The HuffPo’s ultimate Doublespeak: Muslim women are the true feminists

I about dropped my coffee when I saw the title of this article in PuffHo (The Official Journal of Regressive Leftism™); you can read it, if you have the stomach, by clicking on the screenshot. It was written by a freelance author, Gabby Aossey, who doesn’t appear to have much of an Internet presence, but is described by HuffPo as “a twenty-two year old senior at the University of California, San Diego studying Communications and Middle Eastern Studies.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 7.07.41 AM

Muslims the “true feminists”? What does that mean? Aossey’s contention is twofold.

1.  Muslim women are feminists because, by covering themselves, they free themselves from the objectification of the “male gaze” (my terminology), allowing themselves to be judged wholly by their character and actions. Aossey contrasts this modesty with the blatant show of flesh presented by non-Muslim women, which constricts them by making them conform to societal standards of beauty that require revealing acres of tempting flesh. The Western decadence, says Aossey, is instantiated by the “Free the Nipple” movement, in which women ask for the same right as men: to go bare-chested. Ironically, that campaign is also aimed at reducing sexual objectification of women. I don’t think it will achieve that until men become inured to seeing naked female breasts, but something like that has succeeded in parts of Europe where, as I’ve observed, at both beaches and public swimming pools women go topless without any harassment or even undue attention.

But most Western women probably don’t aspire to walk around topless, so Aossey’s comparison isn’t very apt. In another stroke of irony, Aossey argues that Muslim women preserve the temple of their bodies by a single act: covering up the hair with a hijab (my emphasis):

These modern [Muslim] women are not afraid to go against the grain in the name of their belief like wearing the hijab to covey their religious devotion. Hijab is the headscarf that is worn by Muslim woman and no; it is not supposed to be forced on them by their fathers and husbands. Wearing or not wearing the Hijab reflects a Muslim woman’s own a personal choice.

For me, this idea especially showcases feminism in America. With all of the pressures in our American society to have a certain physical allure; to have long, luscious hair, a skinny yet curvy body, flawless facial beauty, woman go through hell. With this, we succumb to the pressures that we generally think we are free of; we oppress our natural womanhood with constant worry about how we look to others around us. We do not have the courage to stand up to this societal critique and say ‘my body is not to be ogled at’.

For many Muslim women however, they strive to achieve just that. In this way, they liberate themselves from these everyday pressures. They actually have the courage to say hey, I am not an object of pleasure, I am a woman that commands only respect for who I am and not how I look. They have the power to self-liberate as well as the courage to diverge from the American norms. And they do not get attention from showing off their figure, but they get attention by how they present themselves. Muslim woman get respect and are looked at beyond aesthetics; they are actually taken seriously in their communities.

Isn’t this what feminism should be? Don’t women deserve consistent respect and to actually be listened to without drools or criticisms over our bodies and looks? I believe the answer is yes. In the Muslim-American community, and even in parts of the greater Muslim world, modest woman, whether they wear hijab or not, are respected and called upon, despite what our mainstream media feeds to us.

. . . I realized we have been conditioned to think that American women are the free and that Muslim women are the suppressed, but this is twisted to me. I finally understood who is really oppressed by a patriarchal society and it is us. Woman who wear hijab have freed themselves from a man’s and a society’s judgmental gaze; the Free the Nipplers have not. They have fallen deep into the man’s world, believing that this trend will garner respect.

There are several issues here, but let me say first that I don’t think all Muslim women are oppressed anti-feminists whose covering reflects their tacit acceptance genuine oppression: obeying the dictates of a misogynistic faith. There are Muslim women whom I see as genuine feminists, opposed to oppression and unwilling to whitewash their faith—women like Asra Nomani, Raheel Raza, and Irshad Manji (I’m not counting ex-Muslims like Maryam Namazie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or Sarah Haider, who say basically the same things as the three I’ve just named, but who are ignored or demonized because they’re apostates).

But let us not claim that Islam is in any sense a feminist religion. (Note that the article is called “Muslims are the true feminists,” not “Western Muslims are the true feminists.”) Although Aossey says the hijab shouldn’t be forced on women, in many places it actually is—and not only the hijab, but full body covering. That’s why the “morality police” exist in places like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, arresting or beating women if they show so much as an ankle or a wisp of hair. If wearing the hijab is truly a feminist’s “choice,” why was the garment largely absent before theocratic regimes took over in Iran, Afghanistan, and—soon—Turkey?  Why do campaigns like #mystealthyfreedom exist, showing women in Muslim countries happily but sneakily doffing their hijabs.

