Hiba Krisht, aka Marwa Berro of Between a Veil and a Dark Place and The Ex-hijabi photo fashion journal* made a very interesting point in an online discussion which I’m not going to link to because it’s an essay that she should publish, but she gave me permission to quote from it. (Anything in brackets is my connecting material.)
She was addressing what one might call the Dear Muslima fallacy:
[being] able to see or willing to condemn oppressive Islamic practices only insofar as they are blatant, obvious, and monstrous, insofar as they make the news with the enormity of their crime, and the scope of his condemnation does not transcend the scope of the actions. To him it’s not about the pervasive, the poison of a culture steeped in casual misogyny and homophobia. It’s not about the every-day tensions and struggles and silencing and denigration within Muslim lives.
It’s not, in other words, about the kind of thing we were talking about when we were so rudely and roughly interrupted by Dear Muslima itself. It’s not about the ordinary commonplace humdrum disregard for women and instrumental attitude toward them that allows some men to think it’s fine to request them for sex whenever the thought strikes. It’s about the less dramatic but infinitely more pervasive everyday ways of thinking and acting, that Dear Muslima types dismiss as “victim” feminism.
…the fact of the matter is that the raging violence, the enormous crimes , the lack of education and advancement that Dawkins loves to talk about are rooted in the cultural attitudes, are rooted in the rampant, rote, routine dehumanization built into Muslim cultures, stems FROM those things, is a *symptom* of them. How can we talk about FGM or honor violence without talking about sex-stigma, slut-shaming, and girls being viewed as flawed, whorish, shameful, objects of discord? When those are the root motivations for FGM and crimes of honor, their causes?
We can’t, just as we can’t for instance talk about the Steubenville rape or Jada without talking about rape culture and double standards and misogyny. That’s not “victim” feminism; it’s trying to tackle the whole subject as opposed to only the most conspicuous eruptions of it.
*She’s no longer veiling her name, in fact she’s going very public with it this very weekend, and even more so any day now.
Anthony K says
If the quotes are representative, I completely understand why you want her to publish the piece. Thanks, Ophelia.
Anthony K says
Well put yourself.
If there’s an analogy to be made with religious belief that movement atheists might understand, it’s akin to the fundamental culture of non-reason that undergirds theology. For instance, the homophobia of the religious right is a symptom, not the disease itself. That is, if I’m understanding correctly.
Bjarte Foshaug says
This is something that Laura Bates of the Everyday Sexism Project has often emphasized. The ideas and attitudes about women that underlie the stuff Dawkins wants us to shut up about are the same ideas and attitudes about women that underlie the “blatant, obvious, and monstrous” stuff of the kind that Dear Muslima is going through:
Excellent piece and details how Dawkins really does speak like an arrogant ass. His pronouncements on culture are as well-informed as a creationist’s on evolutionary biology.