Muslims need to step back and reevaluate whether they want to jump on the bandwagon of every last liberal feminist cause that flops onto the social media scene. Here are 3 pressing questions Muslims should be asking.
1. Is this latest hullabaloo really about sexual harassment?
If you pay attention, the clear answer is no. As many of the metoo’ers are eager to admit, this is about institutions, structures, language, and the very essence of what it means to be a man and a woman. This is about making the subtext of anything and EVERYthing sexual violence and rape.
I have commented on this phenomenon before. The only moral truth liberal feminists recognize is that rape is wrong. But this does not mean that they stop their moralizing and righteous indignation on matters that strictly pertain to standard cases of rape and have nothing to say about anything else. Rather, liberals moralize and pontificate about everything under the sun, but do so using the language of rape.
Were you passed up on a job position that a man ultimately got? That’s institutional rape! Did your dad not allow you to disagree with him when you were in high school? That is pretty much rape. Did your boyfriend ignore you when you were trying to tell him about how hard your day was? Yup, that’s rape.
I am not exaggerating. This is literally the stuff that comes up under #MeToo.
Now you might ask, but Daniel, stop being unreasonable. Certainly some women have dealt with harassment. Don’t their voices deserve to be heard?
Yes, but how and where they express themselves is not something that can go unnoticed. Should their voices lend support to a social media campaign that in effect, if not intent, is aimed at undermining the moral character of all men and undercutting traditional male-female familial structures?
So effective is this campaign, that regular men who would be hard-pressed to hurt a fly now consider themselves rapists or rapists-in-the-making. Don’t believe me? Check your feed. You can see all the “white knights” using their platforms to weep real tears of self-loathing. “WHY oh WHY can I not stop raping women?!” they lament, rending their garments in passionate displays of virtual self-flagellation that would make the most ardent masochists blush. These are men who now, more than ever before, see themselves as disgusting predators. “Why can we not stop ourselves from being sexual tyrants?” asks one particularly concerned fellow. “All men are trash!” ejaculates another.
If all male-female relations are inherently marinating in the poison that is “internalized patriarchy,” then how can any daughter trust her father? How can any wife trust her husband? How can any female congregant trust her imam?
The point is, she can’t. She can never trust any man, especially not any man in authority over her. This is how feminism seeks to dismantle traditional family structures and traditional religion. And it’s all working out according to plan, partly thanks to Muslim bandwagoners.
2. How did Muslim societies traditionally deal with harassment?
I asked my mother and grandmother about whether they had experienced any harassment on the streets of Iran growing up. This was an era in Iran where society was already in the process of Europeanization. What people wore in public was already determined by European fashion, e.g., skirts, suits, makeup, etc., but the underlying social structures were still Islamically intact.
So my grandma immediately said that only the girls who dressed provocatively were harassed. I guess she didn’t get the memo on “slut shaming.”
My mom said something very interesting. She said that there were plenty of loose girls who also liked to go flirt and have fun with the loose guys. What characterized these individuals was that they were not from good families. Why would the family you came from matter? I asked. Well, there is an element of tarbiya, i.e., how one was raised. Good families raise their kids with the right morals, so that they grow up knowing the right way to dress, to speak, and generally how to interact in public around the opposite sex, etc.
The other element of family is that, having a good family meant that they were always around and looking after you. If you were walking to the market or school, you were bound to have cousins, uncles, aunts, in laws, etc., who also happened to be around and about the neighborhood at any given moment who would see you. If they saw you messing around, they would tell your parents and other family members and this would cause you shame. Or if they saw that you were being harassed, they would intervene out of ghayra and make sure no one was bothering you. They might even physically attack the harasser and they would make sure that his family knew he was behaving in such unseemly ways.
The point is, the extended family structure found in Islamic societies meant that people in society knew each other and were around each other physically and socially. This fact protected women and men from destructive sexual behaviors through this holistic system of mutual family support. The structure of the family was of utmost importance. But it is precisely those structures that have been gutted and systematically dismantlement by the liberal feminists throughout the history of colonization and Europeanization of the Muslim world, through among other things, campaigns like this #MeToo nonsense.
So, to recap, feminists strive to destroy the societal structures and institutions that protect women and men from things like sexual harassment and assault, and then when sexual harassment and assault inevitably increase in society, they blame men and insist that men are inherently corrupt and need to reform themselves in line with liberal feminist moral norms in order to redeem themselves from their “original sin.”
This is what I have always called: The Hypocrisy of Feminist Outrage.
3. How is today’s #MeToo campaign related to past instances of racist feminism causes?
Finally it is incredible to me that the #MeToo crowd has ignored the sordid history of mobilizing sexual assault for the purpose of political campaigns. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the early feminist movement used “rape by the negro” in order to mobilize white society against blacks. Early feminist figures like Rebecca Ann Felton proclaimed:
“When there is not enough religion in the pulpit to organize a crusade against sin; nor justice in the court house to promptly punish crime; nor manhood enough in the nation to put a sheltering arm about innocence and virtue—-if it needs lynching to protect woman’s dearest possession [i.e., her sexual innocence] from the ravening human beasts—-then I say lynch, a thousand times a week if necessary. […] “if it will save one white woman I say lynch a thousand black men.”
Sound familiar? Religion is not enough. Justice through due process is not enough. We need to lynch! We need to save women through a public campaign of violence and shaming! These are the intellectual forbears of the modern feminists who have dutifully followed in their footsteps. Except instead of targeting one specific race, they target one specific gender.
As a more recent example, consider all the social media noise regarding the “rapist refugees.” European women were claiming that hordes of Syrian refugees were roaming the streets of Germany and Holland, savagely raping any woman they came across. This exploded into a full blown social media blitzkrieg. As it turned out, virtually all these claims were fabrications. But the intended purpose was done. European society had been mobilized against the barbaric refugees. Laws were passed, policies were enacted. The rest is history.
The same feminist tactics and dialect that were used against blacks, refugees, native americans, aboriginals, and Muslims are now being used against men in general. This is what #MeToo is really about.