Archive for the 'you and me baby' Category

“Woman Is the Nigger of the World”

This one is long and disjointed but it’s important.

Woman Is the Nigger of the World” – John Lennon wrote that song in the early ’70s and I only just recalled it when I was part way through this post. Sadly, although there have been many advances, the phrase still rings true today.

There’s also something else I read from this phrase though I’m unsure if Lennon meant it to be seen this way.  We are obsessed with the idea of racism as the king of all evils.  During the apartheid era, due to its treatment of black people as second?class citizens, South Africa was ostracized by the international community, and rightly so.  But yet today, there are dozens of countries in Africa and Asia that treat women as second?class citizens and not only do they escape ostracism but many are recipients of Western aid.

The common justification for all this is “tradition”, which is b?b?b?bullshit.  Tradition is the reason people play the violin on top of buildings, it doesn’t justify the deprivation of basic human rights.

Last year I visited a local mosque, the Waterloo Masjid.  The imam seemed nice enough but there were a few things that really bothered me.  First, there were separate entrances for men and women.  That by itself, would irritate me but I could live with it.  What was completely unacceptable was that there were segregated worship spaces.  Only men were allowed in the main sanctuary and women had the “choice” of praying in an enclosed balcony above or in a separate room where the prayer leader was visible via closed?circuit television.  Now I’ve heard various reasons for why this is done, most of them from non?Muslim sources but really, I don’t care.  What if at my church (which, incidentally has a female pastor) it was decided that all the Asian people would be banished to a little room by themselves.  That would easily make the front page of the local newspaper; the outrage would be legendary.  Sex segregation is common in mosques worldwide.  Ironically one place where men and women worship together: Mecca.

Not to single out the Muslims, many churches, the Roman Catholics in particular, bar women from their most influential positions (e.g. priesthood).  Justification for this stems from an obsession with 1 Timothy 2:12 and a few other select verses, ignoring all evidence to the contrary. It should be noted that none of these passages are present in the four gospels but rather come from the letters of the Apostle Paul who has a reputation for inventing shit that Jesus himself never said.

I realize race and sex are not the same thing.  There are some forms of sex segregation that have proven quite useful, for example, sports and washrooms.  These relate to the biological differences between men and women and not some imaginary social constructs.  As far as washrooms go, I haven’t been in a women’s washroom for quite some time but from what I can recall as toddler, they truly were separate but equal.  I think more should be done to promote women’s sports although it has to be noted that Canada and the U.S. are way ahead of the rest of the world in this regard. Physically speaking, women have a tendency to be smaller and less strong but if need be they should be judged on those individual properties not on the fact that they are female.  If a job involves heavy lifting you would want to hire a strong person, male or female.  You wouldn’t hire a fat guy if the job involves tight spaces.

I could end this thing right here and I probably should but I’m not going to.

Now let me qualify all this.  I regard myself to be a first?wave feminist, albeit with some modern adaptations.  While women in the Western world still have some obstacles to overcome, I believe they are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things.  When faced with bride kidnapping, legal spousal rape and female genital mutilation, income inequality somehow doesn’t seem quite as important.  Well I’d prefer not to take such a materialistic world view, the social capital of Western women is often overlooked.  Money, while important, is far from the being only asset needed to get ahead in life.  I have some specific theories but no real hard evidence so I’ll leave them alone for the time being.  But take my family for example: While my father has always earned more than my mother, she has always wielded considerable, arguably more, power over the day?to?day workings of the household.  And I know the modern woman often wants to distance herself from being seen as a homemaker but domestic power should not be overlooked.

But women in much of the third world don’t have these powers.  For example, the withholding of sexual relations, a tactic that dates back at least to ancient Greece, is fairly useless in a society where rape is an accepted practice.  Third?wave feminism was supposed to have broadened its focus to beyond the developed world but it really hasn’t gone far enough.  Action must be taken.  Societies not up to snuff must be penalized.

Again, I probably should have left those last two paragraphs out but that’s just not who I am.