Why are so many British feminists converting to Islam?

Mary sent me this article a while back about a trend of conversions to Islam by women in the UK.

Here’s an example story:

Women like Kristiane Backer, 43, a London-based former MTV presenter who had led the kind of liberal Western-style life that I yearned for as a teenager, yet who turned her back on it and embraced Islam instead. Her reason? The ‘anything goes’ permissive society that I coveted had proved to be a superficial void.

The turning point for Kristiane came when she met and briefly dated the former Pakistani cricketer and Muslim Imran Khan in 1992 during the height of her career. He took her to Pakistan where she says she was immediately touched by spirituality and the warmth of the people.

Kristiane says: ‘Though our relationship didn’t last, I began to study the Muslim faith and eventually converted. Because of the nature of my job, I’d been out interviewing rock stars, travelling all over the world and following every trend, yet I’d felt empty inside. Now, at last, I had contentment because Islam had given me a purpose in life.’

‘In the West, we are stressed for super­ficial reasons, like what clothes to wear. In Islam, everyone looks to a higher goal. Everything is done to please God. It was a completely different value system.

‘Despite my lifestyle, I felt empty inside and realised how liberating it was to be a Muslim. To follow only one god makes life purer. You are not chasing every fad.

‘I grew up in Germany in a not very religious Protestant family. I drank and I partied, but I realised that we need to behave well now so we have a good after-life. We are responsible for our own actions.’

For a significant amount of women, their first contact with Islam comes from ­dating a Muslim boyfriend. Lynne Ali, 31, from Dagenham in Essex, freely admits to having been ‘a typical white hard-partying teenager’.

She says: ‘I would go out and get drunk with friends, wear tight and revealing clothing and date boys.

‘I also worked part-time as a DJ, so I was really into the club scene. I used to pray a bit as a Christian, but I used God as a sort of doctor, to fix things in my life. If anyone asked, I would’ve said that, generally, I was happy living life in the fast lane.’

But when she met her boyfriend, Zahid, at university, something dramatic happened.

She says: ‘His sister started talking to me about Islam, and it was as if ­everything in my life fitted into place. I think, underneath it all, I must have been searching for something, and I wasn’t feeling fulfilled by my hard-drinking party lifestyle.’

Why is this happening? Why are women in the West choosing Islam? Is it because Islam is tested and found to be true?

I have a hypothesis, but I am open to hearing other ideas. I think that what these women are looking for is not really truth, but community and a system of rules that they can follow in order to feel accepted by the community and to feel less guilty about the mistakes they made in the past. It’s not like they are undertaking some survey of religions and evaluating each one based on logical and evidential criteria. It’s not like they watched debates and listened to multiple sides in conflict. No. It’s that they partied a lot, then felt guilty, then picked a religion with rules about prayer and dress, (easy things they can show off and talk about), that would make their guilt go away. They turned over a new leaf and their new community-approved behavior is giving them acceptance and self-esteem. Truth has nothing to do with their search, and they don’t think that anyone else’s view is “false” either. They have no intention of arguing for their new convictions with other faith communities to see whose view is true. The point of their conversion is NOT to be RIGHT, it’s to FEEL GOOD about themselves after all the bad things they did. Religion is really on the same level as yoga, vegetarianism, recycling or pilades – it’s about subjective experience and feelings not about objective truth.

I identify this phenomenon primarily with women, but many men do it too. I would say something like 70% of women and 30% of men have this subjective approach to religion. This is why I complain about the “feminization” of Christianity. But Biblical Christianity is not feminized – it’s not postmodern, it’s not relativistic and it’s not universalist. We Christians should not want to appeal to the felt needs of people looking for community and self-esteem. We are a community based on truth, not a community based on feelings and needs and emotions. If religion is nothing but community and emotions, then there is nothing special about Jesus. He’s just one flavor – you can choose him if you like him, but if you don’t like him then you aren’t rationally obligated (by arguments and evidence) to choose him. I am appalled some people think of religion this way. It annoys me intensely. They are treating religion as the search for handbag or a new pair of shoes – shopping therapy to assuage guilty feelings.

