Posts Tagged ‘misogyny’

PZ Myers Says He’s an Egalitarian (Marxist)

Posted in atheists on September 9th, 2013 by Jim Newman – Comments Off

happy atheistOh, boy. Did they record his DC talk? Myers gave a great talk for CFI-DC mostly about his new book, “The Happy Atheist.” I got there early enough to talk a bit and read a few chapters of his book while I was waiting. Delightful, easy to read, and well edited it’s hard to see him as the churlish atheist dude so often castigated in the press. I was thrilled to read his account of Terry Jones burning the bible. Go ahead but it would be more carbon friendly to bury it. I hadn’t dared follow my indulgent desire to burn the bible, the  koran, Plato, a few images of mohammed, jesus, buddha, Sartre, myself  on a youtube video.

 

He rebuked the statement someone made about this being a lecture and said it was a conversation. Hmmm, a rather one-sided conversation with a half-circle of people looking at one to tell the main story. He also rebuked that he wasn’t a leader but rather an egalitarian and that made him a … Marxist. Hmm, well OK, I like that idea as well as that he would dare call himself a Marxist but egalitarianism in Marxism refers mostly to economic egalitarianism and though I may be putting too fine a point on it he was referring in this case to social egalitarianism which is more communistic. I know, I know but you have to remember a king (or ruling pope) could insist on equality of income but still hold a hierarchy and a democracy can hold an equality of politics but support disparity in income. BTW the constitution doesn’t define or require a particular, (peculiar?) American economic system.

He prefers the flattening of political, civil, and social power to a single class (my words) to be a secular issue. Responding again to the issue of so many fallen secular heroes it’s better to have no heroes. We’re all just people working together. As he posts “no gods, no masters, no heroes.”  To me this is most reminiscent of forager cultures than city-state cultures. As soon as you have representatives, a republic, to deal with the friction of information and influence moving through more people serially there is a pretty inevitable knowledge differential and knowledge is power. I digress. The point remains, democracy and Marxism are more compatible than not. Boy I hope this doesn’t let loose the flying furies.

Why I spend so much time on this is he is really clear that we need to pay attention to the issues regardless of position or status and we really need to work together rather than divide into loner groups.

There was some time spent on abortion, continuum of life without personhood, with the final emphasis that if a women had a living, working, functioning adult living in her womb it was her choice what to do with it. Not even sure a 1 year old baby is a person–laughter. Conversely we have no right to tell a woman to give up an embryo.

A question came up about the convergence argument. Question stated we don’t often use the lack of convergence to one type of theological position as proof that religion is constructed rather than descriptive of the world. It’s true it is mentioned but usually in a slightly different way–religions compete without evidence, which religion is true?

He recounted how his daughter had had problems when she first went to school because she was asked the obvious question “which church do you go to?” and she said she didn’t. I have had that one too in Fargo-Moorhead a few hours north of Morris (I moved to MN twice) and I had a similar experience, where the girl behind me then asked me if I believed in god and I said no and she said she didn’t think she could be my friend.  Isn’t it great to live in such a loving world.

I appreciated Myer’s take on the still-burning. two-year old discussion of misogyny in Big Atheism. Rather than dismissing critics as wack jobs, it is a real problem, involving many, that still exists. Don’t be a loner and ignore it. Can we just dismiss (chainsaw) a few of them and work with the more reasonable ones?

Tons of people showed up and the book-signing line was huge. I was glad to get there early and buy the first copy. I felt bad for him as he had to fly home and still get up in the AM to teach classes. For just another joe he sure does a lot of work and has a lot to say.

Jim Newman, bright and well

www.frontiersofreason.com

Why Are My Daughters Doormats – Gender Inequality

Posted in Idiots, religion on July 10th, 2013 by Kent Randi – 1 Comment

I have six daughters

i-am-not-a-doormatfive of which are grown and one is still at home.  She’s just 14 and things aren’t looking real good for her either.  One of my daughters won’t take shit from anyone.  She’s outspoken, true to herself and will not sacrifice her dignity, her self-esteem or self for anyone.

