Reply to 'Solo Bear', Ethnocentric Feminism

[the following is posted as an article as opposed to a comment as, well, there is a word limit for comments on the blogger platform. Solo Bear's comment may be found here]


Hello Solo Bear,

Your points are interesting indeed. I have to say that I quite agree with you and have written along the same lines in previous sites about 5 years ago. But your points do not take away the value of the points made in the above observation. However, it does raise questions that call for more than a modicum of critical introspection amongst feminists.

Whilst the spirit of feminism is egalitarian, the boundaries have yet to be determined conclusively as feminism constantly comes across new cultures and perspectives and tends to reflexively impose that which it deems to be the norm given the socio-cultural climate wherein it was born. This is not so much the fault of feminism as it is that of an overarching western cultural hegemony post-colonialism.

However, there are quite a few feminists in the UK who would agree with your views. Your point about the Hijab and cultural imposition has been heavily debated in the UK in academic and social circles, and in the press as well, and there seems to be a consensus that the Hijab is alright so long as the women donning it do not allow it to be a symbol of subjugation in terms of their appreciation of themselves relative to men. If some do take issue with it, it is generally because it is used as a symbol of subjugation by men in some climes and circles.

I too agree with your views on the Hijab. Whilst the Hijab may at times be a symbol of subjugation, one cannot discount the meanings attributed to it by women who choose to don it. For instance, a women who is a 'high flyer' in business, but who also dons the Hijab turns it into, amongst others, a symbol of culture, femininity, or modesty.

Singaporean feminists, given their being quite unAWAREs of related gender issues in the race, cultural and gender arenas (where it pertains to the rights of men and which i've take issue with in previous articles) can, i suppose, be described as the Confucian variant of the feminist. I've even at times been inclined to think that to be a 'feminist' in singapore is to stand up for the rights of men as opposed to women, given the generally weak character of the Confucian male relative to women.

I have come across your last 'test' question quite a few times in the UK and the UK press in the past and I can thus say that quite a few would agree with your point - including myself. The element of 'force' is overstated given that people can be 'forced' via socialisation to 'prefer' to exhibit more than they otherwise might, just as Muslim girls might similarly be taught to 'prefer' to don the Hijab.

As I have stated, ‘Feminism is about telling women that they can do and feel and want more than they’ve been accustomed to.’ That is irrefutable. But your points, nevertheless, are valid and calls for a refinement of an otherwise egalitarian spirit on the part of some feminists. Just as you have encountered ethnocentric feminists, I have encountered feminists whom would agree with you.

To say that feminists are as you state, we will first have to prove that intrinsic to feminism is ethnocentrism. That is simply not true given that the core of feminism deals with the right of women to partake in that which had previously been the right of men. Ethnocentrism, amongst others, are not intrinsic to the feminist perspective but a part of an overarching post-colonial mindset. All movements are affected by this, but with enough critical introspection, I'm sure that feminists movements will be rid of this perspectival debility - as is evident in the views of many feminists in the UK, and which includes both hijab and non-hijab wearers and Muslims and non-Muslims.

To stand by your take is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Your points are valid, but we'll have to be careful to extricate the intrinsic value of feminism and shake off that which compromises it and which is extrinsic to its core value. There is quite the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic value. In determining the value of any cultural phenomena, we'll have to be cognizant of either and study to see which is the core vs. the 'add-on'.

Thank you for your perspective. I'm sure it goes quite some way in refining feminism.


a2ed

23 comments:

  1. So far the only women who agree on the point that the hijab should not be forced off because women should have choice to dress are - Muslim women - duh.

    The non-Muslim women who agree with me on the hijab issue do so NOT from the feminist perspective, but from the perspective that every individual has a right to his/her own choice.

    You don't need feminism to tell us that, do you?

    I remain unconvinced that Feminism is able to reconcile the Hijab issue. Non-Muslim women reconciled it without the ideal of feminism. Muslim women although did it from feminist perspective, could have used religion. Feminism, as far as hijab is concerned, is obsolete. It does NOTHING so far to reconcile the fact that hijab has been forced off.

