A few weeks back, Carla Bruni was in Vogue magazine talking about how she doesn’t feel the need to be a feminist any more. I think that is cute. She specifically said that her generation doesn’t need to be feminist, like she is that young or something. I admire her frankness- she also owned up to being a real bourgeois- but what she is selling is quite dangerous. I agree with her- Carla Bruni doesn’t need to be a feminist. Why? Because she is a heiress who was born into money, who made a hecka lot more money modeling, then made some more money singing, then married the president of France. She has the capital she needs several hundred times over. People like Carla Bruni “don’t need” feminism. The waitress trying to pay for her abortion? She needs feminism. The talented manager who keeps getting passed over for senior management and board positions? She needs feminism. The working mother whose husband expects her to bring home the bacon and be Donna Reed too? She needs feminism. The single mom who can’t afford childcare while her ex-dude is off making more babies with someone else? She needs feminism too. But a rich lady who can afford to walk away if her dude doesn’t fly right? Ok Carla, you don’t need feminism. For me it is always about capital. We don’t all get good husbands. We don’t all get money. Until then, we need feminism. I need the same salary as a man with equal talent. I need access to management positions if I want them. I need to not be judged for being divorced. I need to not be judged for choosing not to have children. These things aren’t possible without a feminist bent.
Feminism gets a bad rap these days. I feel like everything my mother ‘s and grandmother’s generations fought for is going down the drain. Women in their little suburban homes who think death or divorce can’t happen to them. The same women who egg on men when they say that feminists are bitter and hate men and don’t want to do housework. Which leads me to the title of this post. You know who I think of when some man tries to diss feminism to me? I think of this dude. People want to talk about how he was an isolated, crazy gun toting mental case- but read about some of the stuff he says. Women taking men’s jobs, women wanting their cake and eating it too for crazy things like maternity leave (OMG right), women being opportunists who only want what belongs to men without fighting the hard fights. That is the undercurrent to what people say when they start going off about how feminists are “bitter” or feminists “hate men.” It has been 23 years since the Polytechnique massacre. Are women really better off? Listen to the crap men and, scarily, women are saying about gender politics and roles.
And I love it when Muslim men want to go off about how “Islam doesn’t need feminism because blah blah respect women blah blah Islam gave rights to women blah blah.” But I still don’t think Islam as it is practiced these days, aka Hislam, is fair to women and true to what the early Muslims intended. Come back and tell me how great Muslim women have it when:
- scrubs who sleep around, cheat and beat their wives aren’t allowed to come to jummah and get shunned the way cheating or promiscuous women get slut shamed at the masjid too.
- women have equal spaces in our masajid and both men and women’s spaces have childcare sections. For these past two points, rip a page out of the Christian playbook. I grew up in churches where EVERYONE was welcome.
- men stop abusing polygamy and call it sunnah when they don’t have a job and three of their wives are on welfare
- women stop being judged by their clothing
- imans stop telling women who are victims of DV to “have some sabr sister” while the yeahbros at the masjid welcome her husband to hang out for coffee and hookah
- when Muslim men walking the walk and living according to the sunnah when it comes to fair treatment of women becomes a majority situation, not a minority one
I don’t consider myself theologically liberal at all but the place of women in our ummah leaves to be desired. We have bigger problems than women leading prayer or wearing hijab or not. The pathology of the ummah in how it treats women runs deeper than just a few crazies doing “honor killings”, just like how Marc Lepine was a random crazy but still part of a larger pathology of hatred and violence against women. Islam is a beautiful religion, but we gotta get back to the roots. Don’t betray the peace and grace of MY RELIGION TOO by making flippant, offhand comments about how feminists are man-hating “lesbians.” Our scars run deep.