February 13, 2016

"Suddenly, it was the secularists who seemed stodgy: racist, authoritarian, élitist..."

"The Times started referring to them as 'the secular elite.' In 2007, the Times reported that a protest of the A.K.P. by hundreds of thousands of Turkish secularists was motivated in part by a 'fear' of the life styles of their more religious compatriots—by 'snobbish' complaints that 'religious Turks were uneducated and poor' and that 'their pesky prayer rugs got underfoot in hospital halls.' It’s difficult to imagine the Times reporting in an equally condescending manner about the élitism of Americans who oppose the Christian right."

From "Cover Story/The head scarf, modern Turkey, and me," by Elif Batuman in The New Yorker. As for head scarves, here's a conversation the author (who is the American daughter of Turkish immigrants) had with a cab driver in Istanbul (she was his sole passenger):
[O]nce, when a driver pressed me particularly jovially for an opinion, I said something like “I think all women should be respected. It shouldn’t depend on their hair.”

The driver replied that I was absolutely right, that of course women should be respected, and that the head scarf was the best way for women to remind men of this necessity for respect. Men, after all, were worse than women: they could sometimes forget themselves, and then unfortunate things could happen, “even”—he said in a hushed voice, adding that he didn’t like to mention such things in front of me—“even rape.”

I replied, in my simplistic Turkish, that to me this sounded like a threat: either cover your head or rape can happen. The driver protested in ornate phrases that nobody was threatening anyone, that to speak of threats in this situation was unfitting, that he could tell from my smiling face that I was a good and trusting person, but that the world was an imperfect place, that some men were less like humans than like animals, and that it was best to send clear signals about what one was or wasn’t looking for.....
Later, she describes her experience walking through Urfa after accidentally leaving on a head scarf that she kept with her to wear when she visited religious sites that women cannot enter without wearing a head scarf:
[W]alking through the city with a head scarf was a completely different experience. People were so much nicer. Nobody looked away when I approached. I felt less jostled; men seemed to step aside, to give me more room. When I went into a store, a man held the door for me, and I realized that it was the first time anyone had reached a door before me without going in first and letting it shut in my face. Most incredibly, when I got to a bus stop shortly after the bus had pulled away, the departing vehicle stopped in the middle of the street, the door opened, and a man reached out his hand to help me in, calling me “sister.” It felt amazing. To feel so welcomed and accepted and safe, to be able to look into someone’s face and smile, and have the smile returned—it was a wonderful gift....
Batuman gave some thought to wearing the head scarf all the time in Turkey. It's all communication, and failure to wear it communicated something she didn't mean to say to the people around her — perhaps that "I disapproved of them and thought their way of life was backward." So why not wear the head scarf, not just to make her experience easier, but also to make "the people who lived here feel so much better"? If they are poor and working people, and she is elite and privileged, shouldn't she adopt their form of expression? She wears high heels — which are more burdensome than a head scarf — to business meetings in NYC in order to get better respect from the people there. Why suck up to those elites and not to the common people in Turkey? She thinks of the answer: Because "it felt dishonest, almost shameful, as if I were duping people into being kind to me." We're left to infer the what that means about the heels in NYC. I think it's: But there's nothing dishonest or shameful about duping privileged people at business meetings in NYC.

Much more at the link. Read the whole thing. You don't know where it goes. In fact, I don't know where it goes. I stopped to write this blog post when I was only 2/3 of the way through. I decided to write this blog post when I was only 1/4 of the way through — that is, when I read the material about how Western elites notice elite condescension to working class, foreign Muslims but not the equivalent condescension to working class American Christians.

71 comments:

David Begley said...

The NYT writes exclusively for the John Kerry-Hillary Clinton uber liberal Democrats. Rich and clueless and fully invested in climate change and identity politics. They deserve Bernie Sanders and I hope he berns down their party.

traditionalguy said...

And it's not easy to be a Christian elite that looks down on non-elite Christians either. No easier than being a non-elite Christian that looks down on less educated non-elite Christians, who in turn look down on something, anything, long haired men or short haired women...or vulgar speech.

You could say religion is a group exercise in looking down on the outsiders. It has to have all kinds of ID signals to work smooth.

And the nasty Mr Cruz has mastered all of the signals to each group.

I'll take NYC's values of tolerance any day.

Gordon said...

What, did you skip your lectures on crit theory? Western, American, Christian bad, bad! Muslim foreign and anti-American? Tripleplusgoodness! Because CheneyKoch-a-cola.

Shouting Thomas said...

You are the American elite you're referring to.

