I must have been draped on the chaise longue having a case of the vapors when the new rules about proper couture were handed down by the Uber Fems, that exclusive club of
shrews wise females whose sole purpose is to advise us on how to dress, act, and think.
That’s how I almost missed reading Naomi Wolf’s philosophy about women’s clothing and Islam. Don’t forget, Wolf is the advisor to Al Gore who infamously urged him to go the Alpha Male route if he wanted to prevail over George Bush in the 2000 election.
The Baron approached me on my bed of pain, a printout in his hand. Eyeing the pages I asked warily, “What’s this? More Muslim women in distress? I don’t think I can take on any extra suffering right now”.
“Oh, not at all,” he said. “This is just the confirmation of what we’d predicted years ago: that Western feminists were going to writhe their way past any responsibility for speaking up on behalf of Muslim women by proclaiming that Islam was better for women than the wicked West ever was. One of these feminists makes her case, such as it is, here.”
And with that, he put Wolf’s essay from the Sydney Morning Herald on the table nearby, anchoring it down with my bottle of pain medicine. Better the thing should have been carried away on the September breeze. Such a load of malarkey for the poor Aussies to digest while drinking their morning coffee. One can only hope the Morning Herald didn’t pay her for this piffle.
Want a bit of cant with your caffeine? Try this bizarre slice of other-worldly bitchery pie:
Ideological battles are often waged with women’s bodies as their emblems, and Western Islamophobia is no exception.
Say wha?? I can hear Marx laughing now. You know, the Greeks had it wrong. The story of Narcissus should have been Narcissa. Western feminist orthodoxy has been utterly self-absorbed ever since spoiled middle class academic women grabbed the idea of equality and distorted it into a Frankensteinian monster only those girls in The Uber Fem Club could love. For the rest of us, they made of women’s legitimate aspirations something ugly and repellent. We were reduced to prefacing genuine concerns with “I’m not a feminist, but…”
These unbalanced propagandists made women’s hopes and aspirations a laughing stock, or at least that’s the usual case. In the ivory towers where these hybrid mandarins reside it can be downright dangerous to step on one of the Uber Fem’s orthodoxies. And believe me, they have more rigid rules than any other religion ever dreamed of nailing to the church door. Just ask Larry Summers. Ever since he got the Abelard treatment ol’ Larry hasn’t needed to shave.
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My own Islamophobia arises from a revulsion against the atrocities Muslims perform against the innocent in the name of Allah. Blowing up buses full of school children? Silencing any form of music or art or laughter? Killing in the name of “honor”? Sexual predation against little boys and animals? Deceit as a form of piety? Death to anyone who leaves the fold? Death to anyone not already in the fold?
Get a grip, Ms. Wolf. The subjugation of women is only a small part of Islam’s pathology. You’ve never submitted to anything in your life, yet one day you put on a shalwar kameez, stroll through the bazaar and, suddenly, you get it:
…some of the warmth I encountered was probably from the novelty of seeing a Westerner so clothed; but, as I moved about the market – the curve of my breasts covered, the shape of my legs obscured, my long hair not flying about me – I felt a novel sense of calm and serenity. I felt, yes, in certain ways, free.
Hey, lady. Try putting on a pants suit and tying your hair back out of your face: instant freedom in your culture. Not only that, but if you’re raped on the way back from your stroll, you won’t need to find four Muslim males to testify for you. And if those four stalwarts don’t show up, at least you won’t be buried up to your neck before being stoned to death for
having a vagina the sin of adultery.
Ah, yes…the freedom of Muslim women. Tell that one to the ghosts of the millions of Muslim women through the ages who have died at the hands of Muslim men for their purported crimes. Your notions would be amusing were they not so lethal.
Here’s Ms. Wolf’s take on Western Christianity’s view of sex:
The Western Christian tradition portrays all sexuality, even married sexuality, as sinful. Islam and Judaism never had that same kind of mind-body split. So, in both cultures, sexuality channeled into marriage and family life is seen as a source of great blessing, sanctioned by God.
Obviously this woman has never read any of the Western Christian marriage rituals. Look at this one from the medieval English, either the Sarum or York version, in which the bride says:
BRIDE’S VOW: I ___________ take thee___________ to my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to be bonny and buxom at bed and at board, to love and to cherish, till death us depart, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereunto I plight thee my troth.
