Bid to boost feminism among Muslim women

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Sorcerer, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Haha no.

    So, lets see... this was used in a non-profit purpose (one could even argue educational)
    Nature of the work - hmm, looks like a news post to me... last I checked, those get republished all over the place in some form or another
    The amount and substantiality - well, he quoted a large portion of it
    Effect upon the potential market or value - as K from MIB once side "Precisely Dick".

    SO, yeah, I would say that, per the US Copyright office, there is no copyright violation here.

    If you feel it is/was unworthy of discussion, then yeah, precisely that. Or did you feel the need to point out some perceived flaw in the post just to get a dig in at Sorcerer? Because, honestly, that's what I see in it... if the thread didn't drum up discussion, it would have simply faded into the depths of time. You, however, used it as an excuse to poke and prod at a member without adding anything of substance to the desired topic at hand... I would almost put that at "trolling".

    Good for them and good for you... but most is not all, and others may very well have used it as a basis for discussion. But, then again, I guess this is your castle now and things must be done only as you see fit. I do apologize, my liege.

    Let me put it another way - if you genuinely felt the topic had no substance for discussion... why did you not simply state that and lock the thread? You KNEW that your comment about the post would incite a reply from Sorcerer, and I would wager you ALSO knew that, even IF the "point of the article" had no topic for discussion that some form of discussion could still be generated by the trains of thought generated by thinking about the topic of this article.

    So, tell me Syne, what was your real reason for calling him out like you did?
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  3. Bells Staff Member

    Uh huh.

    One would hope not. Since the experiences of women between those two countries are so vastly different.

    Yes, as a person of colour and a woman, believe me, I do understand what white privilege means. The question here though is, do you as a white male understand what it means within the context of this discussion?

    Who says I am judging feminists? Is discussing an issue within the feminist movement, an issue that has been identified for a few decades now, passing judgement?

    Feminists in the West have often been accused of ignoring non-Western cultures because they often apply their ideology by way of their own experiences and their own culture. So a feminist in Iran, for example, will not have the same experiences and the same ideology as a feminist in China or in the UK.

    Firstly, I am not upset. Secondly, Muslim women often feel left out of the feminism discussions because they are judged by their religion, since Western feminism tends to be very much secular, which is in direct contradiction to a Muslim feminist who happens to be very religious. So applying Western standards to non Western cultures will result in conflict and a portion being left out of the discussion.. Which is exactly what the Muslim women in the UK have reported.

    My apologies for misreading what you wrote.

    What of Muslim women who feel wearing the hijab is liberating and their choice? Would disregarding their voice or not taking them seriously and ignoring them not amount to oppression in and of itself?

    Heh.. Muslim feminists have been around for as long as Western feminists. They just don't fight in the same fashion as Western feminists do. And I think the biggest issue has been that Western feminists and they have been usually white, have tended to ignore the cultural differences and the experiences of non-white feminists. You can ask any feminist of colour in the US what she feels about it.

    Perhaps that is a discussion you should have with a Muslim woman who chooses to wear it?

    Why should her religious choices be spoken down to in such a fashion? In short, who are you to make that determination about their religious choices? Remember what happened in France when they banned religious garments and jewelry? Muslim women there felt they were being oppressed because they are being denied the choice and the right to make personal decisions about their religious choices. Personally, I found the ban in France to be as oppressive as the strict dress rules in Iran.

    And yet, the definition of beauty is all around you. In every magazine, tv shows, news papers, movies..

    The argument is that of hypocrisy.

    To claim, for example, 'you are being oppressed by your religion' and then to ignore their choices and their voices because of their religion is just as oppressive.

    A feminist would find it sexist. You know, a bunch of guys and women conditioned to find it acceptable, going through and making wardrobe choices about what they find attractive in women - ie - what women should wear and how they should wear it.. It isn't just about clothing, but about what one finds acceptable for a woman to wear or to have on her body.

    Show that thread to feminists and ask them if they think men and a couple of women going through and debating what women wear and don't wear to turn men on is sexist or not..

    Never read much feminist literature, have you?

    I actually don't.

    A man can wear whatever he so chooses. It's actually none of my business. I am not a fan of tattoos, for example, but for myself. If someone gets them, then meh, it's their skin..

    Eating disorders and the way women are portrayed in the media is to fit the stereotype. Ever play a computer game? Ever notice how the women in those games have tiny waists, big thrusting boobs and pert butts? Whose ideal is that?

    Let's look at WoW as a prime example. The majority of people who play female night-elves are male.

    Well if a thread with a lot of men determining what women should and should not wear for them to be turned on or not has a Muslim male say he gets turned on by a woman in a hijab, would it be any less sexist or oppressive than a guy who says he gets turned on by a woman in a short animal print dress?

    You still don't see it, do you? A Muslim guy saying he expects his wife to be covered up from head to toe is just as oppressive as a guy who says he expects his wife to be dressed sexily for him.

    Because one of the major issues with feminism around the world is that it has been dominated by privileged and usually very wealthy white women. Ask an African American feminist if you don't believe me.

    And preference in women's fashion? So you don't think men discussing what women should and should not wear to turn them on or off is oppression? But you think a society or men determining that women should dress modestly is oppression?

    Many Muslim feminists find their religion to be what liberates them and all of them have used their religion and religious history to liberate them from the confines their society has placed on them.

    Within the context of this discussion, yes, I am talking about white feminists in the West. Why are you uncomfortable with discussing history and white history in regards to this subject? Do you think discussing white oppression to be racist?

    Do you think what a white feminist in America considers important in regards to her rights is going to be the same as what a Muslim woman living in Saudi Arabia is going to consider a priority in regards to her rights?

    I'll give you an example of the Black feminist movement in the US:

    Black Women in the Feminist Movement

    Black Women who participated in the feminist movement during the 1960s often met with racism. It generally took the form of exclusion: black women were not invited to participate on conference panels which were not specifically about black or Third World women. They were not equally, or even proportionately, represented on the faculty of Women's Studies Departments, nor were there classes devoted specifically to the study of black women's history. In most women's movement writings, the experiences of white, middle class women were described as universal "women's experiences," largely ignoring the differences of black and white women's experiences due to race and class. In addition to this, well-known black women were often treated
    as tokens; their work was accepted as representing "the" black experience and was rarely ever criticized or challenged.

    Part of the overwhelming frustration black women felt within the Women's Movement was at white feminists' unwillingness to admit to their racism. This unwillingness comes from the sentiment that those who are oppressed can not oppress others. White women, who were (and still are) without question sexually oppressed by white men, believed that because of this oppression they were unable to assume the dominant role in the perpetuation of white racism; however, they have
    absorbed, supported and advocated racist ideology and have acted individually as racist oppressors. Traditionally, women's sphere of influence has extended over the home, and it is no coincidence that in 1963, seven times as many women of color (of whom 90 percent were black) as white women were employed as private household workers. It has been the tendency of white feminists to see men as the "enemy," rather than themselves, as part of the patriarchal, racist, and classist society in which we all live.

    Not only did some white feminists refuse to acknowledge their ability to oppress women of color, some claimed that white women had always been anti-racist. Adrienne Rich claims, "our white foresisters have ... often [defied] patriarchy ... not on their own behalf but for the sake of black men, women, and children. We have a strong anti-racist female tradition;" however, as bell hooks points out "[t]here is little historical evidence to document Rich's assertion that white women as a collective group or white women's rights advocates are part of an anti-racist tradition." Every women's movement in the United States has been built on a racist foundation:

    women's suffrage for white women, the abolition of slavery for the fortification of white society, the temperance movement for the moral uplifting of white society. None of these movements was for black liberation or racial equality; rather, they sprang from a desire to strengthen white society's morals or to uplift the place of white women in that society.

    This is the historical standpoint of "white female privilege".. It isn't racism to acknowledge the past and who feminist dialogue has been controlled over the last few decades, Balerion. I think declaring 'that's racist' just shows your possible discomfort in possibly addressing the historical facts of this subject?

    It stems from the belief of superiority.. Of being the standard and the norm.. Wiki has a really good definition which you may find helpful in this discussion:

    The concept of white privilege also implies the right to assume the universality of one's own experiences, marking others as different or exceptional while perceiving oneself as normal.

    Some more reading that you might find.. ermm.. helpful in understanding the history behind this subject matter and so you might see where I am coming from when I say 'white female privilege':

    "Why Modern Feminism is White Women's Privilege"

    "What's all this talk about whiteness?"

    "This is what I mean when I say white feminism"

    To summarise those articles, the feminist movement has been dominated by white western women historically. Their voices have drowned out all others who are not white and from the middle income to wealthy white women who sought to gain more rights within their sphere.

    You seem intent to try to raise conflict. This is just a discussion Balerion. If you are going to be this emotional and angry about it, perhaps you should cool down a bit so you can think a bit more rationally.