When I see people choosing their religion like these women, it really causes me to wonder what is really going on in our churches. Is that all we are – a country club where people sing and feel a sense of belonging to a community and that some untested spirit in the sky is taking care of them? I know that the Bible doesn’t sanction a subjective approach to religion, but what if the church gets feminized and just dumps the Bible and focuses on creating tolerant welcoming communities and self-esteem building? Do we really believe that these moral rules are authoritative, and that they reflect God’s character and his design for us – our moral obligations? What if we minimize truth and sin and Hell and just give people a country club where people can discuss the weather, vacations and their kids’ extracurricular activities, and sing songs together, and assuage their guilt over their mispent youths. I am not saying that Christians have to be morally perfect – but maybe we would project seriousness about these matters if we were a little more informed and a little more self-sacrificial.

The question I have is – why don’t Christians make a bigger deal about the importance of truth so they can distinguish Christianity from other religions, and why don’t we do a better job of explaining our moral rules, (e.g. – chastity, pro-life, pro-marriage), with real logic and real evidence? Maybe if we made our Biblical criteria (truth) known, then people who choose Islam would realize that they were just jumping at religions based on their personal preferences, and neglecting to ask which one is true. Maybe then we would have something to offer other than nice buildings, “non-judgmental” (moral relativist) people, and good worship songs that make people have happy feelings. I know that people actually choose churches based on superficial things like whether they like the building or the songs. It makes me sick. It makes me sick to think that atheists are looking at us and thinking that we are all just irrational weaklings mouthing words that we have no reason to believe, and adopting rules in order to feel good about ourselves. Do people in the church have any idea how this looks to outsiders? They’re not stupid. They can tell authentic Christians from fakes.

37 thoughts on “Why are so many British feminists converting to Islam?”

  1. 1. You haven’t actually demonstrated that these example women are feminists. I wasn’t aware that “partying” and “feminism” were particularly compatible.

    2. Given that in the UK, “partying” apparently means “binge drinking on an incomprehensible scale every weekend”, one is reminded that many historical UK teetotalism movements have gone big. It’s just Islam instead of AA or “taking the pledge”.

    3. Apparently many middle-aged UK women drool over overseas Muslim men, and spend their vacations and money doing this. And yes, conversion for love’s sake has always been popular. And that’s a Christian principle in Paul, Ruth, etc., so don’t be too self-righteous about it.

    4. A lot of people will always be attracted by the trendy coming thing. Islam is everywhere in the UK. It’s not surprising that some would go for it, even against their own interests, and especially if they thought they had nothing left to lose. And exotic new religions are always full of value for certain types of personality.

    5. Snob appeal of a misunderstood religion, without having to associate with people like their own grandmothers.

    6. No better offer from Christians. There’s little or nothing good that Islam has that it didn’t steal from Christianity or Judaism; but we don’t publicize that.

    7. Yes, religion is about more than feelings. But we learn to approach truth and appreciate divine revelation from where we are, as who we are. There’s nothing wrong with community and feelings as a help; there’s a lot wrong with fakery proclaiming itself to be community and feelings.

    8. It does no good inveighing against the foolishness of these women if we’re not prepared to put in a lot of prayer and fasting time, and outreach time, ourselves.

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    1. “And yes, conversion for love’s sake has always been popular. And that’s a Christian principle in Paul, Ruth, etc., so don’t be too self-righteous about it.”

      With all due respect, that’s utter nonsense. We shouldn’t convert to a religion because we fall in love with one of its adherents. Paul expressly instructs Christians who marry to marry fellow believers.

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    2. “You haven’t actually demonstrated that these example women are feminists. I wasn’t aware that “partying” and “feminism” were particularly compatible.”

      Oh but they are. Feminism tells women they should behave as badly as the bad boys and feel empowered by it – i.e. binge drinking, etc.

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      1. See this previous post which provides some data to support Mary.
        https://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/why-do-feminist-academics-think-that-feminism-has-empowered-women/

        Getting women to give up chastity was one of the goals of feminism.

        Alcohol plays a major role in fueling hook-up sex, as this IAV study notes.
        https://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/research-to-help-you-understand-the-hook-up-culture-on-campus/

        That’s what I mean by feminism. They didn’t like the different gender roles in marriage, so they set out to get rid of marriage. And sex education/birth control/taxpayer-funded abortion are some of the ways they did that. Getting rid of fathers from the home with no-fault divorce and the ease of making false accusations makes it much harder for women to avoid pre-marital sex at an early age, as well.

        More:
        https://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/new-survey-finds-women-more-sexually-active-than-men-in-high-school/

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        1. The party girls I grew up with partied because they wanted to. Not because of anything any feminist told them.