You and your feminist comrades led the charge to degrade Christian patriarchal culture, not some far off elite in NYC. You did so over the issues of the status of women and gays.

And why?

Because a few high IQ women like you wanted professional jobs. (And even you bailed on that for a state sinecure instead of working as an aggressive business seeking lawyer). Because a tiny percentage of the 2% of the populace that is gay wanted to call themselves "married."

You trampled the rights and culture of the vast majority, not some nebulous elite.

The vast majority of women have been ill served by being dumped into make work and dull jobs instead of staying home to serve a family and husband. Their families have been abandoned. Gays who want to be married are so few that your great civil rights crusade looks suspiciously like a bad habit of leaping from one cause to another you just can't break.

Isn't it time to back pedal and admit that piggybacking feminism and gay rights on the black civil rights movement was just a selfish mistake with unforeseen negative consequences that far outweigh any gain?

EDH said...

Is there even a word for Muslims who hate or fear non-Muslims?

Shouting Thomas said...

I appreciate the struggle of conscience you're going through, prof, and you clearly are going through one over these issues.

I, too, made the mistake of believing that it was my job to remake the world.

Your husband pointed your readers toward my post on the same subject yesterday, so I'll do so again today, with apologies.

I screwed up in thinking that tradition and ritual were arbitrary constructs. I made that mistake out of intellectual hubris. My problem is the same as yours. I was too damned smart for my own good.

David said...

Part of this is the issue is good manners. Good manners are the art of making other feel comfortable. In this case, by not wearing the scarf, she chose her own inner psychological comfort over the comfort of others she interacted with. She sounds like a thoughtful person, so perhaps she knew that. It's not the worst transgression by far and I'll read the article to see it in context.

Ann Althouse said...

@Shouting Thomas

Don't you notice that other people are not engaging with you over these ideas you keep repeating? What would it take for you to notice that and give some thought to whether you are making any sense to people?

Ann Althouse said...

"In this case, by not wearing the scarf, she chose her own inner psychological comfort over the comfort of others she interacted with."

I don't think that's a fair characterization of what she was doing. Read the whole article. It's very thoughtful and looks at things from many different angles. She's not choosing inner comfort at all. I don't see the basis in the text for that attitude toward this woman.

Shouting Thomas said...

Don't you notice that other people are not engaging with you over these ideas you keep repeating? What would it take for you to notice that and give some thought to whether you are making any sense to people?

You just did engage. It's eating at you. Admitting that you've just made a lifetime mistake will take some time.

Have you noticed that the ratio of males to females in college is now 60%-40% and that a college education is now being devalued down to the level of a piece of shit?

The young men my daughters married (and their friends) have all abandoned college for traditional blue collar jobs. They did so partly to avoid being lectured by you and your feminist sisters and to avoid the S&M indoctrination, as well as to avoid the lifetime indebtedness you're now dumping on people for a worthless degree.

You've made a terrible mistake in attacking the fundamental structures of Christian patriarchal culture.

It's time for you to apologize and start backtracking. Do your best to undo the damage you've caused.

EDH said...

Silly me: "anti-Islamophobic," of course.

traditionalguy said...

ST seems stuck on looking down on any tolerance of others as a disrespect to patriarchal values. He is right, of course.

But the Patriarchy can stand it. We have our own Presidential candidate now. And it turns out that he is mega tolerant of any American grouping except the intolerant ones.

Shouting Thomas said...

Look carefully at your enthusiasm for Paglia, prof.

She's a fucking idiot.

Her only purpose is to unravel the idiot ideology you've embraced and explain "traditional normal human behavior" to women like you so besotted by feminist ideology that you are virtually blinded.

Paglia is a fucking idiot. Only a society like your academia would need a fucking idiot interpreter like her.

Start unraveling the idiot indoctrination, prof.

Anonymous said...

I read the entire article and found it very honest and illuminating. Thanks for flagging it.

Big Mike said...

The Protestant Work Ethic has received full or at least partial credit for the rise and success of the West. As far as Democrats are concerned the bad word is the one in the middle. People who work are looked down upon by today's elite because you're supposed to get where you are in life through going to the right college and having the right connections. Not by icky things like doing actual work.

MaxedOutMama said...

That was really interesting.

There are districts in several major cities in Europe in which women are essentially forced to follow a Muslim dress code.

The problem is that once you shift the responsibility for controlling male sexual urges from the man to the woman, all bets are off. If it's down to the woman's behavior, first it's head scarves, then it's loose, covering clothing, then it's lipstick, and before long we are all wandering around in head-to-toe veils. Because once all the women are wearing headscarves, the men are still looking for the one who is being provocative, because they are still horny.

