Oh, yes!

Hardcore stuff for real women.

And two jokes:

Joke, the first:

A man comes home from work one day to find the house in complete chaos.  The kitchen is piled high with dirty dishes, food is strewn across the floor, the living room looks like a bomb hit it, and two filthy, fighting children are sitting in front of the TV.  With an increasing sense of panic, he runs through the house towards the bedroom.  There, he finds his wife sitting up in bed, with a book in front of her and a box of chocolates beside her.

“What’s wrong?  What happened?” he cries out.

She looks at him.

“You know how you come home every day and condescendingly ask ‘And what did you do today, dear? ‘  Well, today, I didn’t do it.”

Joke, the second:

A woman manages to sneak away from the family for a short girls night out.  When she goes up to the bar to get a drink, she finds herself next to the most gorgeous man she’s ever seen.  He catches her eye.

“Hey, Ma’am.  Tonight’s your special night.  If you ask right, I will do anything you want, anything you can think of.  I will fulfill your every desire.  [Can you just imagine him running his tongue over his lips at this point?]  There’s just one catch.  You can use only three words to tell me want you want me to do for you.  So, go ahead.  Tell me.”

The woman considers for only a moment before she looks him in the eye and says, “Clean my house.”

Hat tip:  Crossing the Rubicon

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Our friends the Saudis

For those of you still wondering about what life will be like in the resurgent Islamic 7th century, here’s a bit more information, this time out of Saudi Arabia:

A court in the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia is punishing a female victim of gang rape with 200 lashes and six months in jail, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

The 19-year-old woman — whose six armed attackers have been sentenced to jail terms — was initially ordered to undergo 90 lashes for “being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape,” the Arab News reported.

But in a new verdict issued after Saudi Arabia’s Higher Judicial Council ordered a retrial, the court in the eastern town of Al-Qatif more than doubled the number of lashes to 200.

A court source told the English-language Arab News that the judges had decided to punish the woman further for “her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.”

It also appears that more than the usual Islamic misogyny is at issue here.  The woman who was raped, and is now being subject to state torture is a member of S.A.’s minority Shiite community, while her rapists, who did get prison terms, are from the majority Sunni group.

God help all women in Saudi Arabia.

One of the core causes of Jihad

A friend of mine who has, over the years, proven remarkably prescient in diagnosing global ills, told me after 9/11 that a significant element in Islam’s rage against the West has to do with women — Islam demands the total subjugation of women, and Islamists view the West as a profound threat to their control over their women. This is not just a peripheral matter either. It goes to core issues of Islamic and male identity. A threat to the control Islamists assert over girls and women is a threat to the Islamists’ entire world view and their sense of self.

As part of Islamo-Facism Awareness Week, sponsored by David Horowitz’s Terrorism Awareness Project, David Horowitz’s Freedom Center has released a video highlighting the horror of women’s lives under Islamism*. The video is X-rated, not because it’s a sexy romp through the harem, but because it has pictures of girls having their external genitalia cut off with anesthetic, women beaten into bloody pulps, girls (7 years old) beheaded for having been raped, women being hanged, women being dis-limbed, and on and on in a 9 minute parade of horrors that needs to be witnessed. If you do watch it, please make sure there are no children anywhere near you. This is the stuff of nightmares — it’s an Auschwitz, Mengele world that the PC crowd blithely accepts as part of its multicultural, anti-American stance.

I’ll close this post by quoting from FrontPage Magazine about our responsibility to bear witness to these horrors, not only against women, but against all the people oppressed by Islamism:

However realistic the film, it is immeasurably less grotesque and disturbing than the daily lives of millions of women subject to Islamo-Fascist regimes. Only the insulated nature of the Islamic world, and the silence and acquiescence of Western feminists, allow this situation to continue. This silence is the greatest hope of Islamo-Fascism and the primary reason Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is vitally needed: to end this misogynistic tyranny and allow all the world’s inhabitants to experience the miracle of human dignity. This is precisely why there has been such a massive outcry against Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. The national campaign to censor or subvert this educational program has involved the entire spectrum of enemies we face — Islamo-Fascist theocrats on the extreme “right” to the Revolutionary Communist Party on the radical Left, both charter members of the Unholy Alliance that sees the United States as the world’s Great Satan. Between the two poles are aspiring mainstream Arab “civil rights” organizations that apologize for terrorism and the theocratic strongmen who finance it.

