Don't Complain To Me About Your Burqa, I'm Busy Applauding Those Monologues

The Subjection Of Islamic Women And the Fecklessness of American Feminism. But first, a short digression. I was in Atlanta on Saturday, where a friend's brother is just back from 3 months in Bahrain and Saudia Arabia. He's a computer whiz and was helping them police their borders more efficiently. He spent most of his time in Bahrain, but about 3 weeks in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are eager not to be seen working with Westerners, so he and his team had to cross the border at night dressed in Burqas.

Back to the feminists:
Eve Ensler, lionized author of The Vagina Monologues, makes the same point somewhat differently in her popular lecture "Afghanistan is Everywhere":
"We all have different forms of enforced burqas. Every culture has it. Whether it's an idea or a fascist tyranny of what women are supposed to look like--so that women go to the extremes of liposuction, anorexia and bulimia to achieve it--or whether it's being covered in a burqa, we all have deep, profound, ongoing daily forms of oppression.
The article documents American feminists' inability to make distinctions, and their actually turning on people interested in liberating Muslim women. Fortunately, the feminism arising in the East is much healthier.
The feminism that is quietly surging in the Muslim world is quite different from its contemporary counterpart in the United States. Islamic feminism is faith-based, family-centered, and well-disposed towards men. This is feminism in its classic and most effective form, as students of women's emancipation know.
American women won the vote in the early 20th century through the combined forces of progressivism and conservatism. Radical thinkers like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Victoria Woodhull, and Alice Paul played an indispensable role, but it was traditionalists like Frances Willard (president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union) and Carrie Chapman Catt (founder of the League of Women Voters) who brought the cause of women's suffrage into the mainstream.
RTWT. One more piece:
In Search of Islamic Feminism, a 1998 book by University of Texas Middle Eastern studies professor Elizabeth Warnock Fernea, offers a rare glimpse of Muslim women activists. In Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Turkey, and Iraq, Fernea kept encountering what she calls "family feminism." Several of the women she interviewed reject what they see as divisiveness in today's American feminism. As one Iraqi women's advocate, Haifa Abdul Rahman, told her, "We see feminism in America as dividing women from men, separating women from the family. This is bad for everyone." Fernea was not only struck by the family orientation of the women she encountered, she was also awed by their feminine graciousness. The Italian novelist and essayist Italo Calvino once made a list of requirements for a successful liberation movement. Almost as an afterthought, he added, "There must also be beauty." There is beauty in Islamic feminism.