    That said, I am still intrigued by the fact that women all over the world, who have not met each other, could have come to the same template like answer. That to me, is due to repetitive drilling from some source that controls the way these women think.

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  2. .
    "So far the only women who agree on the point that the hijab should not be forced off because women should have choice to dress are - Muslim women - duh."

    You're wrong there Solo Bear. There are many non-Muslim women who have argued for the right of Muslim women to don the Hijab. It was quite the issue a few years ago when, Blair (if i'm not mistaken) made statements regarding 'self-segregation' amongst Muslims. (and please drop the 'duh', the word bespeaks juvenile arrogance.)

    "The non-Muslim women who agree with me on the hijab issue do so NOT from the feminist perspective, but from the perspective that every individual has a right to his/her own choice.

    You don't need feminism to tell us that, do you?

    ...Non-Muslim women reconciled it without the ideal of feminism."

    You are putting the cart before the horse here.
    Without the feminist movement of the past, these women you speak of wouldn't be speaking this way, or at least, not for quite some time. They don't need feminists to tell them that at present, but if it wasn't for the feminist movements of the past, they would not be thinking this way today would they? Feminism disappears when the perspective it fronted has been internalised. That makes us feminists by historical socialisation even if we aren't card-carrying members of feminist movements.

    As i have stated, a movement cannot be discounted for its oversights unless these oversights are a corollary of its fundamental precepts. I would like to see anyone prove that is the case with regards to the feminist movement.

    .

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  3. ed:
    >>You're wrong there Solo Bear. There are many non-Muslim women who have argued for the right of Muslim women to don the Hijab.
    >>

    Me:
    I said that I acknowledge that. But they argue it from the perspective that all individuals have a right to choose. NOT from the angle that society should not tell how a woman how to dress - like how anti-hijab women (feminist) tell their Muslim sisters when Islam tells women to cover up, they are transgressing women's rights. So why can't these who argue that the hijab be forced off, also say that call is transgressing women's rights?

    >>...Non-Muslim women reconciled it without the ideal of feminism."
    You are putting the cart before the horse here.
    Without the feminist movement of the past, these women you speak of wouldn't be speaking this way, or at least, not for quite some time.
    >>

    Me:
    Nope. You are sadly mistaken. France was the first Euro country to ban the hijab. It started in Universities. The Muslim women then talked about religion and why they need to cover up. No talk of women's rights. That didn't go down well with the non-Muslim public.

    Today, many Muslim women are smarter. They give these anti-hijabists a taste of their own medicine. They now take to task those who force their hijabs off by questioning them, are they against a woman's right to dress as she pleases.

    That's where the feminists are now in a bind. If they follow the cue and agree with the Muslim women, they rub against the anti-hijabists. If they don't argue for the Muslim women, the Muslim women keep hammering these feminists their double standard hypocrisy.

    That said, Muslim women have been fighting for their rights to don the hijab long before they used argument that a woman has a right to dress the way she pleases. They have been using religion, but anti-religionists did not buy it.

    Having said that too, even when Muslim women use the feminist argument that a woman has right to dress as she pleases, the public is still not convinced and hence, the hijab ban stays.

    Putting in a nutshell, the Feminist Movement has done NOTHING about the hijab issue. They just stood and watch. The ever global uniform answer that the hijab if forced off is a religious issue, but if forced on is a women's issue, shows that there is a source telling women all over the world how to view the hijab case.

    Otherwise, how do you explain women from Singapore right up to Europe and US, who have never met each other, come to the same view?

    >>As i have stated, a movement cannot be discounted for its oversights unless these oversights are a corollary of its fundamental precepts. I would like to see anyone prove that is the case with regards to the feminist movement.
    >>

    Me:
    The feminist movement started off well. Women have advanced in areas of work and education around the world. Somehow, it got off track along the way. Today, it is used as a platform by LBGTs and other groups to advance their own causes.

