Title: Feminism, the Enemy of Islamic Secularization
By Robert Gold
Feminism has lost its way. The social movement that gave women access to birth control and the voting booths has now become an incendiary for women’s oppression across the world.
Today, supportive and sympathetic feminists wear the hijab as a way of publicly pronouncing their solidarity with their Muslim sisters. Unfortunately, these well-meaning western feminists are fighting on the wrong side of a lethal war of ideas.
Right now, the Islamic world is ripe for social change. With rapid regime change occurring across the globe, the Arab Spring Movement has set off a chain of events that will lay the groundwork for Islam’s future for the next millennium. With the rise of social media, the opportunities to spread secular values and expand the campaign for human rights is brighter than ever before. Even in the US alone social movements such as: Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, The Tea Party, #NotMyPresident and many spread like wild fire. The Islamic world has the same opportunity for positive social change, but these white liberal feminists are going about it the wrong way.
These white liberal feminists have swooped in to protect and shield what they view as some oppressed brown skinned 3rd world minority by enabling their Islam’s ultra-conservative hyper religious customs. This is the completely wrong way to go about it and rather than try to fix their calamities, its best that these feminists just move aside so that real Muslim feminists can get down to the real work of secularizing the Muslim world.
Muslim feminists like Asra Nomani, co-founder of the Muslim founder reform movement. In December 2016, Asra published an article with The New York Times entitled “Wearing the Hijab in Solidarity Perpetuates Oppression.” In her article, she states, “This purity culture covers, segregates, subordinates, silences, jails and kills women and girls, sexually objectifying women as vessels for honor and temptation, absolving men of personal responsibility.”
These western feminists are so worried about offending anyone or being deemed "racist” or “islamophobic” that they’ve failed to criticize the true indignite evil. These fundamentalist Islamic countries take their constitutions from biblical scripture and Muslim feminists like Asra Nomani see this as the true problem. The only true way to reform the Islamic world is to do what many of the most successful Muslim majority countries have done, and secularize government.
Everything about Islamic culture that these feminists are defending goes against everything Feminism stands for and has always historically stood for. Punishing women for the sexual violence of men. Clothing women in conservative garb regalia that conforms to the puritanical standards of the patriarchy. Demonizing the female body as a lustful object deemed sinful and profanatory. For anyone who thinks that women wear the hijab because it’s a choice and it’s a form of “empowerment”, please examine all the notable news stories in which young Muslim women have been brutally beaten and killed by male relatives for not wearing the hijab.
Feminism has always been about expressing female sexuality and celebrating the female body, not hiding it away like it’s something to be ashamed of. In the counterculture movements of the 1960s and 1970s, feminists argued that talking about female sexuality would empower women. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s continued to advocate for women’s access to sexual education, contraceptives and birth control. As recently as 2012, Lina Esco began the gender equality campaign “Free the Nipple”, arguing that women should be able to be shirtless in public in the same way that men can be.
The term “hijab” is a word, when interpreted from its Arabic meaning, that translates to barrier, position, or curtain. In Islam, it serves as a symbol of modesty to avoid sexually distracting men. Under this logic, women are sexual objects, while men are sexual maniacs unable to control their urges.
Feminism is supposed to be about defending the victims of oppression. How can they rally around a headscarf that makes it the duty of the victim to discourage their perpetrator? Is it the job of every young black man not to wear a hoodie? Should women set themselves a curfew, so as not to get caught out late at night? Should female transsexuals leave their dresses and high heels at home?
As long as we all wear curtains overs the aspects of ourselves that encourage our aggressors, we’ll never have to worry. Women will never have to worry about being raped because their sexually unappealing clothing would never beckon even the most rampant sexual predator.
Black men will never have to worry again because they’re going to stop dressing in a way that we find menacing, thus police officers won’t feel the need to shoot them. Do you understand how the logic of the hijab is flawed when you apply it in any other scenario? Under the logic of the hijab, it’s a shame the bible doesn’t demand that all those of darker complexion wear a three-piece suit at all times. As the hijab requires woman to desexualize themselves, a 24 hour three-piece suit policy would require all black men to dress in a way that is nice, warm and inviting.
Yet to follow this hijab logic would be to go against everything feminists stand for. Feminists argue all the time that to ask a rape victim what she was wearing is insensitive and casually lays the blame at the footsteps of the woman. Thus, to defend the hijab is to defend all the things that feminists claim they’re fighting against. It’s extremely hypocritical.
Notable intellectual, law professor and feminist scholar Theresa Beiner wrote brilliant paper which summarizes the feminist position in her 2007 research study entitled Sexy Dressing she said, “When I began research for this article, I expected to find many cases involving allegations that the plaintiff welcomed the sexual harassment. But sexual harassment is about power; therefore, a target who is dressed provocatively is not the ideal target for the would-be harasser, who appears motivated at least in part by his ability to dominate his victim. Provocative dress does not necessarily signify submissiveness but instead may be an indication of confidence and assertiveness.”