To combat the horrors of this video, relieve the suffering of millions of Arabs worldwide, and alert Americans to the nature of the enemy, Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week commences this week, hosting 37 separate events or panelists on 26 college campuses. Nationally known experts, such as Robert Spencer and David Horowitz, will detail for thousands of college students the comprehensive assault on the human person Islamo-Fascism embodies. Events include:

* Brown University
o Robert Spencer – 25th, 7pm, Salomon Hall 101
* Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
o Greg Davis – 24th, 7:30pm, Phillips Hall
* Clemson University
o Mike Adams – 25th, 7pm, Hunter 100
* Columbia University
o David Horowitz – 26th, 12pm, Lerner Cinema
o panel with Phyllis Chesler, Ibn Warraq, and Christina Sommers – 24th, 8pm, Math 203
* DePaul University
o Robert Spencer – 22nd, 7pm, Cortalyou Commons
* Dartmouth
o Robert Spencer – 26th, 7pm, Dartmouth Hall room 105
* Emory University
o David Horowitz – 24th, 8pm, White Hall 208
* Lawrence University
o Jonathan Schanzer – 24th, 7:30pm, Youngchild Hall
* George Mason University
o Luana Saghieh and Alan Nathan – 22nd, 8:30pm, Johnson Center Cinema
* George Washington University
o Michael Ledeen and Daphne Patai – 22nd, 10am, Mt. Vernon Campus, Eckles Auditorium
o David Horowitz – 25th, 8pm, Marvin Center
* Penn State University
o Rick Santorum – 23rd, 8pm, 119 Osmond
* Princeton
o David Horowitz – 16th, 8pm, McCosh 10
* Pepperdine
o Tammy Bruce – 22nd, 7pm, Student Lounge
* SFSU
o Brian Sussman – 24th, 12pm, Jack Adams Hall
* Temple University
o Rick Santorum – 24th, 8pm, Student Center 218
* Tufts
o Daniel Pipes – 24th, 7pm
* Tulane University
o Ann Coulter – 22nd, 7pm, McAlister Auditorium
* UC Berkeley
o Nonie Darwish – 22nd, 7pm, Evans Hall 10
* UC Santa Barbara
o Dennis Prager – 25th, 7pm, Girvetz 1004
* UCLA
o Cyrus Nowrasteh – 23rd, 6:30pm, Moore 100
o Nonie Darwish – 24th, 7pm, Haines 82
o Joe Kaufman – 25th, 7pm, Moore 100
* University of Miami
o Cyrus Nowrasteh – 24th, 7pm, Whitten University Learning Center
* University of Pennsylvania
o Rick Santorum – 24th, 5:30pm, Hillel-Steinhardt Hall
o panel with Daniel Pipes, Dr. Stephen Gale, and Ed Turzanski – 22nd, 7pm, Huntsman Hall
* University of Rhode Island
o Robert Spencer – 24th, 7pm, Memorial Union Ballroom
* University of Washington
o Michael Medved – 25th, 7pm, Smith 120
* University of Wisconsin, Madison
o David Horowitz – 22nd, 7:30, Wisconsin Union Theater
* USC
o Ann Coulter – 24th, 6pm, Annenberg School of Communication – G26

More then 100 years ago, the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin exposed the indignities of chattel slavery. The educational events of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week modestly seek to enlighten the nation’s youth about the incalculable costs of Islamic extremism. Silence is Islamo-Fascism’s greatest ally; after viewing this film, every incensed conscience will scream that silence can no longer be tolerated.

________________________
* I use the word Islamism, as opposed to Islam, to distinguish radical practitioners of the faith from those who have opted for a more moderate form of practice that, while it may pay lip service to the more extreme demands of the Koran, does not put them into effect. I don’t feel, though, that the reform practitioners of this religion should be let off the hook. With a few exceptions, their silence in these face of the horrors perpetrated by the extremists is a moral failing for which they, too, must be held to account.

UPDATE:  YouTube banned the video, but I put in an alternative link that, I think, works.  If it doesn’t, just go to Front Page Magazine, scroll down for the notice that “Our video below, The Violent Oppresion of Women in Islam, has been banned by YouTube.” Click on the video below, and it should start playing.

Ward and June Cleaver revisited

Back in December 2004, I wrote a post over at my old blog site about how difficult life is in the 21st Century for June Cleaver. Since Blogger posts, after a certain period of time, lose all formatting, I’ll reprint it here, in an easy to read format:

I’ve been looking around at friends’ marriages, and wondering what makes some happy and some unhappy. And I keep thinking of Ward and June Cleaver, who have always typified for me the classic American division of male/female roles in a “married with children” relationship. She maintains the house; he pays the bills. They are polite to each other. She is the first line of defense for matters involving the children, but he is the final word, and all defer to him.

