I should have been there. Showing solidarity with thousands of women all over the world, taking to the streets to protest injustices perpetrated against women since time immemorial; this is my thing. But somehow the issues all got mangled into a quagmire of feminist anger, political divisiveness and the subversive subtext of pro Islamic alignment.
Fresh out of high school, my lesbian, lawyer friend dragged me to a Women’s Day march in Sydney’s Hyde Park. Relatively new to the world of feminism, I found my place amongst a group of highly intelligent, open minded and open hearted women and listened to the issues at hand. Joining the call for an end to domestic violence, stricter rape laws, better housing and support services for women at risk, equal pay, equal opportunity, legal protection from sexual harassment and reasonable childcare seemed legitimate causes to support. Since then I have been a staunch feminist. I believe in these things wholeheartedly. I also believe women should be allowed to drive. But maybe that’s just me.
During my years as a religious mother of young children, a rabbi once pointed out that if you allow your children to watch a TV show, even a comedy — especially a comedy, you are putting them in a position where subconsciously they have no choice but to agree with the message of the show itself. When we watch Family Guy or Seinfeld, psychologically and subconsciously, by virtue of the fact that we are enjoying the humor, we are inherently agreeing to the cynicism. I can’t help but feel that something similar is going on here.
I’m not suggesting that everyone who joined the marches supports Linda Sarsour, (the powerful NYC activist who organized the march on DC), in her stand against the anti-sharia bill, but rather that there is an unconscious alignment with the cause. The psychology is subtle, though the agenda is not. On Muslim media and in mosques across the world, it is publicly acknowledged in broad daylight; the non-believer is a Kafir — he may be deceived, meaning: you may deceive him. But from our liberal and somewhat naive perspective, like Bluebeard’s young wife, we just can’t conceive of the possibility that we may be being swindled. Any attempts to raise the issue are dismissed as negativity, paranoia and Islamaphobia; it’s a kind of cognitive dissonance.
Many of the women I know, who should have supported yesterdays powerful display of female solidarity chose instead to question the seeming madness. Not necessarily because they are Trump supporters or because they have lost their passion for women rights but rather perhaps, because their tools of intuition have been severely sharpened – often by life itself. They are to be found stalking social media like the sane amongst the crazy looking for signs on foreheads, agreeing with each other’s posts with ‘likes and lols’.
The irony of feminists donning the hijab and protestors carrying signs saying: ‘free contraception and Palestine’ cannot be lost on a million women. Surely.
Gloria Steinem stood up and declared that if a Muslim registry was set up, ‘we will all register as Muslim’, which is exactly what Islam wants. But Asra Nomani, a Muslim feminist writer, commenting on a clip of demonstrators having their heads covered by Muslim women, she quotes her mother saying, “Americans are so naive. So much blood has to spill before they wake up.” And I join her, unapologetically, as a Jewish feminist writer in saying, no, I will not sign your registry as a Muslim, I will not join your marches, I will not eat your candy, no matter how many feminist or humanitarian causes you wrap it in. It is not kosher.
One protester in Tel Aviv was quoted by the Jerusalem Post saying that she was protesting against all the “horrible things that are threatening to be done to women.” I have news for you honey. The horrible things that have, (as you yourself noted), not yet been done to women in the USA are child’s play compared with the horrible things that may end up being done to women if enough of you naive, liberal, feminists don that lovely Islamic head scarf decorated with red and blue stars and stripes and join the Muslim cause.
I am not Islamaphobic, really I am not. I understand that the Quaran may be understood on many levels and truly some of the loveliest people I know have the prayers of the Quaran blasting across multiple flat screens in the bedrooms of their four story homes. I just don’t want them blasting across mine.
So as much as I align with many of the causes, this time I will not be joining Linda Sarsour as she demonstrates against misogyny. How could I ? It’s preposterous ! Nor will I be joining Donna Hylton, convicted murderer who sat time in jail for seventeen years for torturing a real estate agent to death. These women are dangerous and they are nasty. The wolf in sheep’s clothing is not the ugly, clumsy orator, who fumbles his way through the kings court, swishing his pen like a sword, it is the women who take you by the hand and merrily skip you into the garden of their prophet – a prophet whose principles are ultimately and dangerously held higher than yours.