Concede the head scarf, and you are really conceding that some women can be raped. It's all or nothing.

traditionalguy said...

I would like to dedicate Frank Sinatra's theme song, " I did it my way" out to Shouting Thomas. Frank was probably remembering Ava Gardner and wishing he had not done it all his way.

jr565 said...

"I replied, in my simplistic Turkish, that to me this sounded like a threat: either cover your head or rape can happen. The driver protested in ornate phrases that nobody was threatening anyone, that to speak of threats in this situation was unfitting, that he could tell from my smiling face that I was a good and trusting person, but that the world was an imperfect place, that some men were less like humans than like animals, and that it was best to send clear signals about what one was or wasn’t looking for....."

Feminists keep decrying a rape culture in this country. There, it may well be an actual rape culture. If all women are covering their face, you might want to do so as well just so you don't stick out like a sore thumb.
Here in this country we don't have a rape culture. But it may well be common sensical to tell women "Hey, don't walk down the street dressed like a prostitute"Why are feminists so insistent on going out of their way to tell women not to be responsible for their safety. We need, instead, to teach men not to rape.
I think, if they are adults, and are raping women, its a lesson they learned and simply ignored. So, you won't teach them at this point in their lives, and they are fully aware of the potential for jail, but just don't care. So, might as well take a self defense class and be aware of your surroundings ,so they have less chance of raping you. Or dress appropriately. And don't go out drunk.
You're not asking for it. But by the same token, if you are a rich guy and walk around a neighborhood showing off your expensive iPhone, and shoes and are oblivious to your surroundings, you might just get robbed.

amielalune said...


Maybe we're not really engaging with Shouting Thomas in this case because we don't actually disagree with him.

Laslo Spatula said...

MaxedOutMama said...
"Concede the head scarf, and you are really conceding that some women can be raped. It's all or nothing."

Very thoughtful comment, all of it.

But good-looking women in yoga pants still give me 'ideas'.

I am Laslo.

traditionalguy said...

The Protestant work ethic is what Trump is selling us. You cannot keep Calvinist thought down. It's to much fun.

AReasonableMan said...

EDH said...
Is there even a word for Muslims who hate or fear non-Muslims?


Sauds.

The Drill SGT said...

Big Mike said...

That could be a line from the Dowager Countess of Grantham:

"As far as Upper Class are concerned the bad word is the one in the middle. People who work are looked down upon by our people because you're supposed to get where you are in life through marrying the right person and having the right connections. Not by icky things like doing actual work."

PS: I like the series

jr565 said...

Did she not hear the phrase "When in Rome, do as the Romans do?"

The Drill SGT said...

EDH said...
Is there even a word for Muslims who hate or fear non-Muslims?


Islamics

Laslo Spatula said...

A head scarf does not fully undo the message that is yoga pants.

I am Laslo.

MaxedOutMama said...

David - I think you have got it exactly backwards. It was way more comfortable for HER to wear the headscarf. She chose pyschological DISCOMFORT out of the feeling that she was doing the wrong thing.

And she was - this is the choice women in Europe are now facing. I explained why in my previous comment.

The road to the black niqabs you see Saudi women and many women in conservative Muslim countries wearing literally starts with the headscarf. Concede that, and you concede everything. If women concede that one should wear the headscarf so as not to make men disposed to misdeeds, then they are implicitl conceding that men are entitled to sexually mistreat some other woman.

The author knows that, and that's why she didn't do it. She wasn't going to write it, though.

The problem comes from Koran 33:59:
http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=33&verse=59

The literal is something like:
O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the believing women that they should lengthen their garments, so that they will be recognized and not annoyed.



Harrywr2 said...

I don't get any of this.

I travel on business to Turkey extensively.

None..I repeat none of the woman who work in the companies I work with wear a headscarf.

Erdogan has gone full Putin by keeping the religious conservatives on his side.

As far as I can tell the whole article is just newspeak for why the US would remain friends with a NATO ally transitioning his country into a religious dictatorship.

Erdogan arrests the politically incorrect...no taxi driver is going to speak openly to a stranger...the risk of arrest is just too high.

The 'feel' of Istanbul in the last 10 years has transitioned from a Middle East London/Paris equivalent to more like Tehran circa 1978.


Michael K said...

"The problem is that once you shift the responsibility for controlling male sexual urges from the man to the woman, all bets are off."

Yes and we are importing this foreign culture that will not assimilate. This is an experiment that was last attempted by the Romans. That worked out well and the following period is called "The Dark Ages."

jr565 said...

"Concede the head scarf, and you are really conceding that some women can be raped. It's all or nothing."