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  4. .
    >>"But they argue it from the perspective that all individuals have a right to choose. NOT from the angle that society should not tell how a woman how to dress - like how anti-hijab women (feminist) tell their Muslim sisters when Islam tells women to cover up, they are transgressing women's rights."

    Aren't both of the above statements which you counterpose one and the same in essence? i.e. "A woman has the right to choose because she is an individual." or, "A woman is an individual and thus has the right to choose."

    >>"Nope. You are sadly mistaken. France was the first Euro country to ban the hijab. It started in Universities. The Muslim women then talked about religion and why they need to cover up. No talk of women's rights. That didn't go down well with the non-Muslim public."

    My point was, "Without the feminist movement of the past, these women you speak of wouldn't be speaking this way, or at least, not for quite some time." The above point addresses another issue. I'm quite aware of the case you allude to, and it did spark much controversy, both from a feminist and non-feminist perspective in both France and the UK. That, later, added to the controversy behind Blair's statement.

    You are generally referring to the conflict between the anti-religionists, anti-hijabists, pro-religionists, and pro-hijabists, feminists, etc. All of that is true. I have no qualms about that. But that is not the issue in question here. However, this is where feminism stands to be refined and be shorn of whatever ethnocentrism it might be encumbered with.

    I, as a feminist, am an example of the movement toward the refinement of the feminist stance. But i'm not about to toss the whole lot of them before we take the time to refine it. I've constantly asked you to prove that the core of feminism is not egalitarian. That has been the point all this while.

    >>"The feminist movement started off well. Women have advanced in areas of work and education around the world. Somehow, it got off track along the way. Today, it is used as a platform by LBGTs and other groups to advance their own causes."

    That is my point. It got off track, but the core is of value, unless it stays off track. It is our responsibility to make sure it is back on track. But I wouldn't state that 'feminism is about telling women....'(as you stated). Rather, I would state what feminism, in the spirit of its egalitarian beginnings, ought to be in the face of new cultures.
    .

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  5. ed:
    >>My point was, "Without the feminist movement of the past, these women you speak of wouldn't be speaking this way, or at least, not for quite some time."
    >>

    Me:
    This is where I very strongly disagree. Muslim women who have argued to have the hijab on have for a long time used RELIGION as basis. It is only very recently it has turned to the feminist argument and that too, is because these women are just giving the secular world a taste of their own medicine - woman's rights. Please stop giving credit to Feminism when it deserves none.

    >>You are generally referring to the conflict between the anti-religionists, anti-hijabists, pro-religionists, and pro-hijabists, feminists, etc. All of that is true. I have no qualms about that. But that is not the issue in question here. However, this is where feminism stands to be refined and be shorn of whatever ethnocentrism it might be encumbered with.
    >>

    Me:
    Note that it is FEMINISM that started this hijab bashing stuff in the first place! Have not feminists say that the hijab is oppressive to women because men expect women to be covered? Did not FEMINISM argue that religion is old-fashioned, based on patriarchal values and hence oppressive to women? Hence, all this hijab bashing, has its source from feminism, no?

    Then when the Muslim women (not the Muslim men!) say that they WANT to put in on and that forcing it off is AGAINST THEIR WILL, what do these feminists do? Stand idle.

    >>I, as a feminist
    >>

    Me:
    You are a male feminist? Ed is a male's name. Well, I know male feminists exist. Just that I have never had a chance to discuss feminism with them. Or am I mistaken abouat your gender?

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  6. .
    I think, perhaps, i didn't make my point clear. When I said that without the feminist movement of the past, these women you speak of wouldn't be speaking this way, I'll have to ask you to imagine that the feminist movement never existed in history. Take it as an episode of 'sliders'. What we take for granted, in terms of people speaking up for individual rights, and this including women, may not be as it is.

    >>"Note that it is FEMINISM that started this hijab bashing stuff in the first place!"

    I can quite agree with that. But we also have to consider the age-old conflict between civilisations - in particular, between the west and the middle-east - and how there is an association between female subjugation and the hijab in all middle-eastern states in the past.