And really, what case can be made that women wearing the hijab, but no other covering, get taken more seriously than Muslim women who don’t? If that is true, it would only be because that patriarchal religion has conditioned men to go wild at the sight of hair. I’m sure that wasn’t the case, for instance, in pre-Revolution Iran. The forced covering of women has in fact turned men into the very creatures that Islam says were there all along.

Here’s Aossey’s second point:

2. The culture of Islam is full of “empowered” women, like Khadija, Mohammed’s first wife, who was indeed described as a strong woman. She is a role model for the many true feminists who are Muslims.


Khadija, a woman, was the strength that allowed Islam to fully bloom. Just this one example gives us a view on how true Muslim women are; outspoken, driven, certain and courageous, the epitome of a feminist.

So it’s no surprise to see Muslim woman today modeling themselves after these prominent female figures. Muslim girls look towards these instances of strength for guidance in this scary, patriarchal society. These modern women are not afraid to go against the grain in the name of their belief like wearing the hijab to covey their religious devotion.

Of course Aoisse doesn’t mention another wife of Mohammed, Aisha, whom the Prophet married at age six and deflowered at age nine. And it is Aisha who serves to justify the odious yet pervasive Muslim practice of taking very young wives, sometimes girls who haven’t yet reached puberty.

And that brings up the most important failure of Aossey’s argument. What matters to us is not the history of Islam, or even its supposed tolerance of women, but how the faith is used to oppress women now. How can Islam produce “true feminism” when it often condones practices like genital mutation, multiple marriages (often with young wives), counting the testimony of a women only half as much as a man’s in court, not allowing women to drive or go out without a male relative, complete covering of the body to avoid inciting male lust, the demonization and even execution of rape victims, the reluctance to allow women to be educated, the “right” of men to beat their wives, and the culture of honor killing that is so pervasive that it happens in countries like Canada and the U.S.? If Muslims are the true feminists, which feminist women in the West would want to move to, say, Iran or Saudi Arabia?

And you can’t argue that these practices violate some nebulous feminism espoused in the Qur’an, for the Qur’an is regularly invoked by imams to justify some of these practices. You don’t have to do any tortured analysis to see that, either. Here are four examples ripped from the pages the Skeptic’s Annotated Qur’an (I find this version useful for locating both good and bad bits).

Males get twice the inheritance of females. Sura 4:11:

4:11 Allah chargeth you concerning (the provision for) your children: to the male the equivalent of the portion of two females, and if there be women more than two, then theirs is two-thirds of the inheritance, and if there be one (only) then the half. And to each of his parents a sixth of the inheritance, if he have a son; and if he have no son and his parents are his heirs, then to his mother appertaineth the third; and if he have brethren, then to his mother appertaineth the sixth, after any legacy he may have bequeathed, or debt (hath been paid). Your parents and your children: Ye know not which of them is nearer unto you in usefulness. It is an injunction from Allah. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise.4:

Women’s testimony counts but half of men’s. Surah 2:282:

And call two witness from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not at hand, then a man and two women, of such as ye approve as witnesses, so that if one erreth (though forgetfulness) the other will remember.

Men have the right to beat up their wives. Surah 4:34:

4:34. Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.

Men can marry prepubescent girls. Surah 65, verses 1 and 4:

O Prophet! When ye (men) put away women, put them away for their (legal) period and reckon the period, and keep your duty to Allah, your Lord. Expel them not from their houses nor let them go forth unless they commit open immorality. Such are the limits (imposed by) Allah; and whoso transgresseth Allah’s limits, he verily wrongeth his soul. Thou knowest not: it may be that Allah will afterward bring some new thing to pass.

. . . And for such of your women as despair of menstruation, if ye doubt, their period (of waiting) shall be three months, along with those who have it not. And for those with child, their period shall be till they bring forth their burden. And whosoever keepeth his duty to Allah, He maketh his course easy for him.

The hadith contain similar statements, and the interpretation of what I’ve taken from the Qur’an has been used to justify the statements in bold.