On the other hand

my 4 daughters that are all out and about on their “own” seem to have difficulty recognizing the no good pieces of shit they call “honey, love, pookie” or whatever cuddly nickname they’ve adopted.

Unfortunately they still call bitching and moaning about how dick-head did this or that and made them cry.

Begin the pulling of my heartstrings…

Dads-against-daughters-datingI feel helpless and overwhelmed.  Yes of course, my initial thought is to go beat the shit out of them – how dare you treat my daughter this way.  But you and I both know, they are just testosterone driven young adults who’s vagina supply doesn’t conjure up those same feelings back when the pussy was new.

They are trapped by the innate.  No matter their love, no matter their desires to be great and loving partners, they for the most part want more and new pussy and this overwhelming desire often supersedes the commitments of a relationship.

I called him

after repeated requests from my daughter.  “Dad, please, please just call him.  He’ll listen to you.”  Knowing that no matter what this young man may tell me, he most certainly isn’t going to listen to me.

So I calmly dialed his number, asked if he had a minute or two and if he would mind me discussing their relationship and my daughters complaints.

He kindly agreed and I asked him, ****** how do you feel about this relationship, where do you see it going and are you in this for the long haul?  Before you answer I want you to understand, there are no wrong answers.  You could tell me that you just wanted a piece of ass and one thing led to another and you really don’t want to be in a committed relationship – and I’ll understand.  Just please try to be honest.

Well sir, that’s basically it.  I met her, we worked together and I like her a lot but she has moved this along very fast and if I attempt to back away she goes nuts.

Our conversation went on for awhile and I think I got a lot of truth from him.  For that I was thankful and felt vindicated in my previous assessment.

image008Chalk it up…

to life experiences.  Does one just stand by hopefully knowing that eventually my girls will grow stronger through these experiences?  What comfort can I be when they call about Mr. Dumbass who can’t keep his dick in his pants or he treats her like trash?

I’ve had all the talks and all the lectures, hell I think most of them have ‘em numbered.  I can just yell out, #458 and they know the corresponding lecture.

Impatience

Sometimes I am impatient and firmly explain through the phone,

“Honey, you married a blind guy and are calling me bitching because he keeps running into the furniture!”

For the most part I view men in their twenties as hormone driven whore dogs.  I know for a fact I was, which could explain why I am now on wife number 3.

The Cause

image007Could it be no matter how much encouragement and how much bolstering of their self-esteems – that society at large, the culture to which they were born has indoctrinated them to to be submissive to some degree?

A female born in the US is exposed to stories, movies and images which include the “big” man, the protector and provider.  She is but a lowly little girl.  The prince saves, the dad defends, the father works and the overall impression is that men are the dominant ones.

I asked my wife if she felt the desires to find a good husband, one who could provide and would protect her were a product of her raising or innate in her.  She answered innate.

Do you feel inferior on some level as a women, do you feel as if men are supposed to be the dominant figures in your life?   “Yes, but it doesn’t bother me.  I enjoy knowing that you will take care of us and I find comfort in being secure.”

This rubbed me the wrong way and got me to thinking.

50 Women On An Island

image005If it were possible to take 100 babies to an island, fifty female and fifty male and were to raise them exactly the same, void of gender biases from their educators, family, friends and societal messages; would the females ever feel inferior to the male?

Would the lack of gender influences bring about a male that felt on par with a female and vice versa?   Or do males and females have innate gender roles and assignments, one will always feel inferior to the other?

I’ve read that in some tribes of Africa that the women are the dominant sex.  They lead, the employ and they determine for the most part the relationships.  These women weren’t exposed to stories about princes saving princesses, nor ads showing the male hero, nor t.v. shows reinforcing male dominance.  They didn’t grow up with an inferiority complex or a low self-esteem.

My Point

No matter what I do, I feel responsible for my daughters who are doormats.  I feel as if I failed somewhere, that something I did or didn’t do right has created daughters that would allow a man to run around, to break his promises, to yell, demand and to RULE the roost.