One could argue that, at least from the woman’s point of view, it’s a dreadful division, since she works hard, but he holds ultimate power. What’s weird, though, is that the couples I know who have returned to a Ward and June life-style have very happy marriages. Each knows his or her area of responsibility within the relationship, and that seems to take away from, rather than to add to, stress.

The other happy couples I know are those where they’ve truly mixed-and-matched the Ward and June roles. That is, both work, but both share equally in household management. Each seems to respect the other and there is a health give-and-take for responsibility. I know only two couples who have achieved this, so it seems to be a real rarity, at least in my circles.

The most angry marriages are those where the man clings to the Ward role, but expects his wife to be both June (household manager) and Ward (breadwinner). These are the households where the woman holds a full- or part-time job, and is also the primary caregiver for the children (when they’re not in school), as well as the chief shopper, cook, laundress, and house cleaner. Sadly, this is also the dominant model in my community, and I think it goes a long way to explaining the very resentful women I know.

The problem I’m observing is nothing new. Fifteen years ago, Arlie Hochschild wrote a book called The Second Shift, which examined relationships in which both man and woman work. I haven’t read the book since its publication, but my memory is that the women who carried the heaviest load were the yuppie wives whose husbands paid lip-service to an “equal” relationship in the marriage — a dynamic that precisely describes the married couples in my world.

What Hochschild discovered is that those husbands — even while claiming that, just as their wives added the Ward role to their June role, they too added the June role to their Ward role — were creating an elaborate fiction themselves. Their “equal” role in the house amounted to toting out the garbage once a week, or picking up the occasional milk. Those who laid claim to all responsibilities outside the house’s walls (that is, yard work), essentially mowed the lawn weekly. Meanwhile, their wives, who also held paying jobs, were handling shopping, cooking, cleaning, childcare, and all other miscellaneous stuff.

Ironically, those husbands who were most likely to provide real help around the house were the old-fashioned men who bitterly resented the economic necessity that forced their wives into the workplace. It was they who placed the most value on their wives’ work, and were therefore most likely to recognize the women’s sacrifice in leaving the home for the workplace. “Modern men,” with their views of equality, seemed to see traditional women’s work as valueless and were unwilling to sully their hands with it.

It’s interesting that, 15 years after I read that book as an unencumbered single, I look around my world and see that the book could just as easily have been written today, ’cause nothing’s changed. Apparently Ward and June were on to something….

It turns out Arlie Hochschild’s 18 year old conclusions and my three year old observations are still right on the money. More and more research is showing that, while men still enjoy a Ward Cleaver level of “life is good” satisfaction, augmented by more gadgets and better health than Ward could ever imagine, women are increasingly unhappy because of the burdens their Ward and June expectations impose on them:

Two new research papers, using very different methods, have both come to this conclusion. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, economists at the University of Pennsylvania (and a couple), have looked at the traditional happiness data, in which people are simply asked how satisfied they are with their overall lives. In the early 1970s, women reported being slightly happier than men. Today, the two have switched places.

Mr. Krueger, analyzing time-use studies over the last four decades, has found an even starker pattern. Since the 1960s, men have gradually cut back on activities they find unpleasant. They now work less and relax more.

Over the same span, women have replaced housework with paid work — and, as a result, are spending almost as much time doing things they don’t enjoy as in the past. Forty years ago, a typical woman spent about 23 hours a week in an activity considered unpleasant, or 40 more minutes than a typical man. Today, with men working less, the gap is 90 minutes.

These trends are reminiscent of the idea of “the second shift,” the name of a 1989 book by the sociologist Arlie Hochschild, arguing that modern women effectively had to hold down two jobs. The first shift was at the office, and the second at home.

But researchers who have looked at time-use data say the second-shift theory misses an important detail. Women are not actually working more than they were 30 or 40 years ago. They are instead doing different kinds of work. They’re spending more time on paid work and less on cleaning and cooking.

What has changed — and what seems to be the most likely explanation for the happiness trends — is that women now have a much longer to-do list than they once did (including helping their aging parents). They can’t possibly get it all done, and many end up feeling as if they are somehow falling short.

Mr. Krueger’s data, for instance, shows that the average time devoted to dusting has fallen significantly in recent decades. There haven’t been any dust-related technological breakthroughs, so houses are probably just dirtier than they used to be. I imagine that the new American dustiness affects women’s happiness more than men’s.

For women, it seems to be damned if you don’t have the choices and damned if you do.  Either way, the to-do list is too long, and the rewards for effort are too small.

Another one for the “where’s NOW now” file

Some Saudi women are bravely taking a stand and trying to overturn the prohibition against women drivers in that medieval theocracy:

For the first time ever, a group of women in the only country that bans female drivers have formed a committee to lobby for the right to get in the driver’s seat. They plan to petition King Abdullah in the next few days for that privilege.

Members of the Committee of Demanders of Women’s Right to Drive Cars say they want to have their petition delivered to the king by Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s national day.

“We would like to remind officials that this is, as many have said, a social and not religious or political issue,” said Fowziyyah al-Oyouni, a founding member of the committee. “And since it’s a social issue, we have the right to lobby for it.”

The government is not likely to respond to the plea because the issue is so sensitive and divisive. But al-Oyouni said the petition will at least highlight what many Saudi men and women consider as a “stolen right.”

The driving ban applies to all women, Saudi and foreign, and forces families to hire live-in drivers. Women whose families cannot afford $300-400 a month for a driver rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor’s.

The last time the question of women drivers was raised was two years ago, when Mohammed al-Zulfa, a member of the unelected Consultative Council, asked his colleagues to just think about studying the possibility of allowing women over age 35 or 40 to be allowed to drive — unchaperoned on city streets but accompanied by a male guardian on highways.

His suggestion touched off a fierce controversy that included calls for his removal from the council and stripping him of Saudi citizenship as well as accusations he was encouraging women to commit the double sins of discarding their veils and mixing with men.

The uproar underscored the divisions in Saudi society between the guardians of its super-strict Islamic codes of behavior and those who want to usher in more liberal attitudes.

Conservatives, who believe women should be shielded from strange men, say women in the driver’s seat will be free to leave home alone and go when and where they please. They also will be able to unduly expose their eyes while driving and interact with strange men such as traffic police and mechanics.

But supporters of female drivers say the prohibition exists neither in law nor Islam, but is based on fatwas, or edicts, by senior clerics who say women at the wheel create situations for sinful temptation.

Interestingly, I don’t see at the NOW website any reference to this fight for women to have access to what has become a basic right around the world.  Instead, NOW is simply agitating for the US Senate to ratify a non-binding UN treaty aimed at rescuing women in those countries that bother to sign on to the treaty in the first place (or, as NOW artfully phrases it, “CEDAW prohibits all forms of discrimination against women by legally binding those countries that ratify it to the following measures.”). I’m not surprised that the Senate is unwilling to sign on to this waste-of-time treaty.  (And please note that this is a Democratic controlled Senate that’s not even bothering with this one.)

A truly modern problem in China

In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, a very common expression was that “the rich get richer and the poor get children.” In China, that’s been turned on its head. Not only do the rich (probably) get richer, they also get the children — and their Communist overlords are cracking down:

Rich Chinese people who flout the country’s family planning policies, which usually limit couples to one child, will face higher fines under tougher new enforcement guidelines, state media said on Saturday.

The China Daily said the move to assess fines in line with the violator’s income came in response to widespread concern that current fines did not serve as enough of a deterrent to the well-off, essentially allowing them to treat the fines as a fee for having more than one child.

The new measures, issued by the National Population and Family Planning Commission and 10 other agencies, single out the elite as needing to play their part in controlling the country’s population.

“(Communist) Party members, cadres and social public figures should take the lead in following the population and family planning regulations,” the paper quoted the statement as saying, threatening strict punishments for public figures who violate the rules.

Violators could also see their credit ratings damaged, the paper said — a serious threat in a society where people are increasingly taking out loans to buy homes and cars, and where banks are often prodded by authorities to restrict lending to certain groups or companies in line with policy aims.

China credits family planning laws with preventing 400 million births and thereby boosting prosperity in a country that now has 1.3 billion people, a fifth of the world’s total.

Another modern problem in China, flowing directly from the limit on the numbers of children any family can have, is the huge gender imbalance.  Since females have little value in that society, the article points out that there are 118 boys born for every 100 girls born.  The normal ratio is about 105-107 boys for every 100 girls (although there are more boys being born lately).

I used to think that the furious rate of abortions and infanticides in India and China, all of which are aimed at getting rid of unwanted girl babies, would raise the status of girls in those societies.  My theory was that, as something becomes more rare, it becomes more valued.  As far as I can tell, and I’m too lazy to look up links to support my impression, that hasn’t happened.  Instead, it has simply led to women being kidnapped and raped in greater numbers as there are more and more men in need of feminine companionship (whether for brute sex or “holy” matrimony) and fewer and fewer women to fit the bill.  That is, women, instead of being valued for their rarity, are being fought over and destroyed like the toy in the center of a violent tug of war.

