Pop quiz—What does more to galvanize radical anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world: (a) Israeli settlements on the West Bank; or (b) a Lady Gaga music video?
If your answer is (b) it means you probably have a grasp of the historical roots of modern jihadism. If, however, you answered (a), then congratulations: You are perfectly in synch with the new Beltway conventional wisdom, now jointly defined by Pat Buchanan and his strange bedfellows within the Obama administration.
If you're of the view that Israel is the root cause of everything that ails the Middle East—think of it as global warming in Hebrew form—then nothing so powerfully makes the case against the Jewish state as a flag-draped American coffin.
Now consider Lady Gaga—or, if you prefer, Madonna, Farrah Fawcett, Marilyn Monroe, Josephine Baker or any other American woman who has, at one time or another, personified what the Egyptian Islamist writer Sayyid Qutb once called "the American Temptress."
Qutb, for those unfamiliar with the name, is widely considered the intellectual godfather of al Qaeda; his 30-volume exegesis "In the Shade of the Quran" is canonical in jihadist circles. But Qutb, who spent time as a student in Colorado in the late 1940s, also decisively shaped jihadist views about the U.S.
In his 1951 essay "The America I Have Seen," Qutb gave his account of the U.S. "in the scale of human values." "I fear," he wrote, "that a balance may not exist between America's material greatness and the quality of her people." Qutb was particularly exercised by what he saw as the "primitiveness" of American values, not least in matters of sex.
"The American girl," he noted, "knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs and she shows all this and does not hide it." Nor did he approve of Jazz—"this music the savage bushmen created to satisfy their primitive desires"—or of American films, or clothes, or haircuts, or food. It was all, in his eyes, equally wretched.
The settlements are merely the latest politically convenient cover behind which lies a universe of hatred. If the administration's aim is to appease our enemies, it will get more mileage out of banning Lady Gaga than by applying the screws on Israel. It should go without saying that it ought to do neither.
Read the entire article. I think Stephens is absolutely correct in his analysis of "why they hate us".
Whatever you may think of Lady Gaga's provocative sexuality and lyrics; the animus directed toward her from adherents of Islam is of an intensity light years beyond that of the shocked disapproval of a typical American parent trying to protect a young child from an excess of sexuality and narcissism. Disapproval is one thing; a viscious misogyny--i.e. an intense hatred and fear of all things feminine-- is quite another. And it is the latter that characterizes Islamic extremism (and not a few of the supposed "moderates" of that religion). In short, they are, as Lady Gaga might say, "caught in a bad romance."
Islamist terror can be thought of in part, as a response to sexual rage, frustration, and the humiliation of being connected to a "degraded mother." Thus the men in such a culture must constantly assert their masculinity, defend their masculine "honor", and strike out in rage against any who "shame" them.
This is apparent in the sexual mutilation of terror victims who are perceived as "inferior" by the Islamists, and on a par with women of their own culture. It is also seen in the Freudian symbolism of the barbaric act of beheading; as well as in the ubiquitous rape of non-muslim women around the world.
To some extent, such behavior has been seen in all cultures that debase or oppress women. In misogynistic cultures (and individuals) there is usually both the revulsion of the "whore" combined with a perverse obsession with, attraction to, and idealization of "perfection" in a woman (the "madonna" complex). In order to be idealized, women must be stripped of any hint of sexuality.
As a culture, the Arab-Islamic world has perfected this "stripping" to a nightmarish art form of shapeless, individualess, blank nothingness.
Misogyny can be defined as an unreasonable fear or hatred of women. Ever since Eve tempted Adam, women have been reviled in many ways and for many overt reasons around the world and in various cultures. They are hated and feared for their bodies, which tempt men to give into their "base" instincts; They are feared and considered "unclean" because of their monthly cycle of bleeding; they are hated for their unique feminine abilities, which are invariably considered malicious--or worse, evil--by the misogynist individual or culture.
There are three basic motivations underlying why men fear/hate/vilify women (and they are not mutually exclusive, but may exist in various combinations or all at the same time) :
-castration anxiety, and
-resentment and anger at being dependent on women, especially the mother.
The idealization of women, on the other hand, originates from the innate desire of all humans, male or female, to return to the perfect union with the mother that each experienced in the womb.
There are also multiple reasons why women might hate other women on both an individual and societal level, and thus are often complicit in their own subjugation in misogynistic societies.
Many women hate or envy other women whose existence lowers their own status with men, i.e., other women who are more attractive than they are either in looks or accomplishment, depending on the cultural expectations. For example, in one culture a woman might attract men because of her beauty; in another because of her purity or religious devotion. A corollary to this is that the aging woman will increasingly become aware of her diminishing attraction to men or usefulness to a society that only values her reproductive capability. This sets up a dynamic tension between old and young women. In all cultures where female genital mutilation occurs, while it is the male-dominated society that mandates it, the operation itself is performed by older women on younger women; and has the direct effect of decreasing the sexual capabilities/responsiveness of the younger--thus "leveling the playing field" by some accounts. Older--"useless" women--can become societal heroes only by embracing the violence and rage of the sexually frutstrated and fearful men.
