What happens when feminism meets multiculturalism?
The debate is raging in Great Britain. I have not seen a significant public discussion in the United States, but it’s only a matter of time.
At issue, is freedom of speech. Or better, whether white feminists are allowed to speak about misogyny in Muslim communities.
Does the aberrant notion that all cultures are created equal mean that no one from culture A is allowed to criticize anything that is happening in culture B? If the individual is living in a society that values free speech, should his rights be abridged in order not to give offense to members of culture B.
According to the new doctrine of privilege, people who belong to privileged classes, like white males, white women, Jews and Asians have no right to speak ill of others.
The doctrine of privilege assumes that an individual who enjoys privileges has not earned them, but has, we might say, inherited them.
This might be the case in aristocratic cultures where titles and property are passed down from generation to generation.
In the modern, industrialized world—where everyone is middle class-- the notion of privilege seems emptier. If two parents have earned certain advantages and if they choose to provide those advantages to their children, who is to tell them that they cannot do so?
An earned advantage is not a privilege. To call it such is to say that those who enjoy it have done nothing to earn it. So much for the work ethic.
A few days ago, I posted about new research into a child’s cognitive development. Apparently, a child who hears more words spoken directly to him will show better cognitive development than will a child who hears fewer words.
Calling it privilege, within the current context, suggests that there is something illegitimate about parents providing for their children.
As I say, the concept of privilege is an aberrant notion that should not be condoned.
Meantime, over in Great Britain, the doctrine of privilege has been used to shut up white feminists. These women have been told that they have no right to discuss Muslim oppression of women. They should blind themselves to the misogyny inherent in honor killings, female genital mutilation and forced marriages. When a Norwegian nurse was gang raped in Dubai, she reported it to the police. They threw her in jail for having sex outside of marriages.
According to the new dogma of privilege white Western feminists should shut up about all of it. Besides, don't they recognize that cultural values are socially constructed. They are not universal and cannot be applied equally to all cultures.
Women who believed that women’s liberation had something to do with freedom are, dare I say, seriously put out by today’s thought police.
Julie Bindel expresses her outrage in Standpoint Magazine:
White Western women are being punished, insulted and demonised for speaking out against the atrocities heaped on our sisters from Muslim cultures. Despite the fact that the international women's liberation movement has helped bring about worldwide recognition of and action against the many forms of male violence and abuse of women and children, the new "cultural sensitivity" towards Islamic practices has resulted in a two-tiered system.
Bindel calls it a two-tiered system. Let’s call it a double standard.
The rules laid down by people Bindel calls “appeasers of Islam,” have restricted her freedom of expression:
I am, it would appear, allowed to speak about the abuse of women by men, so long as they are within my demographic. But if I stray from my own turf and begin to speak of such abuse within Muslim communities, I am sticking my nose in where it is not wanted. Worse, I am imposing my white, Western imperialism on what is described by my critics as a much misunderstood, maligned community.
The oppression of women, for those defenders of Islam, is not a major concern if it is done in the name of religious and cultural freedom. But whose freedom? Not the women who escape Islamic regimes and come to the UK hoping to live under equality, or those feminists born into a Muslim faith who campaign passionately for the right not to wear the full-face veil, enter into an arranged or forced marriage or have their daughters undergo genital mutilation (FGM). These women and their freedoms matter less to the cultural relativists than the freedom of Islamist men to practise such discrimination under the guise of freedom of religious expression.
Bindel is right to call it appeasement. It is also cowardice.
Of course, one might ask how many men have been accused of being misogynists and worse for disagreeing with feminist dogma? One might also ask how many men are told that they have no right to speak publicly about what are called women’s issues.
Women who bought the feminist line have discovered that they belong to a larger movement, one whose goal is not to empower women but to exploit women by making them into a vanguard against free enterprise and liberal democracy.
They should be happy to sacrifice their freedom for the revolution. And they should be happy to retreat in favor of the new vanguard called radical Islam.