Monday, March 19, 2007

On manicures and doormats

I had no idea I entered controversial territory with my last post. Eating lima beans with ice cream? Practicing the ancient art of fire swallowing while performing cartwheels? Okay, I'd expect controversy there, but I guess in my naivete I thought all of us disliked the system and perhaps tolerated it simply because the status quo is easy to accept. OK so I lived in a bubble, but it was a warm and cozy one and up until last Wednesday when it effectively popped, it was perfect with just the right tint of blue bubbliness. Another result from the post is intimidation, I mean what on earth do I write about next? My post on pulling weeds this weekend just isn't going to cut it! I've never written purely for the sake of controversy and comments, so the incredible response shouldn't intimidate me... but it does. So in case I end up unable to form another semi-coherent, pseudo-eloquent statement ever again, and this be my last post as a result of said intimidation, please know that its all your fault. (No really, just kidding, don't stop commenting, me likes, really!)

Speaking of the last post, there are two words I'm often "jokingly" called when I talk about the struggles of women: feminist and femnazi. The last post triggered one of those words and I can't help but think.. If I speak of the treatment of refugees, Im not termed refugee lover.. If I speak of prejudice, I'm not chided as a stereotype hater... Injustice, Inequity, generally speaking, is okay for me to address.. prevents labels placed upon me. So why does speaking about issues affecting half the human race term me a femnazi feminist?

I don't think of myself as a feminist because I disagree with what the word implies by those who so label. I dont hate men... I love getting flowers... I adore cooking and lately even baking.. manicures are luxurious, high heels are essentials... and my favorite color is pink. A feminist? Seriously?

I loathe labels. They define us with a cursory glance and without our consent. But I can't deny that labels stick only if I don't peel them off, allowing them, and not me, to define myself.

If I happen to dislike that we're often treated like cattle, raped and then jailed, burned for the sake of money and not allowed a chance to live, if that's the definition of a feminist then your label, I wear proudly.

"I myself have never been able to figure out precisely what feminism is. I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat." Rebecca West


Suroor said...

Men define intelligence, men define usefulness, men tell us what is beautiful, men even tell us what is womanly. ~Sally Kempton

Men label us!

sonia said...

hey! i hear you. i don't like labels much either. generally i don't tend to use the 'feminist' label because i think it's subsumed within - for me anyway - my interest in human rights for every individual.

Squarecut said...

I think we share this part of the brain. So many people, including many women, called me a feminist, event hough I absolutely HATE the word feminist. It's one of those words that dismiss one's effort to have justice. I would be just as vociferous for the black people, or the Iraqi refugees, but when it's about "women" no one likes me anymore.
I remember seeing this "men are protector of women" over and over again, and how it is sadly interpreted to mean that men can just do anything but protect the women. God knew that there will be injustices in the world, and hence it is mandated for the (culturally) privileged ones to make sure the (culturally) less privileged people (read: women) are protected. Unfortunately, Muslim men will be among the first people to jump on this cultural bandwagon (both Eastern and Western culture) to opress women, BY ANY MEANS possible.
And then you talk about it, guess what? A quick dismissal comes through.. 'eh... she is a feminist, she is crazy, don't listen to her'.

Tee said...

Love the 2nd paragraph and the Rebecca West post.

I'd be intimidated by that many comments, too. LOL.

I'm sorry that this is the way my brain works but I'm reminded of a SpongeBob episode. LOL. Remember the one where SpongeBob becomes "famous" after doing a commercial for the Crusty Crab?


Here, like you're not busy or anything ;) ...

rehtwo said...

Go ahead and write about pulling weeds...I promise I'll still read your blog! :-P
I think feminazi is a terrible term...and I don't think that standing up for treatment of women as human beings is a form of extremism.

Tee said...

Um, ok, it's still early. That's Rebecca West QUOTE, not post.

And I think it'd be better if you had the whole link, don't you? LOL.

Tee said...

Ok - that's weird - you can only see the full link if you maximize your comments window, OK?

Hey, you might reach 100 again if I keep being an idiot and having to re-comment. LOL.

Enyur said...

Aisha, I don't think we should ever be labelled as one thing or another just because we're speaking against the injustice done to women, men or humans in general. Like you, I hate being called a feminist. I don't hate men, I just hate 'people' who go injustice to others.

I think through this post, you summed up a lot of issues that women like myself face. There is absolutely nothing that should stop you or intimidate you from writing another brilliant post such as this. Hats off to ya sister!! (Or dupatta, whatever! lol!)

By the way, some people will label us and there's nothing we can do about it. We can only stick to doing what we do. (Although this may not apply to my situation in my recent post..i.e. if Nida thinks I'm a drink stealer, that doesn't mean I should continue doing just that tee hee!)

Enyur said...

err..and that was "...people who 'do' injustice' and not GO injustice.

Lawrence of Arabia said...

that rebecca west quote is one of my favorites EVER.

i get called a feminist, but i think its just because i dont shave my legs. :/


p.s. 110 comments??!? i think you may have touched a nerve. wow. i thought it was a good post. but what does a gora know?

Anisa said...

amen, amen, amen. you are seriously awesome.

mystic-soul said...

ah ha !!, another controversial post about man and woman..(lol.. just kidding)

Personally, I define fiminist as "intellectual lesbians" who hate and teach to hate men and preach other women to have economic independence so they can intimadate and kick their man's butt.

We love woman who loves pink, flowers, manicure, nails, nice hair style and good clothing. Does not men usually love womenly woman.

(Please note: I am not against women's working as they contriute equally to family and society)

Aisha said...

Suroor, regardless of who began the labelling, women are now today just as guilty of the harsh injustices faced by women today.

Sonia exactly, I am deeply interested in human rights. This is under that category.

