Our Israeli correspondent MC takes a hard look at the “gender” front of the current Culture Wars that plague the Western World.
I suppose the most abhorrent thing about Islam is it treatment of women, and in particular, the obsession with so-called ‘modesty’ which places the woman in a black trash bag to hide her from sight.
Being male, I find women attractive, but my social conditioning demands that I approach women within a fairly strict, culturally-based code of conduct. I come from a family of boys, four of them, and my first contact with girls was at the gentle age of 5 when I went to school and discovered that girls were confusing, but the (female) teachers even more so.
Boys played football and girls played netball. Boys did ‘craft’ and girls did knitting. At that point girls were just creatures who wore different clothes, skipped, and did not like swearing, and there was another big secret: apparently their bottoms were ‘different’.
It was also drummed into me that men were always civil and well-mannered to women and girls, and that they were also responsible for the safety of any of the girls in their immediate vicinity.
The 1950’s were a genteel era to grow up in.
I suppose the first thing I learned about Islam was the idea that women always walked behind their husbands/fathers/brothers. This struck me as a bit pathetic.
One thing I had learned in school was that, on average, there were more clever girls than boys, but that the boys were at the extremes. The girls on the whole could do everything that we boys did, and often, did it better — the girls could run faster and jump higher.
That mothers were women made them a vital part of a boy’s life, and respect for Mum meant that one also had an innate respect for all mums. How could a man demean a woman? It was just not logical.
Of course, as I grew up some of the mysteries were revealed, and new ones became apparent. I had my first crush, which I did not really understand; I found the girl attractive, but she found my older brother more attractive and used me as a conduit to him.
Like Popeye the sailor, I was confused…
My mother had wanted a daughter and got four boys instead. Her mother was one of those people who see boys as princes and girls as house-elves. So Mum overcompensated, an easy thing to do as a parent: she put females on a pedestal, a state not at all conducive to future relationships. My mother had also used the emotional blackmail against us that we were responsible for Dad’s next promotion, and that if we misbehaved, the Navy would get to hear about it and dad would be passed over.
At the time we were in Singapore. It was the “Indonesian confrontation” and Dad was one of the few techies who could make the antiquated gunnery radars work. Dad was gazetted for Lieutenant Commander and went for the mandatory medical — he failed; cancer; he had been exposed to too much radiation. I was 14; I was doing well at school, and had friends for the first time in my life. That life evaporated, Dad hung on for nine months; then I was fatherless.
I think bereaved children get a sort of PTSD, a shock and a fear for the future. because Dad was an officer it was assumed that Mum was educated upper middle class, and that family would ‘support’ her (and us). Wrong — she was a Catholic girl from the council estate, one of a family of twelve children.
So we became ‘poor middle class’, neither one thing nor the other.
Into this mix came the feminist revolution. For me, the first sign had been the 1966 Advanced Party report, which changed ‘Boy Scouts’ from an organization for boys to ‘Scouts’, an organization for budding socialist sissies. Slowly we were feminized, no more the wild almost unsupervised adventures, more and more the idea of fully risk-assessed ‘expeditions’. My treasured ‘Sailing Charge’ was revoked, I had to get an external (government recognized) re-qualification which I could not afford — I was de-qualified at the stroke of a bureaucratic pen. I had been sailing and messing about in boats since I was 10. I could swim well; I could row, sail, navigate and read a chart, but suddenly it all counted for naught.
These were the opening shots of the feminista coup, but we did not recognize that at the time.
The feminista did nothing for the girls. The Girl Guides were not reformed and continued to be ‘protected’; they were impossible to work with, they were regulated to such an extent that even the colour of their knickers was specified. There was no ‘liberation’ there.
This was the way things went. Rather than create ‘equality’ by enhancing the lives and opportunities of the girls, the feminists were only interested in attacking the boys and reducing them to wimps.
To me, it is significant that the first point of attack was the Boy Scouts, at a time when a huge percentage of young males came under its influence. It was an autonomous organization with para-military overtones, and a beginner pool for intake of young officers and NCOs into the military. All three armed services sponsored various activities and donated specialist equipment and in return, filled their ranks with the product.
Thus it was a prime target for leftist feminists, and they succeeded: the boys that would have been boys became boys that would be girls. And the girls who would be boys had a field day out. They may have become Scouts, but they never became boys, they just became a burden. No more going behind a friendly tree, loo stops had to be planned in advance. If one puts girls and boys together, they will get up to mischief. Responsible male adult supervision and leadership became fraught with difficulties, and the men left the room.
The attack adumbrated the subsequent de-legitimization of British society, the move to external sovereignty, the dilution with alien cultures; all familiar tactics.
Don’t get me wrong — there is nothing wrong with girls joining in with boyish behaviours, but it would have been better to allow occasional combined activities rather than to feminize the boys’ world. To consolidate their feminist equality claims, ‘Scouts’ were forced to open their doors to girls, which basically totally obliterated the ‘boy’ culture.