All share their stories with me and defend their inability to see the writing on the wall.  They tell of how they “Told Him”.  One will often give her man ultimatums which will usually cause him to calm down for a day or two.  He will be less of an asshole for a short time and then he is back to his old ways.

I can almost calculate the time between these fights, ultimatums and make-ups.  They seem to be on a cycle.

misogynist_t_shirts-rcadad87e85e348a78407cbc6ac867cb3_804gs_216One of my daughters will coddle her man.  He comes in hostile from work, angry at the world, “Just give me a goddamn minute to relax.”  She will rush to soothe his pain, put dinner on hold and baby his little ego.  Ten minutes later she’s on Facebook declaring her love and attempting to convince everyone that she has the best man ever.

“He was so upset today when he came home from work.  I was able to calm him down, fix his dinner and get him to relax.  I have such a hard working man.”  Then about 5 hashtags (#lovemyman #bestmanever #Ihavehimudont) and of course she tags him so that he’s aware of her loyalty.

It fucking pisses me off!!!  She works, she picks up the baby, she changes the diapers, she gets up in the night, she does the laundry, she cooks and cleans but yet, he is the #bestmanever.

FUCK ME!

I told one recently how helpless I feel when she calls upset about the latest shit.

“Honey, it’s like watching a bad car wreck in slow motion and having no power or ability to help.”

I Got It!

It took 3 marriages before I realized the inequality.  I had always felt superior to my previous two wives.  I was a raging Christian and my dad and his father before him were always the “Man of the House”.  It was ingrained in us to be the caretakers, the leaders, the shining example of superiority.

Being Mormon didn’t help either.  The male role in the Mormon church is an exclusive.  Women don’t preach, they are taught to be submissive and only men may administer the healing blessings.  Men only can anoint others, men are the key to the females salvation.

A women can not enter into the highest kingdom of heaven without being married and sealed to a man.  She will also have sister wives upon her arrival and will then share her man with others.

tumblr_lvv3dzGv811r11l87o1_500I am sure this had it’s influence on my ideologies about life.

I have one daughter that will proudly call a spade a spade.  She doesn’t sugarcoat and nor does she accept less than equal respect and love.  When her longtime boyfriend started to get tired of the same vagina and started making excuses for staying late, she broke up with him.  She cried and was hurt, but she didn’t accept less.  She didn’t excuse his actions or attempt to rectify the situation and salvage the relationship by lowering her expectations.  Her self-esteem remained intact.

Before I Close

I would like to know:

  1. Do you think that by removing societies ill-gotten notions of male superiority from the bookshelves, ads, movies and teachings that we would one day find women who are on equal footing as their male counterparts?
  2. Do you think that a woman’s inferiority is innate?
  3. Is there a way to overcome the insecurities many young ladies have in relationships that cause them to endure hurt and pain to avoid being alone?
  4. Is it possible that societies pressure on all to go get married is at least part of the problem?

Many don’t need to get married to enjoy life, but society has made this as American as apple pie.  Yup, you grow up, get married and start a family.  Could this be part of the problem?

Men are encouraged equally and yet many find that fighting off the innate drive for sexual reproduction with multiple partners to be irresistible.  I think eventually men reach an age where their bodies don’t produce the same amount of testosterone and their drive diminishes to the point they are able to resist infidelity.

I would love to hear your opinions and any advice you have to offer.

Rape, Islam & Theft of Female Power

Posted in Islam, Women's Rights on April 23rd, 2013 by Jim Newman – Comments Off

islam-pedophiliaCristina Rad has a great video on rape in Islam. First she notes that it is getting less politically correct to bash Islam on Youtube and then she notes there are conservative groups that bash Islam but their true hatred is racism of people who are brown.

She quotes a radical moderate that insists, using one verse, that “men are not allowed to inherit women against their will” and hence if you truly believe you won’t force women to do anything. Rad shows this phrase is in the context of dead relatives; it is not about rape in general but within the family. She then quotes the Koran allowing the rape of captives and then shows a video stating the Mohammed said a women must not refuse a man in the bed even if she is  by the stove. He then states that husband can never rape a wife by definition.

