Thursday, November 19, 2009

Feminism's Bad Rep?

"I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute."  Rebecca West

I have a question for anyone reading: why does feminism have such a negative reputation, especially in Islamic cirlces?

When someone says "feminism", what do you think? What is your gut reaction?

When someone says they are a feminist, what do you then think of them?

Do you think it is possible to be a feminist and be Muslim?

I have lots of opinions on this but I really want to hear what other people think, because I find it interesting that "feminism" has become such a negative thing these days, and I really want to understand why.


Bahlool said...

I had a period when i was calling myself a "feminist". But i realised that feminism has so many differend ideas that sometimes contradict each other. YOu have some feminists that hate men, others that are feminist to give women more rights and others again call them selves feminists just for fun or to be respected.
I have realised that islam has all what a man and a woman need. That might sound "orthodox" in your eyes, but i mean why call yourself feminist when you are a muslim and have all rights granted under the islamic laws?
The view of muslims depends probably on the feminists that we hear and see. Here in sweden "feminists" called men animals, others meant that because men go inn shorts in swimminghalls, then women should also be allowed to show breasts..

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Hey everyone I just did something stupid and rejected all the comments by mistake :( So I'll post them one by one now...sorry!

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Susanne said:

I used to shy away from the term "feminist" because of the rabid-type feminists here, but I think I've become more of a true feminist in the last year or so.

By rabid-type feminists I mean those kinds who seem to have no use for men, no use for women staying at home with their children or having children at all. And I'm not for abortion-on-demand at any stage of pregnancy either. Yes, it's your body and it's your choice, but there is another life involved and, therefore, I choose to speak for the little one who has no voice.

But as for most things, I can be a feminist, I believe. I think women are equal to men and not second-rate. The more I've read about how some cultures treat their women, the more feminist-leaning I've become! :)

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Anonymous said:

Dear sis... is it so difficult to see? if feminism is for equality it is of course okay thing ... but if it is a ploy to gain advantage than it is not so okay .. also things should be based on merit and need ... in asian culture it is the boy who runs the family and so apparently he has more liability. My personal feeling is people should get what they deserve be it a woman or a man..

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Susan Elizabeth said:

Feminism = independence, which equals a scary thing for those who want to maintain control of women.

The fact that you and I and many others are feminists means yes, Muslim women can be, deserve to be, and are feminists...

All it means is a right to be who you are.

Those who want to maintain control over women's lives, bodies, and choices, have created wonderful propaganda against the word "feminism" to the point that it conjures negative connotations.. They are good at what they do, we have to be better.

The first thing we have to do is point out and speak up about sexism. This is not an issue of culture, it is human rights. Every culture, every woman deserves her rights. I am sick of the argument that somehow some women don't need or deserve feminism...
But like I said, they are good at what they do.

Women who don't agree with feminism are either brainwashed, misinformed, or both.

Feminism is a woman's right to be who she is... What woman could argue against that? What man could? Many, I guess.

Anyway, I have been bitter lately about the human race, gotta take a break from blogging until i can get my positivity back..

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Marzuki said:

I shall try to take a stab at ur questions ...

I once mentioned gender roles are determined by nature : During the early days, a guy's built could be more suited for work. Hence naturally, the next best thing for women would be cooking, cleaning and looking after children. The latter could have been viewed as the easier of the two jobs by Man in those days thus, giving Man more right to do as they please. ie. The women do not have much say and their space is limited to within the household and they are forced to then play the role of a servant to the man of the house. Women no longer had a voice. A boundary has been created.

And when I think feminism, I think of the protests that I think I saw on tv, women are making their voices heard. A once stable boundary has been transgressed. Anger and unhappiness were in the air. And I believe this first impression of feminism contributes largely to the negative reputation.

When someone says they're feminist, I applaud them for fighting for their rightful rights and against gender biasness and what nots. But when I find their arguments stubborn and unreasonable and they arent open to views, I'll think of them as a very stubborn group of people.

Feminism in Islam.... It really depends on what they're fighting against (and i think you noe what i mean). (:

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Bahlool: When I think of feminism I think of the original term, meaning equality in VALUE between men and women, which I also Islam affirms. We don't need to do the same things but we should get the same value for things we do.

"why call yourself feminist when you are a muslim and have all rights granted under the islamic laws?"

