The Taliban’s Fear Of The Feminine

Malala Yousafzai, 14, was shot in the head for being a girl who wanted to go to school in her home city of Mingora, Pakistan. Taliban militants claimed responsibility after targeting her for openly expressing the belief that females should receive an education. After extensive brain surgery she is still alive, but barely.

There are cultures that fear women and the feminine wherever it appears. Control over women and suppression of the feminine become their core values.

Unsurprisingly, these are the same cultures that most fear the feminine aspect in men. Gay men, transexuals, and people born intersex are all anathema to these cultures, to be suppressed and wiped out when possible.

Healthy nature is a balance, an interplay, and a dance of the male-female and the masculine-feminine. Islamic extremists do us all a favor when they highlight the dangers of suppressing women and the feminine, but the rest of us should not be too smug. This same bias is built into too many of our cultures and religions.

Malala Yousafzai’s desire to go to school, and the violent reaction it spurred, should be a wake up call for all of us. We must embrace all of God’s children, respecting and celebrating the things that make us the same and the things that make each one of so unique, in women and men.

The BBC has more on the brave actions of Malala Yousafzai. May she, and all women under such oppression, live into a better future.

Sex and Islam

In a probing article, The Kingdom in the Closet, Nadya Labi investigates gay life in Saudi Arabia, exposing specific modern examples of an older view of sexuality nearly forgotten in the West. The conundrums of private/public, identity/acts, religious beliefs/personal truths are all present. It is such a different world from ours:

To be gay in Saudi Arabia is to live a contradiction—to have license without rights, and to enjoy broad tolerance without the most minimal acceptance.

The most fascinating observation is that a world of public control over public sexuality means much of Saudi Arabia’s sexual life is closeted for everyone, even as private behavior continues in timeless ways. Just as we view “primitive” people for insight into pre-modern lifestyles, the public sexuality constrictions of Saudi Arabia offers us insight into a world before liberalization and personal empowerment, providing views of what we gained and lost on our current trajectory.

Supplicating Pilgrim at Masjid Al Haram. Mecca, Saudi Arabia (Ali Mansuri)