Studying honor killings is not the same as sensationalizing them -- but Columbia University professor Lila Abu-Lughod disagrees. Moreover, she believes that indigenous Arab and Muslim behavior, including honor-related violence, is best understood as a consequence of Western colonialism -- perhaps even of "Islamophobia."
....Abu-Lughod opposed the "concept of clear-cut divisions between cultures, which she viewed as a form of imprisoning rural and immigrant communities," and suggested that focusing on "honor crimes" allowed "scholars and activists to ignore important contexts for violence against women: social tensions; political conflicts; forms of racial, class, and ethnic discrimination; religious movements; government policing and surveillance; and military intervention."
....What kind of feminism does Abu-Lughod represent? She is a post-colonial, postmodern, cultural relativist, a professor of anthropology and women's and gender studies who does not believe in universal standards of human rights. However, her allegedly feminist work primarily serves the cause of one nationalism only -- Palestinian -- and of one tradition only -- Islam/Islamism....
The politicization of the feminist academic world, especially in terms of its "Palestinianization" and its anti-Americanism -- has become the universal point of view for feminist academics. Abu-Lughod, Leila Ahmed, Suha Sabbagh, and Gayatri Spivak all share a profoundly negative view of the West and its values. This is their real passion. They may study women for complex reasons, but they use their work to condemn the West again and again. Sadly, they are all speaking the same politically correct "feminist" language from which a universal concept of human rights for women has been utterly banished.
As they say, read the whole thing. Chesler, an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at CUNY says, "I am among a handful of both Muslim and non-Muslim feminists who humbly but adamantly question this approach."
I admire Chesler for her intellectual integrity, I am not involved in "Women's Studies", but I have been an academic all of my professional life. I have seen professors like Abu-Lughod--women all--who say the same kinds of things she does. Every time I come in contact with such a person, I am amazed at their ideological blindness and their hatred of America and the west.
I realized a long time ago that the purpose of these useful idiots/apologists/anti-feminists (and make no mistake, they could care less about the empowerment and betterment of women) is to use the Marxist dialectic and identify western civilization/America/capitalism/males as the "oppressors" of women so as to advance their underlying leftist ideology. For them, every evil that women are subjected to around the world is caused by one of the above scapegoats; and, of course, the only solution is to adopt socialism/communism/ Marxism. They actually believe that these totalitarian ideologies improve the lot of women, despite the evidence of the last 100 + years to the contrary. Their latest mantra is that poor, victimized Islam is not responsible for the evil they do to women and that muslims are being persecuted for their culture which is almost certainly superior to anything the west has to offer. Which is why they can make ridiculous statements like this in the 'progressive' academic world: "...focusing on "honor crimes" allowed "scholars and activists to ignore important contexts for violence against women: social tensions; political conflicts; forms of racial, class, and ethnic discrimination; religious movements; government policing and surveillance; and military intervention."
According to the left's multicultural dogma, all cultures are good--except for western culture, which is uniquely bad. Islam is a priori, good, simply because it is not western and therefore any and all rationalizations for its behavior are acceptable, particularly those explanations which can further the Marxist/progressive/leftist cause. We see their modus operandi in practice constantly with almost all the histrionic accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia etc. etc. These terms have become essentially meaningless due to their incorporation into the postmodern, Marxist lexicon. In the world view of the postmodern progressive left, everyone is either an "oppressor" or is being "oppressed." It suits their purposes exactly to categorize everyone this way because they can optimize the various victimhood groups which can be counted on to support their policies.
Let's face the truth here. "Feminists" like Abu-Lughod couldn't care less about women. What they care about is enslaving everyone--men and women alike--to their underlying Marxist worldview where everyone is a "victim" of the oppressive values of western civilization.
The many academic female apologists for Islamic culture forget one simple fact when they champion the oppression of women under Islam: there is an important difference between a woman who is free to CHOOSE to wear a burqa or veil, and a woman who is FORCED to wear one. Without understanding that freedom is the only thing that will empower women--whether they are Muslim or Christian or Jew or Hindu or whatever--then you are simply deluding yourself that you in any way represent real feminism. Women like Abu-Lughod are similar psychologically to the German Jews who, hiding their Jewish identity or ties, supported the Third Reich--its called "identification with the aggressor"). Hiding her identity as a "free woman", our sister supports the most viciously misogynistic culture on the planet. On a humorous note, Chesler mentions that Abu-Lughod herself doesn't wear Islamic dress--she was of course free to choose it if she so desired, since she grew up in the "oppressive" western culture she despises....
I have frequently thought that the one good point about Islamic societies is that they are the perfect example of why the concept of "multiculturalism"(every culture is as good as every other culture) is completely ridiculous and philosophically absurd. Islamic culture is mired in medieval times and promotes medieval thinking: it is not only primitive, it is often barbaric. And nowhere is that more obvious than the manner in which women are treated.
Those who apologize for this culture and rationalize its misogyny; or seek to place blame for the atrocities it commits onto other cultures are truly delusional and their thinking muddled by the anti-feminist, anti-freedom ideology they are determined to advance.