    You have expressed opinions about Islam in this thread, while disregarding that Muslim feminists use Islam as a way to fight for their rights. And I think ignoring this very fact is where you are possibly going wrong. What you see as a tool of oppression is exactly what Muslim women are using to free themselves from the confines of the roles set for them by their culture.

    Yes, to provide a platform in an area that was usually dominated by Western and usually white women.

    Minority women are now making their voices heard after being excluded from the women's rights debate.. It even says that in the article.

    Perhaps you should stop being so defensive and study some history of white privilege and do some reading on the very fact that it has been white western women who have dominated the discourse about feminism. Which is why black feminists had to start their own movement in the 60's, because they were so excluded and it is because of this that minority women in the UK have started their own organisation to tackle the problem since they have historically been excluded from the discussion because of their religious beliefs and because they did not fit into the little square set by white feminists historically.

    I think you are in dire need of some historical perspective on this issue instead of reacting to something that is solely imaginary on your part. Do you think examining the fact that feminism has been dominated by white western women over the last few decades is racist and hate speech? I think it's racist to declare that it does not exist and to discount the voices of non-whites who have identified it and are now having to buck the system and form their own organisations and groups to make their voices heard at the feminism discussion table.

    A feminist drew this as an explanation of just how much white feminism has dominated the discourse and continues to do so:

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    This is the historical reality and current reality of feminist discourse Balerion. I think accusing me of racism for pointing it out is a reaction against reality.

    And I am disappointed that you are so reactionary to the experiences of what non-white feminists have had to deal with in the past and present.

    And I think perhaps you may need a crash course in the "reality of Islamic feminism" and understand why it is so important and why traditional white feminist dialogue should not try to shut it down.

    You seem very defensive in light of a historical discussion about the feminist movement and you seem overly offended that I pointed out that feminism has been dominated by white feminists. This is historical fact. It's not hating white people. It's stating and identifying a very real problem and issue. Feminists have been discussing this for many many years. Perhaps you should feel less offended at perceived racism and actually look at this from a historical perspective and understand what minority women in the UK have ahead of them?

    Here you disregard what Muslim feminists are actually fighting for and apply Western standards about what you believe they want or should want and that they would have all of these great things if it wasn't for Islam (meanwhile, on this site is a thread with men discussing what women should and should not wear to turn said men on):

    And in your Western centric mind, you fail to acknowledge or even know that Muslim women are finding their freedoms from their religion and religious texts. This is the reality that you sorely do not understand when it comes to Islamic feminism and this is how it differs so much from the white western centric feminist ideology that you so eloquently put as " the idea that women should have the right to drive, to vote, to dress as they please":

    So what is "Islamic feminism", how is it evolving, and who are the players? Dr Margot Badran, a graduate of al-Azhar University and Oxford University, defines "Islamic feminism" thusly:

    …a concise definition of Islamic feminism gleaned from the writings and work of Muslim protagonists as a feminist discourse and practice that derives its understanding and mandate from the Qur'an, seeking rights and justice within the framework of gender equality for women and men in the totality of their existence. Islamic feminism explicates the idea of gender equality as part and parcel of the Quranic notion of equality of all insan (human beings) and calls for the implementation of gender equality in the state, civil institutions, and everyday life. It rejects the notion of a public/private dichotomy (by the way, absent in early Islamic jurisprudence, or fiqh) conceptualising a holistic umma in which Quranic ideals are operative in all space.​

    This is an important distinction. "Islamic feminism" is not simply a feminism that is born from Muslim cultures, but one that engages Islamic theology through the text and canonical traditions. A distinctly "Islamic" feminism, at its core, draws on the Quranic concept of equality of all human beings, and insists on the application of this theology to everyday life. Stemming from this basic definition, we encounter a plethora of different interpretations, movements, projects, and personalities, creating feminisms that have diverse faces. Often, women's issues are trivialised into whether or not to wear the veil or shake hands with men outside their family, and while larger issues, such as domestic violence, are being strongly addressed, the central issue of what "equality" means and how it is expressed go largely ignored. For example, domestic violence is wrong because it creates pain and suffering and is unjust, but the central belief of a man's right to rule over his wife is not always part of this discussion.

    Or when you said this:

    Just because you view it as a tool of oppression does not mean that Muslim women who choose to wear it view it the same way.

    And this is one of the main issues that non-white feminists have with the feminist movement. The historically WASP movement that correctly drew on their own experiences in forming their dialogue for what affected them but sadly, then attempted to apply said policies to women who do not live as they do and cannot relate to their experiences because they are not white middle class and upper middle women. Look at the black feminist movement in the US as a prime example of this. Black feminists were excluded wholly from the feminist discussion and they had to form their own movement, just as the minority women in the UK are forming their own movement. Because the current feminist movement is dominated by things that do not apply to them.

    Do you understand what I mean now? Or are you going to react and claim it is racist to look at this from a historical standpoint and apply as such?

    I am not demonizing white people Balerion, so please calm down.

    You are approaching this from such a racially defensive standpoint that you missed the point entirely.

    The feminist movement has historically been written about and by white middle to upper middle income women who fought to relieve their pain and suffering and oppression. To do so, they applied and relied on their own experiences and they fought tooth and nail for what was naturally theirs. What they achieved is amazing. But how they fought for said rights is not one size fits all. And what they failed to recognise was that their experiences and what they were fighting for could not be applied to all and so, any group that did not fit into their experiences were excluded.

    This is what non-white women and non-white cultures have faced in regards to the feminist movement.

    I'm not bashing white feminism or white people. So calm down. It is a genuine and valid critique of the feminist movement and how it has been applied historically and continues to be applied.

    From the article:

    A new project to connect Islam to feminism has been launched to tackle long-standing concerns that religious Muslim women are excluded from the women's rights debate.

    In what is a deeply controversial area for many in Islamic communities and for many mainstream feminists, the linkup between a Muslim charity and the project is seen as a pioneering step to bring women from different cultural backgrounds together in the battle for sexual equality.

    The social enterprise Maslaha, established by the Young Foundation to work on improving social conditions in Muslim and minority communities, said the programme had attracted a huge response in the past few days.

    "An awful lot of Muslim women have felt excluded from the debate about women's rights and this project really focuses on bringing ordinary women into a debate about Islamic feminism that has so far only really been heard in academic circles," said Latifa Akay of Maslaha.

    She said the online resource was bringing out some extraordinary responses from British Muslims who reported feeling previously isolated.

    "This is really taking off. Islamic feminism is not a new thing, which will probably surprise most people, but Muslim women have the same core concerns as white, secular, British women: the workplace, discrimination, childcare.

    "And also they have different layers of struggles and different layers of oppression, just as a black lesbian will have different struggles to white disabled women, and none of them should be excluded just because they are diverse.

    "There has been a dire lack of spaces for women within Islam to have these kinds of conversations and they have felt very much that their religious beliefs exclude them because religion is seen as patriarchal."

    The people excluding them from the discussion have been the historical white feminist movement.

    I understand if you find this subject offensive because it is a critique of your race's history, but this is no more racist than discussing white male privilege in regards to slavery, for example. White female privilege does exist within the feminist movement and groups such as this in the UK is in response to having been excluded from the feminist debate historically. Black feminists went through the same thing in the 60's in America.
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  5. Balerion Banned Banned

    Perhaps you view it as a matter of semantics, but a person does not "dictate" without influence, so the charge that white, western feminists are dictating anything in non-white and non-western regions is inaccurate. I'm just trying to figure if it's what you're actually trying to say.

    I think I do, insofar as it seems to be a boogeyman created by you--or perhaps simply repeated by you--meant to demonize white people. As to context, you haven't provided any. It's been all closed-fisted accusations that smack of rote anti-white, anti-western propaganda. That's just my read. If you wish to share with me what you're actually trying to say, believe me I'm willing to listen.

    But you're not merely discussing it as some outsider with no opinions on the matter. You have specifically characterized western feminism as belonging to "white, privileged women," and characterized their behavior as being in itself a form of oppression. So, yeah, you've passed judgment.

    Let me be clear: I'm not criticizing you for having a view on feminism, or western feminists. (Though I admit, your views at first blush strike me as racist) I'm simply pointing out that asking why they have any right to judge other cultures is useless, because we all judge. It's not relevant as to why they do so; the relevant question is whether their assessments are correct or not.

    I don't see how it follows that using one's own experience and culture as a guide amounts to ignoring non-Western cultures. I think I need to read more about this issue, but I don't see how a moral grounding is possible without reference to one's own culture and experience. And I also don't understand why feminists--or anyone else, for that matter--should be expected to have the same concerns from one culture to the next. The plight of women in China isn't exactly the same as it is for women in Iran, right?

    The only thing I would disagree with here is the idea that non-Western women are being judged. It seems to me that it's their religion that is judged. If the result is the same, then it's still a bad thing, obviously, but my interpretation would remove the need to make this an issue of race and "privilege," and make it one simply of understanding.

    I sincerely appreciate the apology.

