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September 21, 2005

Feminism: Some Odd Choices

Strange: I remember when feminism was first explained to me in my Women's Studies class. It was supposed to be all about liberating me from the rigid, overly structured culture of the dominant patriarchy. Freeing me to make my own choices. I glanced nervously down the front of my blouse at my rapidly-aging but still defiantly perky Twins - confirming that they hadn't yet grabbed the nearest incendiary device and burned that obscenely expensive lace Demibra I'd just bought, in some fit of post-feminist rage.

Whew! I'd just finished treating myself to all that lingerie with some of my bonus money! I would not have been amused.

I admit to being bewildered by some of the "choices" on offer for today's liberated women. At times I'm not all that sure we're getting such a good deal. In the career world, we're definitely better off - no question about it. There would have been no question of my working in my current field, at my current salary, thirty years ago. But in other areas the feminist movement sometimes seems to be pushing women to adopt the very same aspects of male chauvinism it once derided, and this is not a good deal for the fair sex. Despite the claims of academicians like Nancy Hopkins, there are differences between men and women - crucial differences that we women ignore to our own peril:

Ariel Levy attended Wesleyan University in the 1990s, and she doesn't feel the better for it. It was a place where "group sex, to say nothing of casual sex, was de rigueur." It was a place where they had "coed showers, on principle." When Ms. Levy suggested to a department head that it would be nice to have at least one course in the traditional literary canon, she was dismissed with icy contempt. Yet elsewhere on campus a professor of the humanities taught a course on pornography featuring, um, detailed textual analysis.

It was all supposed to be so liberating. But it wasn't, as Ms. Levy argues forcefully in "Female Chauvinist Pigs." It was merely the academic groundwork for what she calls "raunch culture," now so ubiquitous that we take it for granted. Young women wear shirts emblazoned with "Porn Star" across the chest. Teen stores sell "Cat in the Hat" thong underwear. Parents treat their daughters' friends to "cardio striptease" classes for birthday parties. This is liberation?

Ms. Levy is baffled. "Why," she wondered, "is laboring to look like Pamela Anderson empowering?" Why did female Olympic athletes pose for Playboy before the summer 2004 Games? Why did Katie Couric feel the need to point to her cleavage and gush "these are actually real!" when she guest-hosted "The Tonight Show" a couple of years ago?

The question feminists never seem to ask is, why do supposedly liberated women say "I can act just like men!" instead of saying, "I can do as I wish." Isn't the true definition of liberation the freedom to be who you really are? Instead, today's young women seem compelled to meet a standard that demeans and shames them: one so hurtful they have to harden themselves to the pain it causes.

Some sort of pervasive pressure, apparently, requires "everyone who is sexually liberated . . . to be imitating strippers and porn stars." Ms. Levy describes the perfect distillation of this impulse--a social group called CAKE that hosts steamy, hooking-up parties in New York and London. CAKE makes big bucks advertising "feminism in action"--it claims to be the place where "sexual equality and feminism finally meet"--but its events are indistinguishable from those held at the Playboy Mansion.

The surface logic of such conduct is fairly simple, notes Ms. Levy. "Women had come so far," or so the thinking went, that "we no longer needed to worry about objectification or misogyny." If male chauvinist pigs "regarded women as pieces of meat, we would outdo them and be Female Chauvinist Pigs: women who make sex objects of other women and of ourselves."

Well, Ms. Levy is having none of it, and she is not the only one. Even Erica Jong seems to feel that something has gone wrong. Known for popularizing the idea that a woman may want consequence-free sex, Ms. Jong today declares: "Being able to have an orgasm with a man you don't love . . . that is not liberation." It isn't? Someone should tell this to Annie, a blue-eyed 29-year-old who admits to Ms. Levy that she "used to get so hurt" after a night of sex that didn't yield an emotional bond. Now she has gotten over it, or tried to: "I'm like a guy," she brags.

You've come a long way, baby.

Perhaps too far. Is there such a thing as being too sophisticated? I am reminded of the tragic (to me at least) story of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. Theirs was a twisted relationship - he slept with anything on two legs, she had affairs with other women but mainly, I think, out of desperation. Hers was arguably the greater talent. She was a handsome woman; he was not a physically prepossessing man, yet she seemed to be in thrall to him for no discernable reason. Feminists sigh over their 'liberated' relationship, but her writing gives a glimpse into what looks to me like a private hell.

