Sexist culture or sexist religion?

Hello people,

As any muslim in a western land, the question about islam demeaning women is a constant subject whenever religion topic is discussed.  The first word that any typical muslim would say is” no, islam is not sexist”, but the the argument goes into hijab and adultery and often the muslim guy will be on the defensive. On top of that almost always all the current data/news will be against the muslim. Many will, then,  resort to mentioning prophet time and how things were awesome for muslim women then, but usually people are not convinced by history examples or convinced that old tricks will work now.

I thought about this long and hard. Thinking about this more and more, i came to the conclusion that we ARE indeed sexists, and actually big time sexists. The trick is, our sexism happens by sexist selection of advice, not by sexist advice itself. like some people practically force their daughters to wear hijab, or prevent them from playing sports since there is no good islamic sports clothing for women( never understood why no one thought about that actively yet). These will be hard to strongly counter islamicly without adding stuff like , “weeeeell, islam doesn’t REALLY force women , it just recommend it very heavily, or women can play sports if so and so and so and so conditions apply.” These kind of sentences make it sound like that islam is what preventing the women and NOT men from playing sports. But in actuality, there are rules for sports for btoh men and women, same thing with dress code. While the rules might differ, but they exist for both. The REAL sexism comes from the fact that the people doesn’t care if a man/son abide by these islamic rules. when was the last time you heard a father preventing his son from going out wearing shorts, or when was the last time people complained about the soccer shorts being over the knee. Of course the other famous sexist example is the boys who dates girls are alright as long as the girls don’t date boys; I never truly understood how that logic works, yet our people somehow made it possible. We were able to indict women for an act, by definition, has to be done by men and women.

The problem lies within our culture. We are, like most people in the world east and west, sexist. It differs in levels, but all in all, we are all little bit sexist. Islam didn’t put down women, but we only try to implement islam or any other restrictions on women and not on men, that’s where the apparent islamic sexism come from.

I do have to admit that law-wise, there are some gender laws in our countries(not islamic), but they are not by any count the main factor of the sexism in our countries. It is the people, and ONLY the people.

I think we need a culture revolution to stop singling out women for implementing rules and restrictions. Unfortunately I have no idea how to do that except by giving the same amount of permission to the  sons as much as the daughters, curfews, rules, privileges…etc.

Do you have another idea?

5 thoughts on “Sexist culture or sexist religion?

  1. Respect as equals. Different in function, but equal in value.

    Golden rule: treat others (women) as you would want to be treated.

    I don’t think you can separate religion from culture, as it is a primary driving force of culture. YET, men seem to cling to the parts of Islam that benefit them, and forget the parts that benefit women. I am quite confused by the Quran/Hadeeth, and what abrogates what, and which verses are historic and which are today’s rule.

    I think boys/men are totally let off the hook, Rather than give girls the freedom boys have, I think boys need less freedom and more responsibility in character development. Those who are treated like little princes will generally look to women to serve them. Mothers need to change that.

  2. Hmm, I find that there are so many different scenarios that could represent the problem.

    One of the things that disappointed me was that some girls back in my highschool planned to take light studies in preparation for becoming housewives. They just fight for women rights then they go back and play the role of the weak gender because life is easier for them that way. Even sadder is that many men from let’s say… Saudi Arabia would agree that “حظ المرأة (القوى العقلية) أقل من حظ الرجل” and this idea takes a cultural mold in that men have kickass minds and know what they’re doing, whereas women are dull thinkers and rather incapable of doing anything productive apart from house-keeping. I believe this load of pressure being force-fed to women in Arabia is actually pushing them to believe they actually are weaker. However, imagine how this can be debunked: [arab country’s] men’s football team plays against German women’s football team and loses, programming contest under similar rules with men losing, etc.

    Another thing is greed (which Kinzi focused on), in which someone believes it is ok for him to go out with a women, let alone whether she is slutty or chaste, but his sister is not allowed to see another man. Also it is ok if “my” son has sex with a girl, i will not do anything about it, however if “my” daughter goes with a man then I, along with my brother, my son, and my neighbor will go and slug the hell out of her. I think this is more of a cultural thing, which reflects the chaos in which everything takes place; little evidence has to be presented, little reason has to be discussed, immediate action must take place, and revenge is a dish best served cold.

    I also imagine that covering up your body and being chaste would be a self-fulfilling value undertaken to satisfy no one but yourself. I don’t deny that from within a population there will be men and women who pursue all kinds of things that are unlawful within their country, and these people are capable of living productive lives doing so. I believe these things such as sex out of wedlock, doing (soft) drugs, and drinking are all minor incidents when compared to murder, corruption, rape (+ in prisons), and theft. I believe society can function productively and healthily if all the former was legal with little control, as long as the greed which overshadows the entire arabic nations (apparently not in Egypt 🙂 ) diminishes.

    A. Halawani

  3. Valid point. However, there is more to it than just differences in observing the laws between the different genders. Even if males and females abide the Islamic laws, there will still be what can be called sexism.

    However, sexism, once debrided of its negative halo, is not a bad thing per se. While it was stated earlier that the “if” word is not to be used with this specific subject, I feel compelled to use it. If the Islamic laws are enforced properly, the resulting palpable difference between males and females is in all actuallity a normal consequence of physiological differences. I’m not about to start a rant about how males and females differ in mentality and physical abilities but they do, be it better or worse. I really cannot seem to find a way to express myself here. The closest thing I can come up with is that Islam has given females extra rights for every extra restriction.

    Btw, when laws, non-islamic ones at that, state for example that a certain parent gets custody over some kid after divorce, why is that not considered sexism? Physiological needs of the child? I rest my case. I just believe the whole issue is one of perspectives. If anyone is not convinced, I can throw in a dozen of examples to clarify my point.

    @Kinzi, In Jordan, the christian community in Jordan do NOT differ in their traditions and gender-specific laws from muslims. It has become a sociological tradition rather than one of religion. Ah, and christians are not in anyway persecuted in Jordan for not respecting Islamic laws.. Erm, even muslims are not forced by any authority to do so themselves.

    @Akram, while your last point is way off the target subject, I’ll share my thoughts about it. Can you give any example where little control over these “minor incidents” has succeeded in improving a society? I believe it’d be so much easier to discuss this subject if we apply it to something that has existed. Communism is perfect in books, USSR collapsed in less than a century.

  4. @Haytham Essam
    In my last point I had the Netherlands’ law regarding soft drugs in mind. First of all, all drugs are illegal in the Netherlands, yet one word interferes here and it is “gedogen”, which roughly translates to “tolerance”. Basically, you face the inevitability of things such as drugs showing up in society. However, note that only soft drugs are under this tolerance umbrella.

    The Netherlands is an example where soft drugs, sexuality and of course alcohol are all exploited in everyday life, yet their society is stable, rich, and fruitful. Note that all of the three phenomena are present in Jordanian society. However, I believe that how we deal with them is not clearly exposed, yet as a Jo citizen you get this feeling that if you did something wrong then you will not be treated with according to a solid law, but a very loose and often unreasonable punishment. Henceforth, the lack of a reasonable justification of crime and punishment leads to the creation of ludicrous values such as “sharaf” and “karamah” and ranks as “sheikh” or “zalameh”, or even “nashmi”.

    Finally, i’d like to mention that these phenomena were exploited within communism and without, during Rome’s rise and its fall. Therefore, it is not about theory, it is about something that exists and is at large worldwide. However, it is not to be viewed as “little” control, but as control of whatever measurement that works for the sake of a better society. After all, shouldn’t the law and sake of society be mutually inclusive?


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