Exactly, we have the rights under Islam but how often are we granted them? And I don't just mean in un-Islamic Arab countries, but even in most Muslim families.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Susanne: I agree, I think feminism means equality between men and women, not the extreme version of not needing men at all.

Welcome to the blog :)

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Anonymous: "My personal feeling is people should get what they deserve be it a woman or a man."

Exactly! I completely agree!

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Sarah Elizabeth: (sorry I said Susan, I'm so tired right now!)

"Feminism = independence, which equals a scary thing for those who want to maintain control of women."

This I also agree with. It is a direct threat to existing power structures.

Why are you so bitter? :( Come back soon!

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Marzuki: "When someone says they're feminist, I applaud them for fighting for their rightful rights and against gender biasness and what nots."

Well said :)

Like you said, the negative stance towards feminism seems to stem from those feminists that are uncompromising. I think many feminists are open to discussion, but people see feminists as a monolithic whole and thus stay away from all of them.

G said...

I really do believe that women and men should have equal rights. I understand that women have been oppressed and treated as inferior and it's about time their voices are heard. But what I despise, and I think some people might be turned off about the term "feminism" because of, is "feminists" who are hypocrites.

I remember once in university I volunteered in a play that aimed to raise awareness about women's issues and rights. I was working on a major production at the time and was really screwed with everything going on since it was also a time of exams. But I believed in the issue and spread myself thin to help out in it the women's rights play.

What really pissed me off was the notion that somehow the play turned into "man-bashing". I don't like that to feel that their rights were important (which they are) some of the girls tried to turn it into a "men are a-holes" kind of thing. For example, some of the girls decided that they are taking over the men's changing room too because there were a few men in the play and more women. So they kicked us out to change in the hallways or bathrooms. At the end of the day I take acting very seriously, it is after all supposed to be professional. I did not get what this mini-revloution was all about. But it was not nice to be kicked out like that just because in that environment women were considered superior or the majority.

Needless to say, I walked into the male changing room anyway and a girl shrieked because I almost saw her undressed. Besides that being a sight I am not really eagerly dying to see, (a fact which I told her), I proceeded to change right then and there. Because to me if someone is oppressed and you're fighting for their rights, then the WRONG way to do this is to try and take away ANOTHER group's rights.

I was actually deeply disturbed by this whole incident. Not the actual events, which are petty and not a big deal at all, I am not that shallow. But rather the symbolism of the whole thing. I think I felt it was so symbolic of how groups would assert their own views on a group that is suddenly the minority, which the men were in the play. So here I am fighting for women's right and taking time to do so in a very stressful period in my life and suddenly it is decided that I change on a toilet seat instead of a relaxing place (which actors really DO need pre-show) just because I have a penis?

I understand that women have gone through a lot of oppression and mistreatment. But the way is NOT to try and abuse power the moment you have it. Or make someone else feel inferior. Feminism in my opinion is way above that, it is fighting for women's rights, not the removal of male rights. It should be more of a movement for equality, not a movement to turn the tables. At least that's how I view it.

Another thing I don't like is the little acts of hypocrisy in roles that some feminists seem to think is normal. For example, I will cook and clean. I don't mind at all. But at the same time don't expect me to be the first person to run to pick up something a little heavy or to fix the kitchen sink just because that's a "guy's" thing. Aren't we fighting for the eradication of these stereotypical roles? So open your own door, don't cause a revolution if I don't leave the toilet seat down....after all when you are done, do you put the toilet seat up for me? Or is it just a one way street?

Women deserve rights, after all regardless of genitalia we are all human. I am fighting for HUMAN rights. For rights of equality. I wouldn't call myself a feminist because I see that the fight is bigger than that. So, don't hate me for my penis, that's not what the struggle is all about.

marzuki said...

And i believe the onus is now on 'new' feminist to approach this movement (if i may call it a movement) the right way, less aggresively. Maybe they could come together under one name, one mission, one image. Feminists need a new marketing strategy. Haha.

The image of Islam was somewhat tarnished by the emergence of extremism and 9-11. However, the way we have responded to the negative images of islam within our own little community has helped to neutralise the negativity and inform that a small handful do not represent the whole of the muslim population.

Similarly, with the right approach, the reputation of feminist and their movement will change too. In time... For the better. I feel that we've now reached a point of time where anything seems to be possible.

مى said...

It's been a while :)

I can't say I fully understand what feminism is, but I hear it's a hit *blush*

I believe in celebrating our femininity, though! We're beautiful :)

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

G: Great comment, m'A! That story is a great example of women taking away rights from other groups to advance their own, which I don't think is the point of feminism at all. Why sink to the level many men have sunk to?

