Jul 21 2008

Women-as-chattel interlude with The Apostate

Have you ever employed a man named Dirt — yup, Dirt — to build you a mile-long ranch road of decomposed granite? Well, I have, and it’s been quite an adventure. In fact, the adventure is just reaching its climax today. So away I hie to the Hill Country to inspect assorted trenches, ditches, and culverts, leaving you with with this from The Apostate (a 25-year-old ex-Muslim raised-in-Saudi-Arabia Pakistani blogger living in San Francisco). She writes a brief but enlightening feminist critique of the travel restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia and the Islamic “mahram” thing.

What’s a mahram?

[A] male “guardian” that all women have, regardless of age, who acts in their stead in public life and is supposed to accompany a woman on long journeys (such as in travel abroad). This is an Islamic rule. Need I put it more clearly? It’s an Islamic rule.

Well. Saudi Arabia is joining the electronic revolution. Should you wish to go flitting about the countryside, you can now get a permission slip from your mahram online.

The woman’s mahram will remain the one in authority to issue this online clearance. All the mahram has to do is use the secret code number given to him as a subscriber by the Passport Department to carry out online services, and provide the clearance on the e-document with that number. The woman then has to print the approval and take it with her to the airport before traveling.

Ay yi yi.


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  1. B. Dagger Lee

    Miss Patsy and I have a half-mile-long, twisty, uphill, dirt road that was planned and bulldozed and most importantly, drains, so well that it requires no upkeep and has never washed out.

    It’s all about how intelligently it’s designed for drainage.

    May Dirt be inspired, cunning and foresightful in his planning! May he be wise in the ways of water!

  2. Vera

    What’s decomposed granite? I’m picturing a road made out of recycled kitchen counters ripped out of California suburban homes in the throes of remodeling.

  3. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    My sister did business with a well-digger named Eeyore. No, wait, his name was Ihor, it just *sounded* like Eeyore. And his countenance did little to dispel the illusion.

  4. rootlesscosmo

    “Ihor” is Ukrainian, right? I had a backed-up drain in my garage, called a Ukrainian immigrant plumber, very sad-faced guy (though I didn’t get his name.) He diagnosed a broken outflow pipe between the garage and the storm drain out in the street. “I snake it out for you now,” he said with a fatalistic expression, “but when the rainy season comes, there is no God.” Words to live by.

  5. Tina H

    He diagnosed a broken outflow pipe between the garage and the storm drain out in the street. “I snake it out for you now,” he said with a fatalistic expression, “but when the rainy season comes, there is no God.” Words to live by.

    Ouch. I had one of those. Cost me $5,000 to replace. And now there is no backing up of sewage into my house.

  6. Mz Kat

    Uh, anyone gonna comment on the fact that the patriarchy has found yet another way to utilize the world wide web for its nefarious purposes? The whole idea of mahram is utterly sickening but that it has now been taken online, well, you’re just going to have to excuse me while I go make another notch in the “win” category for the male domination…

  7. Gayle

    A permission slip.

    Just like the ones I got in elementary school.

    Do they explain why grown women should need a permission slip to travel? Is it supposed to be “for their own safety” or do they not even bother with that pretense?

  8. rootlesscosmo

    @Tina H: yup, eventually the driveway had to be dug up, it cost a pile, and (just as that sad Ukrainian warned) God was no help at all.

  9. Betsy

    I wonder what percentage of Saudi women have been defrauded, raped, mauled, molested, robbed or otherwise harmed by their “protector”.

  10. Cycles

    The Apostate: “Some have argued that this rule should be ‘updated’ now that travel is no longer an endeavor fraught with dangers. We’re not riding around on camels through the desert.”

    If that’s true, this makes it even more obvious that the new policy is not about strong manly-men protecting the little women from bandits and wild animals and other perils. It’s clearly about Saudi Arabia re-asserting that a woman does not have the right to make decisions about travel on her own behalf.

    No longer does the mahram need to inconvenience himself with the possibility of needing to physically protect the woman assigned to him. With the click of a keyboard, he can dominate her from the comfort of his own home, even if she’s hundreds of miles away.

  11. Jezebella

    I know a marble-layer named Roch. And there’s a dude here in Buttcrack , Mississippi, name of “Wobble Head.” I shit you not.

    Just thought I’d share.

    I have visions of Gilead dancing in my head. Will Atwood prove prophetic and one day I will go into a grocery store and find that all of my accounts have been switched over to my father’s name, as my nearest male kin, and that I can no longer own anything or spend money without his permission?

  12. Apostate

    Thanks for the link-love, Twisty.

