Each time a non-Muslim says Islam is oppressive to women, I choose to channel my energy inwards, to observe the referenced situation, to see the unbiased truth/untruth of the matter. I refuse to counter with the clichés that are usually employed to patronize Muslim women. I choose to call for the much-needed change within the community.
The more addicted I got, the lonelier I became and the more I hated my body in ways I didn’t think was possible. I directed so much hurt and vitriol to my body for not looking like what I watched.
I am tired of having to explain to grown men that random, unrelated women do not want your opinions and judgements on the choices that they make in their lives. Not unless they ask for it. That accosting and deriding a woman for her choices cannot be explained away as “enjoining good and forbidding evil”.
The fact that these points are all taken and understood out of context, and that they cannot be found in the Qur’an and Sunnah as the only markers of the status of women in Islam must make one wary of lists like this.
women don’t have to do something major like save a nation or participate in politics to have their battles acknowledged. We are all Kim Ji Youngs; faceless young women, battling daily misogyny in our lives from our houses to schools to workplaces.
And although men understand that broad statements about gender roles are no longer acceptable, there exists an unspoken expectation that women will do all the domestic chores.
I do not, cannot and will not understand why I must reduce my capabilities as a wife to elevate yours as a husband. When bullying occurs in religious settings, you find out that men and women, although different, are very much similar.
Each time you shame another woman because you believe she rates lower than you on the scale of male desirability, you expose your deep lack of self-love and self-esteem. And to achieve a gender-equal world, where women are respected and valued as humans and not objects, rhetorics that define our humanity based on patriarchal standards must end.
On one hand you have these religious authorities — who do the service of not sugar coating or engaging in apologetics — and their women-bashing, women-oppressing statements and rulings, and on the other hand you have feminism with all its welcoming love and appreciation towards women. Where do you expect Muslim women to go to seek the care, appreciation and validation they need away from the oppressive norms of traditional patriarchy?