Yes, we do need feminism

Some people might be wondering about the reality of the dangers facing the Sierra Leone female athletes who are seeking asylum in Australia, fearing female genital mutilation and/or murder if they return home. (The male athletes have different fears for their safety, based on continuing violence in Sierra Leone involving brutal street deaths of anyone perceived as opposing the regime.)

It’s worth looking at this LA Times op-ed, by a Somali-Dutch woman, about the worldwide violence against women, and makes a strong case for gendercide.

For those of us in countries with legal equality for women, it’s easy to get bogged down in what are essentially middle-class concerns about balancing work, family, financial independence etc. Rape and domestic violence/murder occur here too, but in a more covert fashion than in Sierra Leone and other countries.

But feminism is not just about us. What is happening to women in countries without legal equality, and in cultures where legal equality is given only lip-service, is a holocaust. Lest We Forget.

ADDENDUM: For contrast, a middle-aged white vanilla het-boy tells us why he’s not a feminist.

Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism


14 replies

  1. Mmmm vanilla.

  2. Hey, at least you’ve got crunchy granola mixed through. Fibralicious!

  3. Ayaan Hirsi Ali isn’t any Somali-born Dutch woman, she’s a prominent member of their parliament :)There’s a lot that’s commendable in the article, but a little bit of it doesn’t translate well to the US or Australia, on cultural relativism:A culture that carves the genitals of young girls, hobbles their minds and justifies their physical oppression is not equal to a culture that believes women have the same rights as men. It’s still the cultural norm here and in the US, too, and the fact that it’s overlooked so frequently by people here, as well as Dutch MPs, is astonishing.

  4. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has had such an eventful life I didn’t want it to detract too much from the article itself.The transcript you posted was fascinating, Morgan. I know only a little about intersex conditions and how they are coped with in different cultures: I agree that the way we do it here is unlikely to be the best. The binary gender straitjacket that society attempts to foist upon us all stinks.

  5. There is a type of female genital mutilation practised in North America. Less so now than 20 years ago, but still regularly done. It’s called episiotomy. Women who have had it done are at high risk to suffer from pelvic floor prolapse (cystocele, rectocele and uterine prolapse) in overwhelming numbers beginning in their 30s/40s depending on how many times it’s been done. This of course results in further genital mutilation, called hysterectomy (and while we’re in there, oopherectomy AKA castration) which is touted as the ‘cure’ for one’s female organs falling into one’s vagina. This ‘cure’ then results in a concurrent carcinogenic risk when these women are put on hormone therapy, formerly called hormone replacement therapy.

  6. We in the “developed” nations do like to keep our sexual mutilations covertly clinical, don’t we?

  7. Hello tigtogTook me some time to find you again, after I made that random hit. Sometimes I get lost out there. I’m just discovering blogs but I think I can say quite assuredly that the ones that link from Twisty are the best. I’ve bookmarked you now. Thank you.

  8. Thanks for the compliment and glad to have you dropping by, Pony.

  9. Hmm, I’d decided that reading why “middle-aged white vanilla het-boy tells us why he’s not a feminist” was something worth avoiding. I’ve read plenty of misogynistic discussion before.But I read it just now and, albeit from a slightly different starting point, I’d agree with him.

  10. Chris and I have interacted on newsgroups and mailing lists for quite some years, then he left to go a-blogging (I am such a later alligator copycat). He’s far from a misogynist – I was giving him a playful tweak by twisting some of his own words. He’s a great writer – read some more of his blog.

  11. Chris’s essay is excellent and a good starting place for those of us who are privileged to examine that privilege.Glad you emailed me tigtog.

  12. Concatenating coincidences, Kate Crusader! I just came back from your place.I have staunchly held back some of my bookreading time against the king tide of Buffy worship and praise on certain mailing lists I read, watching only an enjoyable episode here and there and No More, but your Whedon post has breached the dam. I’m gonna have to start getting me some of those Buffy DVDs.

  13. You will find that where immigrant status/ethnicity and femaleness intersect, there is also a lot of work to be done — even in western countries.

  14. Can we please get away from the misguided perception that it’s simply a non-Western or immigrant/ethnic thing? It’s not, it’s routine, for non-medical reasons for infants with specific medical conditions in Australia, the US and elsewhere.Don’t believe me? Follow that earlier link I gave, go to gthe AIS Support Group page in Australia, or ISNA in North America.

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