The article eloquently describes the 'paternalistic' nature of Western feminism and it's 'white savior' complex. The western media and human right groups have come to sensationalize this view of Muslim women as being oppressed, victimized and discriminated against by their religion and the traditional societies they live in. Muslims are viewed as being collectively ignorant and hostile of liberal ideas such as equality and freedom and incapable of treating their women equally. Muslim women are associated with concepts such as early marriages, childbirth and abuse and the problem of gender inequality is laid at the feet of their religion, disregarding the issues of poverty and authoritarianism etc. that aren’t only limited to the Islamic world only.
To truly understand the profound challenges Muslim women face in their lives, the focus must be on “the global economic policies that impoverish them, the national policies that render their families vulnerable, the class politics that deprive them of dignity, and the military interventions that undermine their security (Abu Lugod)."
I'll share a very interesting and reflective excerpt from the article here.
"When the white knight knows so little about his damsel in distress, how does he expect to rescue her? When she turns around and tells him to call her “Ms.” and to stop telling her what to do, will he be outraged at her ingratitude? When she says she’s quite happy wearing a traditional outfit, thank you, but could she please get maternity leave, will he snort in disgust at his charge? When she wraps her head in a veil and stands up for her Islamic prayer, will he throw up his hands at her inability to throw off Islamic slavery? When she says why thank you for your help, but I need my husband out of Guantanamo and my son out of your Musharraf’s jail, and then I’d like to open a Qur’an school for girls—what will he say then? When she says she’s got her own ways of effecting the revolution, and it doesn’t involve selling out brown men to America, will he decide against trying to rescue her after all?"