Feminism in the wild
#1
This is about a Muslim feminist woman, who seems to be perpetually undercover.

‘Feminism had made me orthodox, while the burqa had enabled her’

An extract from the article:

Quote:“Why do you always set western feminism as a standard against which every other woman’s feminism is measured? Why a set definition? Isn’t it tiring to put yourself on display all the time? Here, beneath this, there is a sense of serenity, a way which lets me feel free. This shield doesn’t let a stray man scrutinise me as an object. In yours words, that ‘commodifying western gaze’. This is not to say this is the ideal kind of feminism, but this is my kind of feminism. Being a creature of a particular historical context, I don’t want to become so radical that my life is at stake. Isn’t that a choice again? What use is there for uninhibited radicalism if the fanatics of my community almost kill me? Isn’t it great that I’m studying a feminism course and have a friend like you?”

Are her choices questionable?

Aditya Manthramurthy
Web Administrator & Associate Editor
Nirmukta.com
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#2
I disagree with some of the things the woman says about her "version" of feminism. The whole "Isn’t it tiring to put yourself on display all the time?" argument is so pathetic. The majority of the women in the world dress conventionally and even though they might get irritated from time to time by a man who stares at her, I don't think the burqa is the ideal way to prevent it. The burqa is not a cure for the man who has no sense of boundaries or personal space.
The western standard of feminism? Isn't the standard of feminism all over the world the same? That women and men are treated equal? If she wants to go one step further and dress the way she wants, then that is her choice. But to say that her choice will stop stray men from objectifying her...girl...you are mistaken. Kind of condescending and patronizing IMO. And slightly paranoid.
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#3
(08-Nov-2010, 04:13 PM)donatello Wrote:
Quote:What use is there for uninhibited radicalism if the fanatics of my community almost kill me?

Who has to answer the above question?
Manju Vadiarillat
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#4
(08-Nov-2010, 04:13 PM)donatello Wrote: This is about a Muslim feminist woman, who seems to be perpetually undercover.

‘Feminism had made me orthodox, while the burqa had enabled her’

An extract from the article:

Quote:“Why do you always set western feminism as a standard against which every other woman’s feminism is measured? Why a set definition? Isn’t it tiring to put yourself on display all the time? Here, beneath this, there is a sense of serenity, a way which lets me feel free. This shield doesn’t let a stray man scrutinise me as an object. In yours words, that ‘commodifying western gaze’. This is not to say this is the ideal kind of feminism, but this is my kind of feminism. Being a creature of a particular historical context, I don’t want to become so radical that my life is at stake. Isn’t that a choice again? What use is there for uninhibited radicalism if the fanatics of my community almost kill me? Isn’t it great that I’m studying a feminism course and have a friend like you?”

Are her choices questionable?

Certainly!

From my article here:

Quote:Women in Islamic societies have been fighting for a version of feminism that wouldn’t seem like feminism at all to most women elsewhere. This is only possible because the meaning of ‘equality’ has been altered, redefined in a superstitious context. When the rules of Islam become the reality within which one operates, the role of a woman is restricted to one of the many goddess forms that Islam projects on her.
and
Quote:The fact that women in the Muslim world are amongst the staunchest supporters of mandatory restrictive clothing for all women should come as no surprise. Women in the Muslim world are believed to have mysterious and dangerous powers that can “tempt” men. Imagine the average Muslim woman in the Middle East, conditioned her entire life to act in submission to men, staying out of sight and unnoticed, out of fear that even the thought of exposing an inch of skin could damn her to burn forever in hell. As far as she is concerned, the layers of black cloth add strength to her constitution. In the context within which she lives, the darkness gives her rights. Such victims of religion are the ones with whom it will hurt the most to reason.

The issue here is both one of choice and one of analysis. Can we deny people the right to their own self-awareness? My moral premise is that we must strive to maximize available choices for all people, with certain caveats. Ideas such as feminism are indeed to be determined by the people involved, and Muslim women who "choose" to live under a pile of sheets must be free to do so in private where they cannot scare children. But, as I was saying to the Marxist on the other thread, concepts such as free-speech (and in this case, feminism) need to be qualified using science and reason. There are numerous fact-propositions involved in the belief system of these Muslim women that are directly responsible for shaping their idea of what feminism should be. These factual claims can and must be subjected to analysis using science and reason. If you did this properly, the Islamic versions of feminism would simply be reduced to a few strings. These strings do not represent feminist thought in any way. In fact, they are not strings but chains...

...and piles of sheets.



"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#5
There seem to be two distinct things going on here, and I don't want to confuse the two.

The first question is on the meaning of feminism. This is what my last post was concerned about. We must try to arrive at an inter-subjective definition of what feminism implies, while subjecting the associated fact-propositions to science and reason. Islam fails this test. "Islamic feminism" is based on false (and superstitious) fact-propositions, and is therefore inconsistent with reality. Anyone can simply choose to subscribe to a supernatural belief system, say the order of the blue rabbit or something of that sort, and then list a bunch of reasons why it makes sense from within that ideology why the university version of feminism is one-sided. But if the order of the blue rabbit requires that all women staple little blue bunny tails to themselves because the authoritarian leaders of the order believe that a raptor god commanded them to do so, it would not make one a feminist to proudly wear a little blue bunny tail. There can be no feminism without the facts about reality (the social and cultural conditions within which one exists) being laid bare by science and reason. The Islamic version of feminism is weaker than the most conservative gender-roles seen in the west. The order of the blue rabbit would be a step up.

The second point is on whether the woman should get herself killed by being a real feminist. To that I say of course not. They must do all they can to ensure their safety and comforts in life. The problem arises because these Muslim women want to redefine what it means to be feminists in terms that accept false factual claims about the nature of reality. That cannot be acceptable. The answer to the problems of these women is not redefining feminism to fit a depraved notion of gender roles, but ridding society of these depraved notions that squeezed them into these repressive gender roles in the first place.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
[+] 1 user Likes Ajita Kamal's post
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#6
You guys need to get on that Tehelka thread!
I totally agree with Ajita. I'm really hating on those pro-burqa people on the thread. How in the world can you be pro-burqa and say you're a feminist? I just don't get it!!
[+] 1 user Likes palaeo's post
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#7
(09-Nov-2010, 12:16 AM)palaeo Wrote: You guys need to get on that Tehelka thread!
I totally agree with Ajita. I'm really hating on those pro-burqa people on the thread. How in the world can you be pro-burqa and say you're a feminist? I just don't get it!!

I don't see any comments, or links to comments on this page:
http://www.tehelka.com/story_main47.asp?...rsonal.asp

Can you please tell me where this discussion is going on?
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#8
It's on the Tehelka Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/Tehelka/posts/164528930246705
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