Saturday, November 27, 2010

On the Hypocrisy of Some Feminists

k, so, have you ever felt like people OFTEN don't live up to their own beliefs and ideals and standards, or what they themselves promote? I do. In fact, I think it's true for most people in one way or another.

You see, I don't shy away from classifying myself as a feminist -- provided a feminist is someone who supports and advocates the rights of women as humans (or, as the witty saying goes, feminism is the radical notion that women are humans). Now, what this means is that I am entirely supportive of females, would do anything to help them, and would give up whatever I have for their happiness -- provided it's something I don't really "need," you know. Yeah, well, turns out that many feminists aren't like this! It makes me laugh.

Every time I read a book or article that I REALLY like, I email the author, male or female. If the piece is especially something that deals with Islam and feminism and progressive interpretations of Islam and so on, I definitely make sure to write to the author right away. Now, ALL the responses I've received from these authors have been very pleasant and encouraging, except for this one! I won't name the author (maybe when I write a critique of the rather sweeping generalizations she makes and the rather superficial argument she offers in some of her works, for which she is renown anyway), but here's what happened:

I emailed her, just like I do all the others, and told her that I found this particular book of hers very interesting and bold and that I appreciate and and you get the point. I'd been told to watch out for her response because she is a very arrogant woman. She's extremely popular in the fields of women's studies, religious studies, Islamic studies, and sociology, so she thinks she's too good for us ordinary peeps, you know. Yeah, well, wait till I get up there one day, sitting right there shoulder-to-shoulder with her, and we'll teach her who's who! (I kid, I swear.) But anyway, so, her first reply was VERY nice ... but the next!! OMG!!! I had to read it like 5 times to make sure she'd emailed the right person; I also had to read MY OWN email that I'd sent her 5 times to make sure I hadn't instigated it. It was really discouraging. I won't disturb you with what her message said.

So I told my teachers about it (of course). I have very, very supportive teachers, and each one was like, "Were you surprised?" I was like, "HELL YEAH!!! She's a feminist, damn it! It was obvious in my email that I'm a woman. If anything, she should've shown some support!!! hah, so much for being a feminist, that mean old lady!" Another teacher told me this really interesting anecdote in which it was proven to him personally what kind of a person she is. (They all know her personally 'cause they've met in conferences or at some other academic gatherings.) Another of my professors assured me that she is known for having an "obnoxious personality," so it's nothing new and that I shouldn't let her words get to me.

Khair, it's over now. It was just REALLY upsetting, you see!

Oh, and when I told about the same thing to this other teacher (who also knows her personally, I think), she and I briefly talked about how discouraging it is to see female feminists hating on other women, or being jealous of other women, or not supporting other women. (She, too, classifies herself as a feminist, but, contrary to some women who CLAIM to be feminists, she is extremely supportive and is the type of woman who, when she sees a female student who deals with gender/sexuality/religion/music/ethnography/etc., goes, "Why don't I know yet? We should talk." She's really pleasant, and I've a lot of respect for her for many reasons, including her personality.) So she shared some examples of women feminists in our own institution rejecting other feminists for certain reasons, which I'd rather not share here.

Of course, I have personal examples of how some self-proclaimed feminists don't know even the basics of feminism and possess very superficial knowledge of feminist and humanitarianism and don't know how to treat other women. Those stories will have to wait for another time, though, yeah.

Oh wait! I MUST reiterate: I am a staunch feminist who believes in the rights of women, who believes that women should have the right to choose what's best for them (be that a face-covering), who believes that women are just as human as men are, and that being equal in merit does NOT mean being or looking the same. (You know how people sometimes go, "Excuse me, but how can you fight for the equal rights of women and men when the two are so obviously different?" Oh please. That's such a lame argument. An African man doesn't look the same as a Chinese man who doens't look the same as a Caucasian man who doesn't look the same as a Latino man -- why should all men have the rights that they have that are denied to women? Anyway, more on this later.) My point is that although *some* feminists are hypocrites to the core, that's not at all to claim that *feminists* are hypocrites. SOME are - not all, not many, not most.

k, that's all for now, folks!


  1. I am very very curious to know:

    1. the name
    2. the mail you sent
    3. her reply

    though, i know i am not getting any answers..!

  2. LOL ... I can't reveal any of that (yet?). Maybe some other time, though! :D

  3. I came to post the same thing SEPO has...

    come on jinnay, you know me, I always have that khaarakh to know these things!!! email me :P

  4. what will you say about the hadeeth of the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) in which he said: “The best rows for men are the front ones and the worst are the back ones, and the best rows for women are the back ones and the worst are the front ones.

    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also said, “The imaam is a protection (or a shield),” and ruled that (women) should definitely be behind men in prayer. The imaam should stand in front of the congregation or with them in the same row, as we have already mentioned. From these texts it is clear that it is not correct for a woman to lead a man or men in prayers.

  5. Hi again, Anonymous! Thanks for the comment!

    Let's assume the hadith you've shared above is authentic. Now, what in it *commands* that women remain in the back rows and men in the front? And what in that hadith *forbids* women from being in the front rows?

    Do you not think that's a suggestion and not a command or disallowing of women leading prayers?


Dare to opine :)

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