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Friday, February 15, 2013

 

Naomi Wolf and "family values"




James Taranto illustrates the absurdity of radical feminist Naomi Wolf. She is in early-stage talks with the global news network Al Jazeera and James wonders if she will wear a veil. What is disconcerting is Wolf's defense of Muslim treatment of women with a rationale that sounds exactly like the traditional Christian defense of family values.

Are we in the West radically misinterpreting Muslim sexual mores, particularly the meaning to many Muslim women of being veiled or wearing the chador? And are we blind to our own markers of the oppression and control of women?

The West interprets veiling as repression of women and suppression of their sexuality. But when I travelled in Muslim countries and was invited to join a discussion in women-only settings within Muslim homes, I learned that Muslim attitudes toward women's appearance and sexuality are not rooted in repression, but in a strong sense of public versus private, of what is due to God and what is due to one's husband. It is not that Islam suppresses sexuality, but that it embodies a strongly developed sense of its appropriate channelling--toward marriage, the bonds that sustain family life, and the attachment that secures a home.
Close your eyes and you can hear the Family Research Council saying
"[Christian]attitudes toward women's appearance and sexuality are not rooted in repression, but in a strong sense of public versus private, of what is due to God and what is due to one's husband. It is not that [Christianity] suppresses sexuality, but that it embodies a strongly developed sense of its appropriate channelling--toward marriage, the bonds that sustain family life, and the attachment that secures a home."
This kind of statement by a Conservative would be relentlessly mocked by the press and teh media, accusing those who hold these opinions of wanting to keep women repressed, tied to the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.  It is no secret that Muslin demands on women, their dress and their freedom to travel, even forbidding them to be out without a male guardian, are infinitely more repressive than the most devout Christian. That Wolf would defend it shows clearly that for her and her supporters hatred of the West trumps everything.

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