          The party girls my daughters are growing up with are doing the same thing.

          Actually, it’s the cheerleaders who are getting into more trouble than the ‘preppies’ (our school’s labels female athletes).
          Which makes sense since the cheerleaders are admired for their girlie looks and are more easily viewed as sex objects.
          The athletes, on the other hand, are strong and motivated to reach certain goals in their lives, goals other than a playboy’s eye candy.

          So I’m kinda with Maureen here.

          Are feminists (as you discribe them) helping anything?
          No, they are making an existing problem far worse.

          But take care of equating feminism with party girls. They may overlap in places, but they ARE NOT the same thing.

          I’d venture a guess that none of the party girls that follow athletes or rock stars (groupies) or who want to become playboy bunnies are feminist. But they are party girls. And once they burn out on that life style, sure, they could want to go the opposite direction and put up too many boundaries in the place of none.
          By why muslim for pete’s sake?
          Are they stupid?

          I feel sorry for any woman who either marries a muslim or becomes one.

          http://denimjumpers2bluejeans.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/movie-recomendation/

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          1. I see what you are saying, but to me it is part of this trend away from marriage. Are boys for fun or are they for courting and marrying? It seems to me that if a woman treats a man as a source of amusement – judging him by appearance and sense of humor – and not as a lifelong partner candidate who protects, provides and leads, it’s because she is not thinking of having a lifelong relationship with a carefully selected man.

            In that sense of “feminism”, men who avoid complementary man-woman marriage and parenting are also feminists – they don’t want women to be cared for, to be protected, or to raise children either. Even Michele Bachmann raised her 5 children and 23 foster children before running for House leadership (which she intends to do I think). Being Speaker of the House would be a good role for her, but children first.

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          2. You don’t think the party or carousing spirit defined in the Bible is a little more guitly than feminism in this case?

            You don’t think, “Party like a rock star” has a life of it’s own apart from feminism?

            Bible has a lot to say about those who linger long over wine or are heroes when it comes to drinking and carrying on.

            I might take some of your warnings against feminism a little more seriously if you would quit trying to pin everything on it, saying that it is THE thing that is spearheading everything else.

            It’s a force to be reckoned with, to be sure.
            But you start sounding a little silly when you try to pin the demise of the family through partying mainly on feminism.

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          3. Mara, I hear what you’re saying. Yes, there will be party girls without feminism. Hedonism is a big problem without feminism and isn’t new.

            But modern feminism condones such behaviour and actually encourages it. They tell women that being a “bad girl” is “empowering”. Feminism tells women they can match the bad boys at their own game. They say “why should men get away with it and not women?” – with which I agree – but the solution stinks. Instead of saying “let’s expect more from men”, they say “we can now behave just as badly as the bad men”. I hear women brag about how drunk they got over the weekend. That never used to be acceptable for women. Only a very crass woman would do that in times gone by and she would be subject to censure by normal society. Yes, there was a double standard that considered it ok for men. (The whole “boys will be boys” nudge-nudge-wink-wink hogwash annoys me sooooo much.) But instead of REALLY empowering women by expecting the same high moral standards from men, they lower female standards and call it empowerment. Boo! :-P

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          4. I can’t agree with you more about this attitude among some feminists that you and Wintery have been quoting.

            Riotous living, whether done by the prodigal son or the prodigal daughter does nothing but destroy a person.

            Feminists who teach that women should keep up with men in being bad and that such keeping up is liberating, these feminists are fools of the highest order.

            And I will even go so far as to say that riotous living can be and probably IS more destructive to a woman than a man.

            But here we get into psychology and that intuitive stuff we were talking about on the Sci-fi thread.

            Men are the leaders of this riotous living bull cr*p.
            They are the founders of the “Party like a rock star” mantra.
            Feminist who say that women should keep up with it are actually telling women to ‘sumbit’ or ‘follow the lead’ of men who do this.
            How disempowering can you get?

            And (did I mention?) these feminists are fools.

            How can they think following the lead of men in this is liberating? It’s not. It’s a quicker death… to the spirit, soul, and body.

            And death is never empowering.
            (Duh.)

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          5. Mara we agree. I wouldn’t be so hard on the men because I think it’s their nature to take risks and be aggressive and to not think ahead. I would say that men start off uncivilized and women are supposed to civilize them by redirecting them to productive behaviors. They do this by withholding sex and making men prove that they are able to protect, provide and lead. Taking the man’s short-term sexual cycle and tendency to abandon what he starts and turning it into an 18 year project at least.