    This association, of course, has been weakened as Muslim women don the hijab whilst pursuing a life-course on an equal footing with men in the west.

    Thus, the initial 'hijab-basing' as you call it, could be seen as an effort to take on a symbol of patriarchalism. Feminism just needs to update its perspective and appreciate that the hijab is not necessarily a symbol of subjugation anymore, but, as already stated, takes its meanings from what it means to those whom don it. If a women chooses to cover her head, that is her choice. But if this is done in respect of patriarchalism, then it is not, even if it is her 'choice'. That's the paradox that sees some feminists, not all, running amok against the hijab.

    >>"You are a male feminist? Ed is a male's name. Well, I know male feminists exist. Just that I have never had a chance to discuss feminism with them. Or am I mistaken abouat your gender?"

    No, solo bear, you're not mistaken about my sex ('gender' refers to socialised or traditional differences as opposed to biological ones actually). 'ed', by the way, is the first 2 letters of my name, whilst also playing the role of an acronym for 'egalitarian democracy'.

    One doesn't need to be a woman to be a feminist. I suppose I was a feminist before I knew the meaning of the word as i always thought that they deserve to be treated equally and actually thought that women possessed valuable traits that men would do well adopting. However I became a more conscientious and conscious supporter of the cause in the mid-90s upon exposure to related ideas whilst in the UK.
    .

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  7. ed:
    >>I think, perhaps, i didn't make my point clear. When I said that without the feminist movement of the past, these women you speak of wouldn't be speaking this way, I'll have to ask you to imagine that the feminist movement never existed in history.
    >>

    Me:
    Your point was very clear. My point is that Feminism has NOTHING to do with Muslim women's voice to the secular world that they WANT to have the hijab on. All along Muslim women do it because of RELIGION. It is only recently they used the Feminist argument and that's because it is giving the secular world a taste of its own medicine.

    >>I can quite agree with that. But we also have to consider the age-old conflict between civilisations - in particular, between the west and the middle-east - and how there is an association between female subjugation and the hijab in all middle-eastern states in the past.
    >>

    Me:
    There you have it again! You have ASSUME that the hijab is on in the Mid East because of female subjugation. Isn't this the typical Feminist approach to the hijab?

    >>This association, of course, has been weakened as Muslim women don the hijab whilst pursuing a life-course on an equal footing with men in the west.
    >>

    Me:
    Once again, a Feminist assumption! It has NOTHING to do with Muslim women's advancement. It has to do a lot with Feminists' own fault at judging others - in this case, feminist assumption that the hijab as an oppressive form of dress.

    >>Thus, the initial 'hijab-basing' as you call it, could be seen as an effort to take on a symbol of patriarchalism.
    >>

    Me:
    Hijab bashing is nothing short of intolerance towards another culture from Feminism. Period.

    >>Feminism just needs to update its perspective and appreciate that the hijab is not necessarily a symbol of subjugation anymore,
    >>

    Me:
    Again, the typical Feminist approach. Hijab has NEVER been an oppression in the eyes of many Muslim women. It is a practice of their religion. It is Feminism should update that they should not judge others by their own benchmark.

    >>but, as already stated, takes its meanings from what it means to those whom don it. If a women chooses to cover her head, that is her choice.
    >>

    Me:
    Again! The feminist approach again! The point is NOT whether it is her choice. Of course it is hers. The point is that feminists DO NOTHING when the hijab is FORCED OFF AGAINST HER CHOICE.

    >>But if this is done in respect of patriarchalism, then it is not, even if it is her 'choice'.
    >>

    Me:
    Again! The Feminist approach! Why are you not addressing the point if it is forced off against her will? Why the repetitive call that if it is forced on that is partriachism? Why not if forced off it is oppression?

    >>That's the paradox that sees some feminists, not all, running amok against the hijab.
    >>

    Me:
    The point is that until today, NO FEMINIST is able to address the point that if it is FORCED OFF AGAINST HER WILL, that is OPPRESSION.

