July 4, 2010

Gender Politically Correctness

I am currently reading Girls on the Edge by Leonard Sax and AM LOVING IT!  I am about 1/2 way through but the insights are amazing.  So far the two that I written down

Sexuality is good, but sexualization is bad. Sexuality is about your identity as a woman or a man, about feeling sexual. That's a healthy part of being human, a healthy part of becoming an adult. But sexualization is about being an object for the pleasure of others, about being on display for others. Sexuality is about who you are. Sexualization is about how you look.


The second was this

Germaine Greer's main assertion that female modesty is a consequence and manifestation of the patriarchy has achieved the status of established fact in contemporary gender studies. The corollary that female immodesty is a sign of liberation is now widely accepted...By chastising feminine modesty as a symptom of patriarchal oppression, Greer provided support to the idea that pole dancers are liberated women. Her argument became so intrinsic to contemporary feminism that many people today don't even know where it came from.

This resonated with me deeply because I have gone on and on with women who feel that covering up with a hijab, niqab or burqa is pathologizing sexuality.  When in reality modesty is what has been pathologized.  Some of the statements are thrown around nowadays as facts but really are just one woman's perspective that has been accepted and propagated.  The author also points out something that a mother referred to as "anorexia of the soul" where by little girls aren't giving an opportunity to discover who they are and instead adopt a facet of their lives and focus on it.  What happens when that facet is taken away?  They go in to deep depression, eating disorders, self-mutilation, destructive behavior and even suicide.   Because they took that facet and made it their identity.

So I am not done with the book yet and I don't agree with EVERYTHING he says but he does bring in some interesting studies that are helping me understand WHY men and women ARE different.  I was raised in a society that to say that men and women are NOT the same is a kin to being a traitor to my gender and a sexist.  We want to be equal to men and I believe we should when it comes to human rights and the rights to self govern but we are NOT the same as men.   We can try to be but we are made differently and we have limitations that they don't have and likewise men can't do things that we can.  We are mentally and emotionally wired differently than men.  I wish I had taken better notes because he provides excellent examples and studies.  I love this book so much I think I will be purchasing it after I return it to the library.


 
Published in 2010

 Ps. this is giving me some insights and worries about raising girls and I don't mean just in "the west" but anywhere.  I want o raise healthy, confident girls who will inshaAllah become strong believing women, mothers, sisters, co-workers, friends etc.  I want them to be comfortable in their own skins, to have a strong sense of self and not be at the mercy of others critical opinion of them.

7 comments:

LK said...

Wow this sounds like a great book. And what he says is 100% true. We sure could use a little more Modesty in the West. Every time I watch Mad Men I think about how women use to dress classy, and somewhat covered. No plunging necklines, skirts just past the knee, no spegetti straps and backless items. Covered, for America anyway, and classy. I miss that.

I wonder if women knew more about the fact that they literally appear like an object to men when they wear a bikini if that would change their outlook on how they dress.

LK said...

Wow this sounds like a great book. And what he says is 100% true. We sure could use a little more Modesty in the West. Every time I watch Mad Men I think about how women use to dress classy, and somewhat covered. No plunging necklines, skirts just past the knee, no spegetti straps and backless items. Covered, for America anyway, and classy. I miss that.

I wonder if women knew more about the fact that they literally appear like an object to men when they wear a bikini if that would change their outlook on how they dress.

caraboska said...

I live so far out of gender confines that I nearly always use gender-neutral speech when talking about a 'generic person', even if it is known that the person has to be of a particular gender because I am talking about physiological functions that only appear in one of the genders. But I have even been known to use gender-neutral speech when talking about a particular person (who is of course of a particular gender).

My body happens to be of one particular gender, and I do pay attention to this in my choice of whom I will entertain as a potential partner (choosing only people of the opposite sex), but other than that, I have every characteristic of both genders - in equal, and equally extreme, measure. Most people I know prefer to remain blissfully unaware of this fact, but my beloved and his family all see it. Perhaps they are not happy about it, perhaps they find it horrifying, but that is their problem. I prefer to view it as an advantage, because it means I don't need a man. It means that if I choose to be with a man, it is for some more edifying reason than need. It means that I can have relationships that are based not on lust or greed (which are idolatry), but on love.

I dress modestly, I wear skirts and dresses because I have the figure for them, but... essentially never leave the house without trousers underneath the dress or skirt. I wear hijab - but I often use a kufi as an underscarf under my amira. So even in the way I dress, I've found a way to make it work.

All in all, I get my own guidance, I earn a living at least as well as a man would in my situation (I have a disability which prevents me from working full-time - oddly one that nearly always affects males rather than females), and I am able to protect myself. Sure, being larger than most men helps, but I wasn't always so large, and so I had the chance to find out that it is more important what you do with what you have. And I admit to viewing myself as normal - in a way that has nothing to do with the number of other people in society who are or aren't like me.

Kiddy said...

You're right LK,I was watching the genius Alfred Hitchcock's TV show where this man had no idea how ridiculous he looked always standing at an angle to hide a huge mole on his right side, it's called "None are so Blind".To think I used to walk around like he as you describe in revealing clothes.They haven't got a clue how they look like a piece of meat to men to be used once and discarded immediately.You see women don't know that men are not monogamous like them,they can use any woman for sex without caring the least bit for them and never want to see them again once they have tested their equipment out on somebody other than their girl-friends or wives.I suggest these blind women need to be shaken awake,they are just hurting themselves.I did it for attention because of lack of self confidence which I don't want any longer.

caraboska said...

Barbie, I don't know about this stereotype that men aren't monogamous. I travel in circles where everyone is monogamous regardless of gender (even divorce is a rarity, especially among those who are overtly religious), and the same behavioral standards apply to both sexes.

caraboska said...

Most of the gay men I know are pretty monogamous. I only know a handful, but there is really only one among them who has much of a 'past' at all. Another one has been with the same guy since he was 19 - so, well over 20 years; at least two confided in me that they were 'saving themselves for that special guy' - and one of them was still doing it even past age 30 (as in, never been kissed, much less anything else). I guess I just attract monogamists into my surroundings or something...

caraboska said...

PS When I was talking about religious men and standards of behavior, I actually had in mind even more than just monogamy - I had in mind remaining chaste before marriage as well. I have known entire churches of people who don't touch before marriage. When I was still living in the States, I traveled in circles where it was rare to marry before age 30. And people were living chaste. A good friend of mine here in my nice Eastern European adopted country, indeed, is well over 50, never married, and still saving EVERYTHING for the wife he might never have.

Now, so you understand, when I talk about churches, I am talking about ones which assume that you are only a Christian if you are old enough to make your own profession of faith. Ones where church membership requires that you stand up in front of the entire congregation and give a convincing testimony of conversion. You have to say not only what you believe, but how you came to believe, and what difference it has made in your life. And yes, they will grill you on your testimony until they are sure it is credible. Others present may volunteer character references, particularly if the person is very young and has grown up in a Christian home. Because growing up in a Christian home is not sufficient. There has to be an independent faith decision.

And once you are converted, your friends will watch over you and question your behavior if they see anything even potentially unscriptural going on. Discipline is practiced, if you get into sinful habits and refuse to repent, the matter can end up being reported to the elders and you can be disfellowshipped. The churches I have had contact with do not practice actual shunning in such cases, but the person is treated as an unbeliever.

And that, for the most part, has been the world I've lived in. So I guess I've traveled in some pretty serious-minded circles.

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