  13. Lauren O

    Well, Saudi Arabia is just zooming into the modern age.

  14. Kira

    I’m just curious – this post is about gross injustice to women in Saudi Arabia but 99% of the comments so far are about home remodeling gone awry?? Geez, people…

  15. SoJo

    I take a class at university on Islam and Middle East and the class often disolves into arguments over ‘women’s rights’. The scary thing is all but 2 people in the class think that the logic of oppression of women in Islam is sound and that we can’t argue it – and if we were to argue it we would be racist and culturally insensitive.
    Its depressing because if you can’t rip into Islam or Catholicism or anything else on the earth because its not politically correct or could be construed as culturally insensitive then what the hell is the point of the feminism of say feministing.com (that kind of ‘vote, make a difference’, raise your voice to make change happen stuff) ever going to matter if it’s not politically correct to say that women are oppressed!

  16. Citizen Jane

    SoJo, what really irritates me is that the women (and even men) of these cultures who wish to fight for women’s rights are…nothing? I guess we can only be “culturally insensitive” to the people in power. We can’t possibly support Umoja, because that would be racist.

  17. SoJo

    Oh you know I feel kind of stupid now that I’ve been reading The Apostate blog and she’s gone much further in to what I said but what you said Citizen Jane – that we ignore the people within these cultures who want rights – we actually went into that in class the other day and the overwhelming opinion of the people who disagree with these human rights proponents, both inside that culture and outside over in America or here in Australia, are saying that the people who want more rights for women are no longer considered part of that culture once they state this – so we can’t use these freakshow human rights promoters as a facet of our understanding of Islam or the Middle Eastern culture – because once you say women deserve rights then you’re saying your not Islamic. And no one seems to grasp the extreme insult in that.

  18. Twisty

    Exactly, SoJo.

    Also, I always like to point out that when I post about non-Western feminist issues, the commentariat is unusually silent. I have just posted a link to a story about the link between starvation and prostitution in Afghanistan, and I predict there will be more commentary about my allusion to funfeminism than to the actual topic.

  19. Dr. Steph

    Cycles said: “No longer does the mahram need to inconvenience himself with the possibility of needing to physically protect the woman assigned to him. With the click of a keyboard, he can dominate her from the comfort of his own home, even if she’s hundreds of miles away.”

    I say: While not perfect, this does leave a bit of room for resistance no? If the mahram is not physically present, he can’t know what she’s actually doing when out of his sight. Didn’t anyone play the game of “I’m staying over at Mary’s house” “I’m staying over at Steph’s house” and then go out and party (or otherwise defy their overseers?) Maybe some of these women will take this opportunity to leave their situations.

    Of course, that doesn’t excuse this crap. My short block is inhabited by a very nice extended family who are Muslims and I find it difficult to witness the varying patriarchal exercises of power against women. I *know* some of the men are uncomfortable with me (especially when I’m out using power tools or doing other “manly” work). If I am with my husband, he is addressed before me.

    I have also had long conversations with some of the women neighbours asking me if I like doing home renovation work, is it fun to use the tools? What I do when I’m at work? etc. etc. They are Canadian born, Canadian educated, and are expected to maintain their traditional gender roles, have lots of babies and not go much farther than the local market and the mosque. They do travel alone on foot, but none of them drive or take transit alone.

    It really bothers me. But then I also try to look at my own life under patriarchy. I have many more freedoms as a white well educated woman, but as Twisty repeatedly shows, it’s not liberation.

    Sometimes it really feels like there is no way out.

    It sure as hell isn’t fun feminism.

  20. B. Dagger Lee

    Oops, sorry to have started comments off with the drainage tone!

    I recommend to everyone The Apostate’s “Why I Left Islam.”

  21. bonobobabe

    Kira said:
    “I’m just curious – this post is about gross injustice to women in Saudi Arabia but 99% of the comments so far are about home remodeling gone awry?? Geez, people…”

    Sojo said:
    “Its depressing because if you can’t rip into Islam or Catholicism or anything else on the earth because its not politically correct or could be construed as culturally insensitive…”

    That’s why no one is commenting. You can actually criticize catholicism and protestantism, because those are the ruling white elite’s religions. You may or may not be able to criticize Judaism, depending on circumstances. It’s also a ruling white elite religion, but we are still reeling from the whole Hitler thing, so sometimes you get blasted for that. But you most certainly cannot criticize Islam, because all the uberliberals jump on you and say you’re being racist. Huh?

    Just because people are a lot of the time racist, and just because Islam is found in countries where people have darker skin than Europeans/Americans doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is being racist for criticizing Islam.