    Which begs the question I asked you at the very start:

    Which is more humiliating to a woman? Forcing her to cover up a part of her body she wishes to expose, or forcing her to expose a part of her body she wishes to conceal?

    Is not forcing a woman to undress part of her robes against her will, tantamount to sexual harassment?


    Why then the over-stress and bashing of patriarchy when it is forced on, yet just a whimper at most, when the Muslim woman is sexually harassed?

    Like I said, I like the Hijab Example best, because it truly exposes the hypocrisy of Feminism right down to the very core.

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  8. Oh yes Ed, notice your typical template-like answer you gave on the hijab issue? Are they not an exact replica of all other feminist arguments?

    1. That the hijab is (or was) oppressive?

    2. The ever repetitive call that no woman should be forced to have it on, yet only a whimper when it is forced off?

    3. The complete silence, and deliberate non-answer to the question "which is worse, to have it forced on or forced off?"

    Strange, how all feminists have this template like answers such that if you talk to one feminist, you've talk to all.

    Has not Feminism drilled into feminists (and women) how to answer such that I can safely say that Feminism is truly about telling what women should do, rather than about empowering women to make own choice?

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  9. The problem with labels......

    Male and female are unique in religion. They are not equal, yet one is not above the other.

    Being egalitarian and feminist, it means being boxed up and not able to accept human diversity. It is only predictable that feminists can only use typical template-like answers. Such is the "slavery" of ideals.

    Labels only serve in "reduction of the human persona".

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  10. .
    CM,

    "Being egalitarian and feminist, it means being boxed up and not able to accept human diversity."

    You have confused 'being egalitarian and feminist' with 'being identical'.

    Alleging and argument to be 'template-like' is no argument. The 'template' has to be proven to be false.

    Diversity is not celebrated via exploitation or marginalisation - even though diversity might produce it.

    Have you ever thought that 'ideals' can also serve to rid us of slavery? Isn't your stance a subscription to a particular ideal in itself. Ask yourself if that stance rids us of slavery or promotes it.
    .

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  11. You're beginning to get nonsensical solo bear.

    Read my response to CM.

    As for my 'whimper' when the hijab is forced off. Well, I don't blame your impression as you are unawares of my string of articles written about some years ago condemning moves in France to 'force it off' - some of which were published in online middle-eastern magazines.

    It seems that all you require to discount arguments and perspectives is for another to state they are feminists. I would look at reason, and reason alone.
    .

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  12. Slavery, exploitation and marginalization will always be around. This is characteristic of human beings. No ideals will rid us of them because the same ideals that rid us of them can just as easily be subjected to exploitation and abuse.

    Yes, my stance is a subscription to certain ideals, and I do not deny that I am probably a slave to these ideals. You are no different, except maybe you are in denial.

    Ideals will rid us of certain forms of slavery and at the same time subject ourselves to other forms of slavery.

    You should ask yourself, what kind of slave does your stance make of people.

    In the end, what really counts is adaptability and acceptability.

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  13. Ed:
    >>As for my 'whimper' when the hijab is forced off. Well, I don't blame your impression as you are unawares of my string of articles written about some years ago condemning moves in France to 'force it off' - some of which were published in online middle-eastern magazines.
    >>

    Any links so that I can read what you argued?

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  14. .
    CM,

    What is characteristic of human beings is not just what has characterised human history, but what can characterise it. If people in the past took on your position, we'd still be living in medieval times mate.

    No ideals will rid us of slavery and exploitation? If we abided by such a belief, Obama wouldn't be in the whitehouse today.

    I abide by the inductive method, and you could say that i am enslaved by them. All other ideals taken on is done so under the tyrannous directive of said method.

    In the end, adaptability can bring about acceptability. What you have to ask is if the endpoint is just despite its being acceptable. You speak the language of a Confucian in the first and last line.
    .