            This is all from a book by Reagan-conservative / intelligent design advocate George Gilder. He’s one of these technology gurus. His book is called “Men and Marriage”. He thinks that women are superior to men with respect to sex and that men need to adapt to marriage and child-bearing so that we can have civilization. And like I said, the means of doing that is by making the man wait for sex and to prove himself capable of the manly roles – protector, provider, moral/spiritual leader. “Biblical Manhood”.

            So if a woman acts like a man sexually, this is a BAD THING. It’s bad for women, bad for men, bad for children and bad for Western Civilization.

            Here’s a summary of his thesis:

            Gilder has an interesting hypothesis, the subtlety of which is not always obvious. He believes that the greatest danger to our prosperous civilization is not simply “immoral behavior” as we usually perceive it (sexual promiscuity, drugs, etc.) but the actual denial of sexuality as a civilizing force.

            Most men of average talents, he believes, need families to support and wives to civilize them, to give them a purpose for an adult life and for any sense of individuality at all. The blurring of gender roles is harmful to many men. It’ s not so hurtful to women who, because of their biological ability to bear children, are “sexually superior” and able to develop self-concepts without external socialization.

            But underneath this is the underlying reluctance of modern young adults to couple sexuality and real human emotion with adaptive needs (child-rearing and priority family personal support). Instead, sexuality has become a vehicle of very personal self-expression (compare with the views of Rosenfels. This amounts to “sexual suicide.”

            There is also the “sexual princess” problem – the tendency for people to choose partners for purely narcissistic reasons. The best example is the young, nubile woman who busts up a prosperous older man’s marriage and alienates his affections from his wife.

            Here’s another bit:

            In another of his books, “Men and Marriage,” Gilder tells of the seductive call of welfare to young girls: “On your 16th birthday, the government will offer you a chance for independence, in an apartment of your own; free housing, medicine, and a combination of welfare payments and food stamps worth several hundred dollars a month.” Gilder says that this may not seem like much to the sociologists, who like to deny the impact of welfare on illegitimacy, but these benefits are hugely beyond the pittance offered a girl by her mother, and far beyond the earnings of any of the men she is likely to meet. “It is all offered on one crucial condition. You must bear an illegitimate child.”

            It is not surprising, says Gilder, that, faced with such an overwhelming inducement from the state, “millions of young women have indeed launched such children into the welfare culture.” It is now so common, so routine, that it has become a way of life.

            The chief cause of poverty, says Gilder, is the utter failure of socialization of young men through marriage. Yet nearly all the attention, subsidies, training opportunities and so-called therapies of the welfare state focus on helping women function without marriage. The welfare state attacks the problem of the absent husband by rendering him entirely superfluous. In the black community, we see the consequences of these malevolent social policies on a monumental scale.

            In the life of Sam Brewer, we see the consequences up close. After a brief stint in the Marines, Brewer returned to civilian life and Albany. In the fashion typical of men from his undisciplined and rootless background, with no real goals to work toward, he blew a good job after engaging in a fight. Throughout his time in military service, he had hoped to have greater access to or custody of an illegitimate daughter, who had been born before his departure. These attempts were thwarted at every turn.

            Gilder writes that Brewer, “had not yet fully comprehended the Catch-22 of American manhood. Although a man might need women and children most when he is moneyless and dejected, it is precisely such a man, at those times, who is barred from all durable access to family life. Sam was seeking from women and children the very sense of manhood and affirmation that he would have to have already if he was to get them.” From this point, Brewer’s life now follows in earnest the familiar pattern of the street thug, the marginal man, who deals drugs, makes the requisite trips in and out of prison, and subsists off women.

            Men NEED marriage, and when women don’t help us out by valuing, encouraging and developing those marriage-friendly behaviors, civilization suffers. Women shouldn’t act like immature men. Women should make men mature. I know many women who think that men’s ability to have sex and leave is “strength”. It’s not. Aggressiveness and sexual predation doesn’t amount to anything when considered rationally. And women should therefore not choose penniless/agressive/promiscuous alpha males unless they understand what is expected of them in marriage and prove that they are up to it. The strength of a man is not in the shape of his jaw or the size of his shoulders nor in his popularity. Men are meant for other things and you judge them on how well they do the things they are meant to do – protect, provide, lead.

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          6. “I wouldn’t be so hard on the men because I think it’s their nature to take risks and be aggressive and to not think ahead. I would say that men start off uncivilized and women are supposed to civilize them by redirecting them to productive behaviors.”

            Don’t you think you are being a wee bit unfair here? You make excuses for men and expect women to be the responsible one. And then you also say that women should be responsible for themselves, as well. No excuses for women, whatsoever. I don’t mind that you say women shouldn’t make excuses for their rash behaviour. But it should also be applied to men!

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          7. I soooooo agree with Shalini. You can’t be tough on women and let men off easily by making excuses for them. Demand high standards from both sexes.

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  2. I think its possible that a couple of factors may be in play:

    1) These women have experenced the emptiness of libertarian hedonism. They feel exposed and lied to. The Christianity they are familiar with is either so watered down or culturally accomodating it doesn’t seem to really offer something different. Isalm, on the other hand, provides a stark contrast both on the surface and underneath. The problem is they have gone from one extreme (“no one can tell me what to do”) to another (extreme legalism). Either way its a self salvation.

    2) If they have been exposed to real Christianity perhaps its passe or yesterday’s news in comparison with new and exotic Isalm.

    3) I’m intrigued that in both cases Muslim men dated non-Muslim sefl described “party girls”. These men must have only nominally been Muslim. But I suppose that may be all you need to be introduced to it…it may also shed light on the kind of Islam these women feel attracted to…a “kinder, gentler” more liberal version.

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    1. casey, I was also thinking along the lines of your points 1 and 2.

      Also, adding to what the blog post said, even CHILDREN seem to like and appreciate boundaries. I have heard children complaining about their parents that they didn’t have any, and they felt they didn’t have enough.

      You could see their inner fight, wanting their own way, but even THEY knew it wasn’t what was best for them.

      I think we are seeing a combination of what casey wrote and women wanting boundaries realizing they need something that is good for them.

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  3. My question is how do they separate the kinder gentler Islam from the violence that seems to emanate from its more devout adherents?

    My own attempt at answering this question revolves around a core tenet of Christianity: the necessity for the imputation of God’s righteousness in bridging the gap between God and man as opposed to any righteousness that a man is able to muster himself.

    Culturally, as the capital left to Briton by Christianity in the currency of mores is exhausted, the religion that is not only stark in its contrast with that society, but is also at its core willing to confront that society with violence, might possibly be more appealing to the person who sees his ultimate purpose as involving himself. This would seem to explain the move from the man-centered philosophy of hedonism to the man-centered philosophy of extreme legalism. Purpose I think, as the article denotes, is key. This question of purpose, namely whose, reveals a irreconcilable difference between true Christianity and all other man centered philosophies and religions. The one involves total surrender to a Holy and Righteous God who is Himself the ultimate purpose, the other the ultimately futile and writhing purposes of man.

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  4. Wandered over here from Neil’s blog.

    For those who live their lives entirely ensconced within the Christian community, or the pro-life community, or the conservative Republican community, I’m here to tell you that people outside of those communities sneer, laugh, mock, and even (sometimes) logically disassemble those ideas.

    These women have likely lived their entire lives among people who laugh at Christians and have just absorbed the idea that Christianity is irrational and woman-hating. So, to them, examining Christianity as a viable source of Truth is about as logical as going to old episodes of Star Trek and worshipping a Vulcan.

    As for the feminism issue: I would like to remind Wintery that the 1950s were not the Garden of Eden, nor the pre-woman’s suffrage movement some kind of utopia. Try thinking about your opposition with a charitable heart first, then explain the problems. With women especially, “I hear what you are saying and I understand those problems, but…” goes quite a long way. If that isn’t your style, then perhaps you should limit your outreach to women (as much as you may enjoy it). To be frank, we hear far too much of “I’m like this, so you should be, too!” from our mothers.

    Please understand that I know that most men, except those raised with at least four sisters, don’t know how to communicate with women. No one is expecting you to know this stuff. What the women here are expecting, though, is that you would open your mind to women who are telling you how to improve in that area.

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    1. It seems to me that in this comment you didn’t really make any propositional statements about the external world, but instead attacked my character (being narrow-minded, lacking communication skills, etc.) without knowing anything about me.

      I have specific complaints about feminism which I outline in other posts by pointing out what feminists believe (pre-marital hook-up sex, no-fault divorce, single mother welfare, government-run day care, affirmative action, title IX, unequal domestic violence laws, etc.) and I point out what social ills follow from those specific policies. Which specific policy that feminists support would you defend, and why? I am interested in specific feminist policies and why you think I am wrong to condemn them – and please cite objective evidence in your defense.

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      1. Um… I was making a comment about your communication style, not your character, and I’m very sorry if you did not take it that way.

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        1. OK, maybe I was being too ornery. I read your comments on Neil’s blog and they seem very acceptable.

          I’ll go back and fix my mean comment so that it is less mean. Anyway, you’re not the first person to criticize my communication style as being unpalatable to women. Actually everyone does. But I am so truth-centered that I just put it down to other people being postmodern relativist universalists and pay them no mind. I wonder if there is any way for me to improve without compromising my views.

          I’m very sorry that I was mean. If EVERYONE says that I sound overly confident (even other men) then I definitely am.

          I should just say that Michele Bachmann is the woman I admire most. I’m not opposed to women being educated and powerful, I’m opposed to some of them who don’t understand men, marriage and children and who don’t feel moral obligations to love men and children self-sacrificially. Given the challenges facing Christian men today, it is stupid for a man to not marry the most powerful, wealthy and intelligent woman he can find.

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          1. See now, your response here is encouraging. Being willing to learn is an excellent first step. :) We don’t hate you or want to bring you down. We want to help you.

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      2. Actually, character and communication style are NOT the same thing. Roxeanne’s just offering a little constructive criticism to HELP YOU communicate your point more effectively. Stop being so defensive, you lobster. ;-P

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          1. Ok then. ;-) And yes, I should be sleeping. In the words of Samuel Pepys… “And so to bed!”

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      3. Thank you, Mary. Hug and share a cup of tea?

        Regarding feminism, I am not really interested in having you coerce me into silence because you don’t like my approach.

        Look, as a super-conservative woman with a love on for the unborn, Michelle Bachmann, and liberty, I don’t want you to be silent – I just want you to say things in a way that makes women go, “Wow, that makes total sense,” not, “Where’s Amanda Marcotte when you need her?”.

        In the battle against progressivism, there are a huge number of roles that need to be played. No one seriously thinks that Ann Coulter is the conciliatory one, the one to sit down over sandwiches with the crusts cut off and talk about middle ground. She’s in the thick of it, drawing battle lines, and standing beside a cannon. But we need the cucumber-sandwich people, the generals, the artillery-men, the navy, too. If anything, I’m suggesting that you might want to re-think trying to be a cucumber-sandwich person.

        Besides, there’s not a thing in the world I can do to “coerce” you into silence. Much as I’m flattered when my conservative friends call me the “Boadicea of the Blogosphere”, I know I’m not in charge of the army.

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  5. Glad we can get that straightened out. :)

    Which specific policy that feminists support would you defend, and why? I am interested in specific feminist policies and why you think I am wrong to condemn them – and please cite objective evidence in your defense.

    Not trying to be snitty, but I don’t have enough time right now to develop a “Why Feminism” opus. I’ll leave you with a few quick thoughts, however:

    I’m a first-wave feminist. Susan B. Anthony and I would have gotten along really well. Nevertheless, some policies/ideas I support:

    Title IX, if it were a state issue: first, I despise the federalisation of education and non-discrimination (although the latter is marginally acceptable under the XIV Amendment, Sec. 5). However, as a former female athlete, whose father required her to play sports, I’m all in favour of having women and girls be physically active.

    What I don’t like: the federal nature of the Act, the over-reliance on the equal funding prong and not enough on the equal-interest prong, and the absurd notion that women ought to get into wrestling or football.

    Why I like women in sports: it’s a great way for girls to bond with their fathers (and fathers play a huge role in girls’ lives – preaching to the choir on this one, I think). Playing sports is also associated with all those good conservative things: better grades, less sex, fewer out-of-wedlock births, real self-esteem (from achievement and work), lower chances of drug use, etc.

    I can’t also help but point out that team-building healthy competition between women is a good thing (let me just say that the women on the track team really had better things to do with their time than be catty to each other), as is keeping physically fit. The habits you have as a child stay with you throughout your life, and exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks (which women have more than men), and obesity. And, not to go all retro on anyone, but men want their wives to keep fit and healthy as they have babies and age. They aren’t expecting their wives to remain forever 25, nor to look like men, but they do want them to keep the excess weight off and to try to stay attractive. Look at Sarah Palin – the marathoner who looks great after five kids.

