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Women In Strict Religions: Inside Story


R. S. Martin

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Posted Oct 17 2006

Written for True Muslims on the Main Blog posted 10/16/2006 .

I suspect the horse and buggy culture I come from is about the same as the strict Islam communities so far as women are concerned. One thing that hits me between the eyes about these very strict religions where women are forced to submit to the men is that they don't really.

 

I saw two separate middle-aged Muslim couples in the grocery store. In each case they spoke a language I did not understand. But I could hear tone of voice and obviously I could tell whether the man or woman was talking and who used what kind of tone.

 

What I noticed was that the woman was in charge. No questions asked. The man would ask and try to get the woman to comply with his wishes around the groceries. Nope. Didn't happen. In both cases the men provided all kinds of alternatives but the Queen was in charge. And that was that.

 

(Probably they didn't realize I could pick up on their disagreement in public if I didn't know the language but tone of voice and body language says so much.)

 

I have seen that kind of thing so much where I come from that I question whether women are truly as oppressed as Westerners think they are. There is one thing regular westerners don't have that these women have and that is the security of knowing their man can't leave them no matter how badly they hen-peck. And you can rest assured, there are professional (or highly expert) hen-peckers in such societies.

 

My mother determined not ever to be like her mother-in-law. Fact of the matter is, she just developed her own style. Oh the fights my parents fought at the supper table! The whole family would get involved and take sides, usually against Dad.

 

I'm such a sucker for the under-dog that I would challenge anyone who sided against Dad even if most of the time I wished he were dead. I think he probably took out his frustration on us kids because on one hand was his father under whose thumb he lived, and on the other side was this hen-pecking Valentine he had thought was so wonderful. (I don't think he ever clued in how she manipulated things. I think his trust and confidence in her integrity was complete.)

 

I have said and will say it again, I think my mother was the biggest feminist in the land. For some reason I cannot be a feminist, I hate women's studies every time I encounter them. It seems that by law every course must also cover women's issues. I don't know why, but I just hate it. I just want to know what's what; not what some feminist said. Most of the time the feminists don't make a lot of sense. And those who do I have no problem with.

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