Of course the Bible itself contains some verses as invidious as this, but they have been largely diluted by the infusion of Christianity by Enlightenment values. My point here is 1). that the Qur’an is not a model for feminism, and 2). Muslims continue to use the anti-feminist statements in the Qur’an to mistreat women.

So, while there are some Muslim women who are true feminists (and I use that term to mean those who seek full equality of men and women under civil and criminal law, as well as in their treatment in society), it’s simply wrong to argue that “Muslims are the true feminists”. How can they be when so many engage in the systematic oppression and marginalization of women? Women in many Muslim countries, and even in Western countries, are simply forbidden from trying to gain the equality they deserve.

I’ll put at the end one post by a Thai Muslim who approves of the True Feminism of Islam:

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When I discussed this with a woman friend, asking her why—if what Malik said were true—we need Islamic morality police, honor codes, and sites like mystealthy freedom, she said,  “because some women have not yet realized they are Queens and want to wear normal clothes like the sluttish whores they are.” (In case you didn’t realize it, that response was sarcastic.)


  1. Ann German
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    in a word: WOW. I have two more: self hatred. Maybe we should require men to wear blindfolds.

    • Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Indeed. The term Stockholm Syndromealdo comes to mind.

      “…by covering themselves, they free themselves from the objectification of the male gaze…”

      Why is it the woman’s responsibility to mitigate the negative consequences of men’s bad behavior? This is just more victim- (self-) blaming.

      • Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        Motherloving WordPress gremlins.

        *Syndrome also*

        Blockquote close tag fail.

        • Ken Phelps
          Posted July 1, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

          …and when did normal male sexuality – ie. looking at women – become “bad” behavior?

          • Posted July 1, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

            I think my point was clear enough. I suppose I could’ve been more explicit about what constitutes bad behavior, for those who need it: noticing a woman’s attractiveness and keeping it to yourself unless the circumstances create a context in which it would be welcome – ok. Blatantly ogling and/or commenting to other men, especially in professional contexts, and seeing a woman’s function primarily as “something I’d hit” – not ok. And it’s not the woman’s responsibility to deal with the latter nonsense. It’s men’s responsibility not to do that.

            • Ken Phelps
              Posted July 1, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

              I think it’s fair to say that in the context of both Islamic and feminist thinking, the phrase “the male gaze” carries baggage far beyond things that seem “clear”.

              • Posted July 1, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

                I really don’t think it’s that difficult to determine what is an acceptable manifestation of male sexuality and what isn’t. In any case, it was still an assumption that by “bad behavior” I simply meant normal male sexuality, no matter how innocuous.

    • Sastra
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, there’s nothing more “empowering” than admitting you can never simply choose to wear comfortable clothing, you need a whole bunch of rules which require all women to dress alike. Now you are finally free to dress the way you would if you weren’t so focused on what other people think! Which you still are! But it works!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 2, 2016 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      Maybe we should require men to wear blindfolds.

      Or ban all men from wearing any clothing between navel and knee cap.
      Particularly when cooking with fire and fat. And large, sharp-tipped forks.

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Two things:

    1. We have fun over here theorizing. One theory : Burkas hijabs and all that good stuff : sunscreen. Males? They wear those cape things. Why? Ruling class : workers would die in the heat wearing it. Like I said – theory.

    2. Hitchens would say : judge Islam not by the fundamentalists, but by the fundamental texts!

    Also : Samantha Bee had a confusing segment about Muslims in Michigan – you can find it if you look, I saw it on Twitter. Not her best work.

  3. Jonathan Smith
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    And I suppose that having their clitoris hacked off by their relatives shows true feminism ???

    • Sastra
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Yes! They are freeing you from the restrictions of passion!

      That’s their argument, I suspect.

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted July 1, 2016 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

        Also cutting off noses for getting an education.

  4. Posted July 1, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Well then if Gabby Aossey should move to one of those middle eastern countries and there she can live the true feminism to the fullest.

    What a ridiculous “article”. She probably already has a staff writer position at PuffHo after this nonsense.

  5. Craw
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    People will stand in line to lie to you about Islam.

    • ToddP
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      Yep. There’s also a line of people who’ll call you a “gross, racist Islamophobe” if you try to tell the truth about Islam.