    I can't fathom how wearing something that by its very nature objectifies you could possibly be considered liberating. I guess I'd suggest that anyone who believes such a thing should reconsider. Now, if it's the choice that makes the decision liberating, then I'd suggest they choose something else, as this particular garment sends a poor message.

    Of course, I'd be open to hearing why they disagree. If western feminism hasn't been as open, then that's something they need to change.

    I guess it depends on who's not taking their opinions seriously. I mean, the main point of the movement in the UK is that Muslim women don't need any other culture to accept them, that they can strive for and achieve their goals on their own. But I suppose an argument could be made that feminists who ignore or Muslim women who wish to wear the headscarf are aiding their oppressors.

    I think the difference between you and me on this is that I don't view this as a racial issue, or one of privilege. I think it's one of principle. I think it's very difficult to reconcile liberation movements with symbols of that oppression. I mean, consider how important symbology is in these situations. From rebel flags in the southern US to the use of the "N" word even without malice, symbols of oppression are considered toxic even if the possibility for reclamation and repurposing exists. At least in the west. So it's easy to see why western feminists would have difficultly understanding.

    That doesn't excuse an unwillingness to make the effort, of course, but I'm not trying to make excuses. I'm trying to understand--and help convey understanding of--reasons.

    I have to ask: are feelings necessarily the best way to establish the validity of truth claims? I mean, it's not to say that a woman of color doesn't have the right to feel marginalized, but I don't think those feelings should simply be deferred to. Just as there should be more of an effort to reconcile Islam and feminism in the West, feminists of color and other cultures should make an attempt to understand the actual motivations of the people they're criticizing. It seems like, just from talking to you, that you're not willing to do what you demand of your white, Western counterparts.

    I agree. I would love to have that discussion. With more than one Muslim woman, of course, because just asking one isn't really going to give me feel for the culture.

    Remember what I said earlier about it being part of the human condition? We all make value judgments, and they're all subjective.

    I don't see why you characterize criticism as "being spoken down to." If you criticize the actions and beliefs of a conservative Republican, I don't imagine you'd want your words to be considered insults and therefore dismissed. You'd want them viewed as valid and constructive. At least when you mean them to be, lol. Right? I mean, it seems like religious belief has this bubble around it where everyone is expected to respect it and be respectful of it in a way that no other ideology or system of belief is, and I don't understand why. Religion should be just as open to discussion and criticism as anything else. If I think the headscarf is an item that should be left in the past, I shouldn't be told that it's an opinion I have no right to hold, let alone express.

    I wouldn't go that far, since failure to adhere to the rules in Iran could lead to your death. whereas covering your face in France would have gotten you a small fine. (It wasn't a strictly a ban on religious garments, by the way; it also applied to anything that covered your face, even helmets and masks, though I know the impetus for the law was Islamic headdresses) And I think the law came from a good place. They were trying to prevent women from being forced to wear the things, and I can appreciate that. It's a difficult subject, obviously, with no easy solution.

    Not every magazine or TV show. I think improving. The conversation is finally being had publicly, by influential people, so we're on the right track. It's certainly easier to be a woman with curves without being characterized as "fat" nowadays. Then again, we still refer to models who aren't petite as "plus-sized," so we're still in the Stone Age, at least in some respects.

    Anyway, trust me, you're preaching to the choir on this one. I despise the way women are depicted by our media. And I've never understood why women are expected to wear high heels and makeup. That's always been an alien concept to me. I don't see why men and women aren't held to similar standards.

    As a quick aside, it's worth noting that it's not all about women here. We have a very big problem with how masculinity is defined in the West. That gets overlooked because men tend to be the ones steering the conversation, but it's something that also needs to be addressed. And I think it will be, especially now that homosexuality is being more readily accepted in society.

    I feel like that's a weaker position for you. You're better off, in my opinion, sticking to your principles than worrying about consistency. I mean, it makes it sound like you'd be in favor of these evil feminists also being oppressive towards Amish and other cultures. That's obviously not what you want.

    Well, you're going to have to explain why what a feminist thinks is sexist is automatically relevant. You seem to think that a significant branch of feminism--perhaps the entire Western movement--is fundamentally flawed, so I wouldn't think I'd have much trouble convincing you that they shouldn't be deferred to simply because they're feminists.

    I don't believe the thread is sexist because sexism is not about preference, but about power. I mean, consider what you're condemning here. You're effectively saying that if I find a certain hairstyle unflattering, I'm a sexist. You're saying that if I like it when a woman wears a tight dress, I'm a sexist. This is patently ridiculous. The men in that thread aren't exercising control, they're simply expressing opinion. Likewise, they're not saying that a woman shouldn't wear a certain garment, they're saying that they don't find that garment attractive. These are key differences that you're overlooking, and they make all the difference.

    I haven't, actually. That's something I should remedy.

    Come now. You expect me to believe you don't find certain styles of dress flattering or unflattering? You don't find anything about the way a man dresses more or less attractive than some other way they dress? I'm sorry, that's not going to fly.

    See, whether they have a right to wear something or not isn't the question. That's not what the thread is about, and it's not what I'm asking you. It's a discussion about preference. And you just expressed some here, by saying you aren't a fan of tattoos. So, I guess we have our answer to what turns Bells off about men!

    Trust me, I don't feel oppressed. And I have tattoos!

    It's a perpetuation of a stereotype. The portrayal of women in the media is different than Joe Schmoe talking about his unrealistic ideals of beauty are two different things. Joe Schmoe has no ability to define beauty beyond himself; he likely has friends who disagree with him completely. The media, meanwhile, has an unparalleled sphere of influence, and thus can define societal perception.

    I'm really not sure what point you're trying to make here. Do you think it's wrong for men to like thrusting boobs and pert butts?

    Again, I don't follow you.

    I'm sorry, maybe it's because I'm tired, but I can't parse the meaning out of that.

    Here's the thing: Expectation and preference are two disparate concepts. Preference is the estimation that one thing is better or of greater value than another; Expectation is the belief or anticipation that one thing will be. In the context of female fashion, to prefer one style over another is harmless, because it is nothing more than an opinion, whereas expecting a certain style to be adhered to is potentially harmful because one could perceive a threat of consequences implied if those expectations are not met.

    Again, perception is not always reality. The feelings of a black feminist shouldn't wholly shape my view of the subject.

    I think I've covered this pretty well above, but I'll take one final stab at it: Preference is not power. There is no "should" in conservative Islamic cultures.

    I'd have to disagree with the bold part. The concept of women's equality is not found in Islamic texts or tradition. The influence of feminism on that culture is secular in nature, whether Muslim women want to admit it or not. That isn't to say, of course, that one can't be a Muslim feminist, it's merely to point out that Islam cannot be sighted as cause to remove the yolk of patriarchy.

    I'm certainly comfortable discussing the subject. What makes me uncomfortable is your preoccupation with the race. In this context, you equate privilege with whiteness itself, which is unnecessary and unhelpful, not to mention inaccurate.

    What you're railing against is a cultural problem, not a racial one. There's nothing inherently white about trivializing Muslim feminists. There's nothing inherently white about racism. You may even agree with me, but it isn't apparent in your language.

    Not entirely. But then what makes a Muslim woman in London think she knows what's best for a Muslim woman in Saudi Arabia? If one is presumptive, then so is the other.

    I think it would be difficult to say that racial attitudes in 1960s America are representative of anything other than racial attitudes in 1960s America. The difficulty black women found in feminism at that time are quite similar to the problems that black women--and men--found in most aspects of multicultural life at the time.

    Unfortunately, the neutrality of the article you linked to is rightfully in question, and I find the whole notion of "white privilege" to be a racist buzzphrase. I have no patience for it, sorry.

    Actually, that's not what any of those articles are saying. They seem to be saying that Western feminism was specific to white women because the culture in which Western white women lived in was unique to white women. And that's a perfectly valid assessment. What isn't clear is how this translates to "privilege." I see nothing in any of this literature supporting the implication that "white feminism" is in any way wrong, or misaligned. In fact, the article from the Return of Kings website goes so far as to insinuate that the founders of the American feminist movement should have kept their mouths shut because they had it pretty good.

    What I'm finding here is a double-standard. Feminists of color are free to fight for their own, culturally-specific benefits, while white feminists are not. If a white woman speaks out against issues facing her, she's exhibiting a sense of superiority, whereas non-white women who do the same are simply doing what's right. This is racism, plain and simple.

    I mean, one of the articles used a classic racist tactic by insisting that using "white privilege" pejoratively is okay, because:

    Could you imagine how this woman would react if the same rationale were applied to, well, anything else? No, I'm sorry, this is just racism wrapped in lame excuses for why the racism is totally acceptable--which is shorthand for saying, "It's acceptable because it's about whiteness."

    Don't pull that shit on me, Bells. This discussion has remained civil only because I have chosen to engage the subtext of your post rather than focus on your inflammatory language. But I'm sorry, I'm not going to let racism slide. Mind you, I asked for context to your words, and it quickly became clear that your words are rooted in racial hatred, and I have no patience for it. I'm still here, I'm still talking, mostly because I don't think you actually realize what you're saying is racist, but I won't put up with it. I'm always going to condemn it, because it deserves to be condemned.

