and Saudi Arabia. Yep, even with the Burning Time included.
My "wonder" comes from the fact that I'd think that the right of women not to be enslaved, raped, beaten and murdered would be one thing on which all political factions in the West could agree. But apparently, the fate of these women is not important enough to the Left to pass up on the chance to snipe at the Right for being "bigoted" enough to criticize Islam on this topic.
To me, women are female human beings with rights naturally equal to those of male human beings, and they still possess these rights even if they are swarthier-skinned than me and happen to live in a Muslim land. To the American Left, if they are not Western women, then this is apparently not the case, if criticizing the men in those societies would violate the precepts of multiculturalism.
Would it make a difference to you if I pointed out that the women you personally care for are thought of as infidel whores by those same Muslim men, and that it is only the fact that the modern Western Right is not so willing to lie down before multicultural dogmas and submit that preserves their rights? But then, I suspect that you expend a lot of intellectual energy avoiding just that truth, so I doubt it.
Current Location: Oakland, CA
Current Mood: sad
Tags: feminism, islam, left, right, west, women, women's rights
|Date:||February 5th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC)|| |
You put your finger right on it: progressives must choose either their multicultural gods or feminist titans.
Reconciling this pantheon results in contortions of logic for which I apply this sabre.
Do women choose the hajib or don't they? Argue all day about whether the veil is a good or bad thing, but a prison of beautiful cloth is still a prison jumpsuit.
I am a Western liberal woman who heartily agrees with you on this issue! Thank you, Jordan!
I also need to add that ALL theocracies are evil and backwards, no matter if they are Muslim, Christian, or something else. A Muslim theocracy is basically The Handmaid's Tale with burkas and the Koran.
Not to mention clitoridectomies and worse. The Handmaid's Tale still managed to be less awful than the reality for Muslim women. The best glimpse we have of that reality is provided by the Dune novels of Frank Herbert and his son Brian Herbert. If you haven't read them, you should -- in them, there is a clear contrast between a culture that may oppress women to some extent, but not totally, the Empire, and one which oppresses women in all ways imaginable, the Tleilaxu.
Perhaps you should read a little more history about societies that tried to be theocracy.
I will point out that the first of the American colonies to explicitly outlaw domestic violence -- prohibiting a husband or a wife from striking the other -- was Massachusetts. Though, to be sure, it had been prosecuted as assault before then.
Agreed with Mary Catelli and I would like to add another example.
In ancient times, when women were bought and sold like property, the one theocracy in the Middle East was completely different. Under the Old Testament, as the Israelites asked for a King to lead them like other nations had, women had rights that were very similar to the rights that they have today in the U.S.
They were free to own property, even if they were married, to pass it down as they pleased and to inherit from both fathers and mothers. They owned their own businesses. They planted, reaped harvest, sold the harvest, and had the money they earned to use as they saw fit. They had equal access to God in the Temple and could petition Him there without the presence or even the knowledge of their husbands or fathers.
The much-debated "dowry" was not paid to the father. It was given to the father to hold, but he had no right to spend it. The money was for the woman if her husband died or divorced her, and her father held it to keep her husband or husband's family from stealing it. Women could always initiate divorce, but if their manner of marriage did not leave them with a dowry, their husbands were not permitted to divorce them. (Since women could buy property and harvest fields just like men, a divorced or widowed woman with no dowry still had a lot of options. Consider Ruth among the other poor in the rich man's field, gathering enough through her gleaning to feed her little family and sell the rest.)
Women were represented equally in the criminal justice system. Their testimony was equal to that of a man, and the punishment for assault, murder, etc. was the same. In fact, women arguably fared better, since rape of a woman was punished severely and rape of a man was barely if at all acknowledged.
It was also common enough for women to found cities (named after and led by themselves), build bridges and other important landmarks, judge in the gates, and it was rare but not forbidden by God for them to lead troops into battle.
I like living under a society of Christian-based morality and laws, but if I had to have a second choice, as a woman, I would choose a society based on pre-Exile Israel. The way I describe it is this: Women were completely capable, but not required (especially if they had young children), to earn their own living and make their own way, even if they were married.
I think the worst part about these debates argument wise is when you inevitably have some idiot talk about how we have no right to criticize because we weren't much better 5 centuries ago.
Think about how insane that argument is. Why is something from 500-600 years ago supposed to have any relevance to here and now? Why does something WE did 500-600 years ago annul the sins of another society doing the same thing in modern times?
There are just so many fallacies in that one sentence I'm a tad shocked the cognitive dissonance hasn't killed them.
And then there's the fact that the oppression of women in the West never involved the Veil and the Burqa, nor required clitoridectomies, nor a number of other items that are routine in the Muslim world. On the other hand, in many parts of Europe, women could own their own businesses and conduct business just as a man could. True, women were denied many of the rights that men had, and there was the Burning Time -- but many men perished of the Burning, as well, and the Burning was directed at Pagans, that is, people who embraced the ancient religion of the region that everyone had followed before Christianity, rather than women per se. The Church had a deadly mysogonistic attitude then, but that was offset by popular attitudes. Women were not locked up in Purdah, and bigamy was considered a sin, not just a crime -- and monogamy favors women in many ways. So yeah, you're right. And even more right than stated here.
Thanks for pointing that out! That fallacy is the liberal version of the "original sin" meme.