Some women CAN be raped. Just don't make it be you. Some people can be mugged/robbed/murdered. don't make it be you.

There are steps that can be taken whereby you make yourself less of a target. In this case, if you are in a rape culture, and not wearing the head covering is a sign of disrespect to those who might rape women, it may not be in your own interest to walk down the street not wearing a head scarf.

Bob Boyd said...

"Is there even a word for Muslims who hate or fear non-Muslims?"

Infidelaphobes?

MaxedOutMama said...

Laslo - anyone who knows anything about men knows that adolescents (sometimes adolescents in their thirties) can be excited by almost anything. The more women wrap up in public, the more exciting a windy day becomes. God forbid that the black niqab gets plastered to your rear end in Muslim Boston or a nice windy day in Chicago - she was asking for it!

That's why women end up walking around wrapped up like mummies. Because, yeah, men are horny. It's all in 33:59, which is generally taken by men to say that you'd better not be disrespectful to a woman dressed in the "right" way, but as to those others. ...

jr565 said...

the problem is that on one hand, when you are in THEIR country the feminist doesn't want to wear the hijab. But when its in OUR country, or in a western country, we bend over backwards to not offend them, and so set up areas that are muslim controlled and women are forced to wear head scarves who are not muslim. Or can't walk down certain streets because them dressing provocatively (in western clothes) triggers some to seek them out and rape them.

jr565 said...

""Is there even a word for Muslims who hate or fear non-Muslims?"

The word is MUSLIMS.

Dennis Braswell said...

Althouse infers (rightly I think) what this means about the heels: "But there's nothing dishonest or shameful about duping privileged people at business meetings in NYC." Perhaps its obvious, but the underlying condescension is that New Yorkers are too smart to be duped, while the religious (everywhere) are too simple not to be duped. So the heels are OK, but the scarf is not.

Temujin said...

"Suddenly, it was the secularists who seemed stodgy: racist, authoritarian, elitist…"

Funny. Reading the intro I was thinking this was going to be an article about the left in today's America.

ironrailsironweights said...

While I've never been to Turkey, from what I've heard there is a very big political and religious split between the more Westernized parts of the country and the more traditional parts. The Westernized parts include Istanbul, the section of the country in Europe, and some of the coastal regions. Other areas are more traditional.

Peter

Terry said...

The temptation to treat people of lower status than yourself with condescension or contempt must be very strong. think it is probably strongest with the bourgeois, or upper middle classes. That is the class that most politicians and successful business people belong to. They have to work. That is something of a middle class marker, the need to work.
Anyway, even atheists, I hope, know that the world would be a better place if we thought of each other as living, breathing, supernatural miracles, and none any more miraculous than any other.

Karen of Texas said...

For some reason, Seuss started frolicking in my head...

"They never invited the Plain-Belly Sneetches. / They left them out cold, in the dark of the beaches."

Head scarves. Stars.

Thoughtful article. I learned a few things.

MaxedOutMama said...

jr565 - that is exactly true, but as I have been trying to explain, that's why women don't want to let this rape culture take hold in the west.

The freedom to move around and interact publicly is even more basic than the right to vote.

There is no such thing as equality for women if dressing the wrong way is taken to be an invitation to be attacked on the street.

Forget feminism - this is protecting the rights of women to be PEOPLE.

Michael said...

When in Rome you do as the Romans do. Within reason: scarves ok, burkas not ok.

And no one is less "tolerant" than the Progressive elite.

Mark said...

The problem is that once you shift the responsibility for controlling male sexual urges from the man to the woman, all bets are off.

This of course is as degrading to men as it is to women in that it maintains that it is part of the inherent nature of men to rape. Such ideas are not born of thoughtful right reason reflecting on human nature, but of a violent narcissistic cult began by a twisted violent narcissist 1400 years ago.

Let's also remember part two of the rape drama - the woman being charged with and convicted of adultery and then being executed for it, all with the support of the community.

Mark said...

OK, going over to read the story, it is curious, and probably telling, that in paragraph three the writer (or perhaps the editor) begins to write about "God" (except when quoting a bumper sticker that uses the more precise "Allah protect us").

Then this in paragraph four -- "Both my parents always told me that, in order to be a good person, it was neither necessary nor desirable to believe in God."

Right there we see the beginnings of a HUGE false equivalence in the various conceptions of God and, thus, the various religions, i.e. that one religion is pretty much the same as any other, setting up the dichotomy between "religion" on the one hand and the secular on the other.