    I think religion and patriarchy, if not the same thing, are very close relatives, maybe even facets of the same thing, like the trinity. I happen to think the three facets of patriarchy are civilization, religion, and capitalism (or maybe it’s the other way around…religion, capitalism, and patriarchy are all facets of civilization). As a primitivist-feminist, I criticize civilization and capitalism. As an atheist-feminist, I criticize religions…ALL religions. That is not racist.

    As a person with white privilege, I am sure I say and do racist things inadvertantly. But criticizing Islam is not one of them. The Abrahamic religions are all very misogynist. I hate that and will criticize it until my last dying breath.

  22. Ron Sullivan

    What, criticize our wonderful Saudi allies? Why, that’s practically unpatriotic. It’s not as if they have a human-rights problem like the one that awful dictator Saddam had. Their darkies, um, Gastarbeiter are all happy, especially the women, and the Saudi women are of course living their lives according to God’s Wonderful Plan. They Enjoy Being a Gurlz! They wear stiletto heels under their burqas!

    Besides, it’s a matter of religious freedom, just like Joseph Smith and polygyny. What?

    What’s to say that hasn’t been said before?

    I can talk from experience about decomposed granite though. (DG in the trade jargon.) When you’re up in a granitic part of the Sierra, Vera, and you go through a roadcut and see a lot of fine gravelly stuff at the bottom of the cut along the road shoulder, that’s DG. Sometimes bonsai artists pot their trees in a mix with lots of DG or just in straight DG for fast drainage, and use fertilizer tea or fertilizer balls on top of it for nutrition. Otherwise, it’s used for mulch and walking surfaces and, QED, driveways. Drains well but packs down better than gravel or drainrock.

    Granite? In Texas? I need to hit my geology map.

  23. Octogalore

    I highly recommend this post about some problematic third wave phenomena regarding Muslim women’s rights:

    One key section (of many):

    “A lot of American feminists have lost what few principles they had about the absoluteness of women’s humanity and they aren’t quite able to figure out what’s wrong with patriarchal religions, the veil, the sex industry, violent/misogynist porn, dilution of feminism…. We, superior Americans, almost human, don’t think Muslim women are there yet. Why would they want freedom and rights? Their social structure is against it, you see. Thinking anything else would mean we believe feminism is actually superior to Islam, which, OMG, is so racist!”

  24. Mz Kat

    If Muslim women feel we white women are being racially, culturally, or politically insensitive for criticizing Islam, then it just goes to show how badly these women have been brainwashed by the patriarchal powers that be.

    Having grown up in a Muslim dominated area, the main argument for support of the religion was about how Muslim women were more respected and better protected for their religious practices. There never seemed to be a connection made, in their minds, between the conflicting idea of respect/protection and the honor killings, rapes, domestic abuse, and general violence against women that exists in equal proportion to our own society.

    Someone correct me if I am wrong, but that certainly sounds like brainwashing to me, or Stockholm Syndrome, whichever….

  25. WendyAnn

    Cultural relativism is sick. There are absolutes. Cultures that enslave half their population are not legitimate.

    I don’t like to comment on Middle Eastern culture because I know my views are extreme.

    Know a war I would support? One to liberate half the world’s women. That’s a war I could get behind.

    I get so angry when I think of what the women of half the world’s lives are like on a daily basis.

    I get so angry I get irrational.

    Most people would agree that slavery is wrong. But I guess it’s OK when it’s *just women* who are enslaved.

    I despise religion. I don’t care about an individual’s spirituality as long as they don’t try to impose it on me, but I loathe religion and it’s charlatans. What a racket that old time religion is – it would be funny if it’s practice wasn’t so deadly to half the women of the world.

  26. RebelRebel

    Personally speaking, I just have a hard time coming up with something interesting to say when it comes the outrages against women in the Muslim world. I think we all know it’s awful for women over there in innumerable ways, but most of these crimes (e.g. women must have the permission of a dude to travel) are so extreme from a modern western standpoint, that all I can muster is, “That’s awful, IBTP.” And while that might be a nice show of empathy and solidarity, it’s not exactly contributing anything new to the feminist discourse.

  27. Twisty

    BDL, you have, and always will have, carte blanche on this blog. When you speak of drainage, it is poetry.

  28. Twisty

    Wendy Ann, I encourage extreme views.