She follows up with a quote where Mohammed says women are fields which can be seeded by men as they will. Men can legally rape their wives. Most of us have heard that Muslims must follow the conduct of Mohammed. He married a 6 year old and consummated it at 9 or 10. Liberals and conservatives alike claim that early marriage was more the norm. They also quote how girls come to first menstruation more early in modern industrialized society, which means a 9 year old was far more likely to be prepubescent. Any society, old or recent, that cares for women and babies knows you should not have sex and you should not have children when you first have biological capability. Not to mention the horrors of a women having to submit to a husband generally and the utter power differential of a child versus an adult.

Jim Newman, bright and well

www.frontiersofreason.com

Islam and Misogyny

Posted in atheists on May 1st, 2012 by Jim Newman – Comments Off

Post by Jim Newman

————————-

Max Fisher of The Atlantic wrote a rebuttal to Mona Eltahawy’s piece “Why do They Hate Us?” He follows several tactics for proving that misogyny not unique or excessive in Islam: misogyny is a cultural and not a religious practice with Islam not standing out; all cultures are misogynistic; sacred texts, in particular the Koran, are figurative and not literal. He asserts that Western imperialism continues with its insistence that Islam is misogynistic.

Rape is rape, abuse is abuse, killing is killing. Here and now it must stop and we can worry about the why’s when the beatings stop. This is a long first draft and I apologize in advance but this insane idea that Islam is a religion of peace and has a love of women needs to be dealt with immediately. I don’t give a shit about theory and history here, the abuse must be stopped now. I spit on any sacred text that says it is OK to abuse women whether contextualized or not.

“Picture a woman in the Middle East, and probably the first thing that comes into your mind will be the hijab. You might not even envision a face, just the black shroud of the burqa or the niqab. Women’s rights in the mostly Arab countries of the region are among the worst in the world, but it’s more than that. As Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy writes in a provocative cover story for Foreign Policy, misogyny has become so endemic to Arab societies that it’s not just a war on women, it’s a destructive force tearing apart Arab economies and societies. But why? How did misogyny become so deeply ingrained in the Arab world?

“As Maya Mikdashi once wrote, “Gender is not the study of what is evident, it is an analysis of how what is evident came to be.” That’s a much tougher task than cataloging the awful and often socially accepted abuses of women in the Arab world. But they both matter, and Eltahawy’s lengthy article on the former might reveal more of the latter than she meant.

The history of misogyny in Islam may inform us of how the crimes came to be but it is far more important to assess misogyny in the here and now and deal with that. In America, and elsewhere, the Irish are known as tough, pugnacious, and abusive group. When they immigrated to New York some made good cops, politicians, and so on but yhey also were prevalent in brawling and excessive drinking. It is interesting and may be helpful to know that their history of living in an overcrowded and difficult to farm country with abusive and controlling church leaders followed by a potato famine that led to a diaspora but that really doesn’t matter when a woman is in court saying her husband beat the shit out of her.

Crimes exonerated by passion or context have to have been in the immediate. I saw my wife screwing my best friend so I shot him, her, or both—as an aside why is it usually him but that’s another post. A court would laugh at the excuse of rape because of your grandfather much less your grandfather of medieval times treated you badly or taught rape was OK. Family abuse does tend to run in lines which means that punishment and rehabilitation are different in that it requires more care not exoneration.

Hell, I don’t care if they find a rape gene in men (created by the success of men who raped over time in cultures condoning rape), it doesn’t excuse violence once we govern against it. If those men belong to Islamic religions then all that tells me is Islam attracts men who have a preference for raping. Mind you we are only using rape as an example. The reality is beating, acid in the face, and constant denigration—horrid kinds of violence we don’t hear about in other religions anywhere, anymore. We have for centuries talked about inherited violence in people and not used it as an excuse in law. In any case we are not talking about psychopaths or sociopaths who are still locked up but in different institutions.

“There are two general ways to think about the problem of misogyny in the Arab world. The first is to think of it as an Arab problem, an issue of what Arab societies and people are doing wrong. “We have no freedoms because they hate us,” Eltahawy writes, the first of many times she uses “they” in a sweeping indictment of the cultures spanning from Morocco to the Arabian Peninsula. “Yes: They hate us. It must be said.”

