After considering several topical issues for “Logic in the News,” I slapped my own forehead and went, “Duh!” At which point I started to gather my thoughts on this so-called “War on Women.”
Women in America have freedoms and opportunities that women in some parts of the world can only dream of. In still other parts of the world, it would seem that women are practically conditioned not to dream of opportunities and freedom at all. With this in mind, I consider the irony that the news continues to report a war on women taking place in America, while downplaying any such war on women (explicitly asserted or not) in other regions of the world.
Let’s look at some contrasts:
In America, women are encouraged to go to college, pursue careers, vote, work out at the gym, and speak up for causes important to them. Women in America are permitted to drive cars, wear shorts and sleeveless dresses, run for office, enjoy a girls’ night out, and have more than one female child if they so desire. If a relationship or marriage just can’t be reconciled, an American woman is free to move on with no threats to her life or her physical condition (unless the partner was a complete nutcase).
In other countries, particularly those Muslim nations that practice Sharia law, women are not so fortunate. Among the customs of Sharia law, women may not go out in public by themselves or even with a group of other women. They must be chaperoned by their husbands, brothers, fathers, or some similarly authoritative figure. They are to stay several paces behind their authority figures. After a certain age they must never be seen out of a burka, with nothing more than their eyes and hands visible. The woman in the Muslim world is not allowed to speak to a man not her husband or chaperone.
What are the consequences of breaking Sharia law? What happens to the Muslim woman who speaks up for herself, or tries to escape her culture? Sometimes it’s facial or genital mutilation. This is ostensibly to deter going out in public sans burka or smiling – or even looking – at another man. Other times it’s “honor killings,” frequently death by stoning. If the humiliation on its own fails to keep such women in check, the addition of torture should, or so it is thought.
This is a glaring example of social relativism. It’s possible that many Muslim women accept their situation as the way things are – an example of group pressure and a worldview that they espouse because it’s all they ever knew. However, it can’t be ruled out that there are Muslim women who find the tenets of Sharia law oppressive in the extreme and would dearly prefer to be somewhere where they are valued and treated humanely.
On the rare occasions when an honor killing goes down in the United States, the news might give it a fleeting day or two of attention, just enough for it to stick in mind. Whether it is more common than the media let on, or they get it about right, is nearly impossible to say. When we hear of it in the news at all, it’s shocking. In our culture, it’s such an anomaly as to deserve news coverage whenever it happens.
Does the news media refer to Sharia law as a war on women? … Crickets….
Getting back to the official War on Women, in the United States of America where women are people too, the kicker is – this supposed war is all about women’s rights! In particular, their perceived right to subsidized birth control and abortions. Talk about gratitude. In a nation where a woman can be Secretary of State, or a viable candidate for the office of POTUS, the war on women is supposedly waged over whether women should get The Pill for free. Wow.
Woe to the Muslim woman who accidentally shows a few too many centimeters of wrist.
Americans worry about insulting Muslims, yet Muslims insult Muslims every day. And in America, we insult Muslim women because we cry about a “war on women” that involves nothing more earth-shattering than some contraceptive controversy. Heck, I’m insulted by it. Whatever side one comes down on the issue of taxpayer-funded birth control, it’s beyond difficult to accept that elsewhere in the world women who don’t experience the rights afforded America’s women are actually being harmed, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And here we’re like, wah wah wah on all the wrong things. If ever a term was thoughtlessly coined, especially with respect to its appropriation, it was the War on Women.