In the New Yorker, Louis Menand writes of the last chapter of her greatest book, which became a treatise for the women's movement:

But you can no longer read it without thinking of Olga and Wanda, Arlette and Michelle—the women Sartre supported, who never had independent careers, and who knew that they were allowed access to Sartre only as long as they were “pretty” and never bored him by talking “in the realm of ideas.” A little intellectual pretension, the flattering kind shown by a young admirer, was titillating, of course. It was necessary to get the attention of the great man, who was not disappointed, because he was not surprised, by its limitations. “If a woman has false ideas,” Beauvoir writes in “The Second Sex,”
if she is not very intelligent, clear-sighted, or courageous, a man does not hold her responsible: she is the victim, he thinks—and often with reason—of her situation. He dreams of what she might have been, of what she perhaps will be: she can be credited with any possibilities, because she is nothing in particular. This vacancy is what makes the lover weary of her quickly; but it is the source of the mystery, the charm, that seduces him and makes him inclined to feel an easy affection in the first place.

There is no more remorseless dissection of the situation of the successful man’s mistress than “The Independent Woman,” and, since Beauvoir always wrote out of her own experience, it is possible to imagine that chapter as a coded letter to Sartre, the evisceration that she could never deliver to his face.

How strange that a life full of "choices" should bring such unhappiness! Yet it is the lack of just such choices that we are told is our main downfall as women. And it is by no means logical that we should be denied the opportunity to make certain choices. But options alone do not bring happiness. Nor, having options, should one be made to feel somehow retrograde for choosing not to take advantage of them.

Oddly enough, while being told that "the right to choose" is absolutely sacred in some areas of their lives by the feminist movement, women in Canada are seeing that right limited by their own gender feminists:

On Sept. 11, Dalton McGuinty -- the Premier of Ontario -- announced that his province would not become the first Western jurisdiction to allow Islamic law to settle family disputes such as divorce, child custody and property settlements.

The announcement raises a question: When is it proper for the government to dictate the rules by which adults of sound mind agree to resolve family disputes?

Now the important thing to remember here is that arbitration is a voluntary agreement to allow a third party to negotiate a binding settlement between two or more parties who are engaged in a dispute. So the question arises: do you have a right to make a stupid decision? Apparently the gender feminists think the answer to that question is no - the government must protect you from your own stupidity:

The Ontario Arbitration Act (1991) allows family disputes on civil matters from divorce to inheritance to be resolved through an arbitrator rather than a court, as long as both parties agree. The arbitrated resolutions have the same legal force as court decisions. But the court retains power to reject a resolution that is "invalid" or embodies "unequal or unfair treatment of parties."

Catholics, Fundamentalist Christians, Jews, Mennonites, and Jehovah's Witnesses are among the religious groups that have established faith-based arbitration as an active alternative to expensive court proceedings.

So far, so good. But wait: what happens when Sharia law is involved?

Faith-based arbitration proceeded quietly until Muslims asked to include Shariah law -- customs and rules based on Islamic teachings. Gender feminist groups immediately protested.

In response, former Ontario Attorney General and Women's Issues Minister Marion Boyd conducted a review of arbitration with a focus on Shariah law to determine its impact "on vulnerable people, including women." (As a member of the New Democratic Party, which leans far to the left, Boyd would be expected to show special sensitivity to the oppression of women.)

Issued in December 2004, the review concluded that Shariah arbitration should be accepted on the condition that various safeguards be imposed. For example, all agreements must be "in writing, signed by the parties and witnessed"; the "best interest of a child" could not be ignored.

Section 5 of Boyd's review, "Constitutional Considerations," addressed the argument that Shariah arbitration should be rejected because Islamic law violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees equality between the sexes.

Boyd countered that arbitration was a private act -- as opposed to one in the governmental or public sphere -- and, so, it was not subject to Charter scrutiny. Arbitration was private because "there is no state compulsion to arbitrate." Moreover, "it is a reflection of the parties' relationship…because the authority of the arbitrator flows directly from the parties agreement to be bound."

If a Shariah judgment violated Canadian law -- for example, by imposing the death penalty for adultery -- then, like any other illegal contract, it be unenforceable. But in areas where discretion exists -- for example, whether a father is awarded child custody -- arbitration decisions might differ from those of provincial courts.