      One of the most sinister aspects of religion is how it convinces followers that questioning is bad, total obedience is ideal and disbelief is evil. Better to be a rapist and murderer who repents than to be a non-believer who never raped or murdered anyone. What’s worse is the texts all say that when more people start turning away from religion it’s a sign of the apocalypse, so they’d better pray even harder then! Mind games.

  6. GBJames
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink


  7. Ken Phelps
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    “If wearing the hijab is truly a feminist’s “choice,” why was the garment largely absent before theocratic regimes took over in Iran, Afghanistan, and—soon—Turkey?”

    Because they hadn’t yet been told what they really wanted, and forced to freely choose it. It’s nice, simple doublespeak 101. Has this kid not gotten far enough in school to learn that she’s a cartoonish parody of an Orwell character?

    While it’s tempting to just laugh at her and move on, the sad reality is that she is one of those useful idiots who, if they actually facilitate their “own” wishes, eventually end up stacked like cordwood in a ditch for a crime like, say, knowing how to read.

    • Kevin
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      The acid test for any measure of feminism:
      if its good for a woman, then its also good for a man.

      • Posted July 1, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        By this criterion, the only place on Earth where headscarves are really good are the open spaces of the Arabian desert, because men there also put scarves on their heads. Maybe also Sahara, haven’t checked how locals dress.

        • Kevin
          Posted July 3, 2016 at 4:52 am | Permalink

          Maybe sharia could be extended to include panamas, pith helmets, sombreros or those Australian ones with the dangly corks to keep off the flies.
          They all have an air space, which should help to stop the brain overheating and getting delusional ideas when sunstroked.

    • GBJames
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      “Has this kid not gotten far enough in school to learn that she’s a cartoonish parody of an Orwell character?”

      Are you kidding? We don’t need to read books by dead white men anymore.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 1, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        Ha! Good one!

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 1, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Those would be “deceased homo sapiens of the alabaster male persuasion” in proper Orwellian bureaucratese.

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted July 2, 2016 at 5:33 am | Permalink

          Double plus good.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 2, 2016 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

          of the alabaster male persuasion

          That’s being insulting to innocent minerals!

      • Kevin
        Posted July 3, 2016 at 4:56 am | Permalink

        Dead white men don’t write books!

    • Posted July 1, 2016 at 8:51 pm | Permalink


  8. Kevin
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    What is this? When did oppression become synonymous with bouncing on a trampoline?

    Female proponents of the tenets of Islam are kind to women are like dolphin fish, they make absolutely no sense.

    • Kevin
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Female proponents of the tenets of Islam are like dolphin fish, they make absolutely no sense. 🐬🐠

  9. Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    That Getty stock headshot of photogenic, smiling, hijab-wearing young women sure gets heavy use over there at HuffPo.

    • Posted July 1, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      It is pathetically transparent marketing.

      “Be an obedient little Muslim girl and you, too, could be as happy and carefree as this!” As if it’s a deodorant commercial or something.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 1, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        How dare those women laugh! Doesn’t ISIS beat people for laughing?

        • Posted July 1, 2016 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

          Only if the people laughing are women. The ISIS thugs laugh at their own cruelty.

      • Posted July 5, 2016 at 12:59 am | Permalink

        A commercial is exactly what this is.

  10. geckzilla
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Free from the male gaze?? By wearing hijab? Laughably naive.

  11. Matt G
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Her first point sounds like the kind of twisted reasoning “feminist” Christina Hoff Sommers would use.

  12. PatrickQ
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    “War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.”

    George Orwell, 1984

  13. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Articles like this HuffPo crap which blatantly lie about the nature of Islam are discrediting the left. The low information voters see “The Left” and “Libtards” as a unified group to be reviled in large part because of articles like this from liberal media. They see Trump pointing to the horrors of life under Islam and to the atrocities committed daily in the name of Islam and they go along with his xenophobia and with his (hopefully not honestly) proclaimed interest in establishing a Christian Theocracy to engage in a clash of civilizations with Islam. They don’t know about the ex-Muslims and reformist Muslims. If the aim of HuffPo is to promote a Christian Fascist Theocracy in the USA (which Ted Cruz openly espouses), they should continue to publish shit like this. If not, they should start being truthful about the problems with Islam and start publishing articles from the likes of Miriam Namazie, Sarah Haider, Sam Harris, Maajid Nawaz, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. And for those “feminists” who want to demand that males and trans women STFU about feminism, please consider going back to the idea that feminism is the demand that women have the same rights and opportunities as men, not the extra right to shut us up just because we are not born women. No matter how you dress it up with rants about privilege, STFU is not a valid argument.

