Islam needs a feminist revolution. It will be hard. What can we do to help?
So what was it about that tweet that rubbed Nelson the wrong way? Apparently, Dawkins’ biological traits and some other really important aspects of his life, like the fact that he’s a ‘Westerner’ and isn’t poor:
For starters, Dawkins is a wealthy white Western male dictating what just under a billion women — and overwhelmingly, women of color — around the world “need” to do, with little to no context for what their lives are like.
He’s relying primarily on mainstream media accounts of what it’s like to be a woman living in Middle Eastern countries where Islam is prevalent.
So… he’s not allowed to have an opinion just because he has a caucasian skin color? Does Nelson even know that Islam is a religion, and not a race, so skin color is pretty much irrelevant when discussing any of this? (By the way, an easy way to tell them apart, since so many people has this problem: you can’t convert to a race — ask Rachel Dolezal!)
The ‘context’ bit is just as nonsensical as it gets — when and how did Nelson read Richard Dawkins’ mind? Because, last I checked he had read Ayaan Hirsi Ali‘s books, as well as Maryam Namazie and Taslima Nasreen‘s accounts. So I call bullshit about the “relying primarily on mainstream media accounts” because Nelson failed to provide any evidence whatsoever of such a statement.
And here was I, thinking the guys at Friendly Atheist were against psychic claims and click-baiting. Silly me.
Nelson goes on:
[W]hat Dawkins, and many critics of Islam’s relationship with women, forget is that this is only part of the picture. There are many more lived female experiences within this far-from-homogeneous culture of faith, and not all of them are ugly or oppressed.
What a beautiful red herring fallacy. He’s talking specifically about the oppressed women and unless there aren’t any, Nelson is just moving the goal posts.
But beyond the arrogance of assuming all women experience Muslim life the same way is the ignorance of assuming that Muslim feminism doesn’t already exist. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Whoa! That escalated quickly. Who’s up for some strawmanning? Because unless I forgot how to read, “Islam needs a feminist revolution” is not a synonym with “all women experience Muslim life the same way” neither is it for “Muslim feminism doesn’t already exist”. Once again: until there’s evidence of this, Nelson is pulling this out of her ass. How very intellectually honest of her!
But wait, there’s even more character assassination:
His prior arrogance is compounded by the fact that he somehow thinks he is bringing something new to the table, the implication being that these poor non-Western women of color could not possibly have figured this out before now and without his help.
On the Charlie Hebdo massacre aftermath this was exactly one of the arguments the terrorism apologists used: how dare those Westerners criticize Islamic culture? Well, because as it so happens, questioning authority is the first step to challenge injustice —and that’s especially true about religious authority—. You don’t need a special skin color or nationality to challenge injustice.
Ignorance was bad. Arrogance was worse. But Dawkins’ biggest offense rests elsewhere: ego.
Remember: there’s no evidence whatsoever of this supposed ignorance or arrogance. About the ego, I guess you could accuse Dawkins of that for not listening to Islam peddlers and apologists, but I take it that’s common sense. (And yes, to people devoted to defend an irrational faith and keeping feminists in Islam-dominated countries segregated and out of touch with outside help, it might be seen as “ego”.)
For the sake of the argument, let’s say it is indeed ego. So what? Are you mad at someone because he has a personality trait you personally disapprove of? Do you really need to waste everyone’s time bashing someone you despise just because he uses his Twitter account however he sees fit and doesn’t ask for your PC-approved seal before posting?
Wow, Nelson should really ask for her own blog — I know of one network where she would fit perfectly.