When the white knight knows so little about his damsel in distress, how does he expect to rescue her? When she turns around and tells him to call her “Ms.” and to stop telling her what to do, will he be outraged at her ingratitude? When she says she’s quite happy wearing a traditional outfit, thank you, but could she please get maternity leave, will he snort in disgust at his charge? When she wraps her head in a veil and stands up for her Islamic prayer, will he throw up his hands at her inability to throw off Islamic slavery? When she says why thank you for your help, but I need my husband out of Guantanamo and my son out of /your/ Musharraf’s jail, and then I’d like to open a Qur’an school for girls—what will he say then? When she says she’s got her own ways of effecting the revolution, and it doesn’t involve selling out brown men to America, will he decide against trying to rescue her after all?
Shabana Mir, How Not to Rescue Muslim Women (via eibmorb)
(Source: anrawrasaurus, via nomadmanifesto)
Islamic feminism on the whole is more radical than Muslims’ secular feminisms have been. Islamic feminism insists on full equality of women and men across the public/private spectrum (secular feminists historically accepted the idea of equality in the public sphere and the notion of complementarianism in the private sphere).
From “Islamic Feminism: What’s in a Name?” by Margot Badran
Badran’s article was my introduction to the Islamic feminist movement back in 2002 and I have pretty much been obsessed ever since
By persisting in advocating secular feminist arguments that are intolerant of important religious values, secular feminists run the risk of turning patriarchal. At its most abstract level, I define patriarchy as a hierarchical system in which control flows from the top. Thus, in a patriarchal system, men oppress other men and not only women. Furthermore, the top of the pyramid in a patriarchal system could be filled with either men or women (witness Margaret Thatcher) without its patriarchal nature being changed.
If a western feminists are now vying for control of the lives of immigrant women by justifying coercive state action, then these women have not learned the lesson of history, be it colonialism, imperialism or even fascism. After all, such feminists “think that the best community is one in which all but their preferred…[gender] practices are outlawed”
From “Is Western Patriarchal Feminism Good For Third World/Minority Women?” By Azizah Al-Hibri
Repeating for emphasis:
By persisting in advocating secular feminist arguments that are intolerant of important religious values, secular feminists run the risk of turning patriarchal.
To accept feminism as a Western concept is in the last analysis to concede the most visible discourses around women’s rights and gender justice as the property of the West and to marginalize the indigenous histories of protest and resistance to patriarchy by non-Western women. Therefore I use the term “feminist” as a description of Muslim women’s activities that are aimed at transforming masculinist social structures.
Muslim women and men with feminist commitments need to navigate the terrain between being critical of sexist interpretations of Islam and patriarchy in their religious communities while simultaneously criticizing neo-colonial feminist discourses on Islam. The fact that Muslim women resist both narratives while sometimes moving between their critiques is a consequence of the way in which they are situated within this larger mineﬁeld.
Sa’diyya Shaikh, “Transforming Feminisms: Islam, Women, and Gender Justice“ (via hkubra)
Juxtaposing the “good” Muslim feminist with the “bad” Muslim terrorist helps us critique the broader frame of terror. Both these ﬁgures are, in fact, portrayed as dissenters in the War on Terror. One promotes a militant political “dissent” that is intolerable to the imperial state, and the other promotes an internal religious “dissent” that speaks in the multicultural state’s language of tolerance. Both are implicated in the notion of the native informant: the bad Muslim terrorist can be framed by an informant, and the good Muslim feminist is framed as one herself. In between and outside this binary constructed by the state and media are a range of positions that are more complex and nuanced and that would force us to take into account questions of imperialism, nationalism, gender, race, religion, and class.
“Good” and “Bad” Muslim Citizens: Feminists, Terrorists, and U.S. Orientalisms [pdf] (via kawrage)
Islamic feminism is more than a movement: it is a retrieval of the ways Islam had been practiced before and should be practiced still. It is the reclamation of the rights of women, from twisted patriarchal interpretations and mistranslations, back into the hands of the women to whom they belong. It is a return to understanding the Qur’an in the classical language in which it was delivered and ahadith in the contexts and specific conditions in which they were proclaimed, instead of through the lenses of a bigoted culture that uses them as political weapons.
Nahida at the Fatal Feminist (via muslimfeminists)
Postcolonial feminisms have worked tirelessly to highlight the complexities of identities and resistance. Let us not undo all the blood, sweat, and tears with a comfortable yet taxing regression to a binary mode of thinking. Foreign policies, exclusionary domestic politics, racist immigration laws, and wars have been formulated and launched “at the tip of the clitoris,” to borrow Elizabeth Povinelli’s expression. This is the preferred site where anxieties about national identity and cultural diversity are played out; this is where Eltahawy drives her argument of hate home. Povinelli shows that in the mid to late 1990s, debates on “genital mutilation” and clitoridectomy abounded in the Western European and American public spheres that were increasingly dealing with the presence of ethnic others. Outlawing these practices as barbaric made it possible to exclude the uncivilized other while producing the fantasy of a national civilized collective will. In the United States, the urgency that an Illinois legislature expressed around the issue in 1997, “which suggested that the Midwest was in the grip of a clitoridectomy epidemic, was perhaps rather more motivated by their anxiety that urban areas like Chicago were haunted by the Black Muslim movement.” This is not to suggest that genital mutilation and other cultural practices should not be subjected to scrutiny, nor to accuse, as some did, Eltahawy of merely performing for a Western audience. These are discussions we should necessarily be having, in both local and international public fora. However, holding up the clipped bundle of nerves to public scrutiny is not an answer. It is only when we start looking beneath the nerve endings to identify the roots and layers of our multiple oppressions that we can begin to ask the right questions; and the best answers, to be sure, lie beneath the tip of the clitoris.
Politics at the Tip of the Clitoris: Why, in Fact, Do They Hate Us? via Jadaliyya
Sara Mourad begins her piece with a relevant point:
What baffles me most about Mona Eltahawy’sForeign Policy article is that it does not accomplish the task it sets out for itself; it does not, in fact, answer its foundational question: Why do they hate us?