The Deadman Night Rider

A forum for evening students of the SMU Dedman School of Law and other outlaws..

Monday, May 22, 2006

Uh, freedom is, like, hard and stuff...

Some things you read are just depressing. Perhaps as an example of our current crisis in higher education, the Dallas Morning News offered us this editorial by Hailey Woldt, a sophomore at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., about her recent trip to eight different Muslim countries and what she gathered from talking with women in these countries. Let's just say it's not the most cogent analysis there is. Here's my favorite snippet:

The Muslim women I talked with, albeit with some reservations, agreed that they were happy to be Muslim because their faith gave them a solid rock of virtues, which their society reinforces. I am thankful that American women enjoy so much independence and social opportunity, although for young girls it can be challenging to make important decisions mostly alone. (my emphasis)

Do you think Ms Woldt has really thought through that glowing endorsement of Muslim society 'reinforcing' a solid rock of values on women? Or the strange contention, echoed at the end of the piece, that it's just too dangerous out there for young girls to be allowed to think for themselves?

It's no wonder this young woman feels like she needs some help making those tough life decisions--she's just a pawn in the grip of the insidious patriarchy:

As I traveled in these countries, I reflected on the intergender values in the United States now and how I deal with them differently from these Muslim girls. I wore more modest clothes there, and I was not expected to interact with men as much, which was refreshing. Whether I was attractive or unattractive was less of an issue; I saw almost no magazine images of beautiful women in expensive clothes, and few women wearing makeup.

Those evil magazine photos and media images are mentioned in every single paragraph. Forget all the blasé, pedestrian concerns you usually see about women in the Muslim world--lack of autonomy and property ownership rights, illiteracy, no suffrage, poverty, honor killings, forcible female circumcision, stonings for adultery--this girl gets right to the heart of the danger facing these women. Magazine photos.

What's dangerous here is that Ms Woldt's education at an elite university has obviously taught her only to critically analyze one culture--her own, the U.S--but accept unquestioningly all others. Here we see the point stretched to its ridiculously logical conclusion: the outrageous argument that women in some of the most repressive societies on earth are somehow more 'empowered' than women in the U.S. because they are shielded from what her professors have taught her are tools of oppression, drumming the lesson in so hard that she isn't able to recognize real oppression even when it's staring her right in the face.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interesting blog. Preston

10:26 AM  

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