Thursday, May 31, 2007

American Feminism and Islamic Women

The Weekly Standard came out with an article on May 21 entitled The Subjection of Islamic Women and The Fecklessness of American Feminism. The article covers a lot of area, but mainly covers the distinct difference between American feminism and the rising feminism of Islamic women. While Islamic women are seeking to embrace femininity while being liberated from oppression (which truly is oppressive), American feminists do not really pay much attention to their desires primarily because it goes against their doctrine of no gender distinctions. The article is interesting, and sad, for many reasons. But the main thing that stuck out to me is the completely horrendous attempt by some feminists to find a correlation between so-called misogyny in the West and that of other cultures. While pornography, incest, rape, and the Hugh Hefner culture are all contributors to oppression of women and should be condemned with disdain, they do not fit into the same category as a woman who has acid thrown in her face for no reason at all. There has to be a different category for these things, and there has to be an interest on the part of women liberators every where if they want their ideologies truly to be consistent.

But what these liberated women do not understand is that an absence of truly biblical patriarchy facilitates the so-called oppression that Western women face (and the true oppression that Afghani women face). Each culture declares women to be inferior either by sexual freedom and “equality” (which leads to objectification and inferiority) or by rampant abuse (which in some cases leads to death).

The Western feminists can pay lip-service to the horrors of misogyny across the globe all they want, but they don’t really know what misogyny is, really. American feminism can lead to self-inflicted oppression in the form of pornography and male domination, while these poor women did not ask for what they are getting. Though true that misogyny exists in large quantities, these responders to the oppression of women across the world have actually contributed to the very thing they are speaking against in the form of abortion rights, sexual freedom, and women’s liberation. The freedom that feminism thinks it is providing is the same “freedom” that has countless women dragged to a hospital for forced abortions.

Like this article states, there is a sad disconnect between American feminism and the atrocities of true oppression seen and experienced by our women overseas. They are not the same. As Christians, we must care about the women who are executed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the little girls who are sold into sexual slavery in Thailand, the little babies in India who are murdered simply for being female, and the ashamed victims of rape in Iraq who blow themselves up because they are told that no man will ever want them. But we don’t care because we want so-called “liberation”. We care because we know something that the feminists don’t. There is a mystery at work in our gender distinctions, and unless we see a return to biblical patriarchy in the form of loving, male headship there will be no reprieve from the destruction of women by dictatorial, misogynistic men. The Islamic women, who are oppressed by a far greater and more horrific regime, see the difference and beauty of femininity even amidst great tribulation—but they don’t exactly know why they desire it. They don’t know that it is designed to point to the Messiah and His Bride, the very thing that they deny and hate. We can have all of the “Love Your Body” campaigns that we want, but they won’t help. It will only mask the problem for a little while until it rears its ugly head in another form of dissatisfaction. The Church must hold high the beauty of God’s design for gender—calling men to patriarchy and denouncing misogyny. And that is a world that feminists can’t even conceive of.

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