August 24, 2007

Gynophobia and Misogyny And The Islamic Male

Middle Eastern men, the vast, vast majority of whom are Muslim don't treat their women very well for the most part. The news, blogospheric, broadcast and dead-tree versions are full of stories of how Islamic men have mistreated women. The culture is rife with it. Yet, many Muslims in other countries are not near as drastic, not near as rigid so what is the cause, why so much damage?

Misogyny is partly the answer, hatred of women. The whys of that I'll leave to other mental health professionals, but I think it deserves a look. Another (part) answer may also be Gynophobia irrational fear of women. In most cultures, women are revered as mothers, caretakers, nurturers, comforters. In most of the Middle East, second class citizens. In Sharia courts, a woman's testimony is worth less than a mans. In a rape trial, four male witness must testify, if not, the woman may be accused of adultery. In Iran, a 16 year old girl who was raped was hanged for adultery (likely because she told off the judge). Women are required to wear ridiculous outfits such as the hijab and the burqa (pictured below).

hijab.gif Burqa.jpgNow, I acknowledge there is something slightly old fashioned, and not necessarily a bad idea in the concept of modesty (but that should apply to men as well - and one only needs to look at some of the outfits today to see what I mean; but then, I'm an old foggy). But, I digress, the hijab is traditional, the burqa is tribal and is the hijab taken to the extremes.

Above, I noted "In most cultures, women are revered as mothers, caretakers, nurturers, comforters." Dr. Sanity says it pretty well:

From a psychological perspective then, the freedom and empowerment of women in society are absolutely critical because they are responsible for the earliest environmental influences on children--influences that will impact the child throughout his or her life. If the society has little respect for women and regularly demonizes, debases or humiliates them, it will have a profound generational impact."
In another article she notes:
Children who live with constant hostility and criticism learn to defend against the bad feelings and shame within; and to externalize blame onto others. Projection and paranoia, which are both external assignments of blame, are psychological defenses against shame."

"Often this excessive shame is dealt with by humiliating someone perceived as weaker or more worthless than the shamed person (e.g., the family pet, women, Gays, or outside groups serve this function for both individuals and cultures)."

So it should be fairly obvious, that in the Middle East, at least, young boys grow up in this "external assignments" and focus on "someone perceived as weaker or more worthless..." or, in our discussion, W.O.M.E.N.

The failure of much of the left (though not all of the left for sure) to forcibly speak out about the treatment of women in the middle east is in part due to those on the left not wanting to be considered judgmental. That is a sin in P.C. parlance. After all, everyone knows that one culture is just as good as another. And even if they did speak out loudly, vociferously and call attention to the abominable treatment of women, organizations such as C.A.I.R. would cry "Islamophobia" which is, of course patent nonsense. But in the world of P.C. any so called phobia against any particular minority group is to be avoided like the plague.

In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed, for example, to drive. From MEMRI comes this little tidbit during a discussion on women and driving from Dr. Sleiman Al-'Eid, head of the Islamic culture department at KingSaudUniversity:

"In addition, this might lead women to wear make-up and uncover their faces. Even if you say that women will drive covered by a niqab, or dressed modestly, and so on, this will gradually lead her to uncover her face. This will also encourage her to be disobedient. There is no doubt that women will eventually be photographed, and these photos will be shown to other people - whether the traffic police or other who need to look at these photos, for identification or nay other purpose. This will lead women to mix with men."