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  15. ed,

    I was hoping for you to give me the link on your arguments pertaining to the hijab you said was published online in Mid East publication.

    You posted to CM:
    >>If people in the past took on your position, we'd still be living in medieval times mate.
    >>

    Me:
    I cannot understand why you see today's norms as "advanced", while past norms as "backward". If you look carefully, some of "today's norms" are WORSE than "yesterday's norms". High divorce rate. High juvenile delinquency. High crime rate.....

    >>No ideals will rid us of slavery and exploitation? If we abided by such a belief, Obama wouldn't be in the whitehouse today.
    >>

    Me:
    Interesting point. Obama replaced slavery with oppression. In the past blacks were the bad guys and were uncivilized, hence they were treated as slaves. Today, it is the Iraqis and the Afghans who are the terrorists and hence, you need to occupy their lands. CM is right about no ideal will rid us of slavery or oppression.

    >>In the end, adaptability can bring about acceptability.
    >>

    Me:
    Really? I don't think you would want that. Or else can we say that if the Malays, Indians and other races were to adapt to a Chinese Culture in Singapore, that is acceptable to the Malays, Indians and other races? PS - I don't mind. I am Chinese. Wanna yong tau foo to replace your pratha as a promotion to introduce Indian Cultural Experience to tourists in Singapore? We can tell them that Singapore is so tolerant, that even the Indians take a liking to Chinese food!

    Minority races will say, why must they adapt to a Chinese Culture at the expense of their own, right? Bingo. So why must Muslim women who want to wear the hijab adapt to Western idea that the hijab is oppressive?

    Ed, your default stance appears to be that Western ideal is superior and hence, be used as a yardstick to judge other cultures. You see everything from that angle. In the hijab issue, you see that the hijab is oppressive and that the removal of it is liberation. You do not see that as Muslim women want it on and forcing it off is oppression. Likewise, when Muslim women assert their rights to have it on, you see that as western influence and not that the Muslim women reject western oppression to force it off.

    Your answers to CM on democracy in a parallel thread is also argued along the above lines of using Western values to judge other cultures. You have already embedded in your mind that anything that does not align to western ideals, is backward and oppressive.

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  16. Ed,

    What I've shown (or rather your replies, in the parallel thread as well, have shown) is the inconsistencies of democracy, or to be more exact - your ideals of democracy. If you want to know how good/bad the natural characteristic of human beings are, try raising children. No need to look so much into human history.

    Why is democracy so troublesome? In general, governance (any form) is about control while democracy is about equality, freedom and rights. Bringing democracy to governance is always a compromise in ideals, so it's all about shifting goal posts, there is always a compromise in ideals. How much can you shift? You will only get to shift how much the government (and its connected entities) allows you to shift.
    The government (any form) has a very powerful control tool called propaganda. How much of what you know is true? Have you been exploited without knowing it? You will never know.

    So what if Obama is in the White House today? It's all a big wayang. What has changed in the US? How many lies has Obama made to date? Is he the puppet master, the puppet, or a scapegoat?

    Unlike you, I welcome diversity of thoughts and ideals, including yours. I can just as easily slam Confucianism if I choose to. For example, Confucianism set China back (in certain areas of development, not all) at least 1,500 years.

    As for the hijab, feminists should have stayed away from that topic. However, since their heads are all boxed up in Western values (which includes oppression and intolerance), they simply must say something about it.

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  17. Ed,

    What I've shown (or rather your replies, in the parallel thread as well, have shown) is the inconsistencies of democracy, or to be more exact - your ideals of democracy. If you want to know how good/bad the natural characteristic of human beings are, try raising children. No need to look so much into human history.

    Why is democracy so troublesome? In general, governance (any form) is about control while democracy is about equality, freedom and rights. Bringing democracy to governance is always a compromise in ideals, so it's all about shifting goal posts, there is always a compromise in ideals. How much can you shift? You will only get to shift how much the government (and its connected entities) allows you to shift.
    The government (any form) has a very powerful control tool called propaganda. How much of what you know is true? Have you been exploited without knowing it? You will never know.

