i have to say i really feel like swearing at campbell live at the moment. for all the good stuff they do, the piece they aired tonight on the "obedient wives club" was pretty crap. they couldn't get a nz'er to talk about it so they aired overseas footage. in response, they didn't have any local muslims or muslim organisations speak about this, but a woman in the country on a speaking tour. they ignore local muslim organisations and local opinions.
the stupidity of the "obedient wives club" (who i'd only heard of in the last month because i was reading the local paper while in malaysia) is pretty easily pointed out. forget about women being "whores in bed", a muslim woman has the right to sexual satisfaction in her marriage - a right protected by law. sex, for her, isn't about pleasing her husband. in fact, it's her husband who has the responsibility of ensuring that she gets pleasure from the experience. if anything, he's the one who should be a whore in bed.
i can understand why a group like this comes to being. it's part of the anti-feminist backlash that is happening not only in the west but with a vengeance in the east. the reason for it is tied up in cultural and military dominance & hegemony ie its an eastern reaction to repudiate anything western, and feminism is definitely seen as originating in the west. which, in itself, is stupid. the east has a history of strong, educated women and women's participation in leadership positions. it has a history of women having legal and political identities long before the west got to this point. but of course people forget their own history, often very deliberately, because it's inconvenient to their partriarchal agendas.
the "sisters in islam" group gave a presentation in auckland tonight entitled "muslim women's rights is human rights" (sic). they already managed to annoy a lot of the muslim community with comments to the herald about the burqa. basically, they were probably responding to questions without any idea of the local context and probably not knowing much about what has gone down here in recent weeks. while their comments about women being forced to wear it are spot on, i would have hoped that they would think about the impact their comments would have on the women who choose to wear it. and i'd bet most who chose to wear it in nz aren't interested in belonging to the "obedient wives club" either. they showed little understanding of the battles muslim women are fighting in this country - which is still basically to be allowed to choose what to wear, but from the opposite angle.
i was planning to go to the auckland meeting, but had childcare issues as well as the lack of energy that has been dogging me this week. i can't imagine how it went, but no doubt i'll hear about it from someone. it's such a pity, because the topic itself is such a critical one and the issues need to be raised. but it's a different thing to be fighting for rights as women in muslim majority country to fighting for rights from within a minority community living in an external environment which can be pretty hostile. the same techniques aren't going to be effective, and more harm than good can result.
i certainly can't see any good coming from the campbell live piece either. it was just badly executed. i can see how a fringe wierdo group would be of interest to the media (and i have to say that i'd be extremely disappointed if they are going to be speaking at 2 mosques in nz). it's more the fact that they didn't provide the opportunity for effective and local response to that group. in effect, the piece was more like the kind of scaremongering that belongs more to talkback radio or tabloid newspapers than to what campbell live likes to present itself as.