    I’m not singling anyone out when I say that I think the reason Western blamers are reluctant to post on non-Western issues is a lack of familiarity with them, and guilt over same. There’s a fear of looking stupid and uniformed, of only being able to say, “yeah, it sure is fucked up that Saudi women have to have permission from their dad to travel” like a bunch of ignorant privileged schmucks. OK, fine. Like I said somewhere else recently, we don’t spring from the womb fully-formed. So we can get informed. There’s still time, happily. Start with The Apostate. Her blog is cool. Islam is one of the most oppressive and popular patriarchal forces going. There’s SO MUCH to blame.

  29. Lieutenant Reverend B. Dagger Lee

    Why thank you, Twisty! I shall drone on about drainage at will.

    But I might already have used up all I got.

  30. panoptical

    For anyone interested in Muslim women’s issues, I would suggest Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book “Infidel.” In it, Ali tells her life story – growing up female in various Muslim countries and communities in Africa and the Middle East – including abuse, FGM, arranged marriage, and her eventual escape from these things.

    Ali makes a strong argument that, at least in regards to its treatment of women, Western society is simply superior to Islamic society. She points out that violence towards women, including FGM, is routinely tolerated – even within Europe – in the name of “tolerance” or “multiculturalism.” She doesn’t necessarily give Islam a fair shake (for instance, she fails to point out that FGM is not an Islamic practice but an African tribal one, and that if she had grown up in, say, Pakistan, her experience would have been much different) but then again she never claims to be unbiased.

    Ali’s story also provides a stunning example of patriarchal oppression being perpetuated and carried on by the oppressed class. It is more than Stockholm syndrome, and more than women consenting to their own abuse – it is frightening to what extent women play a role in continuing misogynist religious and cultural practices in Ali’s autobiography.

    An unfortunate bit of business is that Ali has associated herself with the anti-Islamic people in America – that would be, the Right – and so has herself become a tool of the patriarchy, in a way. However, I still recommend the book.

  31. Apostate

    I second Panoptical’s recommendation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s tremendous book, Infidel.

    I do want to mention that one of the reasons Hirsi Ali has gone to the right, politically, is because leftists won’t give her the time of day. Her own views are classically left-liberal, but most leftists are too afraid of being seen to be racist or imperialist to want to associate with brave souls like Ayaan.

    I am in part surprised and pleased by Twisty’s high praise of my blog because most leftists, including feminists, do not like my views. This squeamishness of the left is a widespread phenomenon, and one of the reasons the Right has won the culture wars.

    Thanks again, Twisty.

  32. SoJo

    For me its hard to understand this ‘do not criticse other religions’ thing because I grew up in a big Irish Catholic family from Belfast (also terrorism is a popular topic). I think for a lot of Christians or people who come from a single religious community or non multicultural or multiethnic background do feel like they should shut the hell up because it’s not their right to criticise what they don’t understand…..which is reasonable. But all you need to do is read the Middle Eastern news websites or Al Jazeera news for a few weeks and you’re probably going to come out with something not wildly offensive. I agree with you Twisty; we can learn.

  33. Jezebella

    If you feel ill-qualified to comment on issues of Islam and feminism, I highly – HIGHLY – recommend:


    for the point of view of practicing Muslim women. Here’s their mission statement:

    “Muslimah Media Watch is a forum where we, as Muslim women, can critique how our images appear in the media and popular culture. Although we are of different nationalities, sects, races, etc., we have something important in common: we’re tired of seeing ourselves portrayed by the media in ways that are one-dimensional and misleading. This is a space where, from a Muslim feminist perspective, we can speak up for ourselves.”

    “As Muslim feminists we aim to locate and critique misogyny, sexism, patriarchy, Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia as they affect Muslim women. Furthermore, we believe in equality — regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, and ability.”

    Their regular link roundup is not to be missed.

  34. WendyAnn

    I have read Hirsi Ali’s book and I agree that she is a classic left-liberal in most of her views.

    Because, however, she can’t get any traction on the left, she’s allied herself with some pretty distasteful people.

    But I’m not going to judge her for that, obviously. She’s a one-issue “politician” for lack of a better word. Activist, maybe?

    The muslimahmediawatch.blogspot.com seems to me, at least, to be an apologist site. Something along the lines of – Hey, we’re not treated badly in our religion, it’s all the media’s fault! Islam is a feminist religion! We promise!

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. All three Abramhamic religions are, down to their very marrow, profoundly misogynistic. All the ills in the world are because of the temptation of Eve? Women must obey and worship their husbands as the men worship god? Sounds like a great deal to me – for the men.

    Religion is toxic. I don’t care what kind of spin people want to put on it.

    I have extremist views when it comes to religion. Belief in a sky fairy, to me, is just plain crazy – might as well worship Santa – he seems like a better fictional character to worship. He doesn’t go around smiting people.