“But is it really that simple? If that misogyny is so innately Arab, why is there such wide variance between Arab societies? Why did Egypt’s hateful “they” elect only 2 percent women to its post-revolutionary legislature, while Tunisia’s hateful “they” elected 27 percent, far short of half but still significantly more than America’s 17 percent? Why are so many misogynist Arab practices as or more common in the non-Arab societies of sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia? After all, nearly every society in history has struggled with sexism, and maybe still is. Just in the U.S., for example, women could not vote until 1920; even today, their access to basic reproductive health care is backsliding. We don’t think about this as an issue of American men, white men, or Christian men innately and irreducibly hating women. Why, then, should we be so ready to believe it about Arab Muslims?

Let’s look at the sexist report in question. The Global Gender Gap Report of 2010 lists 100 countries.

“It essentially gauges the treatment of women using various data points including educational attainment, health, and political empowerment.

The worst 7 are:

7. Benin

6. Saudi Arabia

5. Côte d’Ivoire

4. Mali

3. Pakistan

2. Chad

1. Yemen

The best 7 are:

7. Denmark

6. Ireland

5. New Zealand

4. Sweden

3. Finland

2. Norway

1. Iceland

What makes Arabia unique is that it has a modern wahhabi or salafism. Wahhab’s own father and brother disputed Wahhab’s claims. While not as extreme as jihad salifi’s Arabia is a rich modernized country that cannot use poverty, economic instability, modernization, or political marginalization as an excuse for perpetrating egregious misogynistic practices. These are not angry young men unable to earn a living or being struck hard by life and then going home and kicking the cat, so to speak. These are not goat herders blasted into the 20th century unwillingly.

“A number of Arab Muslim feminists have criticized the article as reinforcing reductive, Western perceptions of Arabs as particularly and innately barbaric. Nahed Eltantawy accused the piece of representing Arab women “as the Oriental Other, weak, helpless and submissive, oppressed by Islam and the Muslim male, this ugly, barbaric monster.” Samia Errazzouki fumed at “the monolithic representation of women in the region.” Roqayah Chamseddine wrote, “Not only has Eltahawy demonized the men of the Middle East and confined them into one role, that of eternal tormentors, as her Western audience claps and cheers, she has not provided a way forward for these men.” Dima Khatib sighed, “Arab society is not as barbaric as you present it in the article.” She lamented the article as enhancing “a stereotype full of overwhelming generalizations [that] contributes to the widening cultural rift between our society and other societies, and the increase of racism towards us.”

When the women themselves go to the world asking for help in permission to drive in public, be seen in public without a male relative, not be able to wear the clothing of their choice, not having a voice in their politics, not having control of their careers, not having control of their bodies, and lamenting their status as subclass citizens then these Arab feminists are not better than the American apologist feminists claiming that women deserve their plight and could change it if only they appealed to men in they way men see fit. It’s bullshit from oppressed women who wish to succeed within the tradition rather.

“Dozens, maybe hundreds, of reports and papers compare women’s rights and treatment across countries, and they all rank Arab states low on the list. But maybe not as close to the bottom as you’d think. A 2011 World Economic Forum report on national gender gaps put four Arab states in the bottom 10; the bottom 25 includes 10 Arab states, more than half of them. But sub-Saharan African countries tend to rank even more poorly. And so do South Asian societies — where a population of nearly five times as many women as live in the Middle East endure some of the most horrific abuses in the world today. Also in 2011, Newsweek synthesized several reports and statistics on women’s rights and quality of life. Their final ranking included only one Arab country in the bottom 10 (Yemen) and one more in the bottom 25 (Saudi Arabia, although we might also count Sudan). That’s not to downplay the harm and severity of the problem in Arab societies, but a reminder that “misogyny” and “Arab” are not as synonymous as we sometimes treat them to be.