Meanwhile the feminista did nothing for the ‘girl’ culture, that was never their intention.
When I was at University in the early 70’s there were two ‘feminist’ movements, one, which was called the Women’s Liberation Workshop, promoted equality before the law and the emancipation of women from traditionally sexist behavior — an admirable cause. Then there were the bra-burners, the ones who were aggressively pushing female superiority by delegitimizing the male, but at the same time aping male behaviour.
I have not heard of the Women’s Lib Workshop since, but the aggressive feminists stole the stage from their somewhat more rational sisters. These particular Feminists should really be called the masculinists, their policy being in the main to reverse the sexual makeup of the establishment, but only for women like themselves: college educated upper middle class female bullies. Real women, and especially married mothers, were of no interest to them.
There are many glass ceilings in this world, but the feminists chose one particular one which just happened to be relevant to upper middleclass college educated women. Strange, that. Women still are underrepresented in executive positions in business, but then so are those without college degrees, including the men.
It is ‘old money’ which is well represented, and one doubts that ‘old money’ females really want to be bothered with boards. Feminists, whilst claiming to represent women, achieved nothing but self-aggrandizement, and did absolutely nothing for those women who really needed help: the single mothers struggling to bring up children, the young girls forced into mutilation of their private parts, the young teenagers kidnapped and forced into unwanted marriages with men old enough to be their fathers or grandfathers. The lonely young girls, abandoned to be groomed and prostituted by rape gangs, the girls murdered because they had a date with a boy not of their parent’s choosing.
The feminists are strangely quiet about the real issues facing females, especially those that might be called girls.
And then there is the contraceptive pill. The pill constitutes an abuse of the female body because it messes around with the natural cycles. We still do not know what the long-term physical effects of the pill will be, but the falling birth rates alone may be terminal to our civilization. The pill puts a girl in charge of her sexuality, but at what age is this appropriate? At what age is a child ready to take responsibility for the risks presented by sexual activity even though the risk of unwanted pregnancy is removed? Are pre-teens emotionally mature enough to say ‘No’? That is, what eleven-year-old on the pill cannot be groomed? The pill is not a maintenance-free install-and-forget option. Behind the hormones is a vulnerable child who needs the protection (and supervision) of a loving family and a society that actually hears her cries for help.
To put a woman in charge of her sexuality is also to remove responsibility from the male, so when the accidents happen, whose fault is it? Who picks up the (very expensive) bill? Or do we pressure the mother to just murder the foetus and live with the guilt for the rest of her life?
In all things there is a physical dimension and a spiritual dimension. Women feel the spiritual more than most males, and it can come out as feelings of guilt.
Women, it seems, can be a girl’s
best friend worst enemy. I have always found that women are very hard, even cruel, to each other, with high expectations of other females that they do not necessarily hold for the male equivalents. This is of course a sweeping generalization, but then we are in an age where the sweeping generalization has become fashionable. It is not men who have undermined motherhood. It is not men who have demanded to know why my wife, mother of my four children, has not got a job. It is not men who have debased motherhood.
From the days when I commanded an age in single digits, I remember a particular episode of “I Love Lucy” (or it may have been “I Married Joan”) where the wife in question managed to get a whole new kitchen on the strength of a problem with a broken cupboard doorknob.
That, of course was in the olden days when food was actually prepared in the kitchen. What stayed with me was the idea of a marriage ‘battle’ instead of a marriage consensus. Marriage should be teamwork between congruent and compatible people; it is not her kitchen, but their kitchen. Is motherhood a form of slavery? If it is, then so is Fatherhood — that is, being a wage slave. But In Islam, marriage is always a condemnation to slavery. This is not unique to Islam; other religions and traditions do the same, but never to my knowledge in such a barbarous way. In Islam the husband owns his wife; in Christianity he is responsible for her and must love her as Christ loves the church*. These doctrines are many miles apart
There is no equality for Muslim women, but there is no congruency either. Men and women can never be ‘equal’ before the law, since they are different. However they can be congruent (where the angles are the same but the size is different). Our societies desperately need women to have babies, but at the same time we penalize motherhood heavily. The financial penalties of motherhood are enormous, and few families can now survive on a single income, plus the loss of tax thresholds, child tax allowances etc. Let alone the psychological trauma of childbirth itself and the ensuing loneliness of mothers stuck at home with no support. Gone are the days of societies geared to the non-working mum.
Modern life for real women is chaotic, and for the working mother it is living hell. Even the loos and the locker rooms are becoming un-private and unsafe. We live in a society where boys will be girls and girls might try to be boys, but it does not really work. We desperately need girls to become mothers, but the average girl child must look at her mother and think, “That is not for me.” It is not an attractive picture.
We need to stop the persecution of mothers by coercing them into the workplace. If we do not, then the Islamic model of subhuman
brood mares womanhood will eventually win!
* Ephesians 5 v. 25
MC lives in the southern Israeli city of Sderot. For his previous essays, see the MC Archives.