Fortunately for Western Christian women, they were never required to move over and make room for Brides Two, Three and Four. But then I presume Ms. Wolfe would lecture us that polygamy is superior because women aren’t left lonely and isolated at home with only their children for company. They get to take care of Number One Wife’s children, too.
Here’s another jaw-dropping piece of idiocy:
When Americans were being prepared for the invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban were demonised for denying cosmetics and hair colour to women; when the Taliban were overthrown, Western writers often noted that women had taken off their scarves.
So Americans, being stupid sheep, saw the Taliban as bad for denying women cosmetics? How about the killing of women teachers, the rules against women leaving their homes for any reason, the demand that schools for girls close and that females remain illiterate?
How about the victims of the Taliban who literally dug up their musical instruments after the Taliban were defeated? Or the joy of little girls on their way to school? Or women learning ways to make a living under the strictures of Islam?
Naomi Wolfe is not a thinker. She is a simplifier, a reductionist, a propagandist who has been living on the fumes of thought for so long that she really believes the stuff she makes up. How else to explain her stories, her anecdotes about Muslim women grooving on Victoria’s Secret trash in the harem, her utterly bizarre conclusions about Islamic marital culture?
As a child in Catholic school I was taught that marriage is a vocation to which one is called so the idea was to shut up and listen for that calling. A concomitant idea was that marriage was not the only calling. I was also taught that sex was great but you’d better wait for marriage because otherwise things could get real complicated.
No one ever said sex was evil, though Sister Benignus did hint that she got a better deal when she entered the convent. These insinuations were always contradicted by her laying a holy card on each desk she passed. On the back of each card was a prayer to Saint Anne. Supposedly the mother of the Blessed Virgin (and the wife of Saint Joachim) Anne was the patron saint of happy marriages. On rainy days, at recess, we’d invariably end up in the chapel lighting a votive candle and pulling out that prayer to Saint Anne. Couldn’t hurt to get started on our petitions early.
Ms. Wolf is herself enmeshed in the strange sexual mores she projects onto others. How else can one explain her advice to Al Gore to become an alpha male, advice for which she received a $15,000.00 monthly retainer? So…does Mr. Global Warming look like an Alpha Male to you?
Phyllis Chesler pulls on Ms. Wolf’s hairy chin-chin in her response to this wrong-headed, silly essay. In taking her to task, Ms. Chesler mentions a phenomenon that crossed my mind while reading Wolf’s gushing admiration of truly “free” Muslim women. Some of you may remember this event when it was current.
I refer to Marabel Morgan, whom Ms. Chesler compares to Wolf:
Now that Wolf is no longer the doe-eyed ingénue of yesteryear, she sees the advantage of not being on view at all times. A Westerner, “playing” Muslim-dress up, Wolf claims that hiding in plain view gave her “a novel sense of calm and serenity. I felt, yes, in certain ways, free.” In addition, Wolf believes that the marital sex is hotter when women “cover” and reveal their faces and bodies only to their husbands.
Marabel Morgan lives! In the mid-1970s, Morgan advised wives to greet their husbands at the door wearing sexy clothing and/or transparent saran wrap with only themselves underneath. Her book, Total Woman, sold more than ten million copies. According to Morgan, a Christian, “It’s only when a woman surrenders her life to her husband, reveres and worships him and is willing to serve him, that she becomes really beautiful to him.”
The advice about dressing in Saran Wrap was ummm…riveting. Certainly it was the most memorable part of that tome. I believe some of Marabel’s critics called her book “The Totaled Woman”.
Ms. Chesler has written a fine response to this inane drivel. She asks:
…Is Wolfe thoroughly unfamiliar with the news coming out of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan on these very subjects? Has she forgotten the tragic, fiery deaths of those schoolgirls in Saudi Arabia who, in trying to flee their burning schoolhouse, were improperly veiled and who were beaten back by the all-powerful Saudi Morality Police?
Her analyses regarding Wolf’s motivations are probably all too sadly true. The Saudis corrupt everything, and certainly Wolf has proved before that she can be bought. In that, she is no different than many other liberals in this country.
What a pathetic group.