Most of the countries are Islamic. It cannot be denied that Islamic religion or Islamic culture are misogynistic. Ida Lichter writes that it is Islamic culture and not its religion that is at issue. There is no question of the misogyny but rather how to fix it. As a culture she thinks it is  ore approachable than as a religion. Islam is too rigid. Few will accept an edited Koran or will change religions.

“When it comes to reform of discriminatory laws, the distinction between culture and religion is particularly relevant. Islamic doctrine is often considered immutable and tends to be fervently defended, even with violence and intimidation. However, cultural traditions may be more amenable to modification, especially if advocated by reformers with religious credentials.

“Some reformers are women scholars who use ijtihad, or critical interpretation, to erase the cultural legacy of chauvinism by unmasking the equality they consider inherent in the Quran. Until the eighth to 12th centuries, ijtihad had been permissible, but such exegesis was abolished in response to emerging dissident groups during expansion of the Islamic empire.

“In addition to ijtihad, activists such as those in the Iranian women’s movement have demanded changes to discriminatory sharia laws while professing devotion to Islam.

“They have used grassroots strategies such as peaceful street protests and the One Million Signatures Campaign, seeking change to male-dominated culture in the long-term.

It then becomes an issue of means. This is the reformation period of Islam. The bible has been edited and revised a number of times and continues to change. A recent version puts the quotes in dialog format like a play. Religious leadership plays a huge part in what is accepted. The bible could use more editing. However, some prefer to leave it as is and consider it as figurative.

That is ridiculous. If the Koran says to beat women then I don’t care whether it can be considered a metaphor because others will invariably see it as literal and use it as support. It’s not like it’s saying “come onto her like a lion” it’s saying she must be stoned. Shall we call that a beating, an admonishment, a castigation, a verbal slighting? As long as the words are there, they count. Unless a mandatory interpretation is added the words count for what they are. These sacred texts are not presented as mythologies but as direct writings with very little room for interpretation.

As a governing document they would be held to the same standard as say the Magna Carta or the American constitution where lawyers spend tremendous amounts of time trying to get it right rather than politicizing and psychologizing it. Imagine where we would be if we saw the Bill of Rights as figurative.

They contextualize these texts as for example.

“These women contend authentic Islam is egalitarian and early Islam ended female infanticide and brought women freedoms such as property rights.

“They claim these early gains were thwarted by a male-dominated interpretation of the holy texts without sufficient input by women. The resultant culture supported male control over females, especially in marriage. It was designed to protect tribal peace, property and power. Capital punishment for adultery and other illicit sex was intended to deter rival males from other tribes.

“To control transfer of property, females were bartered, betrothed and married young. Married women kept their own assets to prevent family property being passed on to successive wives in polygamous marriages.

But this is ridiculous. Mormons claim they were polygamous not because of the text but because there was a shortage of men during their early pioneer history but if you read the diaries of these men and women it is clear that misogyny was more than paternal/fertility care. It is also clear than it did not stop when there was not a need for ensuring the pregnancy of all of the women. Islam is worse in this regard. Mohammed had 11 wives in 14 years and one of them was 6.

“The other way to think about misogyny in the Arab world is as a problem of misogyny. As the above rankings show, culturally engrained sexism is not particular to Arab societies. In other words, it’s a problem that Arab societies have, but it’s not a distinctly Arab problem. The actual, root causes are disputed, complicated, and often controversial. But you can’t cure a symptom without at least acknowledging the disease, and that disease is not race, religion, or ethnicity.

The root causes are not controversial. School girls should not have acid thrown on their faces because they go to school or wear different clothes. That is not complicated. And no, court cases should not look at the social symptoms, they determine guilt and then punishment. Occasionally we screw up as in OJ Simpson and Rodney King but for the most part courts are not politicized, socialized, or psychologized. Justice at its best is fair, equal, and concerns the individual. If it is a crime of passion, genetics, then there are different results.

Right now American jails are filled with absurd numbers of black people and drug users. That is a problem. If a European mocked me and said you Americans are penal abusers (no pun intended) I would have to agree but I wouldn’t say accept it because paranoid Americans voted for officials that don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. And I would say we Americans deserve the moniker and need to reform the penal system.

