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Sun May 10, 2015, 01:54 PM

 

"All religions, if you shrink them down, are all about controlling women’s sexuality…"

Last edited Sun May 10, 2015, 04:07 PM - Edit history (1)

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Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning journalist and commentator on Arab and Muslim issues and global feminism. Born in Port Said, Egypt, in 1967, she moved to the UK with her parents (both doctors) when she was seven and then to Saudi Arabia when she was 15. In November 2011, while covering the protests in Egypt, she was physically and sexually assaulted by riot police, and detained for 12 hours by the Interior Ministry and Military Intelligence. The following year, her examination of misogyny in the Muslim world entitled “Why Do They Hate Us?” became a viral sensation. She has now expanded the original article into a book, Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution. Eltahawy lives in Cairo and New York.

Your book is part-manifesto, part-memoir and includes testimony from Muslim women who have experienced abuse throughout their lives. You mention cases of female genital mutilation and rape. Was it difficult to write?
Incredibly difficult. Many times, I literally had to walk away from my laptop. It was triggering for me, especially when writing about sexual assault because of my own experience, not just of the assault but of misogyny. It was not an easy book

<snip>


Incredibly brave woman. And Christians think they're persecuted? Riiiight.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/10/mona-eltahawy-interview-religions-obsessed-vagina-headscarves-and-hymens

(Edit: forgot to add): Video at link.


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Reply "All religions, if you shrink them down, are all about controlling women’s sexuality…" (Original post)
mr blur May 2015 OP
F4lconF16 May 2015 #1
Curmudgeoness May 2015 #12
F4lconF16 May 2015 #15
Curmudgeoness May 2015 #21
F4lconF16 May 2015 #22
LostOne4Ever May 2015 #26
F4lconF16 May 2015 #35
Duppers May 2015 #16
F4lconF16 May 2015 #18
LostOne4Ever May 2015 #27
Cartoonist May 2015 #2
truebrit71 May 2015 #3
PeaceNikki May 2015 #8
truebrit71 May 2015 #9
onager May 2015 #23
Arugula Latte May 2015 #4
mountain grammy May 2015 #24
Lordquinton May 2015 #25
edhopper May 2015 #5
PeaceNikki May 2015 #6
PeaceNikki May 2015 #7
Goblinmonger May 2015 #10
Mojorabbit May 2015 #11
Curmudgeoness May 2015 #13
Warpy May 2015 #14
F4lconF16 May 2015 #17
beam me up scottie May 2015 #19
AlbertCat May 2015 #20
Fumesucker May 2015 #28
Serial Mom May 2015 #29
PeaceNikki May 2015 #31
Serial Mom May 2015 #32
PeaceNikki May 2015 #33
beam me up scottie May 2015 #34
onager May 2015 #30
MindPilot May 2015 #36
TheHardWay May 2015 #37
Lordquinton May 2015 #38
Yorktown May 2015 #39

Response to mr blur (Original post)

Sun May 10, 2015, 02:02 PM

1. The reason above all else that I cannot stand women.

Religion has done nothing for women in my life, and has inspired a whole lot of shame, sexual self-repression, fear, guilt, and worse. It is horrible, watching people go through the shit the churches put them through. And it's so ingrained, it is near impossible to talk about. And therapy is useless at times, unless it is willing to engage in the religious oppression--and sadly, it rarely is.

You know, there are very few things in life I dislike more than people and institutions that oppress women. Fuck 'em all.

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Response to F4lconF16 (Reply #1)

Sun May 10, 2015, 03:29 PM

12. You can't stand women?

Oh my!

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #12)

Sun May 10, 2015, 03:51 PM

15. Whooooops!

That may have been a typo. I'll leave it, though, cause that cracked me up

In case people are wondering, I did mean religion, not women.

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Response to F4lconF16 (Reply #15)

Sun May 10, 2015, 06:48 PM

21. Freudian slip, perhaps?

It cracked me up too, because I was sure that wasn't what you meant.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #21)

Sun May 10, 2015, 07:04 PM

22. Ha, nah, I do enjoy the company of women and very much support their causes/issues.

I don't really understand most men, otoh, and being one doesn't seem to have helped much

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Response to F4lconF16 (Reply #22)

Mon May 11, 2015, 02:16 AM

26. "I don't really understand most men..."