    • Posted July 1, 2016 at 8:58 pm | Permalink


    • somer
      Posted July 2, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink


    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 2, 2016 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      Articles like this HuffPo crap which blatantly lie about the nature of Islam are discrediting the left.

      Sorry, when did HuffPo become a left-wing newspaper-site? (Do they do a print version at all?)
      I utterly fail to see the resemblance to the Morning Star, Pravda, Socialist Worker or any of the genuinely left-wing papers of my acquaintance.

  14. Posted July 1, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    fem·i·nism (in Islam)
    the advocacy of a women’s right to conform to the patriarchy, in order to be treated more equally by men.

  15. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    I read on Wikipedia that Islam teaches modesty in public, and that’s why we see the attire of Muslims – modest attire. I just wonder what in the world “modesty” is supposed to be defined as, and by whom.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      That’s the bit that pi$$ed me off the most in this article: “In the Muslim-American community, and even in parts of the greater Muslim world, modest women, whether they wear hijab or not, are respected and called upon, despite what our mainstream media feeds to us.”

      Who the hell decides who is “modest,” and why does a woman have to fit this criterion in order to be “respected and called upon?”

      By definition, a woman labelled “immodest” is not fit to be respected. Further, the fact remains that within many Muslim communities, including in the West, a woman has to wear hijab, at a minimum, to be considered “modest.” And, as Jerry says, many countries mandate far greater covering than just a hijab.

      Ms Aossey must also know about all the clothing campaigns for women to wear proper, modest dress within Islam, including the one where wearing tight jeans and tops with hijab is anti-Islam.

      I’m also sick of the whine about the mainstream media. Like it or not, they generally become that because their information is more likely to be reliable and less likely to be biased.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 1, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        Crap Heather! That’s what’s been holding me back: my lack of modesty!!😀

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted July 1, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          Women aren’t intelligent and articulate. We’re know-it-alls and bossy! It doesn’t matter how many clothes we wear my friend, there’s no hope for us!

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 1, 2016 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

            Sadly, I think you’re right!

          • Posted July 1, 2016 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

            Precisely. You’ll simply have to be judged by what you wear because it’s a forgone conclusion that what you have to say isn’t worth a rat’s patootie.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted July 1, 2016 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

              There’s a cartoon I used to have on my office wall. It’s of a group of 7 men and i woman sitting around a boardroom table. The CEO is saying, “That’s an excellent suggestion Ms Smith . But first we need to wait for one of the men to make it.”

              • Posted July 1, 2016 at 9:27 pm | Permalink


              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 1, 2016 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

                Believe it or not I had this happen to me about a month ago. I said something in a meeting and a man who I think is a bit of a bloviator, repeated what I said 30 seconds later. Perhaps there is progress because no one took notice of him and I actually called him on it in a humourous way, which others enjoyed. It used to be no one would remember I said anything and the guy would take full credit.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted July 1, 2016 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

                Grrrrrr! The bloviators are often the worst! All talk and no action. Good on you for calling him out! Once upon a time that would have got you criticized for rudeness as well as him taking the credit.

                Last time it happened to me I made a suggestion and I was rubbished for it and not even added to the list for further action. Then the person taking that list to the final meeting added my idea as his own and it was the only one used.

                I’ve had female bosses taking credit for my work too though. A bad boss is a bad boss, whatever genitalia they’ve got.

  16. revelator60
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    “…all of the pressures in our American society to have a certain physical allure; to have long, luscious hair, a skinny yet curvy body… And [Muslim women] do not get attention from showing off their figure”

    This idiocy made me laugh. When I visited Lebanon in 2003, I noticed that many of the young women who wore hijabs also wore form-fitting shirts and tight jeans (and this was before skinny jeans became fashionable!). Covering up one’s hair does nothing to prevent showing off one’s figure. But it can add a note of sanctimony or act as a concession to conservative older relatives, which seemed to be the case in Lebanon. And if you are really serious about freeing yourself from the male gaze and not showing off your figure, surely a burka is more effective than a headscarf!

    The hijab is a vestige of the veil, and for much of pre-1800s Islamic history a women who did not go out with a veil would have been regarded as non-Muslim or a prostitute. A woman’s face was not to be seen unless you were her husband or relative. Veils were also once common in Christian societies, and for the same purpose: to preserve a woman’s “modesty.” The sexism is obvious–men have never had to cover up their faces or hair! When I was in Istanbul in 2014, I saw many tourists from the Gulf countries–the husbands would be in shorts and t-shirts, since it was summer and horribly hot, while the women were cloaked in black, with only their eyes showing.

    Today some Muslim women regard the hijab as a sign of Islamic pride and a principled refusal to conform to consumerist standards of beauty. But what they’re doing is rehabilitating an article of clothing that arose from patriarchal oppression. Like religious thinkers who discard conventional religion but resort to the God of the gaps, they resort to the hijab after shying away from the burka and other coverings.

    The facts are that Islamic societies have contributed absolutely nothing to actual feminism, the feminism that has given women the vote and strives to make women fully equal to men in every way. For almost all of their history, Islamic societies have been thoroughly patriarchal, and most still are. American Muslims who praise the hijab are really exercising a type of privilege that comes from living in a country that has been a seat of feminist thought and practice.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Your last paragraph is especially poignant!

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted July 1, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        I agree with Diana.

  17. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    A Muslim woman covering up is a feminist act in the same sense that silence is an act of free expression — sure, in specific circumstances: where the woman dons hijab while risking opprobrium from the dominant culture, or where a person of conscience refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or to swear an oath.

    But neither covering up nor silence is much of an overarching strategy for promoting feminism or free expression. And they are precisely the opposite when done in capitulation to hectoring by authority figures.

  18. Sastra
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    When you consider Aossey’s argument it’s not all that different from the standard boilerplate claims regarding the “freedom” which comes from absolute submission to God. Making choices and coming to our own conclusions is so hard! When we insist on doing things for ourselves we screw up again and again. We fail, we fall into vice, we become a slave to our baser, materialistic urges. We become “worldly” and our perfect, pure, true self is enslaved.

    Bow down to God! Admit you need help and can’t do anything right on your own. God will take over — and liberate you! Oh, it’s so funny to think how the arrogant, unrepentant world thinks that doing as you are told and subsuming all things to something Greater is the opposite of liberating. Ha ha! It’s so not!

    Buy into that one and not just the hijab, but the beatings if you refuse to choose to wear one, can become an aspect of your authentic, empowered self.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      She even says that at the end – basically she’s not submitting to the rule of men, she’s submitting to the rule of God. Maybe she’ll work out one day that it’s the same thing.

      • Posted July 1, 2016 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        That…is heartbreaking.

        • somer
          Posted July 2, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

          but it is your “identity”. You wont even notice you are malleable and brainwashed if you mutually control each other within the kin relations stipulated in Quran and (as a woman) aren’t supposed to do anything without family consent. If a Muslim woman effectively can’t get divorced if her husband doesnt wish it except in very rare circumstances. If every Muslim, even in a country with Muslim law is supposed to uphold Muslim norms and sharia and expose those who obviously don’t comply (upholding right and forbidding what is wrong)

          if you get up at 4.30 every day to recite the first of 5 prayers – (which is blasted from loudspeakers for up to an hour), do all sorts of ritual purifications during the day, you are supposed to consult clerics and the sharia on every little thing you do, you have to fast and forgo even water during darlight hours for up to 18 hrs a day for 30 days a year (and even eat at 3am to avoid eating in daylight)

    • Posted July 1, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink


      We have missed you, Sastra!

  19. barael
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Not entirely serious, but I think Key & Peele have the perfect debunk:

    The idea that “covered” women have “freed” themselves of the “male gaze” is ludicrous.
    From the comments:

    “as a saudi woman I can attest to that. I’ve been catcalled and stared at with my FUCKING NIQAB ON exactly like the video NUMEROUS TIMES.”

    • Posted July 1, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Also, in all the folklore and literature of Muslim nations, male characters manage to find out female beauty from under the veil.

