Over at Brussels Journal, Fjordman has an essay which describes how feminism leads to the oppression of women.
He’s right, of course. I sneaked away from “feminists” the same way I backed off from academia, though I had originally thought to make my intellectual home in both places. The former proved more doctrinaire than any fundamentalist religion I’d ever encountered, and the latter — academia — was a pit of vipers. Giving up both of these endeavors was disappointing. I wondered how I would ever find a community of intellectuals outside the ivory towers.
But intellectual curiosity and honest inquiry have long been banned from university circles anyway. The recent emasculation and crucifixion of Larry Summers in order to make room for the ascendancy of radical feminist Drew Gilpin Faust to his chair as president of Harvard is evidence enough that academic feminists are consumed with their own narrow orthodoxy. The similarity of their methods to those of the Inquisition (leaving aside the physical torture) are instructive. No one may flourish within their precincts who has not first surrendered her free will and submitted to the relativist and utopian world view — the only permitted ideology in the ghetto of the rad fems.
The silence of the professional feminists in the face of the barbarities of Islam regarding women has long been a source of wonder — if not disgust — for regular folks. We keep waiting for them to speak out on behalf of women who suffer slave status in Muslim theocracies. There has been only silence…or even worse, a disturbing preoccupation with trivialities like the Vagina Monologues or the rage against those who dare to disagree with their victim whingeing. The decades-old complaint about gender inequity has been transformed into a full-fledged deep hatred of men that makes these upper middle-class women look like spoiled, overprivileged narcissists.
The elected women in Congress are a good example this narrow self-absorption, the kind that follows in the wake of setting oneself up as a victim…in this case, of course, women are the victims of patriarchy. Yawn. In his essay, “Are Female Politicians Other-Centered,” Carey Roberts points out a few gaps between the rhetoric and the reality of these girls:
A few years ago Marie Wilson, director of the White House Project, made the remarkable claim that female politicians lead “from an other-centered perspective,” while those Neanderthal male pols tend to be “self-centered.”
I admit this came as news to me, but if it’s true, perhaps we should dispense with the formalities and anoint Hillary as the next Commander-in-Chief. That way we can enjoy the morning newspaper for the next couple years without being subjected to all the electioneering falderal.
In the past, whenever the Women of Woe invoked the cause of female liberation, we were expected to reflexively nod our heads in rapt agreement. Maybe it’s time to put some of their pronouncements under the microscope.
So are female politicos, in fact, “other-centered”?
It took Mr. Roberts a bit of digging, but he eventually found what the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues had to brag about. It was all in the contents of a report on the “accomplishments” of this august group during the 108th Congress. You can guess the dreary, predictable results. Mr. Roberts peruses the report:
Hmmmm. Education and Athletics, International Women’s Issues, Violence Against Women, Women’s Health, Women’s History, Women in the Military, and Women in the Workplace.
Looks pretty one-sided to me. Maybe the other-centered stuff is buried inside.
So on page 14 I read, “A bipartisan effort by the Women’s Caucus leadership succeeded in tripling U.S. contributions for programs supporting women and girls overseas through the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).”
Fine, but what about needy boys around the world?
Like the teenage boys in Africa who have become night commuters so they aren’t kidnapped and pressed into military combat. And all the boys in Afghanistan who were sent out to tend the goat herd, only to lose a limb to unexploded ordnance. And the 2,000 young boys from Bangladesh taken from their homes to work as camel jockeys in the Persian Gulf — are they less deserving of our compassion and largess?
The truth is, the Women’s Caucus comes across like any other narrow interest group, pretending the male half of the world doesn’t exist.
Well, just look at that! These intrepid fighters for truth and justice tripled U.S. contributions to the UN for programs which support women. We all know how effective that will be. Congratulations, girls.
Then, Mr. Roberts turns to the distaff side. What are men doing for themselves, precisely? What has the men’s caucus lined up?
The Congressional Men’s Caucus must be just as self-serving as the Women’s Caucus. Right?
Actually, there is no “Men’s Caucus.” Why? Because it never occurs to male politicians to single out men’s issues for special attention.