    So what if Obama is in the White House today? It's all a big wayang. What has changed in the US? How many lies has Obama made to date? Is he the puppet master, the puppet, or a scapegoat?

    Unlike you, I welcome diversity of thoughts and ideals, including yours. I can just as easily slam Confucianism if I choose to. For example, Confucianism set China back (in certain areas of development, not all) at least 1,500 years.

    As for the hijab, feminists should have stayed away from that topic. However, since their heads are all boxed up in Western values (which includes oppression and intolerance), they simply must say something about it.

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  18. Since change is constant with reference to any movements, including the feminist cause, the question to ask is: Has women in general been given relatively more opportunity to aspire what women want to do and be in society over time? I suppose yes, in most developed societies and it is still evolving. I believe that through education, debate and discussion (including the exchanges in this article/ topic) people would over time become more aware of this issue. Yes, there may be some among the ‘feminist’ (perhaps the west) may have been accused of ‘imposing’ their values on the muslim women in the case of the said ‘hijab’ issue and not taken into consideration of the cultural/ religious factors within the society which the muslim women live in. Unless we can show conclusively that the practice of donning a ‘hijab’ is not instituted by men (who may have the covert intention of ‘subjugating’ the women, we cannot speak for certainty that muslim women have not been ‘socialised’ into accepting such practice and claimed that it is for religious reason for them to wear it. Therefore, it would be extremely difficult to argue with absoluteness that muslim women who chose to don the ‘hijab’ do so free from any form of ‘socialised’ practice and purely out of their own free will. View, values and perspectives which can withstand robust scrutiny and critic would hold water regardless of its origin (western, islamic, asian, etc). To say that if views, values and perspectives which are influenced by a particular society and therefore not worth considering in another society is rather 'closed minded'.

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  19. sim said...
    >>Yes, there may be some among the ‘feminist’ (perhaps the west) may have been accused of ‘imposing’ their values on the muslim women in the case of the said ‘hijab’ issue and not taken into consideration of the cultural/ religious factors within the society which the muslim women live in. Unless we can show conclusively that the practice of donning a ‘hijab’ is not instituted by men (who may have the covert intention of ‘subjugating’ the women, we cannot speak for certainty that muslim women have not been ‘socialised’ into accepting such practice and claimed that it is for religious reason for them to wear it.
    >>

    Me:
    It works the other way. If feminists want to claim that the hijab has been imposed on women by men, the onus is for them to show the proof. As an example, university students in France want to have it on, but the hijab is banned. Isn't this an indication that Muslim women over there want to have it on by choice?

    >>Therefore, it would be extremely difficult to argue with absoluteness that muslim women who chose to don the ‘hijab’ do so free from any form of ‘socialised’ practice and purely out of their own free will. View, values and perspectives which can withstand robust scrutiny and critic would hold water regardless of its origin (western, islamic, asian, etc).
    >>

    Me:
    Why should it be seen that way? Why not it be seen that the women who are now not wearing the hijab because of the ban are being denied free choice?

    >>To say that if views, values and perspectives which are influenced by a particular society and therefore not worth considering in another society is rather 'closed minded'.
    >>

    Me:
    Good. Then to say that the hijab is oppressive (feminist viewpoint) and therefore it is not worth considering another society's viewpoint (Islam) is close minded.

    Note that your argument is actually the typical template like feminist argument again. That hijab forced on is taken to be oppressive, but hijab forced off has to be proven that it is oppressive.

    Note that the very heart of my question is also not addressed. Here is my question again.

    Which is more humiliating to a woman, forcing her to cover a part of her body she wishes to show off, or forcing her to expose a part of her body she wishes to conceal? Isn't forcing her to undress part of her robes against her will tantamount to sexual harassment? Why are feminists not addressing this issue?

    Care to answer the above?

    ReplyDelete
  20. solobear,

    I came across your comment on this website and thought I'd reply.