"I understand that women have gone through a lot of oppression and mistreatment. But the way is NOT to try and abuse power the moment you have it. Or make someone else feel inferior. Feminism in my opinion is way above that, it is fighting for women's rights, not the removal of male rights. It should be more of a movement for equality, not a movement to turn the tables."

Exactly! It shouldn't be about taking away rights from men, or turning the tables so we oppress them. It should be about equality.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Marzuki: you're right about the marketing strategy! But I also feel that many men are uncomfortable with the idea just because it does take some power away from them. So I think it's a mix of both.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Mai: "can't say I fully understand what feminism is, but I hear it's a hit *blush*" That's the cutest thing I've ever read haha!

And yes! Feminism is about celebrating our femininity!

Sarah Elizabeth said...

G: good points, I think this is the problem with some women who call themselves feminists, they think they have to treat men badly or become "just as bad" as men in order to be equal. But that just makes them just as bad as what they are supposedly fighting against. Feminism needs men in order to thrive, good for you for caring about women's issues! Shame on them for being so petty and childish about a serious subject. I think some people's anger is directed in the wrong direction.

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Sara, viewing the many negative comments and discussions concerning the young girls who left Islam, and also on Quran Club's blog being a part of a discussion where some Muslim brothers and sisters believe raping a woman is punishment by God and that she is to blame if she does not wear hijab..

I'm burnt out.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Sarah: "Some Muslim brothers and sisters believe raping a woman is punishment by God and that she is to blame if she does not wear hijab."


I mean, how low can you go? God help these people.

Ikram Kurdi said...

As Salaamu Alaikum,

Sarah it talking about this QuranClub post.

Please take the time to read what we say in the comments before judging us.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Ikram: after having read the comments I don't really have any reason to change my mind. That picture really disturbed me when it came out and still does today. I find the notion that a woman who doesn't wear hijab is somehow to blame for being harassed/raped ridiculous, even if she only receives a small part of the blame. Men should change the way they see women; women shouldn't have to change the way they dress.

Ikram Kurdi said...

@cairo, lusaka, amsterdam,

That is why Feminists have a bad rep. They have a Them (men) vs. Us mindset.

Why not both men and women work together to solve the problem? What is the use of all the sexual titillation that women give men at workplaces?

As I have written before, history has always been about groups of men, supported by women, going against other groups of men who were also supported by women.

Men and women have never had to fight each other until Feminists came and, with their theories of how nature should be, started the whole thing.

Feminists are destined for failure for a fundamental problem that they have; they consider men the enemy.

A nation that tried to subdue men is a nation that will fail. And that is exactly where America is going right now.

Women care about deep and intimate relationships, while men, though they care about that, they also care about shallow relationships.

Men create universities, governments, and armies, while women provide what is beautiful in a man's world.

Men need women's support, and women need men's support. Feminists have created a huge gender gap between men and women where they have succeeded. And the result? Lonely women and depressed men.

And then the Feminists wonder, where are all the real men? In a world ruled by women, how can a man feel masculine?

You can fight nature for only so long. In a few decades, as the world's matriarchies start failing, Feminists will be wondering about more urgent things, like why there is no food to eat.

Ikram Kurdi said...

Or why another nation's army, whose women were better supporters of their men, have conquered them and turned them into slaves.

Anonymous said...


Finally a man puts the infamous equation...

1 man brain = 2 female brains good use.

I was trying to be as eloquent as you recently, but just couldn't say what you said without taking into account the fact that "feminism" is a multi-dimensional concept with all sorts of pesky theories and types and movements over hundreds, maybe thousands, of years.

Your magnificient power play of just painting the entire concept with the broadest brush strokes imaginable was a stroke of pure genius. Brilliant. I applaud you, you beautiful, beautiful sir.

And damn that sexual titillation at the work place am I right ? Segregate us all and cover them up, I'd say, I'm sure that's the proven method of not causing sexual frustration on the planet. I mean it's not like men and women working together has ever worked on anything but a theoretical level. I had this invention in mind once, I was going to call it "maturity" or "self-control" but I just couldn't get the patents for it.

Also, it's not like men haven't dominated women since the beginning of time, I mean so what if there are all sorts of communities proving my theory wrong ? Don't you dare bring up any examples of tribal communities in Africa where the women go out and work and the men stay at home. Especially not the fact that if the women stopped working the men wouldn't find a anything to eat.