As others have said, the preferred position that the Left wants for women is . . . prone. They don't respect women, and if we didn't have laws and traditions here in the West preserving women's freedoms, the Left would no doubt treat women the same way they are treated in the Middle East as well as in some Western Muslim households, e.g., in Europe and even here in the USA. Feminism was only attractive to the Left as long as they could co-opt it. Lately Feminism -- in its latter-day incarnation -- has been utterly marginalized (which isn't true of old-style Feminism, which inherited Suffragism, which wanted only equal rights under the law). Why the Left despises women isn't clear, but that they do is incontrovertible. And this has deeply influenced their dismissive attitude to the evils visited on women in Muslim cultures.
|Date:||February 6th, 2012 05:42 am (UTC)|| |
Can't agree more. It seems that for some people, women are just tools to be used to further ideology. I won't go so far as to paint all feminism, or all liberalism with this brush, but when you run into people who seriously want to DEFEND the Islamic position on women, and call any criticisms of it "Islamophobia", then I'm sorry, but such a person has no right calling themselves a feminist or a friend of any woman.
Couldn't have said it better. XD
The ol' "take one for the team" mentality is indeed strong among Leftists when dealing with liberal politicians and movers/thinkers who abuse women.
Witness OWS doing all it could, within the bounds of PC, to discourage reports of rape at the camps.
The Left sees women as commodities, things to be used -- and used up, and thrown away -- rather than as people.
That's utterly hair raising, you know? "Take one for the team," essentially 'forget any justice you are entitled to by law; we need this guy more than you. Now be a good girl and play the slut some more and make him happy. After all, there's no hope for you, so why not lie back and learn to enjoy it? You'll get the benefits in the end.'
|Date:||February 6th, 2012 02:07 am (UTC)|| |
As far as the Left is concerned - Muslim women don't make campaign contributions, and they don't vote in US elections, ergo they are not worth worrying about.
It's a sad state of affairs, especially because the women in these countries are often eager to accept Western freedoms, even when they prefer the veil for their own reasons. (It is possible to choose the veil. Entirely possible to have no choice, but possible to choose it as well. I can go further into this and the reasons for it if you'd like, since I've got a pretty good grounding in that area.)
So when these people decide that Muslim women don't deserve the same rights because they're 'honoring the culture', what they're actually doing is 'honoring' the *man's* culture while ignoring the women altogether.
|Date:||February 6th, 2012 02:45 pm (UTC)|| |
I remember reading about an Egyptian secular woman making an incredibly valid point. She said people argue that women can choose to wear the veil but it is not a choice if it is between getting raped or not. And in many of these countries, especially the ones that are offered a choice, are often told that if they don't wear it, they will get raped. That is not a choice. That is emotional blackmail.
I absolutely agree.
There are women in cultures where wearing a head covering has nothing to do with whether or not you're likely to get raped, however, and they may choose to cover for a variety of reasons.
The most common I've heard is a desire to set themselves apart from the feminist culture of sexual availability equaling sexual empowerment. They want to send the message that they are not sexually available, that they are decidedly not part of the 'hookup culture'. Now I'm not talking about the full, face-concealing veil. I'm talking about a covering that usually only conceals all or a part of the hair/head while leaving the face completely visible.
Orthodox Jewish women, for example, cover their hair after marriage (but not before) as a sign that they are, well, 'taken'.
Bomb them all, that'll help those women!
I'm very much behind women's rights, even when the "culture" is for repression - they can darn well change their culture to respect everyone's rights.
But I find it funny when folks mostly seem to talk about women's rights as a platform to attack political groups they disagree with. As an issue near and dear to my heart it's incredibly irritating to see a serious issue conflated with "since I found a crazy person on the "left" that said this all the left hates women!".
Except no one here is doing that and Mr. Cole's sentiment is far more widespread than you'd think (Cracked said pretty much the same thing) and we all have some experience with this mindset in internet debates or just look at a few of the comments on that site.
The left started this mindset solely so they bludgeon Republicans over the head with the race card. We are only responding because they attacked us with this insipid theory first.
|Date:||February 6th, 2012 05:44 pm (UTC)|| |
Wow, Mr. Cole! So, since some novelists in the mid-20th century made up stuff about the Middle East, I guess it's safe to assume that every news report, from sources ranging from the NYT and Time magazine to Fox News, about women being stoned for adultery or denied the right to drive, own a car, choose a spouse, leave a spouse witout being maimed or killed, etc., must also be completely fictitious! Gosh, that sure is a load off my mind. Thanks, Mr. Cole! /sarcasm
It leaves me utterly BAFFLED how so many liberals - especially women in general and those who call themselves feminists - continually defend this ideology that causes such misery for all humanity, but especially for women.
I have never once found any liberal who would explain it to me. My so-called liberal friends have long ago dumped me, so I cannot ask them. I wish I'd thought to ask them when they were around. I need to know, and from them, directly.
I think it's due to the human drive to be part of a social group. You don't want to antagonize people in your group, or you'll lose your community, so you don't speak out against injustice when others in your group champion the situation that promotes it. Liberal men embrace Middle Eastern ways of doing things, agreeing with Middle Eastern men on their way of life, so liberal women go along to get along, not wanting to be alienated from liberals in general. These are weak people who seriously can't survive on their own, emotionally speaking.
I've pretty much given up trying to understand it and just accept it as part of the misogyny that's ALSO inherent in the Left. They're the ones who've internalized newspeak in it's entirety - to the point, sometimes, I wonder if they think "I'm going to kill you, dismember your corpse, kill your male children, and rape your wife and daughters next to your corpses" is "This is how we say hi!"
Well, only if a Muslim says it anyway. If it's a Christian telling a liberal to get lost, it's practically assault and psychological raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaep!!!!11' *eyeroll*
I have lots more graphic ways of describing how stupid it is, but I spent most of today listening to Aff snarking. It'd be entertaining, metaphorically correct, but rather ...rude.