The Daily Beast talks to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and gets yet another scornful Dear Muslima out of her. We get it, Ayaan: you have contempt for feminists in the US. Thanks a lot for the solidarity.
There’s an argument, which I’m sure you’ve heard, that Western women face their own forms of oppression, which are different but may be just as bad, or almost as bad—
Like what? Who does the dishes at home? That’s what it boils down to: How can we balance work-life.
Of course that’s challenging. But can you imagine how far we’ve come from the points when women weren’t allowed to get out of the house, couldn’t be in public, couldn’t take public office, weren’t allowed to vote, couldn’t own their own bank accounts. Even the money they inherited wasn’t theirs, it was for the male guardians to look after. And now, [it’s], “Who loads the dishes in the dishwasher, who does the unloading?” And I think it’s still very important; I have massive fights with my husband about who does what at home. But that is more on the micro level, and it’s a luxury. And I don’t think that the government can do anything about that. What kind of law are you going to pass that says who does the dishes, who does the diapers, who looks after the children, who’s going to work and whose career is going to go up or down?
First: no, that’s not all that’s left. Far from it – or to put it another way, don’t be ridiculous.
Second: who the hell said feminism is only about what the government can do? What’s that got to do with anything? Feminism is about how everyone thinks about women, views women, makes assessments of women – everyone including, of course, women ourselves. It’s not just about laws, and never has been, not even in the first wave. There have been some feminists who focused only on laws, and there still are, but that doesn’t mean feminism itself has focused only on that or that it does (or should) now. And no, that is not trivial, it is not “the micro level” in a pejorative sense, and no it fucking is not a luxury. If a peaceful secular coup replaced the Saudi monarchy this afternoon and all the anti-woman laws were repealed, that wouldn’t mean everything was perfect, or so close to perfect that the remainder was a “luxury.”
Brandeis was wrong when it invited Ayaan HA to speak and receive an honorary degree and then grabbed the invitation and the honorary degree back, and Ayaan HA is wrong when she says US feminism is about who washes the dishes. She’s insultingly wrong, scornfully wrong, Christina Hoff Sommers wrong. Phooey.