    I'm open to the idea that I'm wrong about that, trust me. Like I said, I can't imagine how, just in terms of logic, how the hell anyone could make a case for gender equality using Islam as a source. I mean, there was a time when Islam was a cultural boon to the world, so I'm not saying Islam can't be a tool for cultural advancement...but I don't see it today, in the way it is taught and practiced in that region. But again, I'd love to hear that one explained.

    What platform? Where is it? I mean, you've argued that white women in the West have no idea what's right for non-whites and non-Westerners, so why do you then demand that they pretend that they do? I honestly don't understand what you want.

    No, it doesn't. And the articles you linked to don't talk about exclusion, but a difference in interests. It seems to be that non-white women don't want to be a part of that brand of feminism because it doesn't represent their needs. Well, you've said you don't think white women have any business representing the needs of non-white what do you want?

    I think you--and probably black feminists from that era--are conflating simple racism with this "white privilege" nonsense. I mean, again, you said yourself that white women don't have any business speaking on behalf of non-white women (a point which I don't agree with, by the way).

    I just don't see why when white feminists fight for things specific to their situation and their culture, they're doing something evil. Non-white feminists are doing the same thing, aren't they? So why is it right for one but not the other?

    I think what's racist is the insistence upon whiteness as a cause of a problem. To quote from the racist piece of crap you linked to earlier (well, one of them):

    So it's a combination of dismissing white concerns as unimportant, classifying white goals as unrealistic, and generalizing that white women have it good. This isn't a call for equality among feminists, it's a call for white women to shut the fuck up. See, they're actually doing what they accuse white feminists of doing.

    It's bullshit, and you should be ashamed to be a part of it.

    No, this is one racists' drawing, not a historical reality.

    I don't think I'm reactionary at all. I'm trying to be objective, but I'm also unfortunately having to swim through racial literature and learning new racial epithets.

    I don't see anyone trying to shut it down. Even the literature you provided only argues that white feminism fails to represent them, not that it shuts them down.

    What I'm offended by is your racism. And I'm offended by the racist literature I've had to read in an effort to better understand your position.

    This "history" you keep referring to doesn't even match the arguments being made by the people you're apparently sourcing this debate from. You talk about white women "shutting out" and "shutting down" and "dismissing," whereas the women you link to are all talking about a lack of representation, not active trivialization.

    You're just restating the accusation. I asked you for a citation.

    I didn't failt o acknowledge it, I simply said I didn't understand how it was possible. I appreciate the link you provide here, and I wish you had offered it sooner. I would still disagree that the Quran considers men and women as equals in all things--it's a fact that it doesn't, and even the example provided requires a very, uh, generous interpretation of the text--but at least now I know what they're citing.

    And given the accusatory nature of your above quote, I feel I need to remind you again that I personally do not find any conflict in being a Muslim and a feminist. I think religion can be practiced in any way one sees fit, and I don't begrudge anyone their desire to embrace Islam as a way to achieve equality. I wish them all the best, and I hope they succeed. That should go without saying, but apparently I have to say it.

    They'd be wrong.

    Why am I obliged to respect a view that is fundamentally inaccurate? Because it concerns their religion?

    Again, the plight of black feminists in the 60s seems to be a problem with 1960s America, not feminism. Notice that you keep referring to this decade as being problematic, but can't cite anything more recent in terms of overt racism or bigotry. That's because the attitudes expressed at that time were of that time.

    Your argument strikes me as racist firstly because it asserts whiteness as the cause of problems. If I said to you that blackness was the cause of discontent, you'd rightly call me a racist. Then I learned that you not only view whiteness as a problem, but you also support the notion that the plight of white feminists is basically a joke, and that they have no business speaking out. I mean, you haven't said that outright, but you've cited articles that do in support of your argument, so you can't escape the connection.

    Again, I really don't think you realize that your views are racist. Or maybe you do, and I'm just giving you the benefit of the doubt because I never learn my lesson. But I think you don't quite understand the implications of your words. That's not a knock on you, of course; I've been there, too. The only reason I'm still engaging you after all the gross things that you've said and racist articles you've linked to is some probably-misplaced hope to make you realize what you're actually saying.

    Yes, you are. The whiteness of these women is one of your chief arguments against them, and you've gone further than even some of the literature you've linked to by suggesting that they're actively shutting out other views, rather than simply not being broad enough in scope to appeal to non-white women.

    Um, Bells, you've defined an entire movement by the race of its participants. I had no idea this was going to have anything to do with race until you insisted upon it.

    You said yourself that Islamic feminism is as old as Western feminism, so who is responsible for the lack of voice of Muslim women? How are white women to blame, exactly? I keep hearing words like "dominate" and "exclude," but how is this achieved, exactly?

    If there is a "problem" with modern feminism, it appears to be that not enough people are involved in it. But since the problems and solutions tend to be unique to each culture, it's up to the men and women of each culture to make their voices heard.

    No, it isn't. It appears to be a confused mess of ideas held in loose relation by a commonality of racism.

    From the article:

    The people excluding them from the discussion have been the historical white feminist movement.[/quote]

    it seems they're also having trouble within their own culture. But I guess we're going to ignore than and create a white boogeyman instead.

    Oh fuck off. If this were an actual critique, my voice would among those in support of it. This is plain, ignorant racism, nothing more.

    If you're going to argue that slavery was the result of the whiteness of European slaver owners, then it would be every bit as racist as this garbage.

    And you can't seem to settle on a definition for "privilege," I notice.

    Yes, I'll take the word of a group of racists over the historical record.

    Already debunked the claim of correlation.
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  7. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Balerion, in all honest, I have to ask your angle on this... because it feels like you are looking for an argument where there really is none. Is the article biased? Perhaps... but it seems to be biased in the plight of the women fighting for their freedoms, not against them as you keep claiming. I know you aren't stupid... so why are you acting like you are? Take a moment to reflect on what is going on overseas (and please, please, please dont' make Faux News or MSNBC or any other large-stream media your primary source of info on this) and then think about what the authors point was... I think you will find that what they are saying correlates pretty well to what you are claiming you believe here.
  8. Bells Staff Member

    Okay then Balerion. Since you wish to deny the history of feminism and you wish to ignore the voices of women who have experienced it and who have written extensively about it..

    What is your perception of the history of feminism? Where did it begin? Who were (and are) the prominent writers and authors of feminist ideology? To whom did it originally apply to? What were their experiences that they drew from and can you please explain how those experiences applied to all women equally around the world? Do you understand what is meant by white privilege and what that means within the dialogue of this topic?

    You have failed to understand or provide any historical context to this subject and have instead lashed out with the ridiculous accusation of racism. You have not provided any links discussing this issue and it is clear you have not even read anything I provided which goes into quite some detail explaining the feminist movement historically. Instead, you are simply reacting because you are offended by the historical context of this subject and deeply offended that said historical context discuses white privilege.

    Because this is the context you are missing when crying 'that's racist' when the history of feminism is looked at in the context of this thread. Your accusation is so ridiculous when the article in the OP clearly states that minority women have felt excluded from feminist discourse and they are now finding ways to counter that exclusion to make their voices heard. It's not racist to acknowledge what has been something that is historical fact. Frankly, I find your denial of historical fact to be distinctly patriarchal and sexist, not to mention mildly racist in its origins. You are so defensive about your race that you are failing to notice that feminists have been arguing about this for decades, from all sides. Your reaction to the valid criticism of feminism in a historical context is tantamount to 'you hate white people and that's racist' - when it is clear that you don't quite understand the historical context and issues faced by feminists even to this day.

    Denying historical fact because it sounds racist or because it critiques or examines white privilege is a form of racism in itself. Feminism is not one size fits all. It also needs to be looked at within a cultural context. Women's needs and expectations within their individual societies are also not the same. Western history and its discourse is dominated by white privilege historically. It's why the US has 'black history month'. Early feminists wrote about what they knew and experienced. Within that framework, the majority of discourse in a historical sense, has come from white women, the majority of whom were educated and were white and at the very least, middle class. So their words and their ideals became the dominant force in the feminist movement. During the civil rights movement, black feminists were excluded from that discourse. As the article from MIT states, many of these white feminists had black employees working in their homes. So you can perhaps understand the racial divide black feminists had to overcome. Islamic feminists today face a different battle. Feminists in the West focus on certain aspects of the lives of Muslim women - such as the hijab, being allowed to drive, being allowed to go where they please, etc. As Islamic feminists state in the article I linked above which you disregarded because it either made you uncomfortable as a white male in denial or because it doesn't fit into what you think it should be (which is where you become patriarchal and domineering), their freedom will come to them in Islamic jurisprudence and teachings. And their problems aren't what we in the West think they are. What we think should matter to them is trivial in their eyes. Because their battles are centered around the home and community.

    Even Wiki has delved extensively into this subject, because that domination has affected the feminist movement around the world.