"Another consequence of this will be the diminishing of men's guardianship over women. If a women drives, she will have a certain degree of independence, and she will come and go, travel, and so on. This will also lead to an increase in suspicions. When she has her own car, she will go out and return late." [source]

Or, as noted in Athena's Wisdom:
The good doctor reveals the real motivations behind the restriction: women aren’t allowed to drive due to the fear that Saudi men will have difficulty controlling their women. This is how deep this pathology is embedded in the Saudi culture psyche—a simple request for a women to drive threatens the very manhood of the Saudi male.
I suspect that more than just the manhood of Saudi men are threatened, I suspect that they abjectly fear women having sexual pleasure, the ability to have orgasms, the knowledge that they are more than just sperm repositories for making babies and serving men. From what other reason could the practice of clitoridectomy and other types of female genital mutilation derive. While this practice is fairly widespread across cultures, as neo-neocon notes " tends to follow a geographic distribution that intersects in many places with Islam, so the two are sometimes linked together in actuality, if not in origins." The practice is NOT Islamic and indeed, predates Islam though many believe that it is required by the Quran. neo-neocon goes on to say:
In cultures where such mutilating customs are practiced, one reason that women tend to be in charge of performing them on other women (on little girls, actually) is that, in such cultures, men have been traditionally discouraged from touching women’s bodies intimately–except sexually, that is, in the proper sanctioned relationships. But the more important reason that women are the agents of their own mutilation is that, of course, women are part of the culture, too. The custom is all of a piece, as is the culture, and women are not separate from it.

In the case of areas in which female circumcision is the custom, it is usually a cultural norm for men to only want to marry a circumcised woman. Of course, women want the girls in their own family to be marriageable; an uncircumcised girl would be a terrible liability. Still another goal of female circumcision is to enforce chastity by reducing female sexual desire, which is felt to be threatening and dangerous. Older woman, therefore, are also trying to control the tendency of younger women to run around and be sexually wild, and thus to reflect badly on the family (sleep around, get pregnant, etc.–all of which is absolutely forbidden in shame/honor cultures).

Or maybe I'm just blowing hot air, maybe this whole fear of women boils down to one thing. Their penises are so small that they fear that they will be laughed at, so they forestall that by mistreating their women.

Posted by GM Roper at August 24, 2007 05:38 AM | TrackBack

Payton Purvis!

Posted by jim hitchcock at August 24, 2007 09:29 AM

Oh, shoot, it's probably Peyton.

Posted by jim hitchcock at August 24, 2007 09:29 AM

I wrote a paper in college on female circumcision.
It made me sick to read the research done and that even in societies where it is not legal to do it anymore (ie Egypt), they just meet in a secret place and use a rusty razor blade on a 7 year old and call it a day. If she dies from infection... it's the will of Allah! It is the ultimate hate crime against a child to do this and it is such a "control issue'. Middle Eastern men must have pretty weak self-esteem to treat women as they do. The worst would be the Taliban. They denied women and little girls basic medical care when they were in power. Women had no rights whatsoever except to be beaten or killed if they displeased their master/husband. No wonder they are such evil enemies.

Posted by Hoosier Army Mom at August 24, 2007 01:59 PM

Well written Guy. You have covered a subject that Liberals can agree with Knuckle draggers.
I have only one area of disagreement, that is the part about Liberals being averse (afraid?) of criticism of the Saudi culture. I believe that that Liberals, as is usual, take the lead in attempting to better the status of women in the Islamic sphere. We just don't advocate war as the solution to all ills.

Posted by James S Melbert at August 24, 2007 03:24 PM

James, can you show me some evidence of where and how liberals are attempting to better the status of women in Islamic nations? I really would like to see this.

Posted by Raven at August 24, 2007 03:47 PM

" liberals are attempting to better the status of women in Islamic nations"

Well, the National Organization of Women has been very active in the mideast for women's rights, for jobs with equal pay, for college education, to vote, to appear in public in normal clothes, to stop female circumcision, and the right to choose their own husbands.

Okay, I was just testing to see if you were paying attention. That's what liberals have not been doing.

Posted by Woody at August 24, 2007 04:04 PM

Fuel for when you do the radio interview with WC and me?

Posted by Always On Watch at August 24, 2007 05:23 PM

Better to be an old fogey than an old foggy

Posted by John Ray at August 25, 2007 05:45 AM

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