The public versus private nature of family 'contracts' and their resolution is key to understanding the protest that ensued.

Gender feminist groups rushed to answer the question "when is it proper for the government to dictate the rules of family disputes?" Their answer seemed to be "whenever a woman is involved."

Their reasoning: Since it is possible for women to be brainwashed or pressured into private negotiations, all negotiations must be conducted according to identical governmental procedure and law. It doesn't matter that faith-based arbitration has functioned for 15 years with no complaint of widespread abuse. Because abuse is possible, it must be prevented by eliminating the private realm in which it could occur.

The feminist movement, like the ACLU, seems strangely selective in its championship of choice, favoring sexual promiscuity and liberal abortion over the more responsible (and to most women more natural) choices of commitment and childrearing; promoting the former and often denigrating the latter though they, too are valid and rewarding "choices" for women. Religious faith, like marriage and even (dare I say it?) the spiritual belief in submission to one's husband as the head of household are not necessarily evidence of "brainwashing" as the women's movement so often would have it; but choices intelligent and informed women can freely and gladly make.

It is conceivable that there is a world out there which encompasses something larger than one's own narrow little corner of the universe. In which those with other religious and cultural beliefs are not treated as mentally ill, marginalized, or, to borrow a favorite catch-phrase of the Left, treated as Other. One wonders if the women's movement will ever be able to free itself from the straitjacket of its own prejudices? Perhaps then it will truly be able to offer women true "choices".

Wouldn't that be a liberating experience?

Posted by Cassandra at September 21, 2005 05:29 PM

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Well, divorce is to the practice of law what proctology is to the practice of medicine.

If it has worked for the other groups, why discriminate now? Are they afraid that women will be disenfranchised? There is a real fear of the extremity of how far things can be taken in some religions. You wonder if she will be stoned, or beheaded, or maimed in some way. I would have
some concerns in that regard.

Posted by: Cricket at September 21, 2005 06:28 PM

divorce is to the practice of law what proctology is to the practice of medicine

Woman, I am becoming quite concerned about you...

I don't think (though I suppose I could be wrong) that you can agree in any enforceable way to be stoned or beheaded, even in Canada.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 21, 2005 06:40 PM

Oh, I know, but what about being stalked? I agree with you totally about letting faith based arbitration work. I am just wondering if the objections are based on extremist approaches to how women have been treated in other countries?

Posted by: Cricket at September 21, 2005 06:46 PM

You say:

The question feminists never seem to ask is, why do supposedly liberated women say "I can act just like men!" instead of saying, "I can do as I wish." Isn't the true definition of liberation the freedom to be who you really are?

Far be from me to defend rigidity and judgementalism on the left or the right. But surely there is room for a feminism that questions the the range of existential choices women perceive they have? And isn't there room to question what it is about our culture that causes us to sexually commodify and consume one another? These are questions not simply for a women's movement, and are precisely about escaping straight-jackets of our own making. They are questions about being authentically human.

Posted by: weltatem at September 21, 2005 06:55 PM

Faith-based arbitration has been practiced under Talmudic law for centuries. The question is not so much whether the courts will exercise their parens patriae supervisory jurisdiction to override any unprincipled position taken by an arbitration panel, but whether the arbitration agreement itself is unconscionable, and as such denies one party its constitutional right to due process. Every agreement to arbitrate is subject to challenge as being "unconscionable," and usually courts will be biased in favor of the less knowledgable, less sophisticated party. Clearly, the equality of women under sharia law is *cough* somewhat suspect. It stands to reason then questions will arise when a weaker party enters into a binding agreement that openly disfavors her. How can this act be a "voluntary" one? What competant person would toss away an equal shot at justice? As these are questions that can only be answered with on a case by case basis, I think that it is reasonable to permit arbitration under sharia law, so long as the agreement is subject to judicial review.

Having said all that, I now can't remember whether I agree with you or not.

Posted by: spd rdr at September 21, 2005 07:14 PM

Well Cricket, you are always going to have that problem though.

Arbitration doesn't enter into it. If you are being stalked, the only way to stop it is to go to the police and keep complaining until the stalker is locked up. Anything less doesn't cut it. Period. If you make a voluntary choice *not to go to the police* or go to arbitration instead of the police, you have just exercised your God-given right to be a moron.

And God help you, because no one else will. That's a problem government can't solve. And taking away the right to arbitration from other people won't solve it, either.