    • Ann German
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      The Honorable PCCE: please directly post that great Kay and Peele video from barael

    • Kevin
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      I never thought about this. Humans are incredibly imaginative. Any person can undress another. In fact, the circumstances for ‘appeal’ can be and often are made greater when less is revealed.

      It is like an anti-reward for any society that adopts restrictions on clothing. It only amplifies the backwardness of all of it.

  20. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    At the same time Jerry put this on WEIT, I stumbled upon it on Facebook. I guess Allah really wanted me to see it. I had the same reaction – if I had been drinking a coffee, I would have spit it out on my screen!

    Good grief! Text book doublespeak! Next, we’ll be reading about how Islam loves the gays and encourages apostasy! Stop trying to take over a Western concept (feminism) and apply it to an Iron Age religion; something will have to give and in this case, it is the feminism. Just accept that your faith isn’t feminist and doesn’t respect women, don’t try to make it appear that it does.

    The fact that this modding of the Western concept of feminism into the religious concept of misogyny is taking place, however, may be a good thing as the culture clash is showing the author that maybe these misogynistic practices aren’t so good after all, forcing her to justify them.

    • charlize
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

      The howler of hypocrisy of course is when the prim, proper and prissy hijabis trowel on the makeup, highlighted with the f-me lipstick to recoup the mail gaze after it has so sanctimoniously been averted.

      • charlize
        Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

        male gaise – my kingdom for an editing function for dogs sake.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 2, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        And, as an ex-Muslim, ex-JW friend of mine used to complain about, when they hijab is highly ornate. This idea of humbleness really annoyed her when it came to hijab, to the point where I was afraid she’d yell at people in public over it.

  21. Michael
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Judaism is a patriarchal religion. Most orthodox women wear sheitels (maybe for modesty). Except for some warped sects, I suspect that most Jewish women that cover their hair still think of themselves as a kind of feminist.
    Regarding Kevin’s acid test, men also wear a Kippah, covering their head. Could Dr.Coyne, or other cultural Jews weigh in?

    • charlize
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes and they have to walk behind never by the side of their husbands. And you might remember the jews on a plane episodes:

      These are the good folks that massively contribute to the continued festering of the Israel/Palestine conflict the latter’s land they feel they have the right to steal because they believe their god gave it to them.

      • somer
        Posted July 2, 2016 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        and such ultra orthodox Jews are a rarity even amongst Jews

        • somer
          Posted July 2, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink

          The norm for Jews is pretty liberal even for Western standards, tho of course,it would not have been hundreds of years ago.

  22. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    The only thing I might say to Gabby Aossey is the same thing Justice Breyer said the other day in the Texas Abortion Smackdown, If you are going to make law under the cover of saying it is for the woman’s health, you are going to have to prove it.

    She not only can’t prove it, she makes no sense.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      That’s a fair analogy, I think. In both instances, the rules are what they do, not just what they say they do.

  23. DrBrydon
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Her example of an empowered woman in Islam is Mohammed’s first wife? Have there been any since? Maybe she grandfathered in?

  24. harrync
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    As someone who used to be able to read the Internal Revenue Code with full comprehension [yes, I was an IRS employee], I find Sura 4:11 nearly incomprehensible. Sounds like if there is one daughter, she gets half of what her brothers get. But if there is more than one daughter, they each get two-thirds of what a son gets – or maybe they all split that two-thirds? As for what the mother gets – your guess is as good as mine. If I was a vindictive god, and someone attributed that god-awful paragraph to me, I would condemn them to hell in eternity.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      What the suras around inheritance show is that despite being a merchant, Muhammad wasn’t very good at maths. Depending on the circumstances, the proportions don’t always add up to 1.

      • somer
        Posted July 3, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

        But isn’t it God’s calculations, not Muhammed’s?😛

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted July 3, 2016 at 9:20 am | Permalink

          With the number of rather convenient (for Muhammed) sura, I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s the original Joseph Smith. Especially when you discover the number of sura that are revealed at just the right time for Muhammed to do something previously forbidden, like marry as many women as he likes. Allah even intervened to settle arguments, and, surprise, surprise, He was always on Muhammed’s side.