Needless to say, the family dynamics in viciously misogynic cultures like those dominated by Islamic extremists, create severely impaired girls and boys. It has been noted by many researchers and observers that children of both sexes are routinely physically and sexually abused by male relatives (indeed there are religious rules in Islam that designate under what circumstances babies may be used for sexual gratification by adults) . The boys are publicly circumcised and the girls clitoridectomized. Since a woman's behavior is the source of all shame and dishonor for the men in Islamic society, women must be ruthlessly controlled. The degree of control is proportional to the degree of sexual repression and frustration (and hence rage) that is mandated by the culture/religion.
In normal societies, the act of "mothering", which is almost always relegated to the female, may be accomplished by either females or males as long as they provide that early and continual nurturing, acceptance and security that a baby needs. The role of "fathering" can also be taken on either by females or males, particularly to the offspring of the same sex and that role usually begins at about the toddler (age 4 give or take). To raise a healthy child, healthy males and females are essential. But in misogynistic societies, the cultural debasement and humiliation of women has a profound impact on both female and male children.
Male children in societies that demonize or debase women must overemphasize their "maleness" in order to separate from the mother. As grown men, far from being able to mitigate the aggressive impulses of a child, such men will encourage these impulses in order to "prove" to the world at large that they (and later, their sons)have not been "feminized". Cultures where women have extremely low status almost always encourage the development of inadequate, "macho" men, who need to prove their "manliness" constantly.
In "Where Have All The Mothers Gone?" I commented about a study which demonstrated the power of "good" mothers --i.e., normal, healthy, functioning and unoppressed by their culture-- in overcoming aggression or "bad" behavior in children. Researchers discovered that "good" mothering was able to prevent aggressive and self-destructive behavior in at-risk monkeys. In human terms, "Good" mothering provides a child with respect, love, and security-- the basic aspects of "nurture" that are essential for normal development.
The findings of this and other landmark research clearly suggest that without an early mothering influence children were much more likely to grow up to be aggressive and antisocial.
From a psychological perspective then, the freedom and empowerment of women in society are absolutely critical because women are responsible for the earliest environmental influences on children--influences that will impact the child throughout his or her life. If the society has little respect for women and regularly demonizes, debases or humiliates them, the impact will ripple for generations. This is the primary reason why encouraging and promoting women's rights around the world should be a high priority in US Foreign Policy.
Women subjected to institutionalized, societal abuse (such as what we saw under the Taliban; and what we see to a greater or lesser extent in almost all Islamic countries--where physical abuse is sanctioned; where women are sexually demonized; where they are deprived of education, as well as physical, social, economic and political freedom) are hardly in a psychological position to be able to provide effective "nurturing" to children.
Women whose own aggressive impulses have been savagely constrained by society and who have few options to sublimate those impulses, are at grave risk of encouraging aggressive and violent "acting out" on the part of their children on their behalf-- especially the male child who must be seriously conflicted about his love for and identification with a lowly-regarded woman.
In other words, such women will hardly prevent inappropriate aggression in their offspring, when such aggression vicariously meets their own needs. And the male children will have to assert their separation and distance from the debased female that is their mother, as aggressively and violently as possible. The father, who might undo some of this early pathology is himself also in the grip of the dysfunctional societal demands, and he must constantly deal with subverting his own normal sexual drives which can only find expression through sanctioned deviancy (as exemplified in Rule 19) and aggression toward women who dare to challenge the societal taboos(i.e., unveiled women, "uppity women", or any infidel women).
Is it any wonder sexual impulses become so perverted and directed toward children? Or that child sexual abuse becomes the only societal outlet for sexuality? Or that the residual aggression is expressed in a barbaric, uncivilized manner?
Family dynamics obviously play an extremely important role in the development of personality, especially in providing values and role-models. The dysfunctional family of Middle Eastern Muslims, where women are hidden and oppressed; prevented from ever being able to grow up normally, while the sexually repressed and enraged men must avoid the shame of the feminine and must aggressively defend his honor and manhood by controlling and debasing anyone who threatens it.
Under the Taliban, which arguably has been the most malignant iteration of Islam's dysfunction, women were actively oppressed and beaten for any attempt to express themselves. Even today, there are actual "debates" about this whether such behavior is multiculturally 'acceptable'.
Sexuality is an essential part of each individual. The double standards of modesty and behavior encouraged by the current practice of Islam are destructive to the normal development of personality in both males and females. Psychopathic traits in males are societally encouraged, while females are conditioned to be their willing victims. (When women seek to "equal" men by blowing themselves up, you know there is some sort of psychopathy at work--as opposed to "gender liberation"). Also, ask yourself how will a child be able to grow up normally, knowing their mother thinks of them in this way?
A culture that is so viciously misogynistic gives rise to both men and women who are severely dysfunctional in almost every sphere of human activity.
On the whole, a society that tolerates someone like Lady Gaga (and even finds some or all aspects of her talent worthwhile) is far preferable to the "utopia" of acceptable misogyny envisioned by the radical Islamic extremists, whose goal is to impose their caliphate on all of us. At least you can turn Lady Gaga off.