Contemporary Feminism's War Against Women in the Name of Radical Islam

Owen Jones opines in the UK Guardian that women are “taken less seriously than men” and, as a result, the “pandemic of violence against women will continue.” Coming on the heels of the famed Arquette faux pas at the Oscars, his essay easily reads as more of the same old “War on Women” schtick, and to a great extent it is. However, his opening argument is worth noting for what it does say and for what Jones does not. Somehow, like most contemporary feminists with a platform, he manages to acknowledge the grotesque abuses of women living in Islamic cultures while completely refusing to point out that radicalized Islam is the number one serious threat to women across the globe.

Jones begins by recounting the story of Özgecan Aslan a 20-year-old Turkish college student who was tortured, raped and murdered, her body then burned as evidence, by a bus driver.

Across Twitter, Turkish women have responded by sharing their experiences of harassment, objectification and abuse. But something else happened: men took to the streets wearing miniskirts, protesting at male violence against women and at those who excuse it or play it down. Before assessing how men can best speak out in support of women, it’s worth looking at the scale of gender oppression. The statistics reveal what looks like a campaign of terror. According to the World Health Organisation, over a third of women globally have suffered violence from a partner or sexual violence from another man. The UN estimates that about 133 million girls and women have suffered female genital mutilation, and believes that nearly all of the 4.5 million people “forced into sexual exploitation” are girls and women.

He stops there, short of pointing out that the WHO statistics cited clearly show that the greatest threat of violence against women exists in primarily Islamic countries. While he mentions female genital mutilation, he again neglects to tie in the fact that FGM is most commonly practiced in Muslim countries and among extremist Islamic cultures.

Jones bases his argument in a story of a Muslim girl tortured and murdered by a man in a Muslim country that is growing more religious by the day, only to devolve into the same demeaning politically correct tropes of contemporary gender feminism. He finds it ironic that men dare to call themselves feminists and decides “…men will only stop killing, raping, injuring and oppressing women if they change.” Change what? Their gender? For Jones, as it is for so many other feminist activists, it is easier to just throw a blanket of blame onto men than to confront the source of evil that exacts a real “campaign of terror” against women: radical Islam.

What’s worse, Jones doesn’t hesitate to make his case for women all about gay men. In yet another ironic twist, after accusing men of co-opting the feminist movement for their own egotistical needs, he uses gender feminist theory to defend a tangent on gay rights:

And while men are not oppressed by men’s oppression of women, some are certainly damaged by it. Gay men are a striking example: we are deemed to be too much like women. But some straight men suffer because of an aggressive form of masculinity too. The boundaries of how a man is supposed to behave are aggressively policed by both sexism and its cousin, homophobia. Men who do not conform to this stereotype – by talking about their feelings, failing to objectify women, not punching other men enough – risk being abused as unmanly. “Stop being such a woman,” or “Stop being such a poof.” Not only does that leave many men struggling with mental distress, unable to talk about their feelings; it also is one major reason that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50.

If gender stereotypes are a cause of male suicide, they only have gender feminists to blame. Wait – wasn’t this supposed to be an argument in favor of feminism and the female voice?

Jones trumpets men like those in Turkey who were bold enough to march in mini-skirts to defend the rights of women. What he fails to illustrate is that those men should be praised for demonstrating in favor of women’s rights (and having the guts to cross-dress) in an Islamic culture. Were it not for the social media uprising demanding justice for Aslan, she would be another statistic in Turkey’s already horrifying record of violence against women.

According to the New York TimesTurkey saw nearly 300 women murdered last year, and 27 more just this past January, a 20 percent increase over the same period last year.” Most killers get off with a virtual smack on the hand for punishment because Turkish culture treats women as second class citizens, as do many Middle Eastern nations with the exception of Israel. But no one wants to talk about why. The distinction between Israel and her Muslim neighbors couldn’t possibly have anything to do with their respective religious cultures. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled marital rape a crime by citing law based on the Talmud.

Islamic nations have no laws against marital rape, but that must be because …men. Right?

In the end by blaming men Jones is only following the party line, a fact that should scare the women of the West. Feminism used to be a movement with purpose. Today, it is Meryl Streep and J. Lo. cheering on Patricia Arquette‘s pronouncements about wage inequality at a multi-million dollar celebrity event.

Worse yet, it is a series of privileged special interest groups using each other’s platforms to argue over their social responsibility towards one another.

Contemporary feminism’s willful ignorance of the threat of radical Islam only proves it is a movement spiraling into self-destruction. We can only hope they don’t take the rest of Western womanhood down with them.



image illustration via shutterstock /