Monday, July 16, 2007

NOW Takes on "The Bachelor,' Swears They're Still Relevant

The National Organization for Women (NOW) just wrapped up their national conference at Dearborn’s Hyatt Regency yesterday. ("National Organization for Women returns to metro Detroit").

It’s one of those small ironies that NOW’s national conference is being hosted by a city where women in hijabs, niqabs, and burqas are commonplace, and where the local liberal press enthusiastically celebrates a Middle Eastern culture that views a woman “as a pearl that needs to be hidden.” (“Free Press Discovers a Patriarchy It Approves Of”); ("Veils and the Cricket Test").

The press wasn’t interested in any of that stuff. The feature angle was nostalgia for the last national conference sponsored by the Detroit NOW chapter in 1977, and a comparison with how NOW is fighting for its life today.

“Back then," columnist Laura Berman over at the Detroit News gravely recalls, “women were 51 percent of the population and living on the fringe.” (“NOW fights for its life as feminists get older”). That’s when “NOW tapped into what Betty Friedan called ‘the worldwide revolution of human rights.’”

The Dearborn Press & Guide quotes former Detroit chapter president Jacquie Steingold saying NOW continues “to stress… human rights overall.” By "human rights" she means “economic justice, reproductive rights, pay equity, disability and gay rights.” The “main bulk” of this year’s conference activities were devised to get women “better informed of the state of women’s issues globally." (“NOW national conference is Friday at Hyatt”, 7/11/07).

But nothing much has been reported this time of NOW tackling the global human rights issue of the treatment of women in Islam.

Instead, NOW President Kim Gandy announced the “hot topics” for this year’s conference were “misogyny in Hollywood and the media; electing a feminist president; women and war; universal healthcare; media reform in the wake of the Imus controversy; and the impact of the recent Supreme Court decisions on reproductive rights, pay equity and school integration.” (“National NOW Conference Opens in Detroit, Celebrates Women Taking Charge”).

And the keynote speaker, our own Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, spoke truth to the pressing social injustice of popular attitudes about women in pop culture.

“Her suggestion would be going after some reality TV shows, like ‘Wife Swap,’ or ‘The Bachelor.’"There are a huge number of shows that suggest that women are weak and thoughtless," she said. ‘It's important for us to take a strong stand against that.’” (“Granholm urges NOW to change pop culture”).

Wow. Pretty heavy stuff, eh?

But NOW's conference hasn't had a thing to say about the failed suicide attack in London a couple weeks ago, though it was targeted at women leaving nightclubs after Ladies Night. (“Jihad's Target: Women”).

Then there are all those forced marriages, honor killings, and femlae gential mutilations. In fact, the examples of women being deliberately targeted in Islam are legion, and global.

As Phyllis Chesler and Nancy Kobrin ask in their article at FrontPage Magazine,

“When will western progressives, especially feminists, ‘get’ that Muslim terrorists hate women --especially infidel women who are intellectually or sexually independent and whose independence taunts, tempts, and enrages them?

“That should come as no surprise. Islam’s record of treating women is abominable. Islamic gender apartheid targets Muslim women for maximum punishment (lashing, stoning to death, political gang-rape, honor-murder) when they are in any way perceived or misperceived as even slightly independent (e.g. if they want to marry men of their own choosing, divorce dangerously abusive husbands, or simply attend college.) But, even when they have committed no such "crime," many Muslim, Arab, and African women are genitally mutilated; most Muslim and Arab women are routinely beaten as daughters and wives. They are forced to "cover" their hair, faces, bodies, and threatened with maximum punishment when a wisp of hair or too much ankle is showing. They are forced to accept and embrace polygamy and purdah (physical sequestration).

“These onerous practices have penetrated the West. Increasingly, masked and silent women are appearing on our streets; their presence is oddly menacing. At the very least, they clearly do not approve of your ways because they have chosen a visibly different path. The fact that some women may view hijab and niqab as a legitimate and humble expression of religious submission or freely choose to be modestly covered as a way of proclaiming themselves ‘off-limits’ to western secular promiscuity does not change the fact that their presence also constitutes a walking advertisement for jihad.”

Veiled and silent women appearing on Dearborn’s streets, in fact, only a short bus ride from the Hyatt Regency.

In fairness, NOW has not been utterly silent about Islamic misogyny, having a few times over the years made some principled statements about the mistreatment of women in Sudan, (“Violence Against Women in Sudan Reveals Common Weapon of War”), and raised concerns over the US “trading away women’s rights” by endorsing the pro-Sharia elements of the new Iraqi constitution. (“Congress Members Join NOW in Urging Bushto Fight for Iraqi Women”).

But by and large feminism refuses to confront Islam’s attitudes about women head-on, preferring to hide behind abstractions about how “[v]iolations of women's human rights are intertwined with a male-dominated culture that supports male aggression and violence, while promoting women as symbols of virtue and ethnic identity, setting them up as enemy targets. Because of this, any long-term strategy to stop violence against women must consider the patriarchal culture in which this violence is committed.”

If this is suposed to be an oblique reference to Islam, it is obscured by NOW’s long misuse of the term “patriarchy” to connote a household in which the husband works and his wife stays home to care for her children.

The feminist refusal to address these issues is further explained, as Jamie Glazov writes at FrontPage Magazine, (“Muslim Rape, Feminist Silence’'), by the women’s movement being systemically incapable of acting against its own commitment to multi-culti preconceptions, even to defend against a naked evil.

That's why feminists wouldn’t even condemn the epidemic of Muslim males committing gang rapes in Europe, because “admitting the Muslim rape epidemic, and the theology and institutions on which it is based, and denouncing it, would violate the central code of the ‘progressive’ leftist faith: anti-Americanism and cultural relativism. No culture can be said to be better than any other - unless it is American culture, which is always fair game for derision and ridicule. But to criticize any Third World culture in general - and an adversary culture in particular - is to surrender the political cause and faith.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Phyllis Chesler has an interesting web site -
She was charmed by an Afgani Muslim man who attended college here in the U.S. She married him and he wisked her away to Afganistan where she was held captive for 2 years. Not exactly a Cinerella story but, she learned a valuable lesson and spends her time and energy fighting to save the west from Islamic ideology.