    Religion is used to keep people in line. The rich to control the poor (otherwise the poor would realize just what the hell is going on and slaughter the rich.) Men to control women (because really, without captive women how many men would have been able to reproduce?) They’d have to actually have virtues and be decent human beings to get a woman to have them. Force is easier.

    I’m getting long winded – sorry. I just get so pissed off at how stupid people are about religion.

    Utterly stupid. But it’s a great control mechanism. I don’t care if people believe in the two headed purple goddess of proculus – whatever gets you through the day, but the major organized religions are freaking toxic to more than half the human race.

    Judaism, Christianity (which is usually what I criticize because it’s what I’m surrounded with) and Islam are slave religions — be good (obey your masters) in this life and you’ll have an everlasting life! With shiny baubles and lots of sex!

    Stupid is what it is. Brainwashing children is easy. Religion is brainwashing. People should be ashamed but of course, they’re just doing what was done to them. The worst part is that people actually *believe* this nonsense.

  35. Theener

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Really? The same Ayaan Hirsi Ali that is affiliated with the conservative think-tank The American Enterprise Institute? Really?


  36. Gayle


    Did you not read Apostate’s comment? She clearly addresses why Ali is affiliated with The American Enterprise Institute.

  37. Twisty

    The anti-porn viewpoint is held by the extreme right, but that doesn’t stop me from holding it, too. I am anti-porn for different reasons, of course. They think fallen women are going to hell for tempting innocent Christian boys with their devil-boobs. I think pornography is the graphic representation of a rape culture that is actually promulgated by the extreme right (and all other antifeminist political positions). I mention this to illustrate how radical political views are complicated by patriarchy.

  38. Jezebella

    WendyAnn, Muslimah Media Watch is not an apologist site. You might want to spend more than ten minutes on a blog before making pronouncements of that nature. Those bloggers critique sexism in Islam all the time.

    Now, of course, if your position is that all women of faith should be completely ignored, you’re free to dismiss the experience of millions of women worldwide and stay as ignorant as you wanna be. Have at it.

  39. WendyAnn

    Thanks! (Just in case you can’t figure it out, that’s me thanking you for so graciously allowing me to be “ignorant”)

    Your snide comments aren’t helpful, but I should have expected it. What a piece of work you are.

    Let me break it down for you. I think religion is stupid, destructive and holds women the world over in slavery.

    Any site that tries to “explain” anything about their religion is going to be an apologist site to me.

    Let me say it again. I think religion is stupid – the stories are asinine – anyone with half a brain should be going … Bwah? when they hear those fairy tales.

    Organized religion is one of the most powerful tools of the Patriarchy there is. It’s not only toxic to women (but especially to women) but to men as well.

    Patriarchy cannot be destroyed without destroying religion.

    So what do I think should be done? Well, I think people need to be convinced how stupid religion is. But they’ve been brainwashed, so it might be hard to do.

    And to be clear, I’m not just talking about Muslims and Islam.

    Like I said, I don’t care about someone’s spirituality – you believe anything you want to believe. A personal god, a hands-off god, a trickster god — I won’t share your belief in s Supreme Being, but I won’t think you’re an idiot, either.

    You belong to an established religion with their fantastical stories and I’m going to laugh my ass off at you. Why? Because it is stupid, that’s why.

  40. nobodyinparticular

    Wendy Ann:


    *takes invigorating breath of fresh air*

  41. jezebella47

    Wendy Ann, you don’t know dick about me or what I do or don’t believe. I’ll give you a taste, though: I believe in listening to other women speak about their lives even if I don’t agree with their faith. I also don’t believe that all women of faith are “stupid.” Deluded & oppressed, yes; stupid? No.

  42. Satsuma

    Aayan Hirsi Ali may be a little confused about American political groups. I am surprised by her connection to the right wing think tanks here, but I am also surprised by how much the left just doesn’t deal with her.

    She is a new powerful voice of women who escaped the nightmare of woman hating countries, and she’s an amazing person. She is also an atheist, and believes women should get out of the major religions lock, stock and barrel. I like her honesty and integrity, and she really is trying to warn western women in particular. She’s earned her right to speak I think far more than a lot of the so-called liberal feminists out there.

    The right wing has a weird attitude toward feminism and racism in my opinion, and immigrants from other countries might not get the nuance.

    Ali wants freedom for women worldwide, and she wants to stop the practice of genital mutilation and the spread of Sharia law in clueless western democracies like France, and England. I count her as a solid and brilliant feminist, whose life story is just an inspiration to read.