[font style="font-family:'Georgia','Baskerville Old Face','Helvetica',fantasy;" size=4 color=teal]I understand what you mean all too well.[/font]

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Response to LostOne4Ever (Reply #26)

Mon May 11, 2015, 06:28 PM

35. It's been sad watching friends I've had slip away over the last year and a half.

They were good young men, but they've been pulled into the whole frat culture--the embodiment of traditional masculinity and gender roles. It's actually been kinda interesting to watch how profound the changes have been, if an unfortunate transformation.

There's a reason almost all my friends have been women. Men...are not just ignorant, a lot of the time, but willingly and creepily so.

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Response to F4lconF16 (Reply #1)

Sun May 10, 2015, 04:12 PM

16. Your post's title is misleading

Why not change it to your better, more descriptive sentence:

"There are very few things in life I dislike more than people and institutions that oppress women."


On edit: Sorry, I did not see your post above.

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Response to Duppers (Reply #16)

Sun May 10, 2015, 05:18 PM

18. No problem!

It was definitely misleading

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Response to F4lconF16 (Reply #1)

Mon May 11, 2015, 02:18 AM

27. Someone here is obviously trying to win a popularity poll!

[center][/center]

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Sun May 10, 2015, 02:04 PM

2. I wish we could shrink them down

While it's true about the misogyny, religion is about control of everyone. Not just their actions, but their thoughts, and their existence.

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Sun May 10, 2015, 02:04 PM

3. Not sure that's 100% right. They all seek to control women, and punish them....

 

... for their sexuality...You know, they must always dress modestly, they must always submit to men, they mustn't derive sexual pleasure from the act of intercourse, etc etc...

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Response to truebrit71 (Reply #3)

Sun May 10, 2015, 02:26 PM

8. It's all part of some core tenets of Christianity.

Women are dangerous.

“And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through child-bearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. (1 Timothy 2:14-15… As a good Christian woman, the last thing I wanted was to be accused of having a “Jezebel Spirit”!! Jezebel is the bossy, bold and dominating woman, who ‘wears the pants’ in the family, and in the Bible account, things ended badly for her: “’Throw her down’Jehu said. So they threw her down and some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot.” (2 Kings 9:33)



http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering/2014/09/vyckie-garrison-how-playing-good-christian-wife-almost-killed-me/

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Response to PeaceNikki (Reply #8)

Sun May 10, 2015, 02:29 PM

9. Yes indeed.

 

...

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Response to PeaceNikki (Reply #8)

Sun May 10, 2015, 10:31 PM

23. Jezebel Spirit

For us geezers who have forgotten it, and youngsters who've never heard it.

"Found" audio of a radio evangelist ranting about "the Jezebel spirit," over music by Brian Eno and David Byrne. Incredibly creepy. Don't know who put the visuals together, but they're interesting.

Usual weird & worthless personal opinion - the Buy-bull story of Jezebel is some sneaky feminism. It's about a woman who can hear a mob coming down the street, screaming for her blood and knowing the mob would kill her in a few minutes. But she just continued putting on her make-up and waiting for the inevitable. That's not vanity, that's incredible courage. And IIRC, she was only being killed because she was a foreigner who belonged to the wrong religion.

https://m.

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Sun May 10, 2015, 02:07 PM

4. Yep. That is it in a nutshell (no pun intended).

 

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Response to Arugula Latte (Reply #4)

Sun May 10, 2015, 10:34 PM

24. haha.. good one

nutshell...

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Response to Arugula Latte (Reply #4)

Mon May 11, 2015, 01:37 AM

25. No, this is it in a nutshell

"Help I'm trapped in a nutshell! What kind of shell would hold a nut like this? How can I oppress women from within the shell of a nut!"

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Sun May 10, 2015, 02:08 PM

5. They do

but to boil it down to THAT IS ALL that religion is about is shortsighted and narrow.

Religion is about many detrimental things including this.

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Sun May 10, 2015, 02:19 PM

6. YOU MUST RESPECT THEIR DEEPLY HELD BELIEFS!!!! 1!!

Sorry, I've been in GD far too much.

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Sun May 10, 2015, 02:56 PM

10. And money.

 

Don't forget the money.

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Sun May 10, 2015, 03:14 PM

11. Which is why I am a pagan where the opposite it true nt

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Sun May 10, 2015, 03:32 PM

13. This is the reason that I am an atheist.

Reading the Bible, and seeing all the misogynistic beliefs, made me realize that this was a book written by some narrow-minded men. There is no "word of god" in it. First step toward where I am today!

