Monday, March 28, 2011

Christina Hoff Sommers Applauds Tina Brown's Post-Feminist Summit

An intern for Christina Hoff Sommers sent me this article she wrote for The American (the magazine of the conservative American Enterprise Institute). I'm not sure why they sent it to me - I've been highly critical of Sommers conservative, retro-cultural agenda - in fact, I represent most of what she despises.

That said, this is a good rebuttal to the MRA's who think all feminists are evil and ignorant.

I support the efforts of these women - financially when I can, and in spirit always. They are victims of patriarchy - men entrenched in archaic egocentric power-structures. I do not blame men in general, I blame the systems that keep these structures active.

And yet each man who stones his wife to death for speaking to another man who is not her family, each man who rapes the females in a village as a form of terrorism, each man who sells his daughter into marriage while she is still a child - each of these men carries a weight, the burden of their guilt. Each of those men is responsible for his actions.

This is not about hating men - it's about reforming violent and shameful systems that are not congruent with the 21st century.

Tina Brown's Post-Feminist Summit

By Christina Hoff Sommers
Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tina Brown has given Western feminism something it has lacked since the 1970s: a contemporary purpose worthy of its illustrious past.

Tina Brown, editor of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, held her second annual “Women in the World” conference earlier this month at the Millennial Hotel in New York City. When I told a writer friend I was attending and urged her to come along, she e-mailed back, “zzzzzzz.”

I knew what she was thinking. Women’s conferences are usually tedious affairs, organized by women’s studies professors and Title IX lobbyists and filled with complaint, victim-talk, and “anger issues.” But this one was different. Its subject was not the travails of middle-class American women, but rather the genuine hardships and dangers faced by women in Muslim and other cultures in the developing world. Not a single representative from the National Organization for Women or the American Association of University Women was in evidence. The panels were moderated by well-known journalists—Christiane Amanpour, Charlie Rose, Leslie Stahl, and Barbara Walters. Several prominent American women served on panels, including Kirsten Gillibrand, Melinda Gates, Cheryl Mills, Amy Chua, and Diane Von Furstenberg. But the stars of the summit were activists from the poorest regions of the world. And the spirit was not self-pitying and anti-male but self-confident and serious.

One after another, women from Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Congo, and Egypt spoke about how they were organizing against honor killings, mass rapes, genital mutilation, child marriage, and gender apartheid—and getting results.

In a session called “Stealing Beauty,” panelists discussed acid attacks. A Cambodian woman named Yem Chhuon described an incident six years ago when her husband’s mistress threw acid in her face, also hitting her infant daughter cradled in her arms. Her face is badly disfigured, but instead of retreating from the world she is campaigning against the “culture of impunity” that surrounds acid assaults in her country (both Cambodian men and women wield this horrific weapon). A philanthropic group called Virtue Foundation (whose guiding principle is that “true global change must begin within each of us—one person at a time, one act at a time”) has helped her and her daughter find expert medical attention. Today Chhuon is advancing a series of reforms: regulating the sale of acid, improving police awareness, and sensitizing judges. Her daughter, Sophorn—charming, scarred, and nearly blind—came on stage to greet the crowd. Suddenly, “acid attacks” were no longer a distant abstraction; they were as real as the disfigured six-year-old girl standing onstage in her velvet dress and patent leather shoes.

One after another, women from Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Congo, and Egypt spoke about how they were organizing against honor killings, mass rapes, genital mutilation, child marriage, and gender apartheid—and getting results. We met the “Rosa Parks of Saudi Arabia,” Wajeha Al-Huwaider. As co-founder of the Association for the Protection and Defense of Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia, this divorced mother of two is waging a brave and relentless campaign against sexist injustice. A social networker, she has posted a provocative video of herself on YouTube—with more than 200,000 hits so far. What makes it provocative? She is driving a car and encouraging other Saudi women to do the same. In another video she revealed details about an upcoming marriage between an eight-year-old girl and a 50-year-old man. Local journalists as well as CNN picked up on the story. An unusual public discussion of the horrors of child marriage ensued—and the little girl was set free.

Read the whole article.

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