In this post I intend to debunk the feminist myth so succinctly expressed by Amani Awwad as follows:
“This struggle for power is reflected in the way society constructs the appropriate gender roles for men and women. Femininity and masculinity as constructed and integrated into society give men complete power and control and, at the same time, take power away from women and impose a reality on women which they had no part in constructing or are even allowed to challenge, rendering them powerless.”
Nothing new here. As some have pointed out, feminism is essentially Marxism adjusted for gender where Patriarchy/Men are substituted for bourgeoisie and women substitute the oppressed worker class. In her paper GOSSIP, SCANDAL, SHAME AND HONOR KILLING: A CASE FOR SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONISM AND HEGEMONIC DISCOURSE, Muslim feminist Amani Awwad attempts to deconstruct Honour killings (in a middle eastern context) from a socio-historical perspective. Like most feminist literature, 20% of the paper is devoted to analysis while the remainder is devoted to the noble endeavour of male bashing. The paper can be downloaded here.
What solipsistic feminists like Awwad fail to address is the role of female participation in the patriarchal system that they so passionately decry. As I stated in a previous article , it is women that play a disproportionate role in preserving the culture of any society, not men. This goes doubly for the various cultural elements that are frequently subject to feminist criticism. For instance, while Awwad notes that gossiping and rumor-mongering are social mechanisms designed to control female behaviour, she fails to note that these slut shamming mechanisms were (are) largely employed by Middle Eastern women themselves. Arab women would routinely use gossip with the foreknowledge that their handiwork would quite likely get one of their sisters killed. Lets look at a historical example. When the Prophet Muhammad’s honour was threatened by an allegation of adultery leveled against his wife Aisha, it soon became apparent that one of the chief rumor spreaders was the woman Hamna bint Jash (sister of Muhammad’s other wife Zainab bint Jash). But why would women participate and perpetuate a system that worked against their interests? Feminists have long agonized over this paradox but the answer remains lodged in plain sight: It is because these women were never brainwashed into believing that their interests weren’t aligned to those of their husbands and brothers. In middle eastern societies, ‘Face’ was linked to honour, and honour was liked to prestige. Tribes commanding prestige gained access to scarce resources, just as the prestigious and powerful Quresh tribe gained control of the mercantile city of Mecca. Arab women placed the good of their respective tribes over their own and thus participated in actions aimed at enhancing the prestige of their tribes. Nobody felt the sting of the Quresh’s defeat at Badr more than the wives of the defeated warriors. It was Hind who persuaded her husband Abu Sufyan to launch another campaign against Muhammad’s forces at Uhud, where the Quresh were finally victorious. Hind and her female cronies then marched across the battlefield and dutifully mutilated the fallen Muslim warriors by gouging out their eyes and ears and arranging them into necklaces and garlands. The women stood by their men.
Before I continue, I’d like to briefly pause and address the nagging doubt that is undoubtedly building up in your minds. I do not endorse honour killings, and I find the practice to be barbaric and morally reprehensible. I was merely pointing out that in non feminist and functioning patriarchal cultures, women nurture culture rather than undermine it.
Lets turn our focus to South Asia. A striking feature of honour killings in south Asia is the extent of female participation and complicity in this grotesque custom. When Sunita Singh was murdered by her family (as reported by Reuters in 2008), her unrepentant mother had this to say:“My daughter’s action made us aliens in our own land. But we have managed to redeem our honor. She paid for her ill-gotten action.” To the honour obsessed peasant cultures of south Asia, Honour trumps human life; and peasant women stand by their men in protecting this most sacred intangible asset. In another incident, 19 year old Vandana was murdered by her Mother and sister who smashed her skull with an axe. She was also shot by her father. Incidents like these fly beneath the feminist radar for women must never be held up to any standards whatsoever.
In conclusion I’d like to state that the feminist myth of female subjugation falls apart when viewed from a critical and dispassionate historical perspective. Patriarchy was certainly good for women and women have historically acknowledged this by playing their part in preserving this ”oppressive order.” Feminism can only exist as a counter worldview to patriarchy in the same way as atheism would be incomprehensible when not paired against the worldviews of religion. As such, both of these ideologies lack substance and contribute very little to the betterment of mankind. Its about time we turned the tables of deconstruction on these feminist scum.