There is a world of difference between saying - (a) "in order to be a good person, it was neither necessary nor desirable to believe in God" and (b) "in order to be a good person, it was neither necessary nor desirable to believe in Allah." But to use the latter, referring to "Allah" specifically, is to imply that there is something wrong with Islam specifically.

And there is. "Allah" in both the Koran and in Islamic tradition is much, much, much different than either the God of Christianity or Judaism. Allah is all too agreeable with raping men and subjugating women -- in fact, the Koran tells how when Mohammed "objected" to such things, Allah conveniently told him to go ahead and do it.

Michael K said...

" I've heard there is a very big political and religious split between the more Westernized parts of the country and the more traditional parts."

I've been to Istanbul but it was ten years ago. The people on the street looked pretty much like any western country with one exception. When we visited the Blue Mosque, there were angry looking young men at the entrance to be certain that everyone took off their shoes and the women wore head scarves. My guess is that they would have preferred burkas but had been told to back off.

Now, I have no idea how it would be. Everyone was very friendly and big fans of Ataturk. Now, I wonder if Erdogan has shipped some of those people off to god knows where.

Hagar said...

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has a very funny passage in "Infidel" about this. She grew up being told all this about men not being able to control themselves if they ever get a look of her hair, not to mention her ankles, but she is now in Holland and it is not practical if she is going to live and work here.
So she puts her hijab in her pocket and goes out for a walk, but finds that people on the street takes less notice of her than when she wore the the hijab.
She then goes home and hikes up her skirt to mid-calf or so, tells herself she is a Daoud woman and the daughter of a chief, who must not show fear, especially when surrounded by strangers of lesser tribes, and again goes ut for a walk around the block, though wearing sneakers in case it becomes necessary to make a quick dash for home.
But now she finds nobody pays any attention to her at all, so she goes home to think about all this and sleep on it, decides that her elders just have been lying to her all her life about this, and she goes to a thriftstore and buys herself a used bicycle and a couple of pairs of levis, so that she can get herself a job and bicycle to and from her place of employment.

Sebastian said...

"It’s difficult to imagine the Times reporting in an equally condescending manner about the élitism of Americans who oppose the Christian right."As Gordon explained way upthread, Muslim Other = good, Western Christian = bad. Corollary: Western Prog who loves Other and condescends to Christians = doubleplusgood.

@Mark: Clearly you haven't gotten the AA message. All those bad things you so unfairly ascribe to Islam and the Koran and the Prophet and Allah are just the manifestation of a closed culture. Look, when it comes to protecting the Muslim Other, textual and historical and empirical evidence don't matter.

wholelottasplainin' said...

MaxedOutMama said...
jr565 - that is exactly true, but as I have been trying to explain, that's why women don't want to let this rape culture take hold in the west.

But "rape culture" is NOT taking hold in the west; the incidence of rape has in fact been DECLINING the past twenty years to roughly 5 incidents per THOUSAND people, students or otherwsie, not even close to the "1 in 5" the SJWS claim.

http://thefederalist.com/2014/12/11/new-doj-data-on-sexual-assaults-college-students-are-actually-less-likely-to-be-victimized/

So....why the continual yammering about a problem that's been getting better, not worse, and is several orders of magnitude smaller than claimed??

William said...

Hassidic and Amish women dress very modestly but it doesn't arouse any suspicion or hostility on my part. To a certain extent, their dress is a rejection of our current western values, but I don't perceive such dress as threat to my way of life. It's not so much the scarf that puts people on edge, but the suicide vest. I wish Muslims would forgo wearing suicide vests. They make such a bad impression.

Bruce Hayden said...

Maybe we're not really engaging with Shouting Thomas in this case because we don't actually disagree with him.

He comes across as a bit strong, but he seems a lot more right than many of our leftists here, who often seem completely off in the weeds, but are accepted just fine.

We have a problem in this country, and it partially revolves around a coarsening of our society. As well as sexualization of our females. I cannot say that a woman scantily dressed can look forward to rape, or that any such rape is justified. they aren't. But, I can also say that she is not going to be taken seriously in many middle class work environments, but instead will be seen as a sexual object by many of the men. It isn't the mens' fault - they are wired to respond to female sexuality. Of course, the more sexuality you see, the lower the bar - and now, after a couple decades of this, males seem to be responding less to intentional sexual enticement. A couple decades ago, Bill Clinton got the message from Monica's thong. Now, that sort of thing probably has less effect.

We have moved to a place where young women really do suffer as a result of the freedoms procured by their feminist predecessors. And, part of that is to dress provocably. But part of what has come with that freedom is that they now predominate on most college campuses. And, this has meant a race to the bottom in terms of sexual freedom. Most of the college "rape" culture can be attributed to this freedom, and the reality that women naturally fight for males through sex, but the males now are in control, since the numbers are on their side. The default now is that sex is expected when young adults get together, and it becomes harder and harder to say "no".

