Jerry Coyne writes at Why Evolution is True:
Phyllis Chesler has impeccable credentials as a feminist, including a lifelong history of activism and over a thousand articles and sixteen books on feminism, including the famous Women and Madness. You’ll probably think, as did I, that she makes too much of these credentials in her new piece in Tablet, “Against faux-feminists who deny the rights of muslim women and Jews.” Six paragraphs of her introduction lay out her accomplishments, which sound a bit too much like bragging, but I suspect that when writing an article like this—which takes Western feminists to task for ignoring the patriarchy of Islam, and also defending Israel—she has to establish her bona fides lest she be dismissed as a “sister punisher.”
I’ve banged on for several years about the double standards of both the Western Left and its feminist moiety: while viciously finding fault with every aspect of The Patriarchy in America—including things like a space scientist wearing a shirt made by a woman friend that was festooned with semi-clad women—they dutifully ignore far worse oppression of women under Islam. This is because, in the Victimization Hierarchy, being a person of color ranks above being a women, so that the oppressions of Islam (a religion supposedly held by people of color) are excused because they’re promulgated by brown people. It sounds crass to say it that way, but it’s true. And it’s hypocritical.
Chesler is mad as hell, and calls this double standard “faux feminism,” which she characterizes (accurately) like this:
. . . a new and what I describe as a “faux feminism” has arisen in the last 30 years, a postmodern and postcolonial feminism that passionately condemns Christianity and Judaism as the greatest danger to women’s rights but dares not critique religiously supremacist Islam for this same reason; an intersectional “faux feminism” that condemns only Western imperialism and refuses to acknowledge the long history of Islamic imperialism, colonialism, slavery, anti-black racism, and religious and gender apartheid; a “faux feminism” that is far more concerned with the alleged occupation of Palestine than it is with the occupation of women’s bodies, faces, minds, and genitalia world-wide–including those women who are being forcibly face-veiled, death-threatened, and honor killed in the disputed territories.
Women’s studies associations, national feminist organizations—many feminist Jews—are not merely “politically correct”; they have become “Islamically correct.” They are currently more concerned with the religious sanctity of head and face veiling than they are with FGM, forced face-veiling, honor-based violence, polygamy, child marriage, and honor killing in the West. Not only have faux feminists betrayed the Jews—in the name of anti-racism, they have also abandoned tribal and immigrant women of color—Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus—to barbaric misogyny. Above all, they have abandoned the most heroic ex-Muslim, Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu feminist dissidents, both in the developing world and in the West.
And that’s the tragedy—that so many Western feminists have become such conformists. They are no longer independent thinkers. Faux feminists have also been persuaded that Islam is a “race,” not an ideology or a religion; that America’s historic enslavement of black Africans, and South Africa’s apartheid regime, is exactly the same as alleged Israeli discrimination against Arab Palestinians, including Jew-hating bomb makers and terrorists with blood on their hands.
Fundamentalists are trying to destroy what feminists have accomplished.
Feminists in America exposed, condemned, and analyzed rape. We began rape-crisis counseling and changed the laws about rape. Today, Western professional feminists—our women’s studies professors, politicians, journalists, human-rights activists—are not rescuing rape victims in Islamic communities, either in the Middle East or in the West. Feminists are too nervous about being called “Islamophobes,” “racists,” or “colonialists.”
Dare I, as a man, even intrude into discussions of where feminism has gone wrong? Yes, I do, and I will.
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