    You have spent an inordinate amount of time disregarding white privilege within the context of historical feminism and feminist discourse. You have discounted it and called it a lie. It exists. And the reason it exists is because of context. When the feminism movement began in the West, all historical and political discourse was white. People of colour had no rights. So white women who were fighting tooth and nail against their own mistreatment and suffering were applying their experiences and were fighting for themselves and other women like them. Women of colour were not like them. They were classified even lower on the margin of 'class' and rights. So black women, for example, had completely different experiences. White privilege reigned supreme historically. I'll put it this way.. A black man would be lynched if he so much as looked at a white woman. This is historical fact. Identifying the white privilege that allowed such atrocities to occur is not racist or anti-white. This was the political context in which white feminists arose. This was the political environment. They wrote and formed their policies around what they knew and experienced. Identifying this is not racist. Nor is it racist to identify that even in their lower status, white women were far more privileged than women of colour. It is not racist to identify this. This is historical fact.

    White feminists and non-white feminists have been writing about it for decades.

    One of the most galling things about your.. ermm.. argument is your complete disregard for what feminists write and what they experience and their journey for freedom against male domination. And it is galling because you are approaching this from a standpoint of a white privileged western male who will never experience what they have experienced.

    For example, Muslim feminists have been using their religious text to help them in their fight. They are very open about it and it is well known. Here is where your white male privilege comes into the fray:

    The central basis of Islamic feminism is the Qu'ran. And here you are, the "privileged white male", asserting that it isn't, that it stems from your secular culture and influence and that they are just lying to themselves if they deny it.

    You completely disregarded their experiences, knowledge, understanding and expertise and instead applied yours and deemed this not true.

    I don't think you quite understand what is meant by white privilege within the context of this discussion and your continued reiteration that not all feminists in the West are white is a clear example of this lack of knowledge about feminism - historically and presently. It is obvious that you do not understand what it means when I say that feminist discourse has been dominated by privileged white women and the exclusion of non-white feminists and women. Here is yet another example of it happening in defining Islamic feminism:

    The term "Muslim feminist" may sound paradoxical to many as a result of the media's tendency to portray Muslim women as victims. As a Latina who often feels excluded from mainstream feminist discourse, I became interested in Muslim feminists when I noticed they were also absent in popular women's publications. To understand these unheard voices, I arranged interviews with a number of Muslim Americans last week and discovered that these women were far from being victims.

    In reality, many Muslim women identify as feminists and are actively fighting for their rights. Within this group, one finds women who interpret this term in a number of different ways, and there are as many debates as one would find within mainstream American feminism.

    "I see the justification [for feminism] in my faith. In the Qur'an it says that we're all equal in the eyes of God," says Fatemeh Fakhraie, founder of Muslimah Media Watch. "It means that the dignity of every person is important."

    Do you understand the pattern here?

    No one is disregarding the plight of those early feminists who did happen to be white. Had this battle been waged within another race first, then it would be that woman privilege. I think those early feminists are probably some of the bravest women to have existed, because they risked their families, lives, their access to their children, their education, their homes to build up the feminist movement. So when I say "white privilege" in regards to them, it's not an insult. It's an explanation and an application of historical context. They were not in any way able to understand or write about what they had never experienced.

    I'll give you an example. Do you think feminists in the West today would understand the plight of an Islamic woman who risks losing her children in a divorce settlement because of her sex? Islamic feminism applies the very Islamic jurisprudence that men have appropriated for their own use and domination to gain freedom and equality. It's not secular. And it is an insult to those women and their efforts to claim that 'pfft, it's secular whether they realise it or not'. Islamic women are not stupid. They know their religion and their religious text and history better than you ever will and they know their religion supports their rights to freedom from patriarchal beliefs and opinions. You have been too busy being offended at the thought that feminist discourse has historically been dominated by white women who are privileged (much like one would apply white male privilege in a political context) and for the most part, the voices of others have been ignored or silenced because they never fit into that dominating discourse. It's not racist to acknowledge it.

    Firstly, I have been speaking to you politely and I have gone out of my way to provide you with links and articles for you to read. In response you have been rude, offensive to the point of swearing at me and have provided nothing but an overblown reaction that has been tantamount to you looking for some kind of reaction which you are clearly not going to get.

    I would suggest you back up your claims that feminist discourse has not been dominated by white privileged women and that non-white feminists have not been excluded and shut out of said discourse if you are going to so vehemently disagree.

    Do not swear at me and if you are incapable of responding respectfully and politely, don't bother responding at all.

    I'll leave you with this paper.. I do hope you read it as it provides some much needed context and historical understanding of the issues faced by non-white feminists: "Being Lovingly, Knowingly Ignorant:White Feminism and Women of Color" by Marina Ortega.

    Professor Maythee Rojas also wrote a very insightful piece about feminism and the how non-white feminists experience feminism: "Women of Color and Feminism"

    They provide the perspective that you appear to be lacking and what you aren't quite grasping in regards to the OP.
  9. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    You should notice that I cited the SciForums posting guidelines (which makes no exception for non-commercial use), that are applicable to all members regardless of their country, not the US copyright laws.

    Wow, what a straw man. Quite the contrary to thinking it was unworthy of discussion, you can go reread where I was trying to urge Sorcerer to actually, god forbid, discuss it. I actually did think the OP was worthy, but only if there was a difference of opinion that could actually sustain a discussion (as it is now).

    You should also note that once I did get an opinion out of the OPs author I did add substance, but only once it was clear that the substance of the proffered article apparently did not stand on its own (as I had assumed it should). I am sorry I gave the guy more credit than he deserved.

    Yes, my comment to Sorcerer explicitly sought to "incite a reply". Replies are what fuel discussions.
  10. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    So, you see, to me it appears you attempted to rationalize your decision to state that the post was against guidelines by citing fair use copyright law. Additionally, there was no "reproduction in full of complete works" in the original post, nor was there any attempt to pass the post off as his own (which would, indeed, be a violation of copyright law, and also basic plagiarism). Not only that, but citation was given in the very first line - "Interesting article from the Guardian:"

    Now, given that, I ask again - what is your agenda here? You appear to have been taking forum rules and guidelines and utilizing them in very specific, niche ways so as to have an explanation to rationalize why you are closing certain threads and harping on certain members/topics... so what gives?
  11. Balerion Banned Banned

    I'm not going to write a thesis on feminism just because you need a distraction from getting your ass kicked in an argument.

    I haven't ignored anything, so you're either intentionally misrepresenting my position, or you're simply lacking the ability to accurately express yourself. In either case, you should strive to remedy that.

    What I've done is disagree with your position, and condemn your racism. Disagreeing with your insistence that feelings equate to historical fact, primarily, because the links you've provided amount to little more than angry racists belittling the plight of white women. They don't provide context for the argument that their voices are not heard in feminism, or why feminism must be defined by such a narrow view. It's also worth nothing that none of the literature you've provided actually makes the argument that you're attempting to make in this thread--a point which you've conveniently ignored when I've presented it. They're not saying that they are being silenced, but rather that white women's problems A) aren't representative of all women, and B) aren't really problems to begin with.

    This was a fact of the time, not of feminism itself. Why do you insist on defining feminism by the racial attitudes of the entire culture? And how is this supposed "privilege" manifested today? What feminist assumes that her own experience is representative of everyone else's, and why is that necessarily a white thing? You haven't even attempted to establish that; the entirety of your argument (and indeed, the arguments of your racist heroes) in the attitudes of the culture between the beginnings of feminism and the 1960s. The culture has moved on, but it seems that you haven't.

    No one is disputing that. What is being disputed is how this translates to "feminism is about white privilege," and how that context translates to modern feminism. So far your arguments have not addressed this. The best you can do, apparently, when it comes to "white" attitudes today is suggest that they don't spend enough time condemn the Amish--which isn't true, it's just that fringe liberals only seem to care about being vicariously insulted on behalf of Islam)

    Meanwhile, there's a legitimate conversation being had regarding Muslim women who wearing traditional dress and the feminist movement. But you don't seem interested in that. You seem interested primarily in hating Whitey.

    Again, feelings are not historical fact. And I'm also not going to take your word for it, since you don't even seem all that familiar with the works you've provided as proof of your claims. I'll do my own research, thanks.

    I haven't read a lot of feminist literature, so I'm certainly not disregarding it. The worst that could be said is that I'm unaware of it, which I admit that I am. What I'm really disregarding is what you've written and what you've linked. And what I've read from you and from your counterparts is racist. Acknowledging that western feminism began with white women challenging the status quo in their culture isn't an issue. What is an issue--and what there's no amount of context that will forgive--is that this somehow makes them racist, or that it somehow makes them oppressors. Even your racist writer friends aren't suggesting that. They're saying that there's an aloofness about them, that they attempt to make white the norm. Whether that's correct or not is another matter; it wouldn't excuse the kind of language being used or the charge that "white people problems" are not worthy of attention. Nor the vulgar generalization that white women are pampered, protected, etc..