    "Which is more humiliating to a woman, forcing her to cover a part of her body she wishes to show off, or forcing her to expose a part of her body she wishes to conceal? Isn't forcing her to undress part of her robes against her will tantamount to sexual harassment? Why are feminists not addressing this issue?"

    Assuming that no one is forcing women to remove their hijabs, can a Muslim woman choose not to wear the hijab if she doesn't want to without having to face any negative consequences?

    To my knowledge, according to the view of a Muslim lady friend, there is a biased attitude towards Muslim women who don't wear the hijab. They are viewed as less Muslim, not stable in their faith, and not so well behaved women.

    The hijab has become an unfair symbol of the status of a Muslim woman's religious devotion. Is a woman less Muslim because she doesn't wear the hijab? People assume so and such pressures force women to cover up even though they may not want to.

    If your argument is pro individual choice, then women should have the right to wear the hijab, and women should also have the right to choose not to wear the hijab. But many Muslim ladies that I know shun the latter and wear the hijab because they don't want to be viewed as "bad girls". So is there really a choice after all?

    Khunying

    ReplyDelete
  21. khunying,
    >>I came across your comment on this website and thought I'd reply.
    >>

    Me:
    You replied, but didn't answer the question! So which is more humiliating to a woman? Forcing her to cover up or forcing her to undress?

    Your reply is the same stereotypical idea that woman must have choice - but that choice is choice only if she chooses to have it off.

    You have not addressed what if she wants it on, and what happens if she is forced to have it off. Isn't that more humiliating than having it forced on?

    Quit saying women who want to have it off have no choice. How about women who want to have it on, also have no choice?

    Why are you only answering one side of the issue, which been addressed many times over, yet, simply refuse to answer the other side, which is, what about if she wants it on, but is forced to have it off?

    Please answer that unanswered question - which is more humiliating to a woman? Having her forced to cover up, or her forced to undress?

    I did say that I like the hijab example because it exposes the hypocrisy of Feminism right to the core, didn't I?

    >>If your argument is pro individual choice, then women should have the right to wear the hijab, and women should also have the right to choose not to wear the hijab. But many Muslim ladies that I know shun the latter and wear the hijab because they don't want to be viewed as "bad girls". So is there really a choice after all?
    >>

    Me:
    Hey, I am citing pro-choice because feminists cite "choice" to the address the hijab issue. "Choice" is not my argument, but the argument of feminists. I am simply using that argument to show how inconsistent feminists are. When it is to have it off, it is choice. But when it is to have it on, it is oppression! Ha ha.

    In any case, you only meet Muslim ladies who shun the hijab because you meet people your kind. If you were to mix with religious Muslim ladies, I am sure you will know that there are many, many Muslim women who want to cover up and object being told to undress.

    Come out of your rabbit hole. The world is made up of more than just your kind only.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Since when is there really a choice?

    There is also a bias attitude towards women who go topless. Men can choose to go topless, but there isn't much choice for women. Aren't women in general "pressured" or "conformed" to cover up too?

    Never ending argument, right?

    What is not being mentioned is - how Muslim ladies view each other wearing the hijab. How do you know whether most of the pressure comes from Muslim women themselves.

    And if the hijab is an issue of religion, then it must be left to the Muslim themselves to have their own religious reform.

    The next question is then - if these ladies don't want to wear the hijab and not willing to wait for religious reform, then do they have the choice of not being a Muslim?

    ReplyDelete
  23. .

    Solo Bear,

    "Your reply is the same stereotypical idea that woman must have choice - but that choice is choice only if she chooses to have it off."

    As a feminist, I would be pro-choice in this matter.

    If a woman chooses to have it on, so be it. If a woman chooses to have it off, so be it.

    However, I have one reservation, that is, that the woman choosing to have it on does not accept subjugation by men because they are men.

    If so, I would not expect or push for her to have it off, but to help her acquire a healthy and egalitarian self-respect for herself. The hijab is of no consequence here, only the meaning attributed to it by the one who dons it.
    .

    ReplyDelete

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