Bringing women back from the pit of living death

I’m reading Gone With The Wind again, for the first time in about 30 years. I didn’t mean to, but I found a lovely, perfectly clean copy at Goodwill for $1.49 and couldn’t resist buying it (such a bargain). And then, of course, once it was in the house, I kind of opened it to the first page: “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charms as the Tarleton twins were.” I was hooked all over again.

There is no doubt that the book is a very painful reminder of the racism about blacks that filled the American mind, not just during the Civil War, but in the 30s when the book was written and became one of the greatest bestsellers of all time, as well as in the many decades after. Mitchell’s writing about blacks and slavery makes one writhe just reading it.

But if you scooch by those offending passages and focus on the rest of the book, it is truly a masterpiece. It’s a phenomenal evocation of a lost era, one that willingly hurled itself onto the funeral pyre of an unwinnable war. It’s a fantastic character study of a young women who is so shallow and self-centered one ought to hate her, but who is also so honest, fearless and determined that she becomes a mesmerizing figure who has fascinated generations of readers. One of the things that makes Scarlett such a great character is the way in which, with Rhett Butler’s help, she breaks the chains that bound women in the South who, for all that they were ostensibly “cherished,” were also deeply imprisoned by the conventions of the time. Indeed, one of the book’s most memorable moments includes precisely such a moment of liberation.

Whether you’ve read the book or seen the movie, you all remember the charity ball Scarlett attends, swathed in the widows’ weeds she was condemned to wear for years after her husband’s death. That same convention demanded that widows remove themselves entirely from social interaction, withdrawing to the home to mourn endlessly. Scarlett’s appearance at the ball, hidden in a corner booth, was due solely to the exigencies of the war. You also recall that, in the auction to lead off the first dance, Rhett bid $150 dollars in gold for Scarlett’s hand, and Scarlett scandalized the assembly by taking him up on the offer. What you probably don’t remember is the conversation Scarlett and Rhett had before he made that bid:

“I have always thought,” he said reflectively, “that the system of mourning, of immuring women in crepe for the rest of their lives and forbidding them normal enjoyment is just as barbarous as the Hindu suttee.”

“Settee?”

He laughed and she blushed for her ignorance. She hated people who used words unknown to her.

“In India, when a man dies he is burned, instead of buried, and his wife always climbs on the funeral pyre and is burned with him.”

“How dreadful! Why do they do it? Don’t the police do anything about it?”

“Of course not. A wife who didn’t burn herself would be a social outcast. All the worthy Hindu matrons would talk about her for not behaving as a well-bred lady should — precisely as those worthy matrons in the corner would talk about you, should you appear tonight in a red dress and lead a reel. Personally, I think suttee much more merciful than our charming Southern custom of burying widows alive.”

“How dare you say I’m buried alive!”

“How closely women clutch the very chains that bind them! You think the Hindu custom barbarous — but would you have had the courage to appear here tonight of the Confederacy hadn’t needed you?”

Arguments of this character were always confusing to Scarlett. His were doubly confusing because she had a vague idea there was truth in them.

What Rhett knew, the leader of American Reform Jewry apparently has not yet figured out. According to Dennis Prager, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, in a speech to American Muslims at a meeting of the Islamic Society of North America, asked “Why should anyone criticize the voluntary act of a woman who chooses to wear a headscarf or a veil? Surely the choice these women make deserves our respect, not to mention the full protection of the law.” Prager, echoing Rhett’s words about societal strictures that render women invisible, answered:

In the long history of women’s inequality, it is difficult to name almost anything more anti-woman, dehumanizing and degrading than the veil. We know people by their face. Without seeing a person’s face, we feel that we do not know the person. When we read about someone in the news, whether known for good or ill, we immediately study the person’s face. One can have one’s entire body covered, and it means nothing in terms of whether we feel we know the person. But cover a person’s face, and the person might as well be invisible.

Indeed, the veiled woman is intended to be invisible. That is precisely the goal of the veil.

In light of the veil’s dehumanization of women, how could anyone, especially a rabbi on the left, say he respects a woman choosing to wear a veil?

It is not new for cultures to try to hide their women for one reason or another. It is always a dehumanizing thing that leaves the women, as Rhett said, “buried alive.” That the reform rabbi would be unable to grasp this, something that has been recognized in the West since at least 1936, when GWTW was published, is both sad and shocking.