It’s like the absurd notion to hate the sin but love the sinner. No, we are what we do. If a church attracts more pedophiles than other churches we can rightly question what is it about that church that causes it to be such and not deny the churches complicity. If someone rapes regularly then that person is a problem not some abstraction. Whether it is a continuum or not isn’t relevant, we don’t accept rape. If I plumb houses for 30 years I am a plumber. If I do a number of things then I am that. If my work is not who I am then I state that when people ask me—no, I am really a philosopher but I have to do construction and farming to make a living, blah, blah, blah. It’s tedious because we don’t like labels but if you want to hire a plumber you go look up plumbers.

“Some of the most important architects of institutionalized Arab misogyny weren’t actually Arab. They were Turkish — or, as they called themselves at the time, Ottoman — British, and French. These foreigners ruled Arabs for centuries, twisting the cultures to accommodate their dominance. One of their favorite tricks was to buy the submission of men by offering them absolute power over women. The foreign overlords ruled the public sphere, local men ruled the private sphere, and women got nothing; academic Deniz Kandiyoti called this the “patriarchal bargain.” Colonial powers employed it in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and in South Asia, promoting misogynist ideas and misogynist men who might have otherwise stayed on the margins, slowly but surely ingraining these ideas into the societies.

Great, there is a little history here. Now, do you think that matters when your daughter is splashed with acid because the perpetrator says the Koran says she is vile and wicked.

“Of course, those first seeds of misogyny had to come from somewhere. The evolutionary explanations are controversial. Some say that it’s simply because men are bigger and could fight their way to dominance; some that men seek to control women, and particularly female sexuality, out of a subconscious fear being of cuckolded and raising another man’s child; others that the rise of the nation-state promoted the role of warfare in society, which meant the physically stronger gender took on more power. You don’t hear these, or any of the other evolutionary theories, cited much. What you do hear cited is religion.

That’s because Islam promotes the misogyny. I don’t see any Buddhists, Hindi, or even Christians performing these heinous acts. Are there any Jainists out there killing? Hell, the worst you can say about Buddhism is that it is androcentric—it’s not that they hate men they just don’t want material desire which includes lust, sex, and yes, even children. That could be considered misogynistic and we could show how Buddhist writings went from less misogynistic to more misogynistic and then to Western Buddhism that doesn’t even get why there aren’t male Buddhist monks and assumes there can be, but why? Buddhists aren’t suicide bombing people nor are they beating their wives.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes (good grief, who would guess I’d defend Christianity).

We hear so often about Muslims as victims of abuse in the West and combatants in the Arab Spring’s fight against tyranny. But, in fact, a wholly different kind of war is underway—an unrecognized battle costing thousands of lives. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm.

The portrayal of Muslims as victims or heroes is at best partially accurate. In recent years the violent oppression of Christian minorities has become the norm in Muslim-majority nations stretching from West Africa and the Middle East to South Asia and Oceania. In some countries it is governments and their agents that have burned churches and imprisoned parishioners. In others, rebel groups and vigilantes have taken matters into their own hands, murdering Christians and driving them from regions where their roots go back centuries.

Read the rest of her article and it is easy to understand that war and hate can be just about a religion just as it can be just abut a color or a class.

“Like Christianity, Islam is an expansive and living religion. It has moved with the currents of history, and its billion-plus practitioners bring a wide spectrum of interpretations and beliefs. The colonial rulers who conquered Muslim societies were skilled at pulling out the slightest justification for their “patriarchal bargain.” They promoted the religious leaders who were willing to take this bargain and suppressed those who objected. This is a big part of how misogynistic practices became especially common in the Muslim world (another reason is that, when the West later promoted secular rulers, anti-colonialists adopted extreme religious interpretations as a way to oppose them). “They enshrined their gentleman’s agreement in the realm of the sacred by elevating their religious family laws to state laws,” anthropologist Suad Joseph wrote in her 2000 book, Gender and Citizenship in the Middle East. “Women and children were the inevitable chips with which the political and religious leaders bargained.” Some misogynist practices predated colonialism. But many of those, for example female genital mutilation, also predated Islam.

