Wars on the sexes

I am leaving tomorrow for a three weeks vacation. I was meditating on the ephemeral characteristic of the news that account for events which are shaping every day our lives, our destiny, and future generations. A request sent to me by a colleague blogger for an article published in le Monde Diplomatique on the Hariri tribunal two days ago left me wondering, on the eve of my departure, if the article did not reach her, could I still send it in three weeks from now without the information appearing obsolete in the pandemonium of whatever will make the news headlines in the coming days ? The answer to my question isn't an easy one. Because lots of news are killing the news. Because we forgot Jenine, Beit Hanoun, last summer Israeli agression on Lebanon. We forgot the cluster bombs dropped by Israel on south Lebanon, the peasants who aren't able to go to their fields and harvest their olives in the south, the children who died with their parents under the rubble of the second Israeli war on Lebanon. We even seem to forgot the Lebanese March 14th many 'martyrs', allgedly killed by 'Syrian' carbombs, the Winograd report, and the 'divine' victory. Our news today in Lebanon are Nahr El-Bared and the struggle that is going on between the Lebanese army on one side and three hundred militants of a Sunni extremist organisation which infiltrated the Palestinian camp with the help of those who sent the army after them.

In the middle of my baggages, notes and letters written to my daughter, who is following a week behind us, to the neighbors, to the gardener, to the tax administration, to the dog sitter, to the nurse who is taking care of my father, to friends, brothers, sister in law, colleagues... In the middle of the books I am reading which will be following me on my vacations, one news item I had heard about three days before struck me as a paradigm for how western media deal with news today; hymenoplasty for Muslim and Arab women. I have had enough hearing and reading about the subject and its relation to cultures, values, Islam and the west. Within 24 hours, I had acess to two informations about the design of the sexe of women, Muslim and western women, in order to please men, one made the news and continue to make the news and another went unnoticed and will continue to go unnoticed. On CBC's As It Happens, retransmitted lately on CBC's The Current, French doctor and chairman of the college of gynecologists, Jacques Lansac was launching his national crusade against Hymenoplasty in the name of the French revolution values, secularism, women's rights, and the threat of Muslim fundamentalism, followed by an interview with Muslim basher Irshad Manji. Enough I said to myself and I stopped the radio. Why Muslim fundamentalism ? Because, according to Dr. Lansac, Muslim fundamentalist culture values virginity. So young women who have had sexual relationships outside marriage ask for the surgery secretly under pressures from parents and relatives and their society's values in order to be able to marry inside their culture. Well I don't want to disappoint Mr. Lansac but this cultural meme is not specific to Islam and the Arab world, but to Christian women in the ME, Latin America, and Buddhist women in Korea as it seems...
Although it has to do with male domination, it is not specific to male domination in Islam. Googling the term provided me with a wealth of information about the procedure including its popularity in the West where it is adopted by western women as a way of rejuvenating and retrieving a young vagina to offer to their boyfriends and husbands. It seems that the trend in plastic surgery has moved from lips, to faces, to breasts, to the hymen and vagina. Hymenoplasty is only a part of a complete redesign of the woman's sexual organ inlcuding the vagina and the labia. It is not done in the west to obey some social rules but deliberately to retrieve a lost 'innocence'. But isn't cutting the labia like genital mutilation done this time by western women to please western men ?
And now look at the goole page for Hymenoplasty again, except what is in relation to Mulsim and Arab women, the rest is not news. We never hear about the rest on radio talk shows, in newspapers, from western secular crusaders. Why isn't Hirsi Ali protesting the procedure ?

So why Dr. Lansac should on tuesday be heard on the subject of Muslim women virginity on an English speaking radio in north America and why the same radio who rebroadcasted the interview two days later in another program wouldn't be reached by or cannot reach the news that vaginal surgery is very popular among anglo-saxon women ? Because within 24 hours one can read in the French daily liberation about the subject under the title 'Les anglo-saxonnes très sexe design'. And why those who are condemning the practice of hymenoplasty in Muslim women as degrading would not condemn the marketing of the same technique, this time not in the name of social and cultural conventions but in the name of our contemporary obsession with youth and all things superficial ? And why France's gynecologists are appealing to Enlightenment, secularism, and Reason to avert the practice among Muslim women while staying silent on the same practice among western women ?

Lets face this fact, the news today are made of pieces of subjective information verging on prejudice, highlighted as objective information and humanitarian values. Amplified by different media, they spread unquestioned and attain instantly the status of objective information, for a day, a week, a month, or much longer, as long as they are maintained in the sytem. Once they disappear, other 'news' items will replace them so we forgot about them simply because they never reach ou reason, thinking and knowledge system. They affect us momentarily without tranforming us. There is good and bad in this way of making the news. The good is we end up forgetting all the crap we are served on mainstream media. The bad is we retain nothing for ourselves, no knowledge, no permanent intellectual transformation, and so we are maintained in a state of dependance, because we still want to know...The other bad aspect of this way of delivering the news is the present unrestrained charge on Islam and especially men in Islam, because everybody seem to protect Muslism women. Don't you see a sexism here not from Muslim men but actually from western society ? Don't you see here the unhealthy obsession the west has developed over the sexe of the Muslim woman where it competes there with the Muslim man ? Worse, we have here entire corps of Muslim bashers composed of journalists, writers, public figures, media channels specialised in different parts of the sexe of the Muslim woman; hymen, vagina, labia, etc...while poor western women and their quest for eternal youth and sexual pleