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Double X

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A feminist poem

Double X — A feminist poem

 

Using our crippling emotions to find compassion to fight

Injustice

Is the name of the game of the same kind of blame that fills us with shame

We are broken

The world’s weight on our shoulders

We try to move boulders

But we are too weak

Too weak by virtue of our hormones, of our genetic code

That places us below them–

Men.

We seek jobs and change,

Equality and pennies,

A future for our daughters.

And while the boys can pretend in school

that they don’t even care–because that’s cool

Girls must work hard to study.

Education is key they say

But that doesn’t change the higher pay

Of men.

We can vote, we can talk, we can study

Be grateful they say

That we are long past the day

When women were stuck in their homes.

Be thankful of pants and the Sadie Hawkins’ Dance

Because we have given you a chance

–Say the men.

 

 

Piece 3: We Sinful Women/ Session 6: South Asia II

One of the most debated topics in contemporary media is the role of women in Islam. Westerners consider some Islamic traditions, such as veiling, signs of the low status of women in Islamic society. Yet, many Muslims do not see any gender inequality in the Qur’an or Islamic traditions. Some women say veiling is empowering, as it allows them to be heard for their ideas and not judged on their appearance. One scholar, Wadud Amina, has focused her attention on the Qur’an, interpreting verses once considered to be anti-women as originally gender-neutral verses changed by years of patriarchal interpretation.

Whether or not the Qur’an suggests women are of lower status than men, there are certainly some societal inequalities between genders. In Saudi Arabia, for example, women haven’t been allowed to drive for many years. In many regions, women’s voices in the court only count for half the testimony value of a man’s voice. As part of the ideology of colonialism, westerners have exploited these societal inequalities to claim that they are rescuing women from unfair systems when they invade countries with Islamic laws or a large Muslim population. Yet, many Muslims and non-Muslims alike have pointed out that these invaders seem to only be on the side of women and feminism when it provides an explanation for the superiority of the colonizing country. The colonizers are, and have often been, the same people who fought against women’s rights in their country of origin, and they are certainly not feminists.

We must remove ourselves from the colonizing tale of liberating the women and, instead, decide what is the role of women in Islam by listening to the experiences of Muslim women. Our readings for Session 6 did just that. This week we read a collection of poems by feminist Urdu poets (including on titles “We Sinful Women”), as well as a short story that painted a picture of a world run by women. In class, we discussed the broad range of ideas that Muslim women have on the role of women in Islam. The diversity of the opinions showed how controversial this topic is. On one side of the spectrum, Fahmida Raiz writes about the imposition of veils and how limiting they are in her poem “Chador and Diwari.” On the other side is Princess Hijab, and many younger Muslims, who claim that western advertisements subjugate women’s bodies, and thus promote veiling.

In this artistic reflection, I decided to move beyond the debate on whether or not Islam portrays women in any particular way, and instead focus on societal inequalities of women in the West. I wanted to point out that even though the media focuses on the “backward” treatment of women in Islamic societies, we still have huge social inequalities in the United States and other Western countries. I found my inner feminist poet, and wrote Double X, which turned out to be a mixture between poetry and less formal spoken word. Thus, I have posted both a written and spoken version of the text. Double X, the title, comes from the idea that the female genes are XX. Though I tried to point out many of the injustices between genders that I see in my life, I definitely didn’t cover everything. Finally, I would just like to say that the line “too weak by virtue of our hormones, of our genetic code” is based on the idea I found in many of the Urdu poems that men’s justification for unequal treatment is the weakness of women. However, in this line, I am trying to point out that using that justification is essentially just saying that the inequality stems from the fact that we have XX chromosomes, which is not inherently inferior to XY.

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