You Are NOT A Feminist (NSFW)
While growing up I always proudly regarded myself as a feminist. I attended a school for girls built on the idea that women can achieve anything they want and in any sector they so desired. I was always quizzical and suspicious of women who said they wanted equality but didn’t identify as a feminist. Yet in today’s landscape I barely recognise my former tribe.
Today the ‘modern’ feminist is beyond unrecognisable to me, particularly when religion, specifically Islam, has formed an alliance with women’s liberation. Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016 we have seen feminists in the western world adopt the Hijab as a symbol of defiance, solidarity and liberation to fight against the ‘patriarchy’; and of course the demonetisation of Muslims in the western world.
The narrative is that many women choose to wear the Hijab and that their fathers, brothers or community at large has no power over them when they are making this choice. And while I accept many western born Muslim women’s free choices, we have all forgotten there is a wider world outside Europe and America.
Yes, women living in a liberated western nation may choose to wear a Hijab of her own free will, but we forget that the Muslim populations in Europe and the USA stand between 1-5%. The million or so Hijabi women living in the USA are certainly not representative, in any way, of the 1.5 billion+ Muslims living in the 50+ Muslim majority nations.
Devastatingly 40 million women in Iran alone are currently mandated by the government to wear a Hijab in public. Similar such rules apply in Saudi Arabia as well as many other provinces throughout the Islamic world, such as in Indonesia.
There was once a time where such enormous figures relating to the oppression of women would be on the lips of every freedom loving human being in the western world; yet now the unrepresentative minority oversee the narrative.
Women’s March Co-Chair and Islamic political activist, Linda Sarsour is lauded by many within the liberal feminist movement in Europe and the USA. Linda has arguably almost single-handedly enforced the ‘liberated Hijabi’ message to a generation of feminist activists.
Sarsour’s power and reach is enormous, yet she is truly emblematic of the destruction of feminism. She has even outrageously torn down other women and fellow activists highlighting the plight of women and girls. For example, Sarsour has openly taunted FGM victim and women’s activist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali by wishing for her to “have her vagina taken away”, knowing full well Ali is a victim of FGM.
Similar ignorance to the plight of oppressed women both inside and outside of the western world is even occurring among our government officials. British Labour Party M.P, and known anti-Semite, Naz Shah commented that sexual abuse victims needed to “Keep their mouths shut for the good of diversity”, after penning articles attacking her colleagues for highlighting the issue of Pakistani grooming gangs in places like Rotherham; where since the 1980’s, vulnerable young women had been targeted for rape and sexploitation.
Western feminists have become so obsessed with holding up the empowered minority of liberal western Muslims that they have forgotten about the hordes of oppressed women and girls living outside of our bubble of ‘first world problems’.
Inna Shevchenko, arch-feminist and former leader of the naked women’s movement, Femen - in a recent interview highlighted that the ‘politically correct’ feminists had blood on their hands by appeasing the so called liberated minority of religious women in the west, masquerading as feminists.
Shevchenko argues that it’s harmful to even look at feminism through the prism of religion and that the idea of a Muslim feminist is “oxymoronic”. She goes on to argue that the new-feminists supporting Hijabi-feminism who call critics Islamophobic are toxic for public debate - and are deliberately trying to impose censorship and deprive activists of their rights to free speech.
While I don’t always agree with Ms Shevchenko, I have to admit, in this instance, she is entirely right. Our obsession with defending an unrepresentative, and free minority over the oppressed majority will, and arguably has led to increased suffering of women and girls.
Rather than shine a light on the plight of women internationally, feminists in the west have instead taken to the streets in Hijabs topped with ‘Pussy Hats’ and pushed vapid media narratives about air conditioning being sexist.
In-fact we see more rage and hysteria over democratically elected politicians being appointed or the outcome of referenda than we see about the fact adult women need a male guardian’s permission to go to school, drive cars and go on holiday (Saudi Arabia). We see more anger over poorly worded tweets than the fact over 200 Million women and girls are estimated to be victims of female genital mutilation.
It is strange that in our increasingly connected and globalised world how narrow our vision truly is when viewing oppression. It is as if we can’t see beyond our own privileged noses and free minority communities.
While the reality of the rest of the world escapes our eyes and ears women and girls are systematically raped, married off as child brides and are being shot in the street for protesting for their rights. I fear western feminists are on the wrong side of history and would implore them to practice what they preach when it comes to “checking their privilege”.
We must remember and fight for these women. We need to stop indulging ourselves in trivial arguments about liberation and sexism when there are quite literally hundreds of millions of women living under oppressive, violent and ‘femicidal’ regimes all over the globe; because if you don’t, you have absolutely no right to call yourself a feminist.