          • somer
            Posted July 4, 2016 at 7:42 am | Permalink

            Yes, God’s law, Muhummad’s law Im so confused!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      A former IRS employee who can read the tax code with full comprehension, you say? I’d be interested to know if you’ve read any of the available excerpts of David Foster Wallace’s last, unfinished novel The Pale King (like this one in The New Yorker), set in the belly of the Internal Revenue Service beast.

    • Posted July 2, 2016 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Yes, these proportions make no sense. Some of the inheritance laws of US states are equally nonsensical (unless they’ve changed since I last read them.) In Texas, when a woman marries, her property becomes her husband’s property. When the husband dies,the wife inherits an equal portion with each of their kids. There was a situation described in which a woman who owned a very large “family” farm that she brought to her marriage, had to buy back her own farm from her kids after her husband died. Inheritance rules vary a great deal from state to state. California is a community property state. Oregon is not. In Oregon, one must state that husband and wife jointly own the property for the survivor to inherit without difficulty. Be conscious of the inheritance laws in your state. Don’t assume.

      • somer
        Posted July 4, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        Texas property laws sound positively Victorian

    • Posted July 4, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      At least that section approaches grammaticality. Apparently there’s a verse in the Koran that’s a *single letter*.

  25. Posted July 1, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    All the whitewashing nonsense aside, the whole message of the article is one of social strife, an “us vs. them” kind of rhetoric.

    “They” don’t want you to wear Hijab, therefore you -modest pride Muslim woman- need to defy them. “You” need to rub your Hijab in their faces and prove the very freedom they speak of is a lie.

    It’s all a stupid ideological and political game. Let them knock themselves out by wearing Hijab or whatever. Hijab wearing usually wears off after a while if left to its own device simply because the allure of a freer lifestyle is too great.

    • Posted July 1, 2016 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately, I think you are correct.

      • somer
        Posted July 4, 2016 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        Unless the minority community is able to balkanise an isolate sufficiently to exercise control on members whilst perpetuating an identity of oppression in the face of the majority – and if the extended family type structures are tight enough and the religion has sufficient brainwashing measures from an early age it is endlessly self perpetuating identity.

        • Posted July 4, 2016 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          I should’ve been more clear; I think the point foxer makes in his/her middle paragraph is correct.

          • somer
            Posted July 5, 2016 at 4:13 am | Permalink

            Thanks for the clarification!

  26. jeffery
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    All I had to read was, “…a twenty-two year old senior at the University of California, San Diego studying Communications and Middle Eastern Studies” and I knew what was coming- I’m sure she’ll get a great job with CAIR with THAT degree!

    Her arguments are so screwed up and backwards, on so many levels, that it’s hard to see where to begin in addressing them. The regressive left’s head has gone so far up its collective ass that it’s come out its mouth and is circling back around to its ass again!

  27. eric
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    My response to Ms. Malik’s post would be: you don’t need a law to force people to do the things they want to do. If you’re right and women like to wear it, make it voluntary and nothing will change – right?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 1, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Yes…and all the more reason to ask, how low can the HUFFPO get.

    • Posted July 1, 2016 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Good question. Of course, the follow-up question would be: and regarding those who would choose not to wear it, why do you care so much?

  28. Posted July 2, 2016 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    “With all of the pressures in our American society to have a certain physical allure; to have long, luscious hair, a skinny yet curvy body, flawless facial beauty, woman go through hell. With this, we succumb to the pressures that we generally think we are free of; we oppress our natural womanhood with constant worry about how we look to others around us.”

    Does this woman have eyeballs?! Perhaps the female attributes she’s describing still exist in such places as So. Cal. Also, maybe, in women like Trump’s wives and daughters. But, look around you! In very many parts of the U.S., both men and women have become flabby and obese. Our diets aren’t healthy. We aren’t active enough. Unless we change our standards of “beauty”, the standard of beauty she is describing is not prevalent to observe.

    I’m all for women (and men) not being pressured into looking any particular way or wearing any specific garb. As a former fundamentalist Christian who spent a year at
    a fundamentalist Christian college, I learned that females who were supposed to dress modestly and not wear make up had no qualms about wearing girdles and push up bras under their modest garments, and learned to apply facial makeup that looked very natural.

    • Posted July 4, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Also being wrapped in a sack or having something that would make moving your head awkward is a great way to *reduce* exercise.

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