Sure. But the point here was that it is specifically FEMINISTS who are encouraging this particular choice, and that this is rather ironic, don't you think?

And yes, I agree on the other, but we are not automatons. We are capable of asking questions, too.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 21, 2005 07:17 PM

Polygamy is to marriage as
Beastiality is to veterinary medicine.


On a lighter note, off to evacuate from Rita.

Posted by: Greg at September 21, 2005 07:19 PM

Well mr rdr, with that very interesting and informative comment you have isolated the thorny question central to this issue: can an adult, otherwise competant woman, under Canada law, voluntarily give away her equality?

Or more properly, can the State prevent her from doing so without also preventing her from the free exercise of her religion?

Riddle me that, counselor? Because I would very much like to know the answer.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 21, 2005 07:53 PM

Frankly, I see 'feminism' as just another one of the pernicious "isms" of the 20th century that wished to annihilate the accumulated reason and cultural experience of 30 centuries of Western Civilization (no wonder Ms. Levy was denounced for wishing to study Western Lit), and make the human race an unwashed mob of barbarians, to be ruled by a handful of intellectual elites. Now there's a Utopia! It's all part of the Death Wish. Re-examine Nietzsche on that one.

It's not about equality of women under law, fairness or justice; it's about the annihilation of the self, and the destruction of any voluntary restraint on the human ego. Think about it; what reasonable,self-respecting man truly wants to consciously mis-treat a woman or women in general? There's always friction, but really?
Reduce the social relationship between men and women to its most primitive terms. Sex uber alles!

"Just like men". Yeah, that takes the cake. You've come a long way baby; face down in the muck.
On a lighter note, you should read some of the e-mails my son exchanges with his 11-12 year old female friends, polluting my home PC. The cultural rot runs deep.

Posted by: David at September 21, 2005 08:04 PM

I wonder how the Canadian courts will deal with the traditional Muslim doctrine of "honor" killings of uppity Muslim women.

As to divorce law, the use of the term "law" is a misnomer. "Law" implies some sort of objective legal standard. Divorce courts are a law unto themselves, where well-settled principles of law and equity that have stood for centuries are casually tossed aside.

In many circumstances, divorce "law" is the exact opposite of the law outside of the divorce context. You have to see it to believe it, but once you enter divorce court, you have truly gone through the looking glass.

Posted by: a former european at September 21, 2005 10:09 PM

While I am by no means qualified to wax profoundly on the constitutional limits of Canadian law, I deem it sufficiently akin to that of the United States to offer a small opinion. Because the questions you ask are complex, however, I’ve got to break them up into manageable chunks.
Can an adult, otherwise competent woman, under Canada law, voluntarily give away her equality?

Of course she can. Although there is great argument as to what "equality" means, there remains little doubt in the 21st Century that life, liberty, and security extends to every person, save perhaps those who take up arms against the state (and, some will argue, to those still unborn). But these are constitutional guarantees not constitutional mandates. Mandates apply to other parties and serve to limit their ability to deprive protected persons of their guaranteed constitutional rights. Within limits set by the society through its legislators and tribunals, a person is free to order his affairs as he or she sees fit, and may surrender his or rights at will.* This is the basis of the common law of contract.

The critical elements posed by your questions are assumed in the query: (1) Is the person is "competent" to make such an election? and (2) Was that person’s decision made voluntarily? The stakes for such round judgments, however, are set far apart. As a fringe example we might look to an astronaut confined to a six-month stint aboard the space station. There is no doubt that the astronaut has surrendered his liberty and security, and he stands great chance to lose his life. But that decision was willingly made by a superbly competent person in the furtherance of scientific knowledge. Neither the courts nor the Constitution will intervene in such matters, because no complaint will be raised by the astronaut. This is honored by law as the freedom to contract.

At the other end of the spectrum we have the criminal: a person capable of making the distinction between right and wrong, yet one who elects to commit wrong and thus, by extension, elects to trade his life, liberty and security for illicit gain or simple revenge. Both the astronaut and the criminal acted as free persons and their decisions are duly weighed by the trier of fact. Yet it is the criminal’s situation that will receive the greater scrutiny because the criminal’s loss of liberty, etc., is a result of a transgression of the law, rather than a direct, and voluntary surrender of personal liberty. Did the transgressor have the intent to break the law. This element is honored by law as a breach of the societal contract, and as such a penalty is extracted.

