Sunday, May 21, 2006

Women and Islam

There is, methinks, much "mis-" and "dis-" information regarding the 'status' of women in Islam. I offer this 'selected' quote as a starting point. The rest of the article is in the link following. There is much more information available (try typing "female women politics islam" into Google). It would be, in my VERY humble opinion, much more beneficial to let them try to work it out for themselves; instead of forcing any changes at the point of a gun. In fact, I think it extremely 'counter-productive' to use, or threaten, force as it has a tendency to "radicalise" many opinions with the result that people 'retreat' into their own separate 'fortresses', wave Nationalistic flags, shout and scream from the 'battlements' while developing any and all 'projectile rocks' and refuse to engage in open dialogue.

"Thus, if fundamentalism is about returning to the golden age of Islam, Muslim women argue that they have much reason for optimism and much room for manoeuvre. Furthermore many highly educated and articulate Muslim women regard Western feminism as a poor example and have no wish to follow it. Not only do they dismiss Western feminism for being one of the main instruments of colonialism, but also they despise the kinds of freedoms that are offered to women in the Western patriarchy. (5) Using much of the criticism provided by Western women themselves, the Islamist women argue that by concentrating on labour market analysis and offering the experiences of a minority of white affluent middle class women as a norm, Western feminists have developed an analysis which is all but irrelevant to the lives of the majority of women the world over. They are of the view that Western style feminist struggles have only liberated women to the extent that they are prepared to become sex objects and market their sexuality as an advertising tool to benefit patriarchal capitalism. They are particularly critical of the failure of Western feminism to carve an appropriate, recognised and enumerated space for marriage and motherhood. They argue that by locating the discussion in the domain of production and attempting to gain equality for women, Western feminists have sought and failed to make women into quasi men. They have failed to alter the labour market to accommodate women's needs and at the same time have lost the benefits that women had once obtained in matrimony. Thus Western feminists have made women into permanent second class citizens. Not a model that most women, in the West as elsewhere choose to follow."

from "women against fundamentalism .."

Further reading
A brief history of Women's movements in Iran.
Islam and the Socio-economic position of Women.


Three Score and Ten or more said...

It is funny how we all seem to think that our paradigm is the only one that can be experienced by reasonable folk. Nicely reasoned. I have been away from your blog for two or three weeks (Not sure why) but I am glad to come home.

Davo said...

no home here 35+, I am a dingo in a cage.

(bear in mind that the Dingo's rarely attack .. unless 1 no water, 2 no food)

Davo said...

and the Southern hairy nosed wombats are dying from "mange". Shit,from a scungy two bit, half assed TIC. Sheesh

Davo said...

Thank you 3score+. but the nation 'Australia " is having to adress some serious "under carpet" issues. BBL

GreenSmile said...

Davo: Get a copy of M. Albright's new book "the Mighty and the Almighty". She points out a lot of factual stuff like the way the status of women in "Muslim" countries depends on the culture of the country , not the religion. Arab countries have generally farther to go in political and leagal equality of the sexes but even they gave women rights that only got on the books in America in the 1920s.

The bigger point of Albright's book is underscored by the point you have posted: Americans will continue to stumble badly in foreign affairs until they trouble themselves to aquire a realistic picture of what life is like and what expectations guide people in those countries where there is a Muslim majority. The liberals who think religion shouldn't matter and the conservatives who think Christianity is the only religion will be equally ill equipped to communicate or influence such countries.

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

05 25 06

Interesting post Davo. And it is related to the WTO war on female circumcision. I used to be part of a group dedicated to eradicating the practice. Then, after speaking to an African woman, her take was this: "You think we are going to listen to Westerners? Hmph" At that point I realized that so many cultural practices need to be changed FROM WITHIN and in the citizen's own time. Every time we try to IMPOSE social behavior on other places, it fails. Now the problem becomes, at what point is it reasonable to intervene?

I know that before The Taliban, Afghanistan had educated women who were not constrained the way that the Taliban would have liked. As soon as they came into power they summarily revoked many of the rights and opportunities that women had. Many Western Feminists cried out for like ten years because the condition of women was so low.

I am rambling now, but can see both sides to the discussion.

Davo said...

I don't have any answers, Mahndisa. Can only say that I think that the actions of the current U.S. administration have screwed up any 'progress' that 'fair and reasonable' humanitarians were making.

P.S. I like your father's 'take' on Liberation Theology as distinct from "prosperity" theology.

Gerry said...

Greenie, I'm seriously worried about the prospect of having to read anything written by Madeleine. Of course I'm in the grip of prejudice. Still, it's difficult...