Sunday, October 29, 2006

Too many mirror sheiks

There's something else that hasn't been picked up in Sheik al-Hilaly's speech. The media has focused on the sheik shifting the blame for rape onto women. In the speech, though, the sheik goes further than this and portrays women as generally being the agents of immorality, corrupting otherwise morally sound men.

For example, when it comes to theft the sheik said that,

On the issue of stealing, when the man is responsible for earning ... Maybe circumstances forced him and Satan tempted him, and there is a woman like hell behind him; she never has enough. And behind every man who is a thief, a greedy woman. She is pushing him ... And no matter how much he brings her she wants more.

This makes women responsible for drugs too:

Either she will tell him to go and deal in drugs, or to go and steal ... If you demand from your husband more than his ability, then what does that mean? Who is the one who would have to become a mafia? A gangster? And steal cars? And smash banks? And deal in the "blue disease" [drugs]?

Women are also the ones responsible for adultery:

But in the event of adultery, the responsibility falls 90 per cent of the time with women. Why? Because the woman possesses the weapon of seduction ...

And rape:

She is the one wearing a short dress, lifting it up, lowering it down, then a look, then a smile, then a word, then a greeting, then a chat, then a date, then a meeting, then a crime, then Long Bay Jail, then comes a merciless judge who gives you 65 years.

And for male corruption in general:

That's why Satan says about the woman, "You are half a soldier. You are my messenger to achieve my ends. You are the last weapon I would use to smash the head of the finest men ... Oh, you are my best weapon.

The message? That men are the naturally virtuous sex, and that crime and immorality are to be examined in terms of female culpability.

Which is interesting as we in the West are used to the roles being reversed. It has been common in Australia for women to be thought morally innocent and for men to be assumed to be the agents of immoral behaviour.

For instance, soon after the sheik's speech Rob Moodie of VicHealth released a report on domestic violence (Male myths hard to kill Herald Sun 27/10/06). The gist of this report is that there are a number of dangerous "male myths" about domestic violence which need to be overcome. Included in these "myths" are beliefs that:

1) women might make up complaints of rape
2) women might make up claims of violence to gain an upper hand in custody disputes
3) men and women are equally guilty of domestic violence
4) yelling abuse at a partner is not a serious form of violence against women

What does it mean when we are asked to believe that women would not make up complaints of rape or would not make up claims of violence to gain an upper hand in custody disputes?

It would take an especially fervent belief in the moral culpability of men and the moral innocence of women to believe such claims.

You only have to read the newspapers (and trust your own commonsense) to know that such claims are not true, and that women do make up claims of rape and domestic violence.

In September alone three cases came to light of women making up claims of being raped (see here for more information on false rape claims).

As for men and women being equally guilty of domestic violence, there is considerable evidence that this is, in fact, the case. It's true that there's disagreement about this amongst researchers, but to talk of a "myth" when there is serious academic research in favour of this claim is clearly wrong. (See here for further information).

Finally, there's the issue of yelling. It is possible to imagine scenarios in which yelling really is part of a pattern of domestic violence.

Still, it's understandable that people don't want to make any act of yelling part of a definition of domestic violence, as it's an inevitable part of any relationship.

Doesn't it also defy all sense of reality to believe that yelling in marriage is a one way street in which men are the aggressors and women the victims? It's a pity Rob Moodie didn't read the comments of Penny Biggins in yesterday's Age. When asked by an interviewer "How do you resolve disputes or tensions with your partner?", she replied,

I bellow and scream, possibly rather unattractively, he sits looking mutinous, and then it gets sorted. It's a very effective conflict resolution.

The point I am making here is that Rob Moodie is not really challenging the intellectual framework put forward by Sheik al-Hilaly. Instead, he is being a kind of "mirror sheik" who simply switches the place of men and women within the argument.

It must be possible to arrive at a more subtle kind of position on this issue, than that served up by either Sheik al-Hilaly or Rob Moodie. To argue that women are incapable of acts of violence or deception and that we must always assume that men are the culpable aggressors and women the victims is a crude position to take.

It is no answer to the sheik's unrealistic view that men who commit crimes are the victims of the corrupting influence of women.


  1. While I hold most modern women accountable for following the ideals of feminism, these claims by the sheik seem to paint men as infants – even though he’s arguing for men’s higher status above females.

    It’s contradictory to his argument.

    If men are (as the sheik states) more ethical & moral, then they should have more account of themselves to ‘do the right thing’. If a man lets a woman do to him what the sheik is suggesting that they all do – then I think the men should be held accountable for their ‘own decisions’ in reaction to these ‘tempting’ or ‘badgering’ females. They should have (as the sheik suggests) a higher ethical/moral stance. Whether one blames men’s libido, testosterone or stupidity – it is clear when looking at statistics (and social mannerisms), that the ‘bloom’ of thinking & responsibility has faded off his once masculine rose.

    The sheik’s arguments sound plausible, simple because he states them in a ‘reasonable’ manner – although the two points are often large leaps of faith, rather than followed logic.

