Thursday, August 18, 2016

Muslims, Russians, Hindus and Feminism

I find it ironic how many of the same people who claim to embrace feminism are in favor of Islam. By the standards of feminism, most Islamic countries are the worst places in the world. They think that they owe it to God or to the male gender to brutally beat women; and many think nothing of killing their daughters for getting raped or throwing sulfuric acid into their wives' faces for arguing with them.

Yes, the Islamic world has had the influence of great minds such as Rumi and Gibran. But it has a many centuries record of brutality and misogyny, and these are the qualities that in most of the Muslim world are being affirmed as Muslim values today. The men are under intense pressure to be ugly to women. The men who espouse a benign view toward women are seen as infidels, wimps or traitors. The result is that even the better-natured men – and men who start out as idealists loving women - become brutal, abusive and fanatical.

Russian culture has many similar traits. It has the “traditional” Russian view, which is very brutal and misogynistic. It also has had the influence of people like Tolstoy, Lermontov, Akhmatova, Pasternak and Yevtushenko. This results in men being influenced in two opposite directions. One tells them to beat women down; the other tells them to love women. What happens to men who try to take the latter path is that they are told that their ideals are childish or unmanly, and that real men oppress women. This, once again, leads even the better-natured men to become wife-beaters.

Seeing this, any number of women in the West have decided that love is a racket. No; what we see is the result of people being pulled between conflicting influences. They have romantic ideals; they also have the influence of profoundly misogynistic “traditions.” They start out loving women. They end up beating them.

In Middle East, Russia and India, there is both vast wisdom and vast stupidity. Middle East has had Rumi and Gibran; it also has had the Ayatollah. India has amazingly wise swamis; it also has vast corruption and poverty. Russia has some of the world's greatest science and literature, but it has never been able to figure out politics or economics. All of the above have traditional cultures that teach men to treat women like dirt, as well as men and women – from Rumi to Tolstoy to Murabai – who have taken an oppositional stance to that view and produced exceptional work in the process.

Australian men are known as great romancers and terrible husbands. I have seen this in America as well, with men trained in business or sales putting on a kind front while wooing and becoming brutal and domineering while married. The difference between these two and the Russians and the Muslims is that of intention. The salesman pulling a con job knows that he is pulling a con job. The Russian or the Muslim who believes in loving women but is then influenced by his mates to abuse the woman is genuinely confused.

What we see in the people who come from such places is a war of conflicting influences. They start out hating violence and abuse against women, but they have no practice in any other way. Many slip into bad habits with which they've been raised whether or not they want to do so. Then they have a choice. Either to recognize the wrongness of their behavior and correct it, or defend their behavior and decide that their cultural influences are the rightful ones. Most make the latter choice.
The men who make the other choice are told by other men that they are weak or unmanly. Instead they are by far the more courageous ones. It takes far more integrity to admit that one has done wrong than it is to defend bad behavior. The alcoholic who goes to AA shows much greater integrity than the alcoholic who remains an alcoholic. And the man who has done violence but is willing to change his ways shows much greater integrity than the man who has done violence and thinks that violence is the way to go.

One problem we've seen, that makes the latter hard to do, has been the claim by any number of people in feminism and psychology that some people are evil and can only be evil whatever they do, however hard they work and whatever work they do on themselves. They think that “sociopaths,” “narcissists” and “borderlines” commit most domestic violence, and that none of these people can ever be good. This of course contradicts most basic reason. If people are responsible for their actions then anyone can act rightfully; and if some people cannot act rightfully then people are not responsible for their actions. They also are dead wrong. Most violence is not perpetrated by people with personality disorders. Most violence is perpetrated by regular people who have violent or misogynistic beliefs. Your average abuser is neither a borderline, a narcissist nor a sociopath. Your average abuser is the regular Joe, Igor, Abdul, Praveem or Jamal who thinks that real men beat wives, that men who love women are wimps, or that he owes it to God or to other men to abuse women.

And if feminists really want to reduce domestic violence, they will recognize that anything with capacity of choice can act rightfully, and that men who have started with good ideals but, lacking practice in them, slipped into bad habits, have the capacity to improve their behavior.

And yes, I have seen this done. Even by people diagnosed with personality disorders.

So no, men are not scum and love is not a patriarchial racket. The problem is a dischordance in men's minds. They have brutal patriarchial influences; they also have noble influences. Those who espouse the latter are viciously attacked by people who practice the former. And that leads even the men with better ideals to become jerks.


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