“Can the State prevent her from doing so without also preventing her from the free exercise of her religion?”

Short answer? No. The person is free to contract her federally constitutional rights away (although individual state constitutions may confine such ability) irrespective of his or religious beliefs so long as the person is competent and does so voluntarily. Therein lies the rub. Where a society/religion places its women in positions of systemic weakness, questions are rightfully raised as to whether there is anything approaching voluntary acceptance of diminished constitutional rights. While I remain skeptical, I can’t fully answer that question without a full understanding of the particular circumstances surrounding the individual event. And any-wise I would not be called upon to construe such actions unless there was a bona fide complaint lodged against the offending institution. The state does not intervene (as a rule) unless the rights of its citizen have been circumvented involuntarily. Think Terry Schiavo. The question before the court was not whether Terri wanted to die, but who spoke for her willingness to volunteer to die. The same might be said for the under-educated girl forced by her parents to accept arbitration under sharia law.

So it comes down to the competence of the individual and their willingness to enter into the agreement. These are already hallmarks of western Common law jurisprudence and require little judicial exercise.

Unless, of course, one is recommending “special” legal, and universal, infusion of Islamic law under such circumstances.

But that, friend, is the subject of a future post.

* Marriage, like adoption, is a creature of the state. The state decides who can, and cannot, be married, under what grounds a divorce will be granted, and what visitation rights and support are in the best interest of the state’s smallest citizens. The Catholic Church may forbid the separation of the union, but once the state has granted it, the parties are legally separated, and subject to partition of property and custody devised by the state.

Posted by: spd rdr at September 21, 2005 10:26 PM

"....back, back, back, back...it's gone folks! And spd rdr knocks it outa the park, and the Red Sox win the pennant!" Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Posted by: David at September 21, 2005 11:04 PM

Wow. I have nothing left to say except that the Braves relief pitching is suspect, but we will still win the division.

Posted by: KJ at September 22, 2005 12:00 AM

" ... I glanced nervously down the front of my blouse at my rapidly-aging but still defiantly perky Twins. "

Woah, now how will I stop my male brain from trying to imagine how the "defiantly perky Twins" look?
I don't know , but I have to; I'm not suppose to think about that - I'd feel too guilty if I were to while...you know..with the girlfriend!...

Cassandra you don't know what you did to me...:)

Posted by: Friend of USA [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 22, 2005 12:16 AM

"Everthing can be be resolved through perky twins."
-Kofi Annan, 2005

Posted by: spd rdr at September 22, 2005 12:48 AM

Feminism, lesbianism; it's all the same to me.

NOT that there's anything wrong widdat...I am, after all, just a lesbian trapped in a man's body.
(And what a man!)

Posted by: camojack at September 22, 2005 01:33 AM


I'm sorry. Perfect example of how differently the male and female brain work: I started with feminism. Of course, the burning of bras comes to mind almost immediately if you're my age.

I started off with a humorous idea of Feminism burning my nice new bra (I have a thing for lingerie), and then had to work backwards to figure out how that was going to happen. I wanted it to be funny, and the hilarious image of a pair of out-of-control, rambunctious, midlife breasts popped into my head, but I figured that needed toning down considering the audience.

I inserted 'rapidly-aging' (like I always do) to remind male readers that I'm older than Dirt and "Twins" so it was funny rather than explicit and figured it was more self-deprecatory in tone than titillating (pun fully intended). Believe me, I toned it down 3 times from the original text, but I'm afraid feminine vanity prevented me from typing in something as completely unappetizing like "my sagging, not-Penthouse-worthy mammary glands".

I guess I don't mind putting myself down, but I'm not going to put a stake through my own heart :)

Posted by: Cassandra at September 22, 2005 04:49 AM

And spd rdr knocks it outa the park...

He does tend to do that every now and then, when we can coax a serious comment out of him, doesn't he :)

The second part of your comment goes to the heart of my question. You posed the question in your first comment, something like "what competant woman would enter a K that was openly disadvantageous to her?", or words to that effect.

The presumption being that rational people always act in their own best interest. But that is not always so in matters of love or religion, both areas where self-sacrifice or the suppression of the individual ego to serve some larger goal is not unknown. Indeed, in both fundamentalist Christian and Muslim religion, it is taught that a woman is properly subservient to her husband, and furthermore that things temporal are less important than things spiritual. How, then, is the state to override the rational desire of a mentally competant woman who decides, whether or not we approve of her decision, to voluntarily submit herself to the authority of her husband?

