(This column may be found on Examiner.com)
Recently, Muslim women from around the globe gathered in Paris to protest what they astutely recognize as the misogyny of Sharia. They protested it by disrobing. These are the same women whose community tells them how and when to breathe.
For those who don’t yet know, Sharia refers to Islamic law. It is the legal mechanism through which women are subjected to:
–female genital mutilation (the excision of the clitoris by knife, razor, or any other un-sterilized, available sharp object)
–loose, black clothing that covers their entire bodies, even including their eyes
–a deprivation of their reproductive rights
–acid burns (particularly of the face)
Joined by world-renowned Iranian human rights activist Mariam Namazi, much-admired Lebanese actress Darina Al Jondy, and well-respected French-Arab feminist Safia Lebdi, these empowered women struck fear into the hearts of millions of women-hating heathens who call themselves devout Muslims. These backwards Muslims view female bodies and sexuality with shame and disgust.
Not so to the women there and those of us here who support them.
What these progressive, courageous women communicated—and in no uncertain terms, bless their hearts—was that their bodies were their own. As a result, they’d do with them precisely as they wished.
What are the implications of this bold, heroic act? Here are a few. All are unthinkable to the murderous opposition.
What they asserted was that women are allowed to:
–have—and enjoy!—sex (with any adult they like, too)
–expose their hair (gasp!) and bodies without being held responsible for the lascivious, and often perverse, thoughts of men
–take up as much space as they like, even, and especially, in the public square
–speak when, how and where they see fit
Now you see why the people who dominate the political, religious, educational and legal landscapes all over the Arab world and other Muslim countries are so horrified (I’m certain the fatwas have already been issued). They believe a woman’s place is in the home, barefoot and pregnant (with males, of course–females are liabilities)—that she shouldn’t speak unless spoken to, etc. Essentially, according to fanatical Muslim men, we gals exist only to satisfy their every need.
I don’t think so.
Muslim fanatics are wrong, and instead of cowering in fear because of the widespread (and old) allegations of Islamophobia that will inevitably follow any kind of critique whatsoever of the faith today, these brave souls are speaking up.
In short, they’re telling radicals to take their hypersensitivity and shove it.
The same people Islamic fundamentalists are convinced are emotionally unstable, weak and unqualified to do anything other than spread their legs, cook and clean are exercising authority over their own bodies. This horrifies ultra conservative, ultra religious men. It always has. It’s because they know what will follow; they’ve seen it transpire in America and Europe. Women then start living with confidence, demanding sexual satisfaction, winning elections, running successful businesses and, ultimately, rebuking them for their pathetic and outdated attempts to degrade us.
For years, I’ve said change within the Muslim community will come only from its women. For years, I’ve been right. These men, generally narcissistic and unintelligent, won’t voluntarily give up a framework that benefits them in every way. Women must fight for it.
Muslim women are, and have been, the victims; they are the most consistently oppressed under the increasingly radical and conservative interpretations of the faith. They are the ones with little to lose and everything to gain. Unless and until more and more Muslim women protest like these Muslim women did, misogyny will continue to reign supreme in Islam. It needn’t, and shouldn’t, be that way.
Congratulations, ladies; job well done. Grab those knuckle-dragging Neanderthals by their hideous beards and drag them into the twenty first century. Bare your breasts, toss your hair, cause a disruption, and, while you’re at it, be sure to get photographed with a thick, long, all-pork hot dog in your mouth; that’ll really piss ‘em off.