I swear the day I see a woman lording over men, is a day where I'll know that society will have no power of any kind. What ? Queen Elizabeth ? Victorian England ? The United Kingdom ? What is that some small community in Africa ?

Pshh. Also, while were on the subject. I get infuriated when I hear about that darn ROSA PARKS. Damn her, what the hell was she doing sparking a black civil rights movement, of which men and women benefit today ? Seriously what was she thinking ? Didn't she know that it wasn't her job to start or build anything ? Her job was to go somewhere and be beautiful for a man somewhere. Dames, I'll tell ya.

I'm so glad you're finally standing up for our masculine rights though.

Especially when you defined our masculinity as exclusively defined by how much stuff we rule.

Finally I'd like to commend you for tearing down the facade and peering through the femminist conspiracy that this is all about them wanting a SUPREME ALL KNOWING MATRIARCHAL SOCIETY where they rule all and we become their WOMEN.

Seriously what else could it be ? It's not like women are oppressed or anything. It's not like this is in any way about basic civil rights like a right to education, divorce, businesses, or not to be castrated in Northern Africa.

The other day I came up with this rape-victim application form that I genuinely think should be handed out at police stations. At the top it would say: "What were you wearing ?"

It would save so much time.

By the way if you're interested you should drop by one of our Salem Witch Trials...Everyone says Mary-Beth is a pious woman, but they'll all soon know the truth when she DOESN'T fall to her death and instead eats the children.

Also there are talks that all the men of the world might try to take patriarchy and the mannist movement back to its roots in Greek culture and just go all the way and make women completely subordinate and on Sundays we get together and worship the superior male form.

(PS- The MEN debate whether or not women have souls on Tuesdays)

marzuki said...

Hey Cairo,

You said, "But I also feel that many men are uncomfortable with the idea just because it does take some power away from them." Now i finally understand where you're coming from.

Interesting points from Ikram - I must admit. He said, "Men need women's support, and women need men's support." I liked the idea of both working hand in hand. However the tone turned into one that's not suited for a healthy discussion.

Personally i believe that women, who know the difference bw halal and haram, should be free to wear as they please. However, the responsibility to remind them lies in the hands of their fathers, elder brothers etc. Im sure when these women look at themselves in the mirror, they understand full well of what to expect.

I believe no one's in a position to blame any party involved nor is there any reason to. And there is no need to go all aggressive on the lady though. It seems so .... uncharacteristic of a man.

Ikram Kurdi said...


Men and women's brains are different. Proof: Women can't compose music. Many Feminists tried to prove this wrong and failed.

But are women inferior to men? No they aren't. Women are just different. They have powers that men don't have.

About workplace sexual titillation, I think it is more fair for both men and women to give off near equal sexual vibes. Today, if we turn things around, it is as if women, in their most sexually aroused states, are working in places filled with topless hunks of men. This is not fair, but you wouldn't understand.

Women rule America. In almost every divorce case the woman gets all the good stuff, the kids and the house. And the man is left with a shattered heart.

When a woman cheats, she is portrayed as the victim. When the man cheats, she is portrayed as the victim.

A woman once cut off a man's penis because she thought he was cheating on her. People laughed, women said he deserved it. Just imagine what would happen if a man were to cut off a woman's breast.

There are some women right now who are trying to pass laws that will allow them to claim ownership of half a man's degree. Do you know what this means? Even after divorce, the man will have to give half of everything he earns from his degree. Is this fair?

Women at this age are supposed to be equal to men. Yet they get half of a man's wealth in divorce. Is this fair?

There is a popular saying by a feminist women, she says she is a good housekeeper, she has kept all the houses of her husbands after divorce. This is how Feminists think.

By women ruling over country I didn't mean queens. The Quran talks about a good and fair queen, the Queen of Saba'.

What I mean is a society controlled by women. America's economy is driven by women, since they are the biggest buyers (this comes from a marketer). Most things are made for women.

Men are the ignored.

America's law protects women wherever it can. Any woman can claim a man has sexually harassed her. Do you think that man stands a chance of getting a fair hearing?

There is a lot of hype over breast cancer. Rarely anybody talks about men's health problems. For example, most men are dead from heart attacks by the time that women get heart problems, so the statistics seem to show that women at old age suffer more than men from heart problems.

And guess what? They use this to prove that women don't get the health care that men get. Is this fair?