So long as she places neither life nor limb in danger, does the state have any right to interfere? What if he holds her a virtual prisoner (in purdah)? As long as she submits, I don't think any crime has occurred, but many states would still try to claim no rational woman would submit to that kind of treatment.

Your underage girl is another case, but to make it more clear cut, let us posit the fully adult woman, not in fear or living with an abusive man - let's say living with a man who genuinely loves her but perhaps is severe (they are, after all, in a fundamentalist faith) and they are trying to work out their problems in good faith. Will the state accept that her willingness to submit herself to his authority is not de facto evidence of coercion or mental incompetence?

I say no. Such a mindset is incomprehensible to the Western mind. And furthermore we view women as children anyway - this would only be one more example.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 22, 2005 07:33 AM

I agree with you that people do not always act in their own self interest (see, e.g., Mother Teresa, Nathan Hale, Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith), but I maintain that self-interest, like self-preservation, is the defacto organic baseline from which we begin any time we assess the actions of our fellow beings. The law assumes, as does economics, that people will act in certain ways to further their interests, but neither discipline demands it. We approach every human action as a bargain to be entered freely. The law does not forbid irrational behavior. (If it did, then falling in love or relying on horoscopes would be Class A felonies.) A poor bargain is not prima facie evidence of illegal behavior, but gives rise to questions regarding the mental state of the bargainers. The law, reacting to a complaint that a wrong has ocurred as the result of an involuntary disadvantage asks whether a rational person would submit his or her self to such a bargain. If not, then we attempt to to understand how such a deal could be struck by examining the mental state of the disadvantaged person (competence, coercion, fraud). The question you posit is that when an otherwise competent person makes a decision that, in the eyes of society, is irrational, does the law intervene on behalf of the willingly disadvantaged? I reply that the law has no power to intervene unless the disadvantaged person complains of his or her mistreatment, and then only to releive that disadvantaged party from his or her obligations under the contract complained of. The state might interceed on behalf of the vulnerable should it determine that the disadvantaged person lacks the capacity to excercise his or her own free will. (Battered-wife syndrome.) But generally you are free to make your own bed.

So, I think we agree.

Posted by: spd rdr at September 22, 2005 08:49 AM

What I find interesting about this so called 'new feminism' is that the old feminists like Gloria Steinem would be spitting up their caffeine free mocha double lattes over this...but then what does Gloria know? She worked undercover as a Playboy Bunny to get the inside scoop.

I don't need to stoop to conquer, at least not in this instance.

I don't see how having sex with anyone is liberating. Being modest and virtuous is a noble thing as well, and no less feminine for all that.
I even like Cass's logo of a pretty, dainty woman who is happy with herself because she wants it for herself, not because some movement told her it was

Posted by: Cricket at September 22, 2005 12:10 PM

Well, in one way that's healthier Cricket.

One can argue from a value-neutral point of view that it's inherently anti-feminist to treat women as children.

So, if you're not going to try to protect a woman from the consequences of "poor decision-making" (whatever you may conceive that to be) in the case of being a member of a fundamentalist religion, then you oughtent try to prevent her from being a sexual libertine either :)

The problem with this is that, as I pointed out in the article, the Feminist movement is not at all concerned with women's equality in the one instance (sex and promiscuity), nor with protecting women from the consequences of poor decisions (and I don't care what you say, given the inescapable facts of biology and our own emotional makeup, we will never be "equal" in the boudoir so long as we insist on playing by male rules) - yet they want to rush in and protect the poor dears from their own 'foolishness' when it involves religion and marriage.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 22, 2005 01:37 PM

I always thought the whole dual-standard of 'freedom' for some things, and 'restriction' for made sense if you put the goals of the protector in the right context. The question to me isn't necessarily whether or not the New Feminists are protecting the rights of women to liberate themselves, but rather are they protecting their personal authority to defend such things. If they don't jump at every angle to boost their perceived 'cause', then their ability or right to represent their case comes into question whether or not it may turn out to be the moral or right decision in the future.