    I'm going to report your post for racist taunts. Don't know what good it will do, but I'm going to try. I'm also going to create a ticket about it, though I'm sure you'll just take care of that one yourself...

    To pry the point out of the garbage surrounding it probably isn't a worthwhile task, but what the hey. First of all, no, the central basis for the equality movement is not found in the Quran. It's found in western culture, which does have an influence on the entire world. You'll notice that the women who have founded the movement in the OP are from the UK. The woman quoted in the article you provide a sample of below, Fatmeah Fakhraie, founder of Muslima Media Watch, war born and raised in Utah, and educated in the United States. And her group is a media watchdog group. I'd go so far as to say she wouldn't agree with you at all. She seems to think that the problem is the media, not other feminists. This is a concept you should be aware of, given our brief discussion earlier about the media's portrayal of feminine beauty (and masculinity, but you oddly didn't seem to give much of a shit about that...)

    Anyway, my assertion was not that they couldn't do it, only that I couldn't imagine how they could. Let me be clear: There is no Quranic precedent for equal rights; everywhere the text teaches people how to live, it makes inequality inherent to the human condition. Yes, like Christianity and Judaism, it says that all will have a place before God so long as they follow the rules (one of these passages is where they draw their argument from) ...but nowhere does it say the rules are the same for both, or that men and women have equal roles in the journey. Here, again, wherever the issue comes up, it says the direct opposite.

    But I'm thrilled that Muslim women are using their own interpretation of the text to say differently, and I hope they're successful. A more progressive-minded take on the Quran would do wonders for everyone.

    It doesn't take a Muslim to understand the Quran, and I think it's extremely narrow-minded of you to suggest it does.

    Considering you've used it in different context, it's hard to follow. But I have a general idea of what knowledgeable racist feminists mean by it. It just doesn't seem to mean what you think it means. Or maybe it does, but only part of the time.

    It's your insistence that whiteness is a cause of the discord that makes such a statement necessary.

    Again, your odd use of the word "privilege" here makes it tough, sometimes, to know exactly what you mean, but at this point all I need to know is that it's really just an excuse to demonize a group because of the color of their skin. To you, all that matters is their whiteness. If black feminists dominated the news, you probably wouldn't complain. I say this because this argument about "discussion domination" appears to be a smoke screen; you don't really care if there are more voices; you don't want white women involved, and you don't think their problems matter.

    More than one. First, you clearly aren't reading the things you link to me. Second, you have a dreadful understanding of what the actual argument is. This is probably because you get the bulk of your information from racist bloggers.

    Again, read your own links, and you'll see differently. The writers called those women protected and pampered, and said their problems weren't really problems. One of them talked about the labor role of Native American women, and suggested that she would have laughed at the idea of a woman wanting to leave the comfort of her home for a field somewhere. All I've seen from your links is a constant belittling of what they define as the "white" struggles. You've done nothing to distance yourself from that view. You've only reinforced it.

    So now "privilege" means "pioneer?" I mean, seriously.

    No, it isn't an explanation or application of historical context. "White Privilege" is a pejorative term that refers to a perception that white people are naturally better off than other races, and enjoy societal benefits above others. And when your buddy at one of the article you linked to is approached by a white woman who says, "But that's not how I am," not only are they given the horseshit illogic of "If it doesn't describe you, it isn't about you," she's also treated as a case-in-point, because, apparently, to have a negative opinion of the term is to assert that everything be viewed through the lens of white feelings. This, of course, effectively renders all accusations of racism or bigotry or discrimination from the person being hated or discriminated, so obviously there's no merit to the idea.

    It is as oversimple and incorrect as the notion that black people are naturally less intelligent than whites, or that Jews control the world. It's stupid racist bullshit.

    Of course they'd understand. Why wouldn't they? It's not a difficult concept. Are you suggesting that they couldn't? If that's the case, then how could anyone who isn't a Muslim woman (or mother, perhaps) ever take their side and support them? How is it that you support them? I mean, you don't live in a place where such a thing is possible. Like it or not, you live in the West.

    I'm not saying they're stupid. I happen to think the appeals to the Quran are calculated. As I said before, there is no Quranic precedent for women's equality, so there's no way to come away from it believing that they should have a different standing in society. What does make them think this way is the feminist movement in the West. The secular movement that diminishes the impact of religiosity on policy-making and adopts a secular view of society, which is not laden with Bronze Age social mores. But pleading secularism in the Middle East won't get you very far. These women need to change the game, and that's what they're doing. Sure, maybe some of them actually do believe that the Quran supports them. And good for them if they do. But they're not right. Their cause is right, but it's not actually rooted in the Quran, no more than the American Civil Rights Movement was rooted in the Bible.

    Remember when the Quran comes from. You think the people who wrote it were practicing gender equality?

    Says who? No, seriously, why do you think they understand Islam better than I do? Does actually being a Muslim immediately make one an expert? Or are you sticking with this idea that one cannot possibly understand concepts that are not native to their culture?

    It doesn't. It specifically doesn't. Remember, their religion is not necessarily equivalent to their text. That said, if their religion supported their rights, they would have nothing to complain about, because they'd already be equal. It's the religion more than the text that they have to fight. You have been too busy being offended at the thought that feminist discourse has historically been dominated by white women who are privileged (much like one would apply white male privilege in a political context) and for the most part, the voices of others have been ignored or silenced because they never fit into that dominating discourse. It's not racist to acknowledge it.

    You have not been polite. My reaction was to your comment that I was merely taking this position because I was reluctant to face a criticism of my "race," as if the actions of whites over one period of time in history condemns all whites going forward (How is that not racist?) I'd say that deserved an eff-off. I mean, am I expected to thank you for that?

    I don't have an opinion of whether the media has portrayed feminism as white, because I don't know enough about it, but if that is a problem it appears to be one with the media, not with feminists. My problems with your comments and your links is that they're racist. Where is this "privilege" you speak of? You can't even settle on a definition for the word, and all your literature is thinly-veiled (when veiled at all) racist propaganda.

    If you don't want to be swore at, don't make racist taunts. It's really that simple. I'll tell you to eff off every time you do so, and I'll do right until the ban-hammer lands its final blow. You do what you want, but I won't be spoken to like that.

    I'll leave you with this paper.. I do hope you read it as it provides some much needed context and historical understanding of the issues faced by non-white feminists:[/quote]

    Yay! More racist manifestos!

    I'm kidding. Well, half-kidding. I'll read them right away.
  12. Ahriman Registered Member

    Why don't women In mostly Muslim countries just do away with the whole thing entirely. Sorry, but Islam and reason cannot coexist, reconciling lay them will dilute one or the other to the point of meaninglessness.
  13. Balerion Banned Banned


    This is exhibit A in my argument that moderators cause more problems than they correct. The validity of this thread shouldn't be in question--even without Sorcerer making comments in the OP, the thread is doing well--yet here you still are, attempting to derail it.

    Go away already. You're entirely off-topic.
  14. Balerion Banned Banned

    I have to ask if you're actually attempting to add something to the discussion, or merely trying to get a response out of me. I ask only because you clearly haven't read my posts. For example, I never said that the article of the OP was biased. I am thrilled that Muslim women are taking a stand. I have stated repeatedly that one can be a feminist and a Muslim with no contradiction. I root for them, and if I had the means I'd support them in any way I could.

    My problem (which you'd know if you read my posts) is the articles Bells linked to. You know, the ones in which the authors call white women "pampered and protected," and dismiss their problems as unworthy while calling their goals unrealistic.

    And, just for a second, try reading Bells' posts. I mean, look, I know that there's a better chance Tupac shows up on Kelly & Michael tomorrow morning than you actually criticizing Bells, but if you read the posts you're attempting to talk about, you at least wouldn't waste my time with this nonsense.
  15. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, I also said "flirting with violating", and "amount and substantiality of the portion used" does not necessitate "reproduction in full of complete works". Anyway, all this is a red herring (which you have erroneously given priority, even to the point to quoting my post out of order, as if this were my main contention), as I have already stated that my initial complaint was about the OP failing to provide some opinion to start a discussion (which is the effective point of OPs).

    My "agenda" has been quite obvious from the very beginning, as I have made no secret that I think the OP should have included more original content than "interesting". Notice, again, the discussion that has ensued (not counting your off-topic posts) once the author of the OP did provide some small glimpse into his opinion.

    And what thread have I closed recently? After receiving feedback from members, I have already stated my intent to refrain from thread closures where feasible.
  16. Balerion Banned Banned

    Which suggests that in the future, you can keep out of it.
  17. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Take the continued off-topic posting up with Kittamaru. And go reread where this thread did not even get going until its author managed to give some opinion of the proffered article. Like I have already said, I think the article stands on its own just fine, and that it is largely Western bias that make those who think their religion and women's equality can coexist feel excluded from the overall effort.
  18. Balerion Banned Banned

    Does a "good" excuse excuse harmful behavior?