So, I do sometimes wonder whether a bit more female modesty would be good for our country and our culture. Some way for women to say that they aren't interested in sex, and will not appreciate sexual advances. The thing though is that in our culture, it has to come from the women, and not the men. The Muslim way of having the males, and esp. the male relatives, enforce modesty, won't work here, because our females no longer belong to our males. And, won't, until and unless, we adopt Sharia law.

As I said, I don't know the answers here, just that there are problems that need to be addressed.

Bruce Hayden said...

William - we have decently large communities of both Amish and Mennonite around where we spend half the year in NW MT. Took a picture last year of a sign in the next town to the east letting us know to expect horse drawn carriages the next 10 or so miles. But, mostly, I see them in the library, and in the grocery store, driving up in their minivan, and all the females dressed essentially identically in long dresses of different colors and patterns. Not sure when, but at some point, the young women have to start covering up their hair with those white bonnets. Still, nice people, and do great work, both building things and with food (one of their stores is 5 miles east of us on the highway). Great neighbors, as far as I can tell.

MaxedOutMama said...

wholelottasplainin'

I am not arguing that the west has a "homegrown" rape culture originating in Enlightenment values. It doesn't. The west does have a problem with importing more traditional cultures that have retained a far more traditional rape culture. In the case of Islam, in many cultures it is somewhat religiously transmitted.

It is this collision of worldviews and values that is a PC cultural stammer. On the one hand, the left or PC culture (it could be "right" PC culture too) believes in multiculturalism or religious freedom (remember Bush's "Islam is a religion of peace!) firmly, and it also believes in equal status for women.

What does the west do when these two well-nigh axiomatic principles conflict in reality?

Terry said...

Mark wrote:
And there is. "Allah" in both the Koran and in Islamic tradition is much, much, much different than either the God of Christianity or Judaism. Allah is all too agreeable with raping men and subjugating women -- in fact, the Koran tells how when Mohammed "objected" to such things, Allah conveniently told him to go ahead and do it.
How is it possible for Christians and Muslims to worship the same God? They worship the trinity? Don't think so. If you are a Christian there is only one way for you to relate to God, and that is through Christ. Do Muslims do that? Don't think so.

MaxedOutMama said...

Mark - YES!!! It is dehumanizing to men. There's great insecurity there.

That's probably why these cultures (whether Islamic or not - some of the African cultures are not Islamic but are just as patriarchal) are so deathly afraid of male homosexuality and so abusive towards male homosexuals.

However traditional Islam is exceptionally good at winding up patriarchal structures and religion.

It is akin to the conflict between free speech and multiculturalism. What does CAIR keep insisting? You can say anything you want except to insult Islam or the prophet. That's no free speech at all.

Otto said...

Pure tukkunista drivel from the author. Tikkunism grew out of the Holocaust and the nuclear age. It has flourished for over 50 years in America due to largesse of WWII, an imperfect post war containment policy and the age of meritocracy. However life is hard and not a utopia, there are raging lions out there. When faced with a raging lion and all the cunning has no effect on the lion, the tikkunista will whimper and shrink away, hopefully wishing there is fighting force willing to defend the hapless tikkunistas. As Sayet says it is a unsustainable suicide policy.

Mark said...

a woman scantily dressed . . . will be seen as a sexual object by many of the men. It isn't the mens' fault - they are wired to respond to female sexuality

This too diminishes men by insulating them from personal responsibility. Men have free choice of the will. Objectifying a woman (or anyone else) is a choice. We are not hardwired to do it.

That said, it is no better when women objectify themselves, when they reduce themselves to sex objects either out of a learned lack of modesty or out of some twisted game of empowerment where they use their sexuality as a tool to get what they want.

Michael K said...

Most of the college "rape" culture can be attributed to this freedom, and the reality that women naturally fight for males through sex,

My limited exposure to this situation is from teaching medical students and having a daughter who graduated from college two yeas ago.

My impression is that alcohol has a huge effect on the sexual relations. Many (many !) years ago when I was in college, girls did not get drunk. It was considered low class and non-female.

Now, of course, we have the Pill which removes the reason for discretion on the girl's part and the alcohol issue. Girls are trying to deal with a situation, as mentioned above, where men are in control sexually because the culture has been so debased. Girls are expected to "put out" as we used to say.

Then comes the "walk of shame" and the problem of regret, which may be another big piece of the puzzle.

I first heard about the "walk of shame" from my daughter.

