June 11, 2010

The Two-Tier Sisterhood

Mark Steyn talks about "The left’s strange hostility to Hirsi Ali"

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s great cause is women’s liberation. Unfortunately for her, the women she wants to liberate are Muslim, so she gets minimal support and indeed a ton of hostility from Western feminists who have reconciled themselves, consciously or otherwise, to the two-tier sisterhood: when it comes to clitoridectomies, forced marriages, honour killings, etc., multiculturalism trumps feminism. Liberal men are, if anything, even more opposed. She long ago got used to the hectoring TV interviewer, from Avi Lewis on the CBC a while back to Tavis Smiley on PBS just the other day, insisting that say what you like about Islam but everyone knows that Christians are just as backward and violent, if not more so. The media left spends endless hours and most of its interminable awards ceremonies congratulating itself on its courage, on “speaking truth to power,” the bravery of dissent and all the rest, but faced with a pro-gay secular black feminist who actually lives it they frost up in nothing flat.

The latest is Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. Reviewing Ayaan’s new book Nomad, he begins:

“She has managed to outrage more people—in some cases to the point that they want to assassinate her—in more languages in more countries on more continents than almost any writer in the world today. Now Hirsi Ali is working on antagonizing even more people in yet another memoir.”
That’s his opening pitch: if there are those who wish to kill her, it’s her fault because she’s a provocateuse who’s found a lucrative shtick in “working on antagonizing” people. The Times headlines Kristof’s review “The Gadfly,” as if she’s a less raddled and corpulent Gore Vidal. In fact, she wrote a screenplay for a film; Muslim belligerents threatened to kill her and her director; they made good on one half of that threat. This isn’t shtick.

As per usual with Steyn, read it all....

Another example of shooting the messenger who brings awkward and revealing tidings...David Horowitz attempts to elicit comment from Joshua Micah Marshall, leading light of the liberal blogosphere, on the deafening silence emanating from the left on the oppression of women and gays in Islam, and their failure to proudly (liberally?) stand up to Islamic totalitarianism as the enemy of America and the West that it is. The exchange is ably narrated and commented upon by David Swindle.

As far as I can tell from their correspondence, Marshall's answer is basically "it's not my job". Marshall has instead expended his progressive pixels ridiculing Horowitz for his tireless work championing the cause of women's rights under Islam on American college campuses. All Horowitz wants to know is where the self-professed liberals are. He'd like to think they'd have his back as he speaks out against the gay-lynching, woman-oppressing, Jew-hating theocratic culture of radical Islam. And he can't hear them.

Horowitz infuriates the left just as Hirsi Ali does...by rubbing the noses of self-styled liberals in their own illiberalism and incoherence. A feminist movement that ignores the oppression of women under Islam is not a movement worthy of the name. They'd rather point to other outcomes in society that offend them...not enough female CEO's, for example. Unlike Hirsi Ali's brand of courage, that sort of protest doesn't get one's throat slit in the street.

By the way, female CEO's are just fine...in theory....as a prop for political grievance. That is, until they have actual experience and success in the cruel, capitalist private sector....and then perhaps run for elective office as Republicans. Then they get icky all of a sudden...and they are fiercely opposed as the enemy by the same folks who fancy themselves advocates for women. That these smart, capable female CEO's might have acquired skills in...say, efficient management of large amounts of money...which might prove useful in government work....is a bug, not a feature, apparently. Hear them roar. But I digress in a big way...

As Christopher Hitchens (and no doubt others) has repeatedly said, no one deserves the label of liberal who is so indifferent as to whether people live in freedom or under tyranny. This is the hole that leftists dig for themselves when they allow their multicultural pieties (and their allergy to agreeing with conservatives) to trump their liberal principles. And they respond with indignant fury...and in Marshall's case, evasions and subject-changing...when true fighters for individual freedom like Hirsi Ali and Horowitz ask them..."What happened to your liberalism?"

Posted by dan at June 11, 2010 9:12 PM