I just read an article from World Affairs about women in Muslim countries. It starts off well, keeping a narrative going, but then it sort of descends into generalizations and fear mongering.

The point of the article, and this post, is that women are treated badly in Muslim countries. Unfortunately, as some of my previous blog posts mention, women are treated badly in Christian countries as well. Maybe even in Jewish country, I don't know, I haven't been to Israel. I also wonder how much of that "treated badly" is about a lack of understanding (besides massive generalizations, of course). I know, saying wife beating, violence, rape, ownership of another human being, saying these things are simply not understood due to cultural divides is unacceptable. And, as Paul so graciously pointed out in an e mail (and not a blog comment, keep the discussion public if we can! We can get more feedback that way) chivalry has been subordinating women in many ways as well. So, if cultural values play a role, and any attempt at separate but equal isn't going to work (obviously) then where do the rights of women fit.

That article sited above gave a stat that may or may not be accurate. 85% of women in Egypt have undergone FGM. Is it possible? This modernized city has had more than half of it's women abused in this very fundamental way? But due to the articles' outlandish claims like that Mauritanian practices should be compared with Saudi Arabian because they practice the same religion, it's hard to trust the statistic.

It's hard to know what to believe, really. And there was a time, in my sweet innocent days of Cleveland Ohio, when I thought I could go through life without contemplating the rights of women, without getting pegged as a feminist (which often discounts your views by listeners), and without advocating for women's rights. I didn't want to be type cast as a woman for only women. But it's impossible not to. Even if I stuck falafel in my ears and cucumber over my eyes I would still have to bang my head not to hear and not to know of women's oppression all over the world. But the thing to remember, is there's nothing Muslim about oppressing women, it's global and it's going to take a global movement to do anything about it.

My rant for the day. Brought to you by Krupar and Family Soap Incorporated.