Man has lost most of his powers. And this won't end good. Yes there was a time that women were oppressed, but that time is long gone.

Ikram Kurdi said...

Anyway, as Seth Godin says, changing your mind about things is so difficult it is usually impossible.

We see data that prove our points of view and ignore anything that proves them wrong for as long as we can.

Nobody likes to hear that they have been believing in the wrong thing. They like their beliefs to be reinforced, not challenged.

So basically, we are wasting time here. When I challenge your stance, it only reinforces it, since it motivates you to defend it.

But for anyone interested in finding the truth, please give the data a fair look.

I have nothing against women having equal rights. Women are our equals in value and in what they offer humanity.

But I am against the subjugation of a gender to another. Feminist was supposed to bring equality, and maybe it did for a few years, but soon, the swinging of the pendulum took things much further and now men enjoy less rights than women.

In most movies husbands are portrayed as dumb, illogical, and cowardly. Women are portrayed as kind, smart and strong.

Who sees the world like that?

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Ikram: while it may be true that in some areas of life women now have an advantage there is no way that the oppression of women has ended. Have you been to a Muslim country? Having lived in Egypt I would never in a million years say that women are no longer being oppressed.

"Man has lost most of his powers. And this won't end good. Yes there was a time that women were oppressed, but that time is long gone."

Also, feminism is not one monolithic movement. Not all feminists agree on everything. So my problem with your argument is that you make it seem that all feminists are the same and want the same things. I am a feminist in that I want equality between men and women in terms of VALUE, as Islam calls for as well. One could argue that the Prophet (pbuh) was a feminist since he wanted to make women's situation better. Then we also have radical feminists who burn bras. So there is no way to talk about feminism as if it is one thing and to thus condemn it.

I have never lived in the US so I can't speak about women controlling America. Maybe other readers could comment on that.

However I commend you on stating that women and men deserve equality. This I agree with 100%.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Marzuki: "However, the responsibility to remind them lies in the hands of their fathers, elder brothers etc." Just curious as to why you didn't include mother, elder sister, etc?

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Anonymous: You really made me laugh :) It's sad to say, but I have met quite a few men who think like that.

marzuki said...

Hmmm... Interesting observation. I guess personal circumstances mustve made me respond the way i did - I feel responsible to look out and remind my siblings and maybe at home, im trying to lighten my mum's worries - so i wrote fathers and elder brothers.

Hence the "etc" for anyone to include any others that I might have missed out. (:

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Marzuki: ahhh okay :) I don't know why, but I can see you being a feminist! (In the original sense of the term.)

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Ikram how does it feel to be the walking talking stereotype of the muslim man?

America is striving very hard to create equality such as our constitution gives to all of its citizens. How dare you claim to know the trials of women here. Your statements fall in the realm of absurdity.

I am married to a wonderful muslim man who also happens to be a feminist. He read your post and laughed out loud.

U have no concept of equality or u would not be upset that women are gaining some power and rights. Instead u see it as a loss for men. U are like the white people in america who dont want the minorities to take over the country and u are not worth my time or anger.

I will be removing quran club from my list.

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Anonymous u r my hero lol! I wish u would show urself so i can follow ur blog

Stephanie said...

This thread is turning me into a feminist...

Shicko said...

Ikram, are you for real?

Anonymous said...

To anyone who has just joined us, this is a summary of Ikrams previous posts:

Thesis: Feminists are a united body, possibly a hive mind that have infiltrated everything from divorce papers to the highest level of government.


Broad general statement.

Broad general statement.

Broad General Statement.

Broad general statement backed by reference to profession.

Broad general statement.
Broad general statement.

I'll start with the bone-chiller that really made me question life:

"Men and women's brains are different. Proof: Women can't compose music. Many Feminists tried to prove this wrong and failed."

I completely understand this. Especially if by "can't" you mean
"have" and "do often". I would like to further prove the femminists wrong with an entire list of female composers:

Although, you declare that "feminists have tried to prove this wrong and failed" with such authority that I assume we should just take your word for it. Is it because you're a man ? Or because you're in marketing ? or because Seth Godin said it ?

"Anyway, as Seth Godin says, changing your mind about things is so difficult it is usually impossible.

For anyone reading this who doesn't know, Seth Godin is the author of "All Marketers Are Liars".

Personally I was just happy you finally cited a source outside your imagination.