Arabs have endured centuries of brutal, authoritarian rule, and this could also play a role. A Western female journalist who spent years in the region, where she endured some of the region’s infamous street harassment, told me that she sensed her harassers may have been acting in part out of misery, anger, and their own emasculation. Enduring the daily torments and humiliations of life under the Egyptian or Syrian or Algerian secret police, she suggested, might make an Arab man more likely to reassert his lost manhood by taking it out on women.

Right, that’s why the Jews after the diaspora, pogroms, and holocausts became inveterate abusers, suicide bombers, and are to this day still killing Nazis. That’s why Native Americans are destroying us with terrorism. Armenians are returning in droves to destroy their oppressors. African-Americans are taking over the sports industry to oppress us. This is just bullshit excusing. His lost manhood? I haven’t heard such bullshit since American males claimed they were feminized by aggressive women and that didn’t even involve abuse.

“The intersection of race and gender is tough to discuss candidly. If we want to understand why an Egyptian man beats his wife, it’s right and good to condemn him for doing it, but it’s not enough. We also have to discuss the bigger forces that are guiding him, even if that makes us uncomfortable because it feels like we’re excusing him. For decades, that conversation has gotten tripped up by issues of race and post-colonial relations that are always present but often too sensitive to address directly.

Yeah, colonialism was vicious. Yeah, there are bigger issues like the environmental disaster called Modern Earth but sacred texts are driving people’s actions. People kill for the sacred and people kill for an ideology. Arabia is a prime example of a rich country that still abuses. Aaaah, the rich still have their problems. It just doesn’t matter, rape is rape, and it needs to be dealt with in the here and now as well as on all other levels including stupid sacred texts that condone it.

“Spend some time in the Middle East or North Africa talking about gender and you might hear the expression, “My Arab brother before my Western sister,” a warning to be quiet about injustice so as not to give the West any more excuses to condescend and dictate. The fact that feminism is broadly (and wrongly) considered a Western idea has made it tougher for proponents. After centuries of Western colonialism, bombings, invasions, and occupation, Arab men can dismiss the calls for gender equality as just another form of imposition, insisting that Arab culture does it differently. The louder our calls for gender equality get, the easier they are to wave away.

Solidarity doesn’t matter shit. I might kill for my brother but if he viciously rapes his wife fuck him. Emphasizing tribalism in a global world is not helpful. If my brother beats a child he gets reported to the police as I am legally obligated to do. Yes, I am sad. Yes, I understand his pressures or his psychosis but it is not OK just because he is my brother.

“Eltahawy’s personal background, unfortunately, might play a role in how some of her critics are responding. She lives mostly in the West, writes mostly for Western publications, and speaks American-accented English, all of which complicates her position and risks making her ideas seem as Westernized as she is. That’s neither fair nor a reflection of the merit of her ideas, but it might inform the backlash, and it might tell us something about why the conversation she’s trying to start has been stalled for so long.

The Arab Muslim women who criticized Eltahawy have been outspoken proponents of Arab feminism for years. So their backlash isn’t about “Arab brother before Western sister,” but it does show the extreme sensitivity about anything that could portray Arab misogyny as somehow particular to Arab society or Islam. It’s not Eltahawy’s job to tiptoe around Arab cultural anxieties about Western-imposed values, but the fact that her piece seems to have raised those anxieties more than it has awakened Arab male self-awareness is an important reminder that the exploitation of Arab women is about more than just gender. As some of Eltahawy’s defenders have put it to me, the patriarchal societies of the Arab world need to be jolted into awareness of the harm they’re doing themselves. They’re right, but this article doesn’t seem to have done it.

The article is a plea to cut through the excuse and stop the abuse to women. Once the abuse is topped in the here and now then we can ascertain why and talk about the bigger issues. If you hear a woman screaming rape in the streets you don’t stop and converse about whether she deserves it or he is abused too. You immediately stop the rape and let the courts decide. That is the only just and fair way. Anything else is complicit to the act of rape.

Jim Newman, bright and well

www.brightpride.com and www.frontiersofreason.com