Look at the two major pieces of domestic legislation that the Daddy Party has enacted over the last 6 years: No Child Left Behind and the Medicare Drug Benefit. No Child Left Behind is designed to help children struggling to get an education in inner-city schools. And you guessed it, the Medicare Drug program predominantly benefits women.
In her acceptance speech as first female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi proudly exclaimed, “Never losing faith, we worked to redeem the promise of America, that all men and women are created equal. For our daughters and granddaughters, today we have broken the marble ceiling.”
As “Mimi” Pelosi spoke those words, her five grandsons were standing at her side with a slightly confused expression. The thought crossed my mind that compared to girls, her grandsons were at greater danger of having lower grades, falling behind in school, and never going to college.
One can only wonder whether the indelicate reality of our boys at risk has ever tweaked the conscience of Madame Speaker.
One can also wonder at the size of the conscience of Madame Speaker. Is it one of those things you need a magnifying glass and tweezers to find? Is it any more than a mere splinter in her vaulting ambition?
I have often mentioned the unholy alliance between academia and politics, especially where feminism is concerned. Fjordman brings to the table Dr. Wairimu Njambi, assistant professor of (gag) “Women’s Studies” at Florida Atlantic University, also known as “Florida Atlantic Terror University” for its links to Hamas and its militant Islamist students and professors.
Dr. Njambi, however, is a special case. She advocates female genital mutilation. Here is how Ari Kaufman describes her work:
Dr. Wairimu Njambi is an Assistant Professor of “Women’s Studies” at the Florida Atlantic University Wilkes Honors College, a feminist, and an apologist for some of the misogynistic cruelties perpetrated against women.
Much of her scholarship, for instance, is dedicated to advancing the notion that the cruel practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is actually a triumph for feminism and that it is hateful to suggest otherwise. According to Njambi “anti-FGM discourse perpetuates a colonialist assumption by universalizing a particular western image of a ‘normal’ body and sexuality.”
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Calling Njambi’s endeavors “scholarship” stretches the meaning of the word to irrelevance. Most of her students loathe her:
On the day that students filled out evaluations of her course Njambi told them point-blank: “I know a lot of you are not thrilled with some of the content in this course and with my views. But I am letting you know now that I will not change.” Not surprisingly, many students went on to describe her course as “the worst class I have ever taken.”
Unfortunately, there are male academics willing to climb aboard her absurd train of thought. And journalism students who are willing to report enthusiastically on the results. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Patchwork, a “Social Activism Magazine” described a lecture given by Professor Robert Daniels, a supporter of Njambi’s monumental ignorance (or denial, perhaps, given that she herself had to undergo this barbarous “ritual”). As you read his ideas, realize that we have reached, finally, the demonic convergence, we have come to the dark side – Feminislam. It took long enough, but here it is. The fems won’t be standing up for their oppressed sisters after all. Instead they’re rooting for the oppressors. It would be funny were the gropings of these strange bedfellows not so horrifying:
“Female Genital Mutilation is a prejudicial term,” he said. “To speak of these practices only as operations or mutilations is like speaking of making the sign of the cross on someone’s forehead on Ash Wednesday as ‘soiling the face’ or speaking of a fraternity branding as ‘mutilating the upper arm,’” said Daniels.
How’s that for an evil reductio ad absurdum? Ashes on the forehead don’t leave in their wake ruined bodies, fistulas, urinary incontinence, and all the other miseries that result from an extremely painful, germ-laden procedure done on a five year old without benefit of anesthesia.
He isn’t finished with this anthropological lecture, however:
Circumcision is a deeply embedded right [sic] of passage in Africa. It is a central ritual that defines social roles in families, communities, marriage-systems, a person’s self-identity and self-worth, said Daniels.
He’s absolutely right. It does indeed “define roles…marriage systems…self-worth, etc.” But what rôles are we talking about here? The one where the victims of failed mutilations live in back rooms, dribbling urine and unable to function? Has this obviously ignorant man bothered to research the sequelae of botched clitoridectomies?