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Sun May 10, 2015, 03:38 PM

14. When I was a kid, I boiled down still more

"Male gods, male priests/officials, and lots of stupid and inconvenient rules, 99% of them aimed at women."

And they wondered why I had left.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #14)

Sun May 10, 2015, 04:25 PM

17. Best. Summary. Ever!

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Sun May 10, 2015, 05:57 PM

19. "Incredibly brave woman"

Yes she is.

You write that you were “traumatised into feminism” as a teenager. What do you mean by that?

My family moved to Saudi Arabia from Glasgow when I was 15. Being a 15-year-old girl anywhere is difficult — all those hormones and everything – but being a 15-year-old girl in Saudi Arabia…it was like someone had turned the light off in my head. I could not get a grasp on why women were treated like this. In the UK, my mother had been the breadwinner. I’d seen my parents side by side. In Saudi Arabia, my mother was basically rendered disabled. She was unable to drive, dependent on my dad for everything. The religious zealotry was so suffocating. And I had been raised a Muslim, I came from a Muslim family, but this was ultra-zealous. As a woman in Saudi Arabia, you have one of two options. You either lose your mind – which at first happened to me because I fell into a deep depression – or you become a feminist.

Were you anxious about the outrage you might provoke in some quarters by speaking openly about misogyny within your own community?

I’ve got a lot of hate… But it’s hate from people I’m glad I’m pissing off. As a woman with an opinion, you get a lot of shit.


There are plenty on DU who would attack her for her lack of respect for religion.

Fuck them.

How dare anyone dismiss another's anger?



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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Sun May 10, 2015, 06:47 PM

20. "All religions, if you shrink them down, are all about controlling women’s sexuality…"

 

Indeed.


But if you stink them down even more, they are really about exploiting the fear of death.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #20)

Mon May 11, 2015, 05:30 AM

28. Fear of death is what religions ~use~ to get control

But that is not their purpose, their purpose is about control.

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Mon May 11, 2015, 10:37 AM

29. Great Article on Bible / Constitution Could NEVER be Compatable

Clearly these Bible verses all go AGAINST our Constitution and most AGAINST WOMEN! ... but the religious cherry pick what they want to say or make their sheeple believe

http://aattp.org/five-reasons-the-bible-cannot-co-exist-with-the-constitution-ever/

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Response to Serial Mom (Reply #29)

Mon May 11, 2015, 03:35 PM

31. HEY!!

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Response to PeaceNikki (Reply #31)

Mon May 11, 2015, 04:39 PM

32. Ya Hey Der!

Had to take a look at this group...

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Response to Serial Mom (Reply #32)

Mon May 11, 2015, 04:47 PM

33. They're a fine bunch of Evil Atheist Vermin.

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Response to Serial Mom (Reply #29)

Mon May 11, 2015, 04:48 PM

34. That's an awesome article!

4. Sexual Slavery is A-Okay and Perfectly Moral

There’s been a lot said about slavery in the Bible. Most of it was said by slave owners in the Old South who used the Bible to justify holding slaves, including this one:

But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently. (Exodus 21:5-6)

Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. (Lev 25:44)

And then there’s this charming passage, which allows sexual slavery:

“If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do. “If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her. “If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. “If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. “If he will not do these three thingsfor her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.. (Exodus 21-11)


It’s worth noting that many translations whitewash the Bible with phrases like “servant,” “manservant,” or “bondservant.” Whenever you see those words in the Bible, you’re looking at a verse that deals with or promotes slavery.

5. Freedom of Religion

I can kill any illusions Christians have that the Bible supports “freedom of religion” with one quote from God himself:

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; (Ex. 20:5)


So, the Christian God is a jealous and angry God who will punish people who follow other faiths or worship at idols down to the third and fourth generations — but I suppose that’s okay, I mean, it’s not like he’s doing something truly outrageous like punishing them to the fifth generation. That’d be too much.

The Bible is totally incompatible with a secular government — just like any other Holy Book. To pretend that the Bible holds some special place in our legal system is just delusional — which explains why so many right-wingers do, huh?


Thanks for posting it!


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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Mon May 11, 2015, 12:24 PM

30. SaudiWoman's Blog - Punishment In Saudi Arabia

Specifically, the punishment for khilwa - the crime of an unrelated man and woman getting caught together. Read the comments - especially the one about a 75 year old woman being sentenced to a lashing for being in the presence of 2 men.

