“I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.”
― Milton Friedman

“Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Fem-Know Nothing

Writing at The Weekly Standard, Christina Hoff Sommers examines the concern American gender feminists display for women oppressed by Islamic fundamentalism. You'd think such a target-rich misogynist culture would be of great interest to NOW, et. al. You'd be wrong.

Subjection of Islamic Women
And the fecklessness of American feminism.
Read it all.
It is not that American feminists are indifferent to the predicament of Muslim women. Nor do they completely ignore it. For a brief period before September 11, 2001, many women's groups protested the brutalities of the Taliban. But they have never organized a full-scale mobilization against gender oppression in the Muslim world. The condition of Muslim women may be the most pressing women's issue of our age, but for many contemporary American feminists it is not a high priority. Why not?

The reasons are rooted in the worldview of the women who shape the concerns and activities of contemporary American feminism. That worldview is--by tendency and sometimes emphatically--antagonistic toward the United States, agnostic about marriage and family, hostile to traditional religion, and wary of femininity. The contrast with Islamic feminism could hardly be greater.

Writing in the New Republic in 1999, philosopher Martha Nussbaum noted with disapproval that "feminist theory pays relatively little attention to the struggles of women outside the United States." Too many fashionable gender theorists, she said, have lost their dedication to the public good. Their "hip quietism . . . collaborates with evil."
"[C]ollaborates with evil," indeed. Guess the reaction of the feminist power structure. Martha Nussbaum became persona non grata. She's not the only one.
Take psychology professor Phyllis Chesler. She has been a tireless and eloquent champion of the rights of women for more than four decades. Unlike her tongue-tied colleagues in the academy, she does not hesitate to speak out against Muslim mistreatment of women. In a recent book, The Death of Feminism, she attributes the feminist establishment's unwillingness to take on Islamic sexism to its support of "an isolationist and America-blaming position." She faults it for "embracing an anti-Americanism that is toxic, heartless, mindless and suicidal." The sisterhood has rewarded her with excommunication. A 2006 profile in the Village Voice reports that, among academic feminists, "Chesler arouses the vitriol reserved for traitors."

...many feminists are tied up in knots by multiculturalism and find it very hard to pass judgment on non-Western cultures. They are far more comfortable finding fault with American society for minor inequities (the exclusion of women from the Augusta National Golf Club, the "underrepresentation" of women on faculties of engineering) than criticizing heinous practices beyond our shores.
Feminist Della Sentilles (Yale '06) is the poster child for this mental defect. When asked to comment on the treatment of women by the Taliban - which excluded females from education, required wearing Burqas at pain of severe beating, and carried out mass public execution of women by gun-shot in the back of the head - Ms Sentilles wrote:
As a white American feminist, I do not feel comfortable making statements or judgments about other cultures, especially statements that suggest one culture is more sexist and repressive than another. American feminism is often linked to and manipulated by the state in order to further its own imperialist ends.
If the treatment of women in any given culture is an entirely relative problem, how is it possible to defend your view of your own culture? Excluding your own culture from this relativity seems to require feelings of cultural superiority.

Using your skin color and ethnicity to justify silence about those specific, heinous acts of oppression which are the central concerns of your philosophy makes that philosophy a joke. Worse, it implies racially motivated support for said oppression.

A philosophy requiring its adherents to exist in a perpetual state of cognitive dissonance is bankrupt. The ability to simultaneously cling to mutually exclusive beliefs does not come cheaply, however.

Ms Sentilles is a product of an elite University education. If you are interested, you will find further insight here Doing Della. A favor and here Note to Della Sentilles.

Feminists did not step forward to condemn Ms Sentilles tacit approval of gynocide. No, these are the concerns of another culture, not of American feminists.

Unlike Ms Sentilles, TOC has written extensively in protest of the treatment of women by Islamofascists.

Feminism's self-inflicted wounds

Iran: Killing the Victim

The Islamofeminist Chronicles

Feminism & Jihad

Women are the issue?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Feminism as if it meant something


You need not be a feminist in order to condemn brutal misogyny. In fact, it helps if you're not.