We see data that prove our points of view and ignore anything that proves them wrong for as long as we can.

Nobody likes to hear that they have been believing in the wrong thing. They like their beliefs to be reinforced, not challenged."

I know, being a complete adolescent who never went passed a high school degree, I have yet to master abstract thinking or flexible modes of thought, so being "challenged" by your broad, sweeping statements about a grand feminist conspiracy to rule the world has made me a former shell of a man.

"Women at this age are supposed to be equal to men. Yet they get half of a man's wealth in divorce. Is this fair?"

No, it's not fair. Especially when the law divides the money of the wealthier party, regardless of gender. I once came up with an idea called "pre-nuptual agreements" but couldn't get funding for it.

I'm fascinated by the fact that you're saying men and women's brains are "different but equal" like it's some kind of revelation we're all unaware of.

You keep saying "men aren't better" than women, yet every argument you make is based on the idea that men aren't better they just do all the cool stuff like build governments and compose music. While women sit their being beautiful, but they can't be too beautiful because that's just unfair for the men. Of course the men could always punish them by TAKING OFF THEIR OFFICE SHIRTS AND SHOWING THEIR HUNKY MAN FLESH, as you put it.

Your arguments also imply that the human brain is in no way malleable or adaptive. If you take engineering, or politics which I assume you think is exclusively male, it's not that one of the genders can do it, it's that both men and women will contribute to it differently.

You keep saying that there are things women can do that men can't, I'm going to assume you're refering to childbirth. Because that's the only thing I'm sure you think men can't do. What else do women do that you think men can't do ? Cooking, cleaning, sowing, "being everything beautiful in a man's life" ?

I think if you woke up a woman tomorrow it would be the single most tragic thing you've ever experienced.

PS- The Rabbis and I get together back in the middle ages and chant the classic "thank God I'm not a woman" prayer every morning if you'd like to join us.

Sarah Elizabeth said...


Just to follow up on one of your comments about how men and women are portrayed in the movies.. Yes, Hollywood makes broadly generalized movies, and some that are just plain wrong. For example, Hollywood movies portraying Black people in the 80's had the entire world thinking Black women were these mean and aggressive people, and that black men were drug addicts or sex fiends.

Move to the 90's and the world began fearing Black people due to films portraying Black people as gangsters, murderers, and "the bad guys". My husband is an immigrant from Malaysia, and we spoke about what his pre-determined stereotypes were of Americans and they were all based on what Hollywood has spewed out to the masses.

Today, it is true, there are many many comedies mostly, that have the men in the role of the guy who just doesn't care, is thoughtless, and does whatever he wants; while the woman is caring and understanding and the "bigger" person through her compassion.

The problem with these movies is NOT that in real life all the women have this intelligence "monopoly" over men, but that it has influenced SOME men to emulate these pop-culture movies and has actually negatively affected many marriages. Why? Because if every man in America were a character from a Hollywood comedy, they would be bumbling, fumbling, weed head idiots that like to burp and fart and have no concept of what commitment or compassion is.

In turn, if every woman in America were a Hollywood movie character we would all be wearing shirts with our breasts hanging out, so highly sexualized that it is our only role in most of the scenes, and basically worshipped for our bodies or invisible because we are not super models.

Do you see what I am getting at? In America EVERYONE is fair game to marketing, capitalism, the media, and the movie machine...

Hollywood has us all cast into stereotypical roles, Asians, Muslims, White women, American men (either goofball or hero), etc etc etc...

Of course there are exceptions to all of this because there are some really great movies coming out of Hollywood, but for every great movie, there is double not-so-great-movies being spewed around the world....

Ikram, I believe you have fallen into the category of believing that Hollywood tells the truth.

I assure you Americans are not like in the movies.

In reality in America, women have made some big gains, but we still make less than men for the same work, there is still soaring numbers of domestic violence and rape against women, and of course we now have the marketers and capitalism at our back doors shoving insecurity and fear down our throats..

you say women run the economy, no, we run consumption, and there is a difference. Running the economy would mean we are the majority shareholders in stocks, or have the most small businesses, which is plainly and completely false.

But, we do lead in consumption, we are the ones who keep those stocks up by consuming.. But this is just more modern day sexism thrown at us through marketing..

Every commercial geared towards women is geared towards making us insecure. Beauty products that fight aging, clothes that make us look fashionable, or contraptions, or pills that will keep us young forever or make us stick thin skinny...

