Thursday, January 19, 2012

Females as Targets


Discrimination against women can be traced as far back in history as 'Adam and Eve'.  I believe that this story brought on the onslaught of discrimination by pointing fingers at Eve for having 'tempted' Adam to eat the forbidden fruit after being seduced by the serpent. She was blamed for bringing the 'original sin' to the world. This probably ignited the terrible status that women in the world have been holding in societies to this day.

Despite the fact that many religious figures tried to terminate that way of life and provide women with equal rights, many of these efforts were in vane due to the return of ancient cultural values. Take for example Islam. Now, I understand that it might be difficult to fathom that the teachings of Mohammad (PBUH) were in favor of providing women with rights due to the current way women in the Arab and Islamic world are being treated. However, and as I mentioned in my post Distorted Image, he actually stopped the killings of innocent baby girls because they were thought to bring poverty and shame to their families the moment they were born. Despite Mohammad's efforts to stop the infanticide of females, this cultural, not religious, heinous act has returned in the form of Honor Killing.

Having mentioned that, Islamic countries are not the only countries who commit violent reprehensible offenses against women.In Hindu India, for example, the women there suffer from Dowry Deaths, making this a global endemic where such crimes are being continuously committed against human beings just because they were born into this world female.

Discrimination does not only refer to the killing of women but also to the fact that they suffer from unequal rights. Below are a few examples of what women in the world are discriminated against;

1.Women suffer discrimination with regards to education. When poor countries are pushed to cut down on investments in education, it is usually the females who are forced to remain at home while the males are encouraged to attend school.

2.  Women are usually paid less than men for the same kind of work. 

3. When they are married, they are considered to be under the guardianship of their husbands and therefore cannot own property.

4. Girls, more than boys, are more likely to be sold into prostitution and sexual slavery.

5.Women are discriminated against in religious teachings where they are denied the same knowledge that is provided for the men. Even though the number of women leaders might be on the rise, they are still not ordained or given high positions of leadership in most religions including the majority of Christian churches. 

Looking at all of the above makes me wonder about men in general. It is hard for me to understand those who would do such a thing to women who gave birth to them and those who would give birth to their children. After watching the below video and researching on the Internet, I was surprised to learn that discrimination towards women is not only found in the Arab or Islamic World but also in several other countries, even in Europe, North and South America and all parts of Asia. 

However, since I was brought up in Jordan, it is doubly difficult as I expect more from the country and region that I love. I mentioned in a previous post about men and women in the Arab World that a country needs both genders to develop and move forwards. It takes two hands to clap and if we expect our country to reach its full potential, then women are a core ingredient to help move us forward.

Another reason why I find it hard to understand their horrific actions is because one of the first teachings I learned in my Islamic studies was about mothers and how in the Quran it states that heaven lies beneath their feet. If this is so and it is from the teachings of the Quran, then how can men in the Arab and Islamic World treat women so terribly especially when they are held in such high regards in the Heavens?

In addition to all this, when I look back at how my father and mother treated and loved their girls it makes it harder for me to comprehend how other fathers or mothers might not feel the same way about their daughters. When I was thirteen and my mother was pregnant with my sister, my father kept hoping that they would have another girl. He always said how he wanted his girls to surround him because they bring so much joy, warmth, hugs and kisses. He was happy that he had a son but he was equally thankful that he had two girls to fill his life.

So what is WRONG with this world? Without a woman, there would be NO man and visa versa. Every family needs both genders to reproduce and contribute to the continuation of our species. So WAKE UP WORLD!


ms. devi said...

Such an important post Lana. I watched the trailor for this documentary and . . . you know what I felt watching it and knowing about it before. It leaves one without a word to utter through the pain and horror one is feeling.
In my readings about The Prophet, I am familiar with all the changes he wanted to make and, like all great leaders send to us by God, was constantly in danger of being killed for his desired reforms. Why is it so hard to change evil and godlessness? This will remain a mystery for me always. All of our great religions have love and humanity as their core, how does that core become so twisted when the words are brought to us through Prophets given to us by God? I have posted that video of my FB. Let's hope that it gets posted by many more readers.

ms. devi said...

I forget all the time to tell you how eloquent you are.

Tabouleh said...

You are so sweet, supportive and encouraging... THANK YOU! you do not know how much that means to me Paula!

Tabouleh said...

You are right... I also believe that our Teachers were given the responsibility of making societal changes that would benefit the whole of humanity and bring us forward... and you are correct in thinking everything gets twisted... even though I think that our humanity as a whole is moving forward but I also think it is still not enough.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Lana, I ask myself what's wrong with the world more and more often these days. The human soul has such potential to be divine and yet our egos are too often in control and get caught up in destructive attitudes such as power struggles & discrimination. And the cycle turns and turns - already in the Western countries (even here in South Africa where we have many women in power despite strong adherence to traditional gender roles) the women who do have freedom do not always use that freedom correctly...they, in turn, become the abusers. Sometimes I wonder where the world will be if people don't start! :(

Judy, South Africa

Isa said...

Plase, "WAKE UP WORLD!" I am so tired of sseing crimes against woman, even here in Europe Lana, we should work better on it...


Anonymous said...

Wake up indeed!

Thanks for the thought provoking post.

Tabouleh said...

It must be something ingrained then in the people to fall under the control of power... as if any of us got in power, I do not think we would fall under its spell but use it to bring good changes to people. What do you think Judy?

Tabouleh said...

You are right... I am equally tired and want so much for things to start changing...I think change will slowly come if we spread awareness ourselves.

Tabouleh said...

Thank you for reading my post Kim...

db said...

Dare a male tread here? :-)

I nearly wrote blog in response, so much that I had to break into two responses

I see a connection back to your FB posting: "A Jewish American high school student wins MLK Jr. writing award..." (Sorry I don’t know how to put a FB link here. Maybe you can tag one on to a response.)

I’m not going to make any excuses for my gender, but instead I offer some understanding maybe (there is there a difference, right? :-)

That said, I do agree that sometimes women in power also fall under the curse. "All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." "With great power comes great responsibility." These ideas are gender neutral, even if one gender has a greater propensity or at least ability, toward power and corruption. And I am sure we all know of some very “mean girls” and the kind of viciousness some women can sometimes impose on each other (and men). I’m not being too defensive am I? :-)

For me, the issue is power (or control, or strength, or money, or status, or whatever…). While it manifests in inequities in gender (or race, class, religion, etc.), it so often comes back to wanting to retain or gain something over others, to keep or get some advantage or position, to be or be seen as having significance or importance, to be in control, which I think is something that comes less naturally to women than men, if for no other reason than size.

Perhaps it is not much more than each of our desires to “make a difference”, though at times being grossly distorted.

Certainly not just women, but children, poor, and various other forms of weaker/lesser do not fair as well in the world.

It was Paula who referenced a mother's (and father's) enduring hope and love of a child, even when they have done something terribly wrong, though that empathy doesn’t always exist. And in some case the parent can see that there is little hope, even tough the love endures.

In some cases it is pathological, sociopaths (subtle or not so) gaining positions of power. In some cases it is people who sincerely think (for any number of reasons) that they are truly serving a greater good. In some case it is like the parents who (in the past and today) think “Spare the rod; spoil the child” or insisting there are severe consequences for behavior regardless the reason. In some cases it is an unfair, but natural I think, fear of a parent’s concern for the greater vulnerability of a daughter (vs a son) that then permeates the rest of culture and a person’s life.

db said...

In some cases it is the unfair, though natural I think assumption that women will indeed be more likely to abandon their career and job to raise kids, that at least is in part responsible for some of the pay differences. But that of course does not address all inequities coming from the work place.

Is there a biological basis for men to be the hunter, the aggressor, the protector? Are they all inter-related naturally?

Just as was true for the Jewish American student ,“that’s a fact of life” should not be used as an excuse to not understand or know and to do more to address what is wrong. I think understanding the basis for the problem is key to solving it, but understanding (or not) should never be used as an excuse to do nothing.

It takes two to clap, it takes two to tango, and it takes two to tangle. Actually the reverse order is the right direction isn’t it? :-) Turn tangles into tangos and we can all clap.

This I do believe: Just as a mother and father often have enduring hope and love of a child, even when they have done something terribly wrong, we have to approach these issues, these wars, these leaders, us fools, the same way. While clearly there will be some crazy ones we will not know how to change (so we remove them from harming as gently as possible), we have to confront these issues with as much understanding, hope and love as we can muster. Easy to say; almost never easy to do.

To solve the women problem, we have to solve the neglectful bully problem, and we are never going to solve that by calling them a bully and throwing them away; almost all of us have the ability to be neglectful and a bully sometimes.

Please forgive me if this was too preachy, never mind long winded.

And thank you for provoking the thoughts.

(Lana, if this is too much feel free to not post it; it is enough that you know the thoughts your efforts stir up.)

ms. devi said...

I can't believe I didn't comment on your post. I was so in a state after watching the video and wanting to get it on my FB page. What can I say. When I think about all the suffering of billions of women over the course human history, the brutality, helplessness and degradation and even mutilation, I feel sick to my stomach and sometimes even ashamed that our lives are so different, that the cultures we were raised in at least have misogyny wrapped up in pretty paper and ribbon. We can only pray for our sisters.

Tabouleh said...

Paula you are so funny and I love you so... you were the first one to comment on my post... LOL check it out!

Jan said...

What an important post. I am unable to grasp how crimes and discrimination against women continue, after all we have learned. So complex to unpick how it continues, in some cultures clear to see how and why, then in others.... intricately bound up in deep human beliefs, core values and self esteem issues...subtly perpetuated by media. Sigh. I am so in awe of
and all those who work with men, girls and women to change things. Thanks for bringing this to our attention...lest we forget. xx

Tabouleh said...

I think there are more people helping during this time and age because we are evolving and there are rights that we would fight for and not accept others breaking them... but it has taking such a long time and I bet it will take longer for these rights to be fully accepted throughout the world. But I am patient..
Thanks sweet Jan for your warm comment...I have. missed you