Obviously not, since he doesn’t even distinguish among the various forms of female genital mutilation. Here is a description of the Pharaonic type, thought to have been practiced by the Egyptians during the period of the Pharaohs:
Infibulation involves extensive tissue removal of the external genitalia, including all of the labia minora and the inside of the labia majora, leaving a raw open wound. The labia majora are then held together using thorns or stitching and the girl’s legs are tied together for two — six weeks, to prevent her from moving and allow the healing of the two sides of the vulva. Nothing remains of the normal anatomy of the genitalia, except for a wall of flesh from the pubis down to the anus, with the exception of a pencil-size opening at the inferior portion of the vulva to allow urine and menstrual blood to pass through… This type of FGC is often carried out by an elderly matron or midwife of the village on girls between the ages of two and six, without anaesthetic and under unhygienic conditions.
A reverse infibulation can be performed to allow for sexual intercourse (often by the husband using a knife on the wedding night) or when undergoing labor, or by female relatives, whose responsibility it is to inspect the wound every few weeks and open it some more if necessary. During childbirth, the enlargement is too small to allow vaginal delivery, and so the infibulation must be opened completely and restored after delivery. Once again, the legs are tied together to allow the wound to heal, and the procedure is repeated for each subsequent act of intercourse or childbirth. When childbirth takes place in a hospital, the surgeons may preserve the infibulation by enlarging the vagina with deep episiotomies. Afterwards, the patient may insist that her vagina be closed again so that her husband does not reject her.
This practice is reported to cause the disappearance of sexual pleasure for the women affected, as well as major medical complications, although advocates of the practice deny this, and continue to carry it out.
So this is what little girls have done to them when they are small enough to be held down. And they, in turn, continue to undergo mind-boggling pain in order not to be rejected. Pain rather than death. Pain rather than being abandoned by one’s family. Where is the free will in that? What shreds of dignity or self-worth can a woman retain under these conditions? According to this professor, it is Tradition, and we shouldn’t intervene:
We should object and intervene when some people are destroying others, as in Darfur. There are more than enough cases of that within our own social and political system, and those in which we can have some effective influence.
“The cutting in each case removes our inherent androgynies, taking away the most feminine aspects of boys’ genitalia and the most masculine aspects of girls’ genitalia, so that we are truly made men and women,” Daniels said.
So he equates the removal of male foreskin with the excision of female genitalia?? These are the ramblings of a moral pygmy. Or is that a politically incorrect statement, too? I certainly hope so. After all, to notice that a tribe of people is short and to use that characteristic as a metaphor is obviously insensitive. Professor Daniels, on the other hand, is exquisitely sensitive. As he says, “there are more than enough cases of that within our own social and political system”…though whatever that is can only be surmised. Perhaps he means those fundamentalists who don’t permit dancing, or who protest the national abortion laws? Of course — the moral equation between those and the practice of infibulation is so plain, isn’t it? And while we’re at it, let’s have a round of applause for the Emperor’s new tailor. His diaphanous robes are cutting edge couture, no?
Unfortunately, the good Professor isn’t quite done:
Daniels referred to a feminist critique by Wairimu Njambi, a circumcised woman, to support his argument.
“Anti-FGM discourse perpetuates a colonialist assumption by universalizing a particular western image of a ‘normal’ body and sexuality,” Njambi wrote.
“This discourse includes not only a missionizing Christian bias, but also a Western sexist bias by considering women’s issues as separable from men’s,” Daniels said.
Daniels critiqued the common feminist notion that the rituals are an extreme form of male oppression.
“If one says they are examples of male oppression, does that mean that most or all the women in these societies are not only victims but agents in their own victimization?”
Cutting through the undergrowth of femspeak, that’s exactly what it means! How hard is this phenomenon to understand? Traumatize a five year old and she’ll do whatever she has to do as she grows up to remain a member of the group.
I’d love to see a debate between Njambi and Hirsi Ali. Both survivors of genital mutilation, they have assigned entirely opposite meanings to their experience.
I leave it to you to decide which one is sane…and humane.
Meanwhile, the clueless Professor Daniels, “educated” beyond his abilities, leaves us with this thought:
Cultural relativity does not say that all human behavior is just or justified, but it does say that we have to entertain the possibility that other ways of life may be equally valid ways to be human, that the “natives” are not simply ignorant and need our enlightenment, but that perhaps they know what they are doing as much as we do.