Then we have left wing politics which seeks to make something of this. The lefties and the radical feminists are stirring the pot.

Lydia said...

More from the article:

At that point, another thought came to me, a kind of fantasy, so foreign that I could barely articulate it even to myself: What if I really did it? What if I wore a scarf not as a disguise but somehow for real? I was thirty-four, and I’d been having a lot of doubts about the direction my life was taking. I had had an abortion the previous year, with some reluctance, and everything—every minor defeat, every sign of unfriendliness—still hurt a little extra. I had never felt so alone, and in a way that seemed suddenly to have been of my design, as if I had chosen this life without realizing it, years earlier, when I set out to become a writer. And now a glimmer appeared before me of a totally different way of being than any I had imagined, a life with clear rules and duties that you followed, in exchange for which you were respected and honored and safe. You had children—not maybe but definitely. You didn’t have to worry that your social value was irrevocably tied to your sexual value. You had less freedom, true. But what was so great about freedom? What was so great about being a journalist and going around being a pain in everyone’s ass, having people either be suspicious and mean to you or try to use you for their P.R. strategy? Travelling alone, especially as a woman, especially in a patriarchal culture, can be really stressful. It can make you question the most basic priorities around which your life is arranged. Like: Why do I have a job that makes me travel alone? For literature? What’s literature?

A lot to think about there, and not all that easily dismissed.

Sam P said...

I wonder: does wearing high heels to a business meeting actually get her more respect? What is it that high heels communicate? My impression is that seriousness, intelligence, or perseverance are not the messages that high heels communicate.

jaed said...

It's all communication, and failure to wear it communicated something she didn't mean to say to the people around her — perhaps that "I disapproved of them and thought their way of life was backward."

Oh, heavens, no.

Wearing the scarf is an indication that the wearer is a Muslimah, that's all. She was treated kindly and respectfully when she wore it because the people around her thought she was one of them, a member of their tribe. When she didn't wear it, they thought she was a non-Muslim, and therefore not entitled to respect and kindness. The man on the bus who addressed her as "sister" didn't mean he thought of her as a literal sister; Muslim women are often referred to by Muslims as "sisters" or "the sisters", and he meant that he recognized her as a fellow Muslim. (There are similar stories about wearing headscarves in Muslim areas of Paris, and they tell a similar story: women who don't wear one are sexually harassed, and women who do are protected. And for the same reason: it's how the people there distinguish between Muslim women, entitled to respect, and non-Muslims, who are whores and may be harassed freely.)

You're overthinking this far too much if you think the people around her believed she was communicating disapproval or messages about the backwardness of their way of life or anything of the sort. The scarf just told them she was one of them, and not wearing it indicated she was an outsider.

Nichevo said...

2/13/16, 8:18 AM

Perhaps people who agree are concerned about being censored by you for destroying Blogger or something.

Anglelyne said...

jr565: Some women CAN be raped. Just don't make it be you.

Please desist from willfully missing the point of MOM's insightful comment. I'll do you the courtesy of not assuming you're just too stupid to have understood that (perfectly clear) point. If you can't control your urge to grind it, we're going to have to take that axe away from you.

(And nobody's interested in reading the eight poorly formatted paragraphs you're no doubt itching to write in defense of your willful obtuseness.)

n.n said...

Everyone has a religion or moral philosophy and a faith, too. The only difference between secularism and established religions is that the former is an ad hoc mixture of religion and faith that develops individually or in clusters until it reaches a critical threshold.

Anglelyne said...

AA: ...that is, when I read the material about how Western elites notice elite condescension to working class, foreign Muslims but not the equivalent condescension to working class American Christians.

I don't think this observation ever gets emphasized enough. "Western elites" have been sneering at Western religiosity and traditionalism as backward and barbaric since forever. Suggest that dressing immodestly - that is, in a way that is slutty and provocative by Western standards, that is a violation of our traditional standards of good taste, good sense, and morality? "Tight ass! Victim blamer! Misogynist! Fascist agent of sexual repression!"

But let an "Other" saunter into view, with his be-shrouded female relative trailing in his wake, muttering "whore" at (or doing worse to) passing Western women dressed appropriately and modestly by our standards? "Oh, Holy Other! We now see that we are oppressed by high heels [that absolutely no one forces us to wear] and casual sex [the disapproval of which by traditional Christian morality we condemned yesterday]. Oh Holy Other, you are full of wisdom we have so much to learn from you!"

William said...