    You could have asked for his opinion without telling him it didn't warrant a thread. You could have been, you know, courteous and helpful instead of flexing your e-peen.
  19. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    My apologies - I wasn't sure specifically what in the articles had upset you. While I agree with you in that the pampered and protected comments are... unnecessary... in some ways they are correct. It has been a long time (well, "long" relatively speaking) since a western woman (or even most European and Asian) has had to worry about being stoned to death for their desires to have individual freedoms and protected speech. Yet, in the Middle East and to some extent the African areas, women are, in a lot of ways, considered "underclass" people. I can see where they would say that, by compare, feminists in many countries are "protected" compared to their Muslim counterparts... though in reality a large part of that is also due to other factors (religious beliefs and cultural norms) but yeah, I see your point

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  20. Bells Staff Member

    I notice that when you are challenged or asked to back up your claims, you resort to this childish argument. And it's usually when you don't quite get what's being discussed...

    There is a history of what the minority women in the UK are going through. Minority women felt excluded from feminist dialogue because they were excluded. Been like this for a hell of a long time now. Denying it and claiming it is racist to acknowledge this fact is, well, childish.

    The Muslim women portrayed in the article in the OP clearly state, that minority feminists often feel left out of feminist dialogue. Not by Muslims or other minorities, but by the feminist movement which has been predominantly white - especially when it comes to literature and feminist arguments.

    See, your reaction would be akin to calling racism and white people hating for discussing slavery, for example.

    I have expressed myself clearly and I have backed up my argument with studies and articles from MIT to feminist bloggers. You have provided nothing more than a refusal to acknowledge historical fact because you think it's racist. God forbid you ever open a history book.

    Show me where I have been racist?

    Am I racist for discussing a historical fact as applied to the feminist movement? Is it racist to discuss white privilege when it comes to history in the West? Was Andrea Dworkin racist for pointing out that cultural context was sorely lacking in the feminist movement and that the feminist movement was too insulated and self absorbed with Western ideals and never quite understood or recognised the feminist movements of other cultures? The result of this drawn in movement is that other cultures have simply taken up the fight for themselves. The feminist movement is not one size fits all and never can be.

    But I mean if you think sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming racism where there is no racist argument being made, then yeah, you're "winning".

    Because minority women around the world have historically been excluded from any feminist discourse. And it continues today. Which is why minority groups are forming their own movements to suit their needs.

    It would perhaps help if you had taken time to read feminist literature before venturing into this thread and complaining about racism.

    Not only did you misunderstand the OP and seem to believe that Muslim women are finding a boost to fight against Islam - when the reality is that the article is about minority feminists in the UK finally being able to have their voices heard in feminist discourse, but you also discount the actual history and realities of the feminist movement and seem to believe that when I say white privilege in regards to the historical discourse of the feminist movement, that I am somehow being racist and hating white people. It is blatantly clear that you have no clue about the historical context of feminist discourse around the world.

    So any brilliant feminist who have spent years studying this and writing about it, you dismiss it as being racist blogs and articles. I mean I'm sure the study and report from MIT was super racist....

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    And no, the culture has not really moved on. One article I linked was written by a white feminist about her experiences within the feminist movement in the last couple of years - the whole 'we should get a black person to speak' part of that article is very sadly recent..

    The feminist movement is an amazing body. But historically and presently, many minorities are being ignored for a variety of reasons - their religious beliefs, their wealth or lack thereof, where they come from.. Those feminists are not being represented or even understood by the more Westernized feminist movement. Been like that for years. Feminists in the West are known to apply their Western ideology and theories to women from other cultures. They don't listen to the needs of those other women, but apply a blanket one size fits all and what they look at are so trivial in some instances that it's cringeworthy. As Hazel Carby relates, how a Western feminist praised the 'liberation' of West Indian women in the UK because they were now being allowed to drive - so trivial when the problems facing the West Indian feminists was domestic violence, unemployment, general racism and sexism within the community. But for a woman in the West, for a Western feminist, being allowed to drive was like the best thing..

    Which is the issue Muslim women and minority women in the UK and everywhere for that matter, are facing when it comes to the feminist movement. It's the application of Western values to things that really, in the grand scheme of what these women are experiencing kind of means nothing... Western ideals are often used as the measuring stick when it comes to rights. It disregards that the Western white feminist beliefs that women need to be liberated from the hijab fail to recognise the bigger power struggle that affect Muslim women in the home - such as with issues of divorce and child custody, for example. Muslim women are not applying Western standards to combat this. Instead, as I linked previously, they are using their religion to win that battle.. Something that Euro centric and Western centric people have issues believing, including you. In fact, you completely disregarded the experiences of these women and applied your Western ideology to it.

    Again, you haven't read much about the feminist movement and you haven't really read much by way of feminist writing, have you? When you exclude other cultures and you apply your white and very Western standards while excluding others, it is white privilege. Much like political discourse in the US and elsewhere has been white male privilege and we see the horror that many feel that the US now has a black president, so much so that they have spent millions of dollars and years trying to prove he was not born in the US.. We see that white privilege by voter registration laws that specifically seek to exclude minority voters.

    While feminists may not seek to deliberately exclude minority women, it is their ideology and the 'our way is the best way' discourse that has alienated minority women. And in many instances, it has also silenced these women from having their voices heard. It is the lack of cultural understanding that has resulted in what I and others see as 'white privilege'. Doesn't mean it's a hatred of white people. It's just an ongoing fight to have the voices and experiences of minority feminists be seen as being equally valid.

    Once again, you are looking at the trivial while ignoring the giant picture and you are once again showing your ignorance of the feminist movement by reacting to non-existent racism.

    You are showing your white privilege by demeaning Muslim women's choices and their experiences and by trivialising their fight and their rights by looking at what they wear.. It's astounding.

    Are you aware of what Islamic feminists are even fighting for? I can assure you, the hijab is down on the list.

    1) Access to health and education
    2) Access to fair and equal representation and rights in the Islamic legal system when it comes to issues like divorce and child custody
    3) Rape and domestic violence

    These are their experiences. And what do you discuss? What they are wearing.. And you wonder why Muslim women feel left out and excluded?

    Stop applying your Western centric beliefs on other people.

    You don't have to take my word for it Balerion. It is clear you have never really read up on these issues and you have clearly not read or understood the many many links I provided for you from feminists currently and who provide the historical context you are clearly lacking.

    Your response has literally been to ignore fact, history and cry racism because you have clearly misunderstood what is meant by white privilege.

    I would suggest you back up your claims that the feminist movement has not been dominated by white female privilege, otherwise your argument means absolutely nothing than you whining about what you clearly do not understand.

    In other words, you are excluding the writings of minority and white feminists who have experienced and studied it both historically and presently because it does not fit into what you want to believe..


    You can keep claiming that it's racist to discuss this like adults.. I cannot imagine why you think it is racist to discuss white privilege which dominates the feminist movement and has been clearly shown to have done so for decades.. To the point where you use words like 'your racist write friends'. And it's kind of sad. Because you are so keen to find something to disagree with that you disregard history and present fact. Your attitude is exactly what minority feminists complain about. That stick head in sand and refuse to acknowledge the issue while applying your euro centric beliefs and deeming them superior. It's kind of sad really. I expected better from you.

    You are free to report me for racism for discussing the history and present white privilege within the feminist movement. It clearly makes you uncomfortable to discuss it or address it and for your personal reasons, you are incapable of even seeing it.

    And you accuse me of racism?

    Once again, you apply what you believe is your dominant white male privilege and deem yours is better than others. This is why minority feminists are excluded.. Lines such as "It's found in western culture, which does have an influence on the entire world".. Any feminist who does not fit into what you deem to be correct is excluded.

    The women in the article clearly say that they had been excluded from feminist discourse because of their religion and their perceived status and that other minority women were joining them to form their own network and movement to be heard.

    As for Fatmeah Fakhraie, it might help you to know about her...

    Born to a Mormon mother and a Muslim father, Fakhraie embraced Islam as a young adult. She brings a feminist perspective to the Quran and Hadith, sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, and critiques traditional Muslim teachings on homosexuality and women's rights. She rejects the idea that her religion oppresses women but recognizes that people, cultures or governments sometimes do. Three years ago, she created a website, Muslimah Media Watch, to support her point of view.


    In person, she is a passionate mix of deep convictions and shopping tips. She doesn't wear hijab, or traditional head-covering, because she believes the Quran enjoins modesty for both sexes but doesn't specifically decree that she must cover her hair.

    "What is modesty?" she asks. "It's so subjective and cultural."

    She does dress modestly and can't resist bragging about the silk blouse she bought on sale and wears with slacks and a short jacket. She has a journalism degree and a master's in fashion design ("I love clothes, but I don't like making clothes," she confesses) but works full-time at INTO OSU, a partnership that encourages foreign students to study at Oregon State University. She does not attend a mosque, but considers herself part of a progressive, global Muslim community. Committed to her own faith, she is open to that of others.

