If Feminists Fear Religion, They Should Fear Its Decline Even More

Aug. 16 2022

For at least half a century, American feminists have considered religious conservatives their greatest rivals in the public square. But Louise Perry points to the greater danger to women from a new kind of post-Christian morality, which, she argues, bears a strong resemblance to the morality of the pagan world before Christians introduce a new sexual ethic with its roots in Judaism:

In historical terms, it is the Christian system of sexual ethics that is an aberration. What the historian Kyle Harper describes as the “first sexual revolution” emerged in a society in which Roman men enjoyed unrestricted sexual access to their social inferiors. The Roman marriage system may (unusually) have been monogamous, but it looked radically different to the monogamous system that existed until recently in our own society, and their sexual morality was even stranger. High-status women were expected carefully to guard their chastity, but all other women were potentially ripe for the picking, whether or not they wanted to be. This was a slave society, after all.

Christians demanded chastity, not only from women, but also—radically, infuriatingly—from men, too. The advent of Christianity really did constitute a sexual revolution, which is exactly why its early converts were disproportionately female, and why the majority of the world’s Christians are female still. No wonder Nietzsche described Christianity as a religion of “women and slaves.” (He did not intend this as a compliment.)

Modern feminism is not an enemy of Christianity; it is its descendent. The moral ideas that form the basis of feminism are derived from Christian values that are, in historical terms, highly unusual.

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Read more at Compact

More about: Christianity, Decline of religion, Feminism, Sexual ethics, Sexual revolution

How the Death of Mahsa Amini Changed Iran—and Its Western Apologists

Sept. 28 2022

On September 16, a twenty-two-year-old named Mahsa Amini was arrested by the Iranian morality police for improperly wearing a hijab. Her death in custody three days later, evidently after being severely beaten, sparked waves of intense protests throughout the country. Since then, the Iranian authorities have killed dozens more in trying to quell the unrest. Nervana Mahmoud comments on how Amini’s death has been felt inside and outside of the Islamic Republic:

[I]n Western countries, the glamorizing of the hijab has been going on for decades. Even Playboy magazine published an article about the first “hijabi” news anchor in American TV history. Meanwhile, questioning the hijab’s authenticity and enforcement has been framed as “Islamophobia.” . . . But the death of Mahsa Amini has changed everything.

Commentators who downplayed the impact of enforced hijab have changed their tune. [Last week], CNN’s Christiane Amanpour declined an interview with the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, and the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Iran’s notorious morality police and senior officials for the violence carried out against protesters and for the death of Mahsa Amini.

The visual impact of the scenes in Iran has extended to the Arab world too. Arabic media outlets have felt the winds of change. The death of Mahsa Amini and the resulting protests in Iran are now top headlines, with Arab audiences watching daily as Iranian women from all age groups remove their hijabs and challenge the regime policy.

Iranian women are making history. They are teaching the world—including the Muslim world—about the glaring difference between opting to wear the hijab and being forced to wear it, whether by law or due to social pressure and mental bullying. Finally, non-hijabi women are not afraid to defy, proudly, their Islamist oppressors.

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Read more at Nervana

More about: Arab World, Iran, Women in Islam