    For example;
    “Either she will tell him to go and deal in drugs, or to go and steal ... If you demand from your husband more than his ability, then what does that mean?”

    This is reminiscent of feminists arguing such rare (almost non-existent) scenarios, to validate their unrealistic notion. Women don’t tend to ‘tell’ their men to deal drugs or steal. If anything, it is these traits that women find unattractive in men. But even if men did – what does that say about the man who would listen to such an idiotic woman?

    While I agree on some points the sheik raises, he follows (or proceeds) them with notions that require an unrealistic leap-of-faith. I don’t, for example, believe that women ‘ask’ to be raped – but I do however believe that they are accountable with what they wear, and the ‘attention’ they knowingly attract by willfully dressing ‘sexy’. SEX is implied in the word ‘sexy’, and while most men have a restraint, women should err on the side of caution against the ‘lone-nut’ that is not an average member of society.

    As men are tending to treat women with less-&-less respect nowadays (since feminism has ‘supposedly’ made women tougher & independent) – it is in women’s best interests to note that the moral societal protections once proudly instilled by men to protect the honor and safety of women – is almost non-existent today. Women can proudly claim they ‘don’t need men’ --- but men will always (Always) need sex. A very bad omen for times ahead.

    “But in the event of adultery, the responsibility falls 90 per cent of the time with women. Why? Because the woman possesses the weapon of seduction”

    This is the whole ‘cat-vs-meat’ idea. If women are offended at being referred to as ‘meat’ – then men should equally be grated at being called a ‘cat’. We are adult humans. Again - if men are to believe themselves as morally superior, then they must act accordingly. It’s the same irresponsible argument people give for obesity these days where they blame the ‘temptation’, rather than ‘individual’s’ choice.

    As to the ‘myths’ of domestic violence, I agree.

    “yelling abuse at a partner is not a serious form of violence against women”

    I’d contend that it’s not ANY type of violence at all.

    The problems we are facing in recent times, is the ‘re-definition’ of terms to ‘exaggerate’ certain points of view in the name of control over others. Raising the volume of my speech is violent? – please.

    These so-called ‘strong-independent’ feminists, should grow some ovaries.


  2. Bobby some good points.

    First, you're right about the contradictory portrayal of men in the sheik's speech: they are held to be stronger morally and yet easily swayed into criminal behaviour by women. If they really were strong, they wouldn't be such pushovers.

    Second, I agree when you write that,

    "while most men have a restraint, women should err on the side of caution against the ‘lone-nut’ that is not an average member of society."

    There's been a line run in the media that men have an attitudinal problem which leads to a massive incidence of rape against women.

    Yet the male attitude to rape is clearly a hostile one. Men who rape do so against the male ethos, not because of it.

    Why do a small number of men rape? Sometimes because they are "mentally impaired" (low IQ) and therefore aren't able to exercise the same kind of intellectual restraint.

    But it can also be because they are anti-social, criminal types who simply don't care about following mainstream morality.

    Which means that no amount of "re-education" of men is going to change the fact that there is going to exist some risk of attack.

    That's why most caring people don't like to see women put themselves in vulnerable positions, for instance by being out alone drunk or hitchhiking.

  3. A low IQ may explain someone acting more with impulse/instinct, rather than it being tempered by intellect or reason – although I think there are other levels of our innate natures that complicate matters.

    For example, most women (when talking of wanting ‘real’ masculine men) yearn of times when men were tough, protected women, and had (for want of a better word) – balls. The old stereotype that women go for ‘bad boys’ or ‘nice guys finish last’ – is indicative of what women desire. Most women still prefere the ‘tough’ guy more than the ‘nice’ SNAG, which is observed at women’s dismay at the lack of ‘real men’.

    There are a very small number of societal dysfunctional men on the margins of our culture – (usually in need of medication or a psychiatric institution) – but to suggest that most men are at these extremes is illogical. There would simply be chaos in the streets if this were true. The ‘broad’ truth is, that most women desire ‘real’ men with traditional masculine characteristics. These traditional male characteristics are physical & mental; which are to her advantage in society (safety) – and individually (when he is ‘her man’). Countless times it is observed that a women has a smile on her face at the thought of a man ‘protecting’ her and being practically (and physically) strong on her behalf. The display of testosterone generally turns women on (on the most-part) . Men DON’T (in general) talk about ‘raping’ women – even in private to other men. One would look at you as a pervert or a freak. Women, however, often mentioned how turned on they get at being ‘manhandled’ during sex – or having ‘rape’ fantasies (interpreted by a reasonable person as a domination fantasy) between consenting adults in some type of trusting relationship. It is often observed that one of women’s favourite fantasies is to be ‘bound’ in some way during sex. Whether it is with mild male restraint, or with a silk handkerchief - it manifests itself implicitly. None of this is meant to assume women ‘want’ to be dominated or raped – but that there is a part of women’s nature that finds the ‘strength’ and ‘protection’ (and even ‘force’) of a male - exciting.

    It is observed that women have more fantasies about being dominated by their partner than men do. Men (even culturally) are expected to ‘perform’ or ‘lead’. This is even more prevalent in relationships where much of how the women ‘feels’ rests on the male’s shoulders. He must initiate. He must perform. He must ‘act’ for her.

    It’s an interesting observation on men’s and women’s respective natures and the complications that arise when we attempt to willfully avoid our own innate states. It’s an example of attempting to (Liberally) create our own destiny without regard to our nature or gender.

    If, we as men & women, continue to willfully have our natures/genders as a blindspot in our quest for a fulfilling life (and truth) - then I can only see things getting harder. Men and women used to have an understainding of one-another. A complimentary societal (and person) relationship that worked rather well. Now that relationships are no longer about ‘survival’ (co-operation) – but rather how one ‘feels’ (for and ‘of’ themselves) – it has ceased to be complimentary, and become competitive. Combative. Us against them. Us blaming them.

    It’s been discussed previously – but since feminism cast off men. (ie. “We don’t need you. We can do it on our own”) – followed by the ‘war of the sexes’, where men and women are now ‘against’ each other – men have been told that they are ‘to blame’ for most of women’s woes. Even after allowing feminism to legally have its way (“Yes dear”); men are seen in an even worse light today (mostly because women can’t seem to understand that you can’t ‘hate’ men into ‘loving’ you.). Those men who are socially more ostracized and unstable have started to exhibit unsocial behavior that is on the increase. The more men are continually ‘hated’ – the more men will ‘hate’ back. Our nature is (after all) more suited to violence – particularly when given a reason, (however subjectively skewed) to display it. Incrementally, we are seeing a backlash to feminism as days go on.

    It’s unfortunate, but not surprising.


  4. Further:

    The notion that men and women are at each other’s throats to ‘get’ what they want from each other selfishly, rather than the way we used to (by co-operation) is seen plainly today.

    Without ‘co-operation’; women are now taking money from men (alimony, child-support), while still wanting to be treated ‘romantically’ (being payed for at dinner, etc) where she takes ‘even more’.

    “He” doesn’t respect her anymore where he is increasingly ‘taking’ the sex he desires. He doesn’t care about her needs (just as she doesn’t care for his). In a culture where women’s needs from men required them to give up some ‘control’ to men – and men gave up their promiscuity and ‘worked’ solely for their respective females – it was a reasonable compromise. They both relinquished some power (and rights) to the other person for a greater goal of raising a family and building a society. If we refuse to give up our autonomy in relationships – the catch-phrase being, “I’m scared of ‘just’ being a married woman/man” or “I don’t want to lose my independence” – then we need to realize what the effects are.

    Relationships are generally ‘female-centred’ in their rules. Men tended to abide by them if we valued the woman in our life as long as they gave us control in other areas. Women seem to forget that they are the one’s that desire marriage & monogamy a lot more than men, and as such should have to make the most effort for the relationship/marriage to ‘take’. It used to be a trade off. Men are generally self-sufficient and have less problem being ‘single’ than a woman does. Especially as they get older. Marriage (which used to entice men at their most virile age, and which they’d take responsibility for in their later years) has since been forgotten in feminist’s desire to be independent. It is increasingly ending in sadness when she starts to lose her power of attraction to males in her 30s and beyond. She has become less attractive in her older age (after delaying childbirth and marriage), and is angry at men. What is attractive about her to men now? (Either in character or appearance)?

    If women are not wanting to give up (or give) any ethical solidarity to relationships so they remain ‘independent’ (even in their older years) – then men will react to that lack of co-operation, and women will remain increasingly alone; going from one sex partner to another and ‘feeling’ used.

    There can ONLY be ‘gentlemen’ if there are ‘ladies’.
    - Otherwise men see themselves as fools.

    Today we still ‘want’ something from the opposite sex – but we’ve turned to a ‘liberal’ (subjective) attitude to get it. The long-term rewards are almost non-existent – while the short-term effects are manic & fractured relationships.

    The premise can be viewed in a basic way:
    If feminism (which most women abide by) has made men the enemy for the last 40 years by severing co-operation - then is it surprising when the enemy acts accordingly?


  5. A good post.

    Certainly Hilaly's comments would be very offensive to me if I was a man. If I was a man I'd like to think I have a more sophisticated brain than a cat which enables me to choose not to "eat meat" just because it's in front of me and that I'd be able to consider the ethics of an action before I did it and understand if I rape someone this a crime for which I'm totally responsible.

    The only thing I question abotu your post though Mark; you wrote: Which is interesting as we in the West are used to the roles being reversed. It has been common in Australia for women to be thought morally innocent and for men to be assumed to be the agents of immoral behaviour.

    I don't think it has been common to do this at all. Sure, some people always have ill-considered black-and-white opinions about men or women but they are hardly constitute the mainstream or "common" view.