As the Right reclaims feminism from the Left, we should learn from their manifold mistakes. As Lori Ziganto reminds us, women “are already equal to men.” Feminists on the right understand that our equality does not come from man or government.
Leftist feminists have long held and hard hammered the belief that women are somehow less than men, that we need to stress our similarities while hiding our differences, preferably under shapeless tops, baggy trousers, and strident rhetoric. They’ve formulated their concept of “equality,” cramming all women into a one-size-fits-all pigeonhole. To conservative women this is patently absurd, but faux feminists are invested in ensuring that women embrace their “perpetual victim-hood.” When we reject that meme, we threaten the very foundation of leftist feminist “thought.”
The leftist tendency to infringe on the rights of American women in favor of the restrictive practices of other cultures is an ominous one (as in the case of female genital mutilation being permissible in “revised” form as “nicking”). We have won the right to our bodies and to reject these barbaric, misogynistic practices—it is non-negotiable. Seeing everything through the prism of gender and multiculturalism skews the picture (we see this also with the leftist insistence on seeing everything through the prism of race).
The danger occurs when we slip into the logical fallacies that plague leftist feminists. We do this somewhat unconsciously because, however much we dislike it, we are all products of leftist feminist discourse. In a recent NewsReal Blog post, Christine Williams writes eloquently about the Canadian court case in which a Muslim woman is asked to remove her niqab. This is a legal not a “religious freedom” question, and I reject the Left using it as a political “opportunity” to entrench the wearing of Muslim garb by women who have emigrated to the West.
Conflating issues of immigration, law, and assimilation with feminism may make murky something that is not, and really should not be, a matter of women’s rights. Faux feminists have long done this to their detriment. As a woman, I think women should wear whatever they please, but as an American, I think that immigrants should be encouraged to assimilate into our culture and society, adapting and adopting our socio-cultural customs.
Just as we in the Western world defend our right as women to be stay-at-home moms (embracing that bane of faux feminists: the image of a woman in the home) or to embrace our beauty and sexuality by not “masculinizing” our appearance (as is all but demanded by leftists), shouldn’t we also defend Muslim women’s right to be who they are … even if that includes wearing garb that we deem misogynistic and oppressive? Shouldn’t we avoid dictating women’s choices, avoid cramming women into a pigeonhole, albeit a different one than the faux feminists favor? Encouragement to assimilate will do what no law or court order can: enable women to embrace the fact that they already are equal to men.