Has anyone even been to a social function where the coworkers showed up in their little black dresses, and you realized, wow, I've been working with a bunch of hotties and didn't know it? My guess is that women, depending on their mood, their environment, their million other reasons that add up to an individual personality dress for success or status or sexcess or comfort or whatever. A lot of pretty girls have discovered that being sexy is not a handicap for getting things done in a corporate setting........."One rule for the lion and the lamb is oppression." I don't know if there are any consistent rules for dressing that are applicable across all classes, ages, occupations, and climates. The one consistent rule is that consistency is oppressive.

Anglelyne said...

MOM: What does the west do when these two well-nigh axiomatic principles conflict in reality?

The sane part of the West moves to protect itself and its culture from an obvious threat.

The insane part of the West hysterically denies that there is any danger, or rather, that the sane part of the West is the only real danger to Western "values" (defined by them so broadly and ethereally as to be meaningless in any possible flesh-and-blood human context).

There is a chunk in the middle that is not insane but too unintelligent to recognize, or too comfortable or cowardly to be willing to recognize, the danger. They go along with the insane part until reality slaps them too hard one day, which may be too late to make any difference, and the conflict is "resolved" by the axioms of the invaders displacing the axioms of the natives.

Jonathan Graehl said...

Shouting Thomas (who I never noticed until now - new-ish to the blog) is wrong to blame *all* the excesses of progressives and all society's ailments on feminism.

He's wrong to say (as a provocation, I guess) Althouse isn't *really* contributing because she works as a professor instead of helping companies countersue other companies or whatever. Education in technical fields that have obvious value is nothing to be ashamed of (and law, though it may be built to ensure work for lawyers in part, is obviously valuable).

I sympathize with his rage, and I'm not especially pro-Christian or pro-patriarchy, but Shouting Thomas should make better use of the freedom granted him to post here. I applaud Althouse allowing him. She's correct in thinking that the way Thomas treats the nearest representative to people he hates who will listen to him, tells us something about his character.

I want to agree with Thomas about Paglia but I just don't know enough about her.

It should be possible to make use of smart women (there are so many of them - more than men, these days, at least if you believe in IQ tests, which I do - even if none yet are Einstein, but then no man today is either). I'm glad we're doing that.

It shouldn't be controversial that, over their whole life, most women would be happier with children (at least one) and without working. It's not true that we can get this for free.

I do agree that most of the additional GNP that's been pumped into education in the last few decades is a COMPLETE waste and has really only served to create a slightly more literate set of annoying Occupy type activists. Negative contribution. Big mistake. Look at all the admin and counseling and compliance jobs that got added to academia (environmentalism, diversity, imaginary-frat-rape, union campus labor ...)

Anglelyne said...

Harrywr2: The 'feel' of Istanbul in the last 10 years has transitioned from a Middle East London/Paris equivalent to more like Tehran circa 1978.

Interesting (and disquieting) observation. I've only been to Istanbul once, a few years ago as a tourist, so I have no basis for noting changes in "feel". ( Like everybody else I have noticed the woeful change in "feel" of European cities in the last 10-30 years, transitioning into Middle Eastern cities circa right now.)

Jonathan Graehl said...

After looking at Thomas' blog, I regret a little of my above presumption. He appears to simply be a good guy with some angst over his own rashly-leftist youth (we all had one, no matter how brief).

Hyphenated American said...

I wonder why there are no articles published in NYT about Moslem women who feel liberated when they take off the hijab while walking the streets of Europe.

Tari said...

"I was thirty-four, and I’d been having a lot of doubts about the direction my life was taking. I had had an abortion the previous year, with some reluctance, and everything—every minor defeat, every sign of unfriendliness—still hurt a little extra. I had never felt so alone, and in a way that seemed suddenly to have been of my design, as if I had chosen this life without realizing it, years earlier, when I set out to become a writer."

And so the cry of the unmarried thirty-something begins. I've known a lot of women like this, who wake up one morning mid-thirties and realize that they were sold a bill of goods, and that the job and the education and everything else they were told would make them complete have failed to do so. Closer to 40 they really start to realize that there will be no children, and the past 20 years of having sex "without consequences" because it was "fun" was instead a complete waste of time. What seems to have eluded this author is that a woman does not have to wear a headscarf and submit to a patriarchal religion like Islam to find the traditional family structure she's missing. Instead, she could have found that kind of life in any number of churches she has passed on the street over the years. But it sounds so much more exotic to contemplate "giving up freedom" and "taking up a headscarf" than it does to say "hey, I'm moving to Waco and marrying a Baptist."

zefal said...

Ann Althouse:

I didn't know that when I didn't post a comment on a particular subject you were commenting on was because I was ignoring you and didn't agree with what you were saying. Now I know!