    She knows whereoff she speaks, but I believe her very pro-western democracy stance is what irritates the left, and they don’t really know what to do with her here. I think you’d be pro-west too if the west helped you in the concrete ways Holland did for her, and had you escaped the hell hole of a world she came from.

    People can apologize all they want to for being a part of women oppressing religions, and make all the excuses they want to. When it comes to women, we make lots of excuses–oh those mean old religious men really love women, or it’s their culture to worship a male god. Do this same thing with race– blacks were meant to be slaves and must obey their masters, and all hell breaks loose–black men that is. Black women get to be oppressed as women! That’s the key to the fake lure that religion has for women worldwide.

    I don’t necessarily think women are stupid for going a long with all of this, because it is cultural conditioning and brainwashing, and if you leave Islam, does feminism offer a concrete alternative to losing your entire immigrant extended family? I believe women being trapped in cultural norms keeps them pliant and docile. They don’t know where else to go, and haven’t been given the skills of independence and non-tribal thinking. Ali describes her work with Somali immigrant women in Holland quite well, and how utterly brainwashed they were by Imams, husbands, fathers and patriarchy. Stockholm syndrome indeed!

  43. jezebella

    Wow. Just, wow. You just described all Muslim women as compliant, docile, dependent, and trapped in “tribal” thinking. Oh, and “immigrants”. Because all Muslims are from somewhere else?

    “Tribal”? Really?

  44. panoptical


    “Muslim” is Arabic for submissive.

    I am not making a joke, a distortion, or an anti-Muslim statement. I am simply saying that every time a woman says “I am Muslim” what she is saying is “I am submissive” – specifically, submissive to a male God, interpreted through a male prophet, interpreted through thirteen centuries of male scholars who cherry-picked the accounts of the prophet’s life that supported their view of how Muslim society should be.

    Are the words pliant, docile, dependent, and trapped appropriate to describe a person who chooses to identify herself, to define herself, as someone who submits to this overtly patriarchal rule? I think so.

    “Muslim” is not a racial, ethnic, or class-based designation. No one is Muslim except by their own personal choice. There’s nothing wrong with describing someone who chooses to submit to an oppressive system as submissive. Pliant, docile, dependent, and trapped are, quite simply, synonymous with the word Muslim.

  45. apostatepakistanigirl

    Hey, Muslima Media Watch absolutely is an apologist site and I have been banned from posting on it because i am against veiling. You people are working against Muslim women and you are trying to infiltrate Islamist ennabling ideas by using 3rd wave feminists.
    And you think these 2nd wavers don’t know what people like you, Jezebel, if you are not FATEMEH FAKHRAIE HERSELF are trying to do.
    This is the record of Muslimah Media Watch so far;
    1) They support modesty in clothing and engage in slut shaming of immodestly dressed women who ‘dont respect Islamic sensitivities’.
    2) They ban any dialogue that questions Islamic modesty
    3) They use a perverted version of feminism that uses the lexicon-to promote Islam- which is to oppress Muslim women
    4) The only role therefore Muslim women play in their agenda is to tout their message.
    5) Muslima Media Watch are not interested in strong, assertive, confident, male indeopendent women from Islamic cultural backgrounds-THEY ARE ONLY INTERESTED IN WOMEN WHO EXPLICITY IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS MUSLIM GETTING MORE AIR TIME TO PROMOTE THEIR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.
    6) Muslima Media Watch recieves money from several Islamic charities.
    7) Muslima Media Watch is the soft end of Islamic RAPE CULTURE
    8) Muslime Media Watch blames Muslim women for RAPE and the harassement we suffer and recommends ONLY strciter conformity to Islamic mores, especially Iranian dress fashions brought in by Imam Khomeini- which Fatemeah Fakhraie is a specialist designer in
    9)Muslima Media Watch blogged at Feministe until guest blogger and veil supporter Muslima Fakhraie created an uproar by claiming women are to blame for rape if the ‘provoke’ the religious values of Muslim men- SHE WAS ASKED TO LEAVE BY JILL, CARA, JACK AND PINY.
    10) “Feministe” has been trying to distance itself from Islamist apologist site MMW ever since and acknoweldges that the niqbi lib-hijani chique thing which is a front for Muslim men linked to the MMW site was a TOTAL DISASTER.
    11) People like Jezebel will abuse the freedom u give them, I promise you, they will not allow YOU the freedom to question their male orinetated pro patriarchy beliefs and will silence you as being ‘against their comments policy’ if you question the divenly ordained morality of the Islamic dress code.
    12) Muslima Media Watch is linked to extremist Islamist conservative web sites- it’s only role is to ennable Islamic oppression.