In America women's bodies are a commodity for capitalism... As is beauty, and who is responsible for "making a man's life beautiful?"

You guessed it, women are....

Sexism has many forms, these are just some forms you can find in America...

Oh, and Ikram, don't believe Hollywood, they lie.

In Hollywood Muslim men have bombs strapped to their chests and are out to kill us all, while hijabi's are victims in need of rescuing by the White man...

Don't believe the hype.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Sarah Elizabeth: I love you :) I love how passionate you are!

Stephanie said...

You know, I left you this long drawn out comment the other day, but I think it must have not gone through or something. Essentially, what I said was this. For some people, esp. Muslims, feminism or the whole idea of women being out in the workforce, etc, is problematic because the family and children are then left with less guidance from the mother, and sometimes spend more time with others than their own families. If both parents are out working 40 or 50 hours a week as most Western couples are, where do the kids and home fit into all of this? I think that's the ideal most Muslims have. Man's job is to support women and children. Woman's job is to take care of children and home.
I personally like this ideal, even though I work and have a degree.
You see, for me as a person, I would go absolutely go insane or die of depression, if I didn't have something else. Something outside of the home and someway to make my own living, to be indepepndent. I'm lucky that my situation has allowed me work part time which for me is like having the best of both worlds.

Unfortunatley, many women don't have this choice. Not all of us want to be a homemaker, a cook, a housecleaner, or even a mother. Men need to get over the idea that a woman having the choice to an education or a career is somehow infringing on their masculinity.
So men need to lighten up and acknowledge a woman's right to write her own story, and at the same time women need to think about their families and children. There is more to life than money and a high power career.

Statistics still show that women do more around the house than men, even if they're working as much as their spouse. If a woman does work, men need to step up and help out a little with the chores and children. This is the example of the Propher, who did that very thing. There is nothing in Islam that says only women can change diapers and cook meals and scrub toilets. To say otherwise is just chauvanistic. I think it is quite possible to raise happy and healthy children and maintain an orderly and functioning home with both parents working. It may take a little extra work from both parties.

And one last point, some Muslims say that a woman's role is to take care of children and serve her home/family/husband. This is ludicrous. A woman's role is to know and worship her rabb. If anyone can show me evidence otherwise, I'd love to discuss that as well.

bahlool said...

I would like to see how you muslim feminists think about the islamic sharia rules about women having "half" the vote of a man?
In matters of economy for instance, do you want to change that system so that men and women are "alike" even though this is from the Prophets sunnah?

Anonymous said...

Dear Sarah Elizabeth,

I had to comment and say thank you for your enlightning and insightful posts. I read them here and on the quranclub site, and I was thoroughly impressed.

I am shocked and disturbed that anybody, even a female, can suggest that rape is a punishment from God to women. Well certain women, the "immodest" ones. Baseless claims. What is next?

I think it is wonderful that you speak out and well I just appreciate it. You said something which struck a cord and I will try to remember that in future. Anyways you take care of yourself and all the best.

Keep it up, girl.

Hicham Maged said...

Sarah, I do not believe in exaggerating to any side (right/left) regarding whatever situation althouth many people tend to do so. Hence in my simple opinion, men and women are different yet but this does not mean to fight each other to prove who is better.

Unfortunately, women have been portrayed in a bad way in many societies, and under many civilizations whether Islamic or westen or whatever through out history.

My two cents is that the equality bewtween them is in rights but other than they are not alike. Furthermore, Men have no right to control women but due to traditions in many civilisations, they thought they have this right, which is wrong!

hope said...

A Muslim is obligated to speak out against wrong doing or saying - exaggeration or not. It is irrelevant what other socities do, as our first priority is our immediate society. Men and women er created equal to each other. Thus enjoy equal rights. That irrespective of their biological or emotional setup.

To say a woman without a scarf invites, encourages or is punished by rape, is disgusting and absurd.

The claim is very damaging to women. A scarf does not protect against rape. And to claim in the name of Islam, that a woman is somehow responsible shows the lack of understanding the concept of rape. It is about power and violence. No wonder why rape victims struggle to be heard and supported, and why they often opt for silence.

So there is a duty speak out and against such claims which are not Islam. Silence is not gold here but a poison which allows such claims to slowly root themselves.

Sarah, well said. I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments.

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Wow, thanks for the compliments to those who gave them.. I am touched, and flattered.

I am now smiles all day :) It is amazing what a positive compliment can do for our well-being! =D