Squarecut, EXACTLY. calling someone a feminist often feels like I'm being dismissed with a laugh when the issues are serious. And yes Muslim men can be sexist and oppressive, but I think that is too narrow a category. Christian Jewish Hindu, etc etc men are all guilty of having men who have sexist views. Its not really religion but the patriarchal that is so highly valued in most cultures. the US can be deciving but look at the phrases of "player" for men vs "slut" for women. the outfits of female newscasters judged and discussed and their weight fluctuations while the same of men are not so discussed. Aging men are marrying 20 somethings for centuries while Demi Moore marrying a guy younger caused a media frenzy. It's still here..... just more subtle.. and thus slightly more lethal.

Tee, LOL, I like that this post resulted in you thinking of Sponge Bob! :) I relate everything to Seinfeld (there actually is a Kramer incident on point) and you Square Bob huh? lol. I watched it and it was HILARIOUS! :)]

Rehtwo, lol, thanks, so when the weed pulling post comes I'll be sure to blame you ;-)

Enyur thanks for that. I need to re-bookmark your page. thanks for the reminder. When you left, I thought it was permanent. I will do that right after this!

LoA, lol @ the legs comment. Yes apparently a nerve or two was touched. But I'm glad. It was a subject that is in need of discourse. Again, and again, and again.

Anisa, *blushing* wow that is high praise and means a lot. Thanks!

Mystic, intellectual lesbians... well, women who believe in equality are not all gay, nor even all intellectuals. Personally I think men and women need to be feminists in the way that *I* define it.

Enyur said...

So that explains why I wasn't getting any comments from you missy! :p

Tee said...

I love my Seinfeld, too. I just saw the one this evening where this lady heckles Jerry when he's doing his comedy so he decides to go heckle her at her (office) job. LOL.

Um, and random ponderable ;) ...

You know, a lot of shows are dubbed and are popular abroad but my husband says he's never seen Seinfeld in his country. I wonder if the humor doesn't translate? Like is it only funny in English? Do British, Canadians and Australians find it funny? Hmmm ;)

Unique Muslimah said...

I fight for Muslim women's rights and I do that on my blog too, and sometimes people call me a feminist although I've studied all about it back in grad school and there is no way I am part of that system. However I do call myself an advocate for muslim women's rights, quite a long title I know but sometimes you've gotta be specific or someone will label you in a negative sense.

Let's fight on for women's rights in Islam! :)

frenchita said...

hmmmmmm..I'm often labeled a feminist too. Why? Because I speak up for women's rights as they have been mentioned in the Qur'an over 1400 yrs back.
And I HATE the word feminist!

frenchita said...


I've posted something I want all Muslims to know, please visit.
It's got nothing to do with anyone's personal life..just a msg I want to pass on...

Destitute Rebel said...

Hey Aisha, another great post from you, I missed the last one and just got to it, read some of the comments but wanna read them all when i get out of the office, looks like you touched some strings there, Its totally worth it. The subject is something very few broach and it should be one of the most important after all its our life.

Aisha said...

Enyur, lol, sorry :( But you are relinked! I might be MIA b/c of a nasty paper/presentation coming up, but please know I'm reading! :)

Tee, yeah, I wonder about that! :) Also, have you ever watched Curb your Enthusiasm? Its on HBO, so we just rent it when it comes on DVD. We LOVE It, its supposed to be a more daring Seinfeld. Its hilariuos.

UM, welcome to the blog and thanks for commenting! Yes women's rights should be worked on, for all! :0)

Frenchita, its a label to dismiss. :(

Destitute, welcome, didn't know you were still reading, good to know :) It is apparently a very touchy subject. I had no idea, but I'm glad that dialogue was created.

Maliha said...

Do you know its intimidating for me to comment on a high commented on post? I did enjoy your other post by the way...

I have been labeled feminazi too and other variations thereof, i like how you posit it against other discussions like racism, etc and how the same sentiment doesn't apply.

I love the West quote...

Tee said...

Aisha - I've heard of Curb your Enthusiasm - isn't the main actor one of the producers of Seinfeld? Anyway, we don't have HBO either. Maybe someday it'll come to TBS or something - like Sex in the City did.

frenchita said...

looks like you get me wrong every time *sigh* :(
Anyway, let me make it clear, the message in post was what the Prophet (saws) said ' convey even if you know a verse'. It was all about 'commanding good and forbidding evil' as has been mentioned in the Qur'an.

Aisha said...

Maliha, yeah I guess that could be intimdating too! :(

Tee, its interesting humor... you either like it or you don't. It took a few episodes for me to get into it. I dont know if it will ever get onto TBS for my liking. I plan to buy the DVD collection.

Frenchita, lol, I think we've had a double misundesrtanding. I was not saying you labeled me. you were saying, you hate labels. and I said I agree! :)

frenchita said...

I think you missed my comment, the one before destitute rebel's.

Enyur said...

Enyur sincerely finds comfort in knowing that Aisha is reading her blog and that Enyur has been relinked. *Makes a quiet exit and walks back to her blog* :o)

koonj said...

I must say that we are *taught* to hate the word feminist - because the boys hate it. Because the boys get really uncomfortable with it, so they attach "feminist" to butchiness, bitchiness, unattractiveness, and then tell us "now claim it if you dare."

Truth be told most of us are feminists, whether we claim the term or not. And there isn't just one kind.

Let's all agree not to use the term feminazi. Really. It was popularized by Rush Limbaugh anyway. Just another tool to make gender equality unfashionable.

Don't worry, you can still like flowers and high heels. But don't let rightwingers and insecure men tell you what you should be.

hope said...

Aisha, I love that quote. I'm going to use it freely if you dont mind. And speak your mind girl, I agree with pretty much all you say :)

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