  46. apostatepakistanigirl


    Muslima Media Watch has been debunked by Pakistani apostate girls, Natasha and a score of others, so give it up already. The Orwellian lie that Islam (or Christianity, or any other religion), is feminist isnt going to work here, so SCRAM.
    These women are not cultural Muslimahs who we must reach out to, they are POLTICAL HIJABIS, women who have all the freedoms of the west so they can politicize against freedom in our countries. Their role is to suppress the feminist consciousness of Muslim women or claim that feminist consciousness does not exist and that it’s only expression is within “Islamic terms”- which is veiling, modest clothes etc.
    They can be regarded as the worst agents of Patriarchy and the chaos they have caused in the 3rd wave must not be repeated here. The only answer is to allow real Muslim and ex Muslimah women to speak, like apg, the apostate, kafir girl, ayesha ahmad, etc etc.

  47. CoolAunt

    apostatepakistanigirl, I’m not informed on any of this except to say that Jezebella isn’t FATEMEH FAKHRAIE. Jezebella’s been posting here for a long time and not once has she ever posted anything to make me believe she’s right wing and/or anti-woman/anti-feminist. If what you’re saying about Muslima Media Watch is true, then she’s simply been mislead.

    Now, who are you?

  48. Jezebella

    No, I’m not Fatima Fakhraie. I’m a woman who listens to what other women have to say, even if I don’t agree with them. I’ve been reading your blog since Twisty linked to it, too. I posted a link to Muslimah Media Watch so that people who felt un-informed might dip a toe into the Muslimah blogosphere. Their link round-up and blog-roll, let me say again, are a helpful entry point into women’s issues and Islam for those who aren’t part of the Muslim community.

    ApostatePakistaniGirl, you are making assumptions about me that are way, way off base. Therefore, I will not take your verbal assaults personally. Suggest you save your ire for those who are your enemy. I am not one of them.

    Panoptical, if “I am Muslim” means “I am submissive,” then it means that when men say it too. You are playing word games and it’s disingenuous.

    What I was objecting to was the racialized othering of Muslims in Satsuma’s post, which for one thing is a complete and utter stereotype of the world’s billion (more or less) Muslims, and for another sounds unbelievably racist. *I* know that Muslim is a religious choice and not a racial identity, but I’m not sure Satsuma does.

  49. apostatepakistanigirl

    Well what do you want the full biography? Tap in the words apostatepakistangirl and you will find all me stuff. I had me own blog site, “Pakistani Heretical Girl,” which i got forced to take down 3 weeks ago.
    Cool Aunt, thank you for your support in the fight against Islamist Patriarchy. My aim is to see the mullahs beaten to death.

  50. CoolAunt

    apostatepakistanigirl, I must confess that while my heart aches for women and children who live under its oppression, Islamist patriarchy isn’t my cause. I work against patriarchy in my own backyard, so to speak, where I might make some difference and let those more powerful than myself take on global women’s issues.

  51. Jill

    Just want to clarify a few outright lies that apostatepakistanigirl left. Fatemeh was not asked to leave Feministe. She was asked to guest-blog for two weeks (just like all of our other guest-bloggers) because she is a strong feminist voice, a great writer, and an asset to our community. She did her guest-blogging stint and left when she was scheduled to leave. She wrote wonderful posts and continues to do great work at her own site, Muslimah Media Watch. I’m hoping she’ll come back and guest-blog for us again in the future.

    So no, we are not trying to distance ourselves from MMW or from Fatemeh. Fatemeh and her site are excellent, intelligent, and challenging. I’m genuinely sorry to see her being ripped apart here, and I really resent my own actions being blatantly lied about. I also imagine that Fatemeh will be surprised to see that she supports slut-shaming of women who don’t wear modest clothing, or that she supports a radical conservative version of Islam, or that she has ever blamed a woman for rape. If you can provide links to where Fatemeh ever said anything even close to that, I’ll eat my words.

    I’m not particularly interested in engaging with APG, but I just wanted to clear the air about the relationship between Feministe, Fatemeh and MMW. Nothing APG said about it was true.

  52. Lara

    “A permission slip.

    Just like the ones I got in elementary school.

    Do they explain why grown women should need a permission slip to travel? Is it supposed to be “for their own safety” or do they not even bother with that pretense?”

    Don’t you know, Gayle? It’s for empowerfulizment!

  53. Apostate

    Just jumping in to clarify that “ApostatePakistaniGirl” and I are two different people.

    Because of the similarity of our nom de plumes, there was a bit of confusion at this blog and someone just alerted me that that might be happening here.

  54. jael

    i am not fond of moderation. I try again.