SaudiWoman "doesn't know about expatriates," but I could enlighten her a little, since I spent 2 years as an expat in The Magic Kingdom. In a restaurant, I once saw an elderly British married couple harassed mercilessly by the Religious Police (muttawa). Their crime was not sitting in the "family section," with all the noisy kids and babies.

Our company had an employee in Saudi Arabia who dated a Filipina nurse. They got caught out on a date in a cafe. When the Religious Police found they weren't married, he was taken to jail. She was escorted to the airport and immediately deported, with a passport notation that she was a prostitute.

This article is from 2009, but poking around her blog will bring up more recent posts:

The punishments that are most newsworthy when it comes to Saudi Arabia, are the ones given to people guilty of khilwa (unrelated man and woman alone together) and extramarital sex. A punishment for khilwa is common and we’ve all come across muttawas trolling coffee shops and restaurants searching for pairs who seem too happy to be related. But what happens after they are caught? I don’t know about expatriates but with Saudis, the man and woman are separated at the spot and questioned to see if their stories correspond.

Questions like name, relatives’ names and even color of furniture, address, employment and all other things married couples naturally know. If they fail the test or refuse to cooperate, they are taken to the local muttawa center. The girl’s father is summoned and the guy is locked up usually after being given a few slaps and punches. The girl is handed over to her father (if he’ll take her) and the guy is later released after they put his information into the system.

He is then required to show up in front of a judge, usually two weeks later to take his sentence. How he appears at the sentencing decides his fate more than anything else. The way he dresses and addresses the judge has more influence than the number of times he has been caught, how and where he was caught…etc. His best bet is to dress like a muttawa, start to grow a beard, hold his head down and look remorseful. He should also tell the judge that since the incident, he has become a born again Muslim. If he could get an established muttawa from a mosque to vouch for him, then he might be lucky enough to be let go with a warning. Otherwise he will most likely be sentenced a number of lashes across the back.

http://saudiwoman.me/2009/08/25/punishment-in-saudi-arabia/

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Response to onager (Reply #30)

Tue May 12, 2015, 04:03 PM

36. This cannot be my home planet.

 

After disgusted and angry, the only thought that remains after reading shit like this is that I must be from someplace else. This cannot be my home planet--I am not the same species as most of the inhabitants here.

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Fri May 15, 2015, 10:19 PM

37. Or else it's used to control all people's minds...?

Great article telling me of one woman's life growing up in Saudi Arabia... Unfortunately, part of the article clearly mentions the fundamentalist nature of the society, of which (I'll say) roughly half would be male and in good mind to keep things the way they are, no matter the protestations of the feminists.

I truly hope that women achieve all they desire in SA, as I hate the idea that half of any population being held captive by ancient male-centric thinking. But the fact is that while the male is in power, they will have no thinking on equality and the idea of self-governance of any of their female counterparts, though perfectly available to the male population.

I have no idea what life is like for either population in SA, but it seems from here, that one of them seems barbaric toward the other, and the other it would seem either accepts or suffers a penalty. I've only heard stories but of them I have heard pretty barbaric things.

I wish I could say that the only thing religion does is control women's sexuality, but the fact is... that could only come about if men were being controlled by the doctrines as well. The men, too, accept the word and apply it as they believe their god divines them to. (no evidence to back up any of it... just interpretations of ancient texts to justify actions whether the actions be good or bad.





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Response to TheHardWay (Reply #37)

Sat May 16, 2015, 10:25 PM

38. This was specifically about how women are controled by religion

Tell me, do you go to our sister AA group and tell them that All lives matter?

(That would be the African American group)

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Response to mr blur (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2015, 05:09 AM

39. My unkind answer to Mrs Eltahawy: not everything is a nail if you have a hammer.

 

Feminism is a good cause, but I'm quite unsure it helps get a sound understanding of religion.

Most religions were devised more than one millenium ago, times not particularly reputed for their active promotion of the equlity of the sexes. Invent an ideology in macho times, and you get an ideology that has macho underpinnings.

Conversely, take recent 'religions' like Scientology or 'New Age' whatever, and, weird as these 'philosophies' still might be, they are not 'about controlling women’s sexuality'.

Lastly -and the inexistent god knows I'm not a fan of that religion- Islam in its beginnings represented a feminist step forward compared too the tribal customs of the time and place, grantting them some rights to divorce and some share of inheritances. Not too much because religions have to retain their male chauvinist status

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