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A Source of Sad Wonder -- The Western Left's Abandonment of Muslim Women - jordan179
February 5th, 2012
01:46 pm

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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

http://www.juancole.com/2012/02/lyons-islam-women-and-the-west.html

on his blog at

http://jaylake.livejournal.com/2735669.html?view=19059765#t19059765

I felt I had to comment. Here's the comment

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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.

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Comments
 
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From:pasquin
Date:February 5th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
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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.
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:February 5th, 2012 11:02 pm (UTC)
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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.
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From:polaris93
Date:February 6th, 2012 12:26 am (UTC)
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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.
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From:benschachar_77
Date:February 5th, 2012 11:29 pm (UTC)
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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.
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From:polaris93
Date:February 6th, 2012 12:31 am (UTC)
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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.
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From:polaris93
Date:February 6th, 2012 12:23 am (UTC)
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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.
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From:dexeron
Date:February 6th, 2012 05:42 am (UTC)
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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.
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From:tara_li
Date:February 6th, 2012 02:07 am (UTC)
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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.
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From:gothelittle
Date:February 6th, 2012 12:24 pm (UTC)
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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.
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From:oronoda
Date:February 6th, 2012 02:45 pm (UTC)
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Precisely this.

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.
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From:spiffystuff
Date:February 6th, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
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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!".
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From:benschachar_77
Date:February 6th, 2012 07:18 pm (UTC)
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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.
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From:rowyn
Date:February 6th, 2012 05:44 pm (UTC)
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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
From:mosinging1986
Date:February 7th, 2012 12:39 am (UTC)
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Well said.

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.
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From:polaris93
Date:February 10th, 2012 08:31 pm (UTC)
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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.
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From:cutelildrow
Date:February 11th, 2012 02:20 pm (UTC)
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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.
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