Friday, December 30, 2005

Do They Really Want To Be Like Us?

On the heels on this story about a segregated mall in Bnei Brak and this one about putting women in the back of bus, we have a Yated "observation" about how women in Saudi Arabia are happy with their lifestyle of no driving or voting.

President Bush's primary assumption underpinning the war in Iraq is that everyone wants freedom. But is that true? Do people really strive for freedom? Do they really want to throw off the shackles of tyranny?

Certainly there are women in Saudi Arabia who enjoy their lifestyle. That lifestyle includes the requirement to always be accompanied by a male relative or female compatriot, to be dressed a certain way, and to be limited to certain opportunities.

I think we in the West assume that women who are fine with this (actually they claim their lifestyle is better than the West's) are brainwashed. Perhaps they never experienced anything better. Or if they have, they are so stuck in their ways that they thought freedom is slavery and slavery is freedom.

But is that true? The same argument, albeit on a much lesser, is used by Feminists who argue that women who do not fight against patriarchy and are content with our current system simply do not know better or are too brainwashed to be objective. But most of us do not agree with that, do we? So why do we assume it to be true on a greater scale?

I think it's a matter of degree. There's a big difference between not being able to vote or honor killings and an unbalanced share of the domestic chores. But of course the difference is a matter of perception. We think one is worse than the other because that's our viewpoint.

So I'm not sure there's an answer to the women who claims that she likes wearing a burka.

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