Although an altogether different situation, I feel it is similar to the question of why did the United States attack Iraq and not North Korea. Both bad countries, both nasty dictators, WMD and all that stuff. A person that might have concern about their authority or appearance of authority might say... North Korea, why not? If we attacked one(Iraq), we should attack them all otherwise we look like hypocrites. And if we are hypocrites, what right do we have to do it at all?

So... if they are proctecting themselves, as well as protecting women in general, it makes sense to me why they may jump at this nice juicy bit.

Posted by: ceramic at September 22, 2005 03:44 PM

"[...] Believe me, I toned it down 3 times from the original text,"

What Cassandra? You mean there was an X rated version?! :-o

Now my male brain is trying to imagine that version! ;-)

Posted by: Friend of USA [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 22, 2005 07:18 PM

"[...] Believe me, I toned it down 3 times from the original text,"

You mean there was an X rated version?! :-o

Now my male brain is trying to imagine that version! ;-)

Posted by: Friend of USA [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 22, 2005 07:19 PM

He was so excited, he had to blurt that out twice!:)

Cass, as to the twins, methinks thou dost protest to much. You act so self-deprecating, that I'm beginning to believe your real job involves sashaying down fashion runways in Paris and Milan:)

Posted by: a former european at September 22, 2005 07:48 PM

Maybe some of you would be interested in reading a short article written by a quebec journalist - a woman - about quebec ( my province ) and Ontario saying no to sharia law in Canada.

Here's the address;


Don't worry, the blog name is in french but the article is in english. ( some of the best sites in quebec are bilingual. )

Posted by: Friend of USA [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 22, 2005 07:56 PM

I think I dug myself in deeper with my explanation, FofUSA.. :) I'd better quit while I'm ahead.

afe, you are a very sweet man, but the Twins wouldn't do anything for any of you guys. I'm very average. But then on the positive side, I don't think anyone will ever accuse me of having had breast implants either :)

Trust me if any of you passed me on the street, you'd keep right on walking. My husband thinks I'm beautiful because he sees me through the same eyes he did when we were both seventeen, but I haven't noticed large numbers of men swooning when I enter the room.

I have my moments. Unfortunately most of them are in the dark :)

Posted by: Cassandra at September 22, 2005 09:09 PM

Cass I had a whole screed worked up and didn't post it and then came back. I wish I had kept it now.

My faith doesn't have arbitration for divorce and the child custody stuff. That is worked out by the courts.

All I am saying is that I don't know of any Muslim women who would say that they agreed with death or maiming as a punishment as a part of their religion.
They are not allowed to say so, of course, but do you think that they would support it if they had the chance to break free from it?

A court can protect her life and liberty and ability to be a productive member of society.

We call them inalienable rights. That no government can take that away from you, and what government is supposed to protect.

That was the gist of my post.

You are a lovely lady.

Average? Tush tush woman! I think not.

Sweet dreams.

Posted by: Cricket at September 22, 2005 09:36 PM

Hey - my entire premise has never been that arbitration would have the authority to order stoning or maiming of ANYONE, Cricket.

Under what authority would they do so? What secular CIVIL court could do this? It makes no sense when you stop and think about it. All arbitration is supposed to do is work out the terms of a binding agreement between two parties who cannot come to an agreement on their own!

And they have to both agree to meet with the arbitrator first!

It is not a criminal court. And I have a VERY hard time imagining that any arbitrator is going to order the commission of something that would be a crime under Canadian law - if he or she does, he has just made himself an accessory before the fact. That makes no sense.

I happen to know Muslim women who are not oppressed and go about their daily lives and are happy and content. Would I live that way? No. But I do not judge. I am not a fundamentalist Christian either - my nature would not allow it, but I do not judge there either. It may be that on the Latter Day they will both be looking down their noses at me and I will be wishing perhaps that I had been a bit more judicious - who knows?

Posted by: Cassandra at September 23, 2005 04:37 AM

Heh. Well said. I enjoy playing devil's advocate.
However, I did know of two women who didn't like the oppression of women and believed that in a free society like Canada and the US, they would be safer from shari'a law. I wasn't aware that there was faith based arbitration for family disputes, but I support it simply because it doesn't involve the courts and it seems that both parties would have to agree. I just wanted to clarify it further. You think things rattle around in your brain? Ha. At least you can see where you are headed instead of having the fog descend...

Thank you and no, you weren't rude, snarky or mean. Just classy as always...

Posted by: Cricket at September 23, 2005 11:01 AM

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