I’m glad to see the great impact of the Omani social media in tackling at length issues that were not relevant to our conventional way of life, Omanis were not familiar with the concept or the movement of Feminism or its fundamental goals therefore most of the posts & comments were just a tirade of rigid & narrow opinions reaching to the level of becoming a tenet rather than opinions, the detractors were not in a position to understand feminism as it is reasonably justified and understood but to malign and distort it for no reason but mere hatred upfront.
The new born concept into our society has become the most controversial issue ever discussed, some have considered it as the epitome of women’s salvation in the country while others proclaimed its sinful nature and an act of wickedness to be fought.
All that made me wonder why the idea of feminism is locally feared & broadly attacked when the cause itself is just and far away from gender-centrism?
It’s profoundly disturbing to find a long history of women’s sufferings & strife for their rights and indispensability at home & abroad is being aborted in sheer ignorance, just because of some women are crowding out feminism by their individual statements of self satisfaction & actualisation doesn’t give them the right to become stumbling blocks for the rest of women who are still struggling hard to get their rights.
It’s understood that liberating & egalitarian concepts like Feminism is ought to be opposed by the vested interests mostly out of self-righteousness & mansplaining patterns of behaviour but even though considering Feminism as a form of extremism is a far fetched corollary that won’t find a reasonable interlocutor depicting it that way, reason is not common here when it comes to the rights of women’s topics.
The woman is not a lower being made for total submission and menial duties, she is a whole human with enormous capabilities matching & even exceeding in many posts those of men. She doesn’t need a protector to resolve her problems and extricate her congeniality like in Disney Land’s archetypal pictures. We have to understand that Feminism is not ruddered by a sole principle but by a ramifications of values, philosophies and ethics, it unfolds in many forms of justice implementation& rights proclamation. 215 BCE in Rome the Lex Oppia, was enacted; it ruled that women could not wear more than half an ounce of gold upon their persons and that their tunics should not be in different colours, that was the first when women of Rome marched for their rights and presumably the first instance of Feminist movement in action.
Mary Wollstonecraft, the English writer philosopher and advocate of women’s rights in the 18th century said “I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves”, and she one of the greatest proponents of egalitarianism where she said “Virtue can only flourish among equals”, her broad view of rationality was evident in the advocacy of women’s rights, “Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will quickly become good wives; – that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers” she said, women are not inferior but lacking education a big emphasis on the importance of education for all; “If women be educated for dependence; that is, to act according to the will of another fallible being, and submit, right or wrong, to power, where are we to stop?” We are more obliged to ask the same now than ever.
The French Suffragettes is another victory in women’s immortal epic of birthrights. The ME TOO movement echoed in the corners of the globe reaching to our Arab communities to combat sexual harassment & abuse, all that and more testified to the just cause & intrinsic goodness of Feminism for fighting injustice and all kinds of discrimination against women and not what the patriarchal chauvinists say that it came for the destruction of families & societies. Definitely there are extreme stances from some hardcore feminists but the benefits will always outweigh the odds.
There are those who say Feminists are by nature Misandrists calling for the hatred & abandonment of men, it’s the primary libelling that remains the master transgression imputed to feminists when everything else fails to attach Feminism to the source of all ugliness, such trivial and baseless accusation comes from hardliners fearing the forfeiture of their assumed supremacy, however women will not acquiesce to “The Dominant Male” doctrine over their lives, they are independent & indispensable right from birth and no compromises upon that, the community has & ought to change its myopic mumpsimuses towards feminists & women in general.
I and most of my female peers totally disagree with Valerie Solanas the radical feminist who wrote the SCUM manifesto to the end of fixing males intervention in the world by eliminating the male sex, no reasonable mind would agree to that but we sympathise with her troubled childhood that she had been sexually abused by her father, that’s why we have to be rational and differentiate between sound Feminism and the touting of extreme measures to achieve it, abused childhood explicitly justifies its vindictive attitude and that’s something no one could deny just plainly.
Feminism did not come from the thin air putting in front of us all the travails women had to suffer and carry with them throughout history with no hope but them running the gauntlet trying to left it off. Another distinctive example for injustice invoked on women is Susan Sontag the American original author of the book “Freud the mind of the moralist” which she relinquished her authorship right to the book just to get the custody of her son after divorcing Philip Rieff, he remorsefully apologised after 60 years admitting to Susan’s authorship of the seminal book. Marry Shelly the English novelist who wrote the first science fiction in the genre “Frankenstein or the modern Prometheus” in 1818 not publishing her name for no one would believed the author was a woman, women were always underestimated, marginalised & underrated.
To the women who sees everything through rosy vantage points I would love to say; Omani women do not need a special day to commemorate them with pomps & ceremonies but otherwise to look into their contemporary issues in which they are deemed lower than their male counterparts, legally & socially they are not considered to be equal to men just through lip-servicing & sweet spiels the males in-charge claim bombastically & bluntly to empower the distaff side where in reality they do not.
Lots of girls made to abandon their abroad higher education because the local tribal tradition makes it impossible without having free male guardians looking after them, Why Omani women married to foreigners can not pass their nationality to their children?, and why the breastfeeding hour to mothers at workplace are subjected to the permission from the employer and not promulgated by law?, Why FMG is still not incriminated in Oman? In Murder cases Why it’s half the blood-money settlement given if the murdered happens to be a woman?, women’s lives are cheaper than men’s in our Arab Muslim societies. Marital rape is common when wives are not ready or unwilling to fulfill their nuptial duty on bed, lots of exploitations & extortion in the name of men’s rights in calling their wives to submissiveness when the spousal bond is supposed to be of a complementarian nature and based on mutual consent not coercion. Why in the so-called “honor crimes” the penalties are reduced for male culprits? What about the equal vocational opportunities for men & women in the jobs market? The list will go off charts
We can not limit women’s role to housewifery and raising kids, although we do not underestimate the role of housewives and dedication towards their households & children upbringing if they wholeheartedly opted for it, a financially independent woman is a free woman, free from the bondages of alternate sustentation & the control of Svengalis . Quite a numerous women accept miserably the physical & verbal abuses from husbands because the latter are their sole breadwinner so they compromise not by choice but out of fear alone. In my opinion the most miserable of all women happen to be the ones seem financially independent but are not sufficiently free to choose the colors of their own clothes.
The famous French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir in her magnificent book “the second sex” aligns the fate of the colonized with that of the subordinate woman, riveted to the peculiarities unjustly allotted to her by the conquering force therefore when a woman gets exposed to violence & sexual harassment she must not be taken out from the place of her work or studies etc to appease the oppressor but rather to remove the root-cause that endangers her. Saying that Feminism spoils the souls and minds of the young girls and driving them to commit suicide is a futile lame claim hiding the facts for more lavish persecution under the hood of traditional local conservatism .
Suicide is a very abstruse matter, a package of factors conditions and circumstances much inclined to & coexisting with the instruments of oppression in a society and has nothing to do with a movement that was established and historically verified to be the only unswerving hope for women’s rights & untwisted liberty.
By Huda Hamed, Journalist and Writer
This article was translated from Arabic