Friday, April 4, 2008

Is western culture respectful of women?

With a woman running for president, and, in North Carolina, for governor, we look like a culture where women are men’s equals. But do we just talk the talk? What about the relentless sexual exploitation of women in the popular culture in the United States? What about our high rates of domestic violence? Does that make us any better than repressive cultures on the other side of the world?

Here’s the take of Susan Diane Paige of Charlotte:

“I would like to offer anecdotal responses to the letter about Western cultures that disrespect women by local citizen Mohammad Ismail, based on personal experiences. As a former Georgia high school classroom teacher, my colleagues and I noticed that male students who were immigrating from Moslem cultures frequently had trouble in deciding to obey female classroom teachers and principals, even though it was in their best interest to do so. Unfortunately, somebody had taught them that women were not to be listened to. What a shame, and how disrespectful of the brains our Creator gave half of the human race!

Once I accompanied a group of Georgia high school students with two other educators to the Soviet Union. My diary entry from July 17, 1987, reads as follows: ‘In every hotel where we’ve been, the Syrians in the hotel have tried to give all of our women trouble. In Leningrad, they thought ... the only adult male was the group leader and asked him how much he wanted for (one of the women) a foreign language coordinator, DeKalb County School System, now retired. (The man) was also supposed to explain to (her) that this arrangement was not a marriage, only short-term. If (she) were not willing, then they wanted me. If I weren’t willing, one of the young students would do. They were very stubborn about their demands. Dislike of Syrian men is one prejudice I share with Russian women!’ Never in my life, up until that point, had anybody tried to purchase my services as a sex slave. Who taught those men disrespect for women?

In the United States, we do not stone prostitutes to death. We pray for them and work to rehabilitate them and get them counseling. Why we don’t stone them to death has to do with the traditional mooring of Western culture in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, who had Mary and Martha, two sisters, spending as much time with him as the 12 apostles, and who did not turn away women who wanted to hear Women in Western culture, since colleges and university educations were opened to them in the 19th century, have more choices than most of their Moslem counterparts the world over.”

Do we respect women in this country? Or are we hypocrites who criticize other cultures where women have fewer rights?


Anonymous said...

Western culture doesn't respect anybody universally. Women, "minorities", whatever. Everyone is fair game to someone else.

On the other hand, Western people seem to be obsessed with being respected, in all situations, at all times, without exception. Maybe you could call it spoiled, or expecting the world to give a crap about them?

Of course no individual will ever cop to either thing being true about them, personally.

Go figure.

poolman said...

so women are sexually exploited in popular culture. is that why the majority of women you see in traffic have their mirror pointed toward their face rather than at the rear-view window? does that mirror represent popular culture? as they touch up their make-up at every traffic stop, are they demonstrating subservience to the culture, or are they empowering themselves through highly-managed sex appeal?

Iztok said...

Hmmm... in my opinion Mohammad Ismail is a kettle calling pot slightly tarnished.

It is only in secular societies that we see greater respect of individual liberties and greater tolerance of minorities.

Wish someone would ask Mohammad Ismail what would happen to a woman (or any other person) in his country of origin if she would turn apostate.