Double Standards

Today my professor talked about how we should react in a terrorist attack. Yeah, it’s come to that; our teachers are now making it their responsibility to inform students and staff alike of precautions, because our educational institutes are severely lacking in the “take care of your damn students” department.

And while I understood the reason for it, all I could think about was how, in my first year at university, a large number of girls were harassed and videoed by a group of boys at our Spring Festival. Many of them reported the issue to higher authorities, and you know what the reaction was?

A seminar. For girls. On how we (yes, I was amongst those harassed) deserved it for not wearing a scarf over our heads, for daring to think we could go to a festival and actually, you know, have fun without having random boys form a circle around us, call us sluts, make a video of our embarrassment and near-tears and put them up on the Internet.

We knew the names of those boys, remembered their faces, could even rattle off the names of their girlfriends (oh the irony) and yet they faced no disciplinary action. Which was basically a message to every boy in the entire university: hey, you can be a misogynistic pig to any girl you want; the university won’t do a damn thing about it! Because you, by virtue of being a boy, are obviously a much better investment (despite showing that you do not respect basic human dignity) than girls! Because all girls are good for! Is housework and sex!

So many of the girls who spoke out about the harassment – many of them first years, like myself at the time – withdrew their complaints after being informed that we basically brought unwarranted harassment on ourselves for daring to exist where men did. They stopped walking alone; they went the long way to avoid the departments with more than 50% boys (which is all of them except ours); they dropped their friendships with the boys in their class. The girl who was with me at the time went from being a close friend to an acquaintance, because she feared that someone might see us both together and link us to the video.

I don’t recall any proposals for teaching girls self-defence, or giving us the contact numbers for the authorities, or encouraging giving women access to arms, or telling us to attack our harassers, or 50-minute lengthy and nuanced discussions on prevention and detection of cat-callers and misogynists.

Funny how some forms of terror are so easily accepted. But who cares, right? We’re just women, after all.

Of All The Imams I Have Seen Muslim Friends Take Issue With…

This guy has gotten the most hate. Like, there are imams out there who are literal rapists, paedophiles, murderers, molesters, racists, and all-around bigots, but apparently none of them hold a candle to a guy who says things like:

“I believe every person, no matter if I disagree with you or not, you have the right as a Muslim to have the proper spiritual [rites] and rituals provided for you. And whoever judges you, that will be Allah’s decision, not me.”

and

“The beautiful thing about God is that when you change your attitude, and say, ‘God, I need some help,’ and mean it sincerely, God is always there for you.”

and who shows through his actions that he sincerely only wants to help, and if he is being a hypocrite at least it’s the kind of hypocrisy that doesn’t harm anyone but him.

But yeah, you know, let’s totally judge the homosexual, condemn him and only him to hell and ask questions like “How can he call himself a Muslim/Imam???”! At least the other guys aren’t gay! Whoo! Fantastic priorities!

Let a Girl Live

Men, specifically men older than you and in positions of authority and/or power, absolutely hate it when you question them. It doesn’t even have to be about anything major; you just say that “so-and-so show” is great, and they will say it isn’t, and you will say “it’s just my opinion” and they will go on a 30-minute lecture about how the “youth” of today have become disrespectful and degenerate, wasting our lives in front of “the television and the Internet” instead of going outside and “seizing the day” or whatever, and who will end up “begging us hard workers” for money when we’re older.

All the anger and bitterness at the fact that everybody younger than them won’t live their life the way they want us to will come out in the most racist*, sexist*, wilfully ignorant*, entitled* and condescending** way possible. You can argue, be brought down to their level of assholery, and be defeated by experience, or you can remain quiet (and polite – even having an angry face is considered rebellion) and wait for their diatribe to be over before escaping to your non-judgemental comrades-in-arms.

*Because obviously the high poverty, unemployment and crime rate is NOT due to a system designed to protect only the richest strata of society, a saturation in the job market, corporate monopolies preventing the start-up of new businesses, institutionalised prejudice and propaganda keeping specific people out of jobs, and a higher standard of living for those who are currently employed (leading to them staying in their positions longer, aka not dying off and letting newbies take their spot). No; all the problems in society are not caused by them, those who are actually, you know, shaping the current political, economic and social structure of the world we live in. All these problems are caused by us “youth”.

**Because we’re all 5 years old. All of us. If we say that we are of legal age and/or adults and thus deserve to be treated as equals, we get the “but you’re living with your parents!!!” (but if we want to move out, “but IsLaAa@M!!!”) or “you’ll always be children to US!!!” (in their minds, adult relationships with those they saw growing up are just not possible? or something).

Fear and Silence

It’s pretty obvious that one of the tactics used to silence women’s voices – women’s dissent with the way things are, whether the criticism is valid or invalid – is fear. Fear of physical and verbal violence – rape, murder, abuse, assault, harassment, kidnapping; fear of rejection – from family, friends, boys, society in general; and fear of dismissal – not being taken seriously. And all of this contributes to women literally fearing to speak, especially when combined with the praise that the stoic, self-sacrificing, and calm women get (think Hazrat Khadija – there’s a reason she’s so exalted by a specific type of men) and the promise of the afterlife (because this argument has the added benefit of painting you as a non-believer and traitor, and as such a lesser being, if you argue).

And then men have the audacity to wonder why we don’t always speak up.