    "Two things are important to me," she says over a sushi supper in downtown Corvallis. "Justice and love, and both of them clicked for me in Islam."


    A feminist perspective is not new to Islam, though many still consider it radical. Lamia N. Karim, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Oregon, says Muslim women "have been resisting, subverting and challenging patriarchal interpretations of religious texts for a very long time."

    What Fakhraie is doing with her website is "democratization of voices," Karim says.

    Fakhraie wrote her first book in first grade.

    "I wrote it and illustrated it and stapled it together," she says. "When Mrs. Passey put it on a bookshelf with other books, I knew what I wanted to do."

    Fakhraie writes about Islam, feminism, politics and race for print and online journals, including Racialicious and AltMuslimah. Her master's thesis, "Effects of Socioeconomic Status on Hijab Styles in Urban Iranian Women," has been turned into a textbook. Muslimah Media Watch is growing. With 17 contributors from several countries, recent posts have criticized news stories on one of Osama bin Laden's wives and a daughter, and a Ms. Magazine piece on "the breast cancer stigma" in Saudi Arabia. Fakhraie edits submissions and monitors comments.

    "This is not a free speech zone," she says of the website. She works hard to create a safe, respectful place where Muslim women, "especially marginalized ones," can express their views.

    She created the website so Muslim women from different countries, sects and races could find and critique misogyny, sexism, patriarchy, Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia. Already, Muslimah Media Watch is turning up on sites aimed at working journalists and others who need to learn more about Islam before they write about it.

    "Muslim women are increasingly finding their voices," says Lawrence Pintak, founding dean of The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University and author of several books on journalism in the Middle East. He's heard Muslim women complain that they are sought after for interviews and articles if they will talk or write about being oppressed by Islam. But if they want to write as independent women journalists, their point of view is less welcome. The power of social networking means a site like Muslimah Media Watch gives them an opportunity to be heard, he says.

    So no, she doesn't disagree with me.

    Why don't you ask Fakhraie how she does it? Or Islamic feminists who are taking their spouses to court and winning using the Qu'ran and its interpretations to set new precedents?

    You see the Qu'ran as how you want to see it. Muslim women see it differently.

    Fakhraie's blog has one post about it.. And recommends a book.. Which Publisher's Weekly's review had this to say in part of their review:

    In accessible, lucid prose, Abu-Lughod explains how sensationalized memoirs, or ‘pulp nonfiction,’ have perpetuated stereotypes and made Muslim women a symbol of an alien culture. The author dispassionately points out the hypocrisy of colonial feminism, and how more often than not, there is a clear political agenda behind the liberation of the ‘women of cover’ and how the role of the U.S. is often overlooked. The women presented here see their Islamic faith as a source of strength to fight injustice, not the cause of it. They’re not asking to be rescued from their religion, the author contends, but from the discriminatory legal system, poverty, outdated patriarchal family traditions, and border controls that continue to inhibit their freedom. While offering no easy solution, the author recommends observation over moral crusades, stating: ‘Anyone seriously interested in Muslim women’s rights must follow them as they move.’ This book is an excellent place to begin. (Publishers Weekly 2013-08-12)


    Then perhaps you should stop telling Muslims what the Qu'ran says in your opinion and start listening to Muslim women about what it says and how they are using it to great effect to end the patriarchal abuse and rule instead of calling them racist bloggers and writers.

    As I explained earlier and which you claimed was racist, the feminist movement rose out of a time where 'white privilege' was the norm. So it has excluded non-whites from a lot of the discourse - especially if the minority feminists were applying completely different aspects to the feminist discourse. Muslims who use their religion and religious texts to fight for more freedom are excluded - because we in the West seem to look at the trivial things like what they wear and not being allowed to drive. Ask a Muslim woman in Saudi Arabia what matters more to her? Being forced to wear the garb and not being allowed to drive? Or the fact that her husband could leave her destitute and take her children from her and she could have nothing to do with it? Or the fact that she could be raped and blamed and punished for her rape? Or the fact that she is completely excluded from any say because of her sex? Scale of importance. As one article I linked you written about and by Islamic feminists, what we in the West consider important is trivial in their grand scheme of things because they are using the religious text to fight much bigger battles. So when people say "west is better", it completely excludes them - because they aren't fighting things like we do in the West. When Western feminists then apply their historical discourse to the plight of Muslim women, it's not a shared experience and Muslim women and other minorities feel like they are being spoken down to.. Their experiences and what they know is completely disregarded and discounted because it does not fit into the ideal and experiences of those in the West. That is what is meant by white privilege when it comes to this discussion.

    You really don't understand what is meant by white privilege, do you? Stop focusing on the colour or word white and look at the bigger picture.

    *Faceplant desk*

    If a black feminist dominated feminist discourse, we'd still be having this conversation. Because Muslims and other minorities and white feminists would be left out of feminist discourse.

    I'll give you an example of what I mean by white privilege.

    When you look at the Republican party, what do you see? That is what I mean by white privilege - say the tea party - hell bent on protecting their white privilege. It's their status quo. Western feminists see any disagreement with their ideology or their interpretation or their experiences as their losing that status quo. So they silence anyone who disagrees with them. They exclude them. Minority feminists who wholly agree with them and who write what they write are not excluded. Muslim women, for example and as per the OP, who seek freedom from oppression in their religion are excluded - because it goes against that status quo. It goes against the dominant theory. It challenges their beliefs. For example, Western feminists believe that Muslim women need to be saved. When Islamic feminists say 'err no, we're right thanks, we're using our religious text to save us' - that is the challenge to the dominant theory and as a result, those Muslim women are excluded and their voices are shut out..

    Now do you understand what I mean by white feminist privilege? It's not so much the colour but the ideology and the status quo. That is what feminist writer's mean when they say 'white feminist privilege'.

    1) I have read each one many times.
    2) I am not the one who entered the thread not understanding what the actual article in the OP was about - perhaps Sorcerer should have presented it more correctly.
    3) My links are from well known, well versed and in the majority of instances, are professors in universities who teach about feminism..

    You have admitted to not understanding or knowing much about feminism, historically and presently and it is clear, as I said before, that you are struggling with what is meant by 'white privilege' in the context of this subject.

    Actually no. I'd suggest you .. ermm.. read them without the pre-conceived notion that disagreeing with Western feminists is racist. Critiquing Western and white centric feminism is not racism, Balerion. I think applying Western standards or how White Western women live and their experiences to Native American women is not the right way to go about it. Ignoring their plight and their voices and their struggle because they don't fit into what the white centric beliefs are is also why many minorities feel excluded.

    Please stop misrepresenting what I say.

    Refer to what I linked you above about that. And please, if you wish to discuss this issue, it is best to actually have read about feminism instead of reacting to critiquing the feminist movement as 'it's racist' because you lack the knowledge about the feminist movement historically and its application and usage presently. I cited you clear examples of just how minority feminists are excluded, they even explain it in great detail and you completely disregarded it because it doesn't fit into your world view or your belief system... Which is kind of the whole reason why so many do feel excluded.

    Again, please educate yourself on the issue before commenting on it and applying what you deem to be your superior Western standards that you declared was "right" earlier because it's from the West.

    It's clear that they do not.

    Islamic feminists have been pointing this out for decades, so have Asian feminists and African American feminists. For decades..

    Once again, you disregard their experience and history because you think your Western way is better than theirs..

    And you question why they should feel excluded or why they feel Westerner's don't understand? Really?

    The irony is that you accuse me of racism and then you give a spiel about how your Western white ways are so much better and how their way is wrong if it does not fit into your ways.. It's because of attitudes like what you just said that minority feminists are forming their own movement.

    Are you actually serious?

    You're more focused on what they wear on their heads while disregarding what they say is more important to them and what they are doing to fix it.

    You are the very example of white patriarchal privilege that minority women have to fight against. Because you act as if you know their lives, their experiences and even their personal religious beliefs better then they do. This is why minority feminists are excluded, because of the very attitude you just displayed.

    So it's not racist to declare your Western superiority over minorities?

    That's a new one.

    You are expected to have at least basic rudimentary understanding of the subjects you decide to discuss. What is not expected or wanted is this stomping in and declaring superiority without anything to back up your claims and then crying racism when history is pointed out to you and supported with many many articles, studies and writings and books..

    If you are incapable of discussing this subject in a sane and sensible manner without swearing at people, then don't participate in it. Certainly do not waste my and other people's time trying to educate you on the history of the feminist movement and its various cultures when all you are interested in doing is declaring your Western centric superiority.

    Perhaps, before you comment on something, you learn a bit more about it instead of just reacting to something you clearly do not understand.

    Then don't complain when I moderate you for swearing at people for your lack of understanding of the subject matter and your clear lack of education on the subject at hand.

    You can also look it up on Wiki if it's going to be easier for you to read..

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    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  21. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    At this point your are contributing to the off-topic discussion.
  22. river

    The damage that monotheism does and being patriarchal is not only evident in the three basic religions of the world , but also on this thread

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