    *I* know that Muslim is a religious choice and not a racial identity, but I’m not sure Satsuma does.

    Yo, Jez..

    The thing is, when religion is used as a socio-cultural tool; a mechanism to regulate all aspects of living, dying and all – it is not a religious choice. It’s the fabric into which you are born. If there is no other choice, if every thing you do is framed through a religious lens; and you 300 miles from the middle of nowhere – where you never get to hear anything different – then being a Muslim, being a Jew, being a Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, whatever – this ceases to to be a choice you make; it simply is.

    I don’t necessarily think women are stupid for going a long with all of this, because it is cultural conditioning and brainwashing, and if you leave Islam, does feminism offer a concrete alternative to losing your entire immigrant extended family? I believe women being trapped in cultural norms keeps them pliant and docile. They don’t know where else to go, and haven’t been given the skills of independence and non-tribal thinking.

    this is the para you object to, right? I kinda like it. It’s framed up as what, migrants to the west, and the difficulties faced by daughters. But if we leave that out, and we say – no, it’s a paragraph about… women from Chitral, in the North West of Pakistan, near the Afghani boarder, I have no problem with any of it. Indeed – where do you go? What social role can you take on?

    And yes! tribal thinking! this isn’t a derogative definition: it’s a factual one. Large parts of the world are organised around tribes, and the thinking of these inside these communities reflect this. it wouldn’t work otherwise. In much the same way as the Chinese system wouldn’t work without rigid control over distributed information and studiously not teaching critical thinking skills. Oppressive systems are supported by oppressive thinking systems, which are internalised.

  55. Twisty

    The rhetoric’s been getting a little wackaloony again, and it has been brought to my attention that the commenter posting as “ApostatePakistaniGirl” is a) not the blogger known as The Apostate, and b) making wholly unsubstantiated claims concerning Fatemah Fakharaie and Feministe.

    The commenter posting as “Jezebella” is neither ApostatePakistaniGirl, The Apostate, nor Fatemah Fakharaie.

    Satsuma, a sufficient number of your remarks have struck just the wrong offensive note; please do your blaming elsewhere.

  56. Jill

    Twisty, you da bomb.

  57. panoptical

    “Panoptical, if “I am Muslim” means “I am submissive,” then it means that when men say it too.”

    Sure, but I think that we can all agree that it’s very different for men to submit to a patriarchal system than for women to do so.

  58. Lara

    “I believe women being trapped in cultural norms keeps them pliant and docile. They don’t know where else to go, and haven’t been given the skills of independence and non-tribal thinking. Ali describes her work with Somali immigrant women in Holland quite well, and how utterly brainwashed they were by Imams, husbands, fathers and patriarchy. Stockholm syndrome indeed!”

    NON-TRIBAL THINKING?? Wow, way to go with the racial and ethnic stereotypes, Satsuma. Jesus fuckin Christ.

    “And yes! tribal thinking! this isn’t a derogative definition: it’s a factual one.”

    Um, no, jael, most Muslim peoples are not made up of “tribes.” This only exists in most parts of Afghanistan and maybe one or two other countries. In most parts of Africa there are ETHNIC GROUPS. There is a difference between ethnic groups and tribes. Get it right.
    Stop trying to cover up your racism in technical language, cuz this sandnigger bitch ain’t fallin’ for it.

  59. Jezebella

    Jael, you always make good points. You are of course, correct. But you and I both know that not all Muslim women live in these circumstances. Given previous comments, which had the general tenor of mainstream American rhetoric regarding Islam, I felt it was important to point out that the conflation of Islam with a race – and thereby, racial stereotypes – is off base.

  60. ADInnis21

    It’s really the same old story. It’s always true that not all of any group live in absurd conditions in any country.

    But I have to say, when you look at human rights track records and what happens when certain religious traditions are “exported” well, we’ve got trouble.

    There are always exceptions, but from a feminist point of view, why are we defending any of these idiot woman destroying religions out there.

    One of my favorite Dalai Lama comments, by the way– must be fact checked and may be too good to be true, but here it is: when his royal patriarchal buddhis highness was asked why the Tibetan people have to suffer so much, he replied that it was their karma for treating women so badly over the centuries in Tibet.

  61. Fatemeh

    Fatemeh–the real one–speaking.
    I want to thank Jill and Jezebella profusely for sticking up for me here. I also wanted to clarify that APG was banned from our site for harassment and violation of comment moderation policy. And her statements about me and MMW, though hilarious, are not factual.

    And, Lara: HOLLA! I’ve really enjoyed your comments.

    Just to head any confusion off right now: this is the last you will hear from the real Fatemeh on this issue.

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