    Feminists for Life: if you aren’t familiar with them, check them out. I disagree with some of what they push (such as welfare and government-centred solutions), but love their ideas about “Refuse to Choose” and “Women deserve better than abortion”. They make great points about the role that “choice” has to play in taking away women’s choices and about how higher education should be a friendlier place for parents.

    On that note… Getting women into college and male-dominated fields.

    Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Dr. Laura, Phyllis Schlafly, Dr. Mildred Jefferson (the latter being my colleague for a frief time until her death).

    I despise affirmative action. I don’t want higher education to be a woman’s ghetto. I hate the liberal nature of a lot of universities. However, as said in “Anne of Green Gables”: “I believe in a girl being fitted to earn her own living whether she has to or not.” All of my grandmothers went to college, even though that was “back in the day”. I have degrees in male-dominated fields. That’s not to say that I would need to be the breadwinner, or would have babies and make the government raise them, but I’m glad that I can earn my own way, because there is no husband right now and, if there were, things could happen to him.

    Also, it’s good for the conservative movement to have educated, strong women who can bring their own views, in their own style, to the table. If you truly believe that men and women are different, then it’s good to have both being represented in the world. No, you don’t throw your kids under the table to do it, but women qua women add a lot to the public sphere. Please also note that, outside of the clergy, women are leading a lot of the grassroots conservative movements. Tea Party? Pro-life? Yes, they might be slightly more male than female in rank-and-file, but women are strongly represented in the leadership.

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    1. Wow, you’re well-informed on these issues. My disagreement with Title IX is over my concerns about how male sports suffer – and even have to be canceled! I am opposed to the idea that men and women have to be equally present in every area. I am OK with women having the opportunity to play any sport they want, though.

      I am not sure if pushing Title IX down to the state level would fix my concern. But I do agree with you about federalization of education and affirmative action. I oppose them both, and would push all education policy down to the state and even local level. I’m for vouchers as well.

      Here’s an article about the cons of title IX from the Independent Women’s Forum that expresses my concerns:
      http://www.iwf.org/publications/show/20710.html

      That was an excellent case in favor of title IX that you made though. I never thought of any of those positive things, especially the father daughter relationship component. That was really very well done, and persuasive. You seem to have more personal experience dealing with it than I do. It’s good to be able to help your husband if necessary.

      “Also, it’s good for the conservative movement to have educated, strong women who can bring their own views, in their own style, to the table. If you truly believe that men and women are different, then it’s good to have both being represented in the world. No, you don’t throw your kids under the table to do it, but women qua women add a lot to the public sphere. Please also note that, outside of the clergy, women are leading a lot of the grassroots conservative movements. Tea Party? Pro-life? Yes, they might be slightly more male than female in rank-and-file, but women are strongly represented in the leadership.”

      From this paragraph, I think that you do understand my concerns with feminism.

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    2. However, as said in “Anne of Green Gables”: “I believe in a girl being fitted to earn her own living whether she has to or not.” All of my grandmothers went to college, even though that was “back in the day”. I have degrees in male-dominated fields. That’s not to say that I would need to be the breadwinner, or would have babies and make the government raise them, but I’m glad that I can earn my own way, because there is no husband right now and, if there were, things could happen to him.

      My view and strategy on the matter EXACTLY. And I love that you quoted Anne of Green Gables. That book is wonderful for girls because it shows that women can be strong and yet feminine.

      I think we might be what Anne would call “kindred spirits”. :)

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      1. Err…WK is so going to be annoyed with me as I hardly make any relevant comments anymore, but I just have to say this!

        Mary,
        Do you remember us discussing about fictional heroes who are awesome?? Now I feel bad for forgetting Gilbert Blythe. That guy is an absolute delight! I just recommended “Anne of Green Gables” to my 12 year old niece. About the right age to read the book and IMO, all little girls should read books like these rather than reading stuff like “Harry Potter”!!

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        1. Shalini: Yes, I do remember! 12 is the perfect age to read the book.

          Another good book for girls to read at that age is Little Women. I’m trying to remember whether I mentioned it before.

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  6. Hum… I thought you wrote something about Truth and Christianity. I agree that one ought to start a religious investigation there, but that doesn’t mean that people always do that!

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