It's beginning to sound like a vagina monologue day on this blog today. Don't blame me; I'm just reporting the news.
I hate to say "I told you so." But I will say I knew this was coming! According to Al Arabeya, a prominent Malaysian Sheikh (Abu el Hasan al Hafez: remember his name) is encouraging women to wear chastity belts to ensure a better protection from rape.
During a religious lecture, he supposedly said that women will feel "safer" if they protected their vaginas. He insisted that his aim is not to demean women, but to protect them. He reminded his listeners that Malaysian women wore chastity belts up until the mid 1960s. In other words, he's not inventing the idea, but encouraging a return to a useful tradition.
I'm sorry, but this is the "logical" extension of the argument "Punish Women to Protect Them from Men" either by segregating them and restricting their movement, covering them, or locking them in a chastity belt!!
Why take any chances, this woman says: all methods should be used simultaneously. Here's what a protected Muslim woman's day would look like: she gets up in the morning, puts on her chastity belt (in case she forgot to put it back on during the night), gives the key to her husband or brother or son, who hopefully won't lose it, cover up herself from head to toe, preferably stay at home all day, and if she really must go out, she has to take someone with her for protection. If no one is available, and she ventures out into the dangerous world, she only has herself to blame if she gets raped.
Now, can someone please tell me what such fatwas say about Muslim men? Why aren't Muslim men offended by the implications of such sexist characterizations?
I taught a short story a couple of weeks ago called "Sultana's Dream" (1905) by a Muslim Indian writer named Rokeya Hussain. In it, Sultana, a Bengali woman living in Purdah, falls asleep one day only to find herself in a Utopian society called Ladyland. In this place, gender roles are reversed. Women roam the streets freely, while men are kept in segregation at home. The justification is that since men are "dangerous" to women because of their nature, then they should be locked away, not women. No sense punishing the victim. The society is free of crime and exploitation, is scientifically advanced thanks to women's universities that taught women to master science and use natural resources in an environmentally friendly way. It is ruled by a wise Queen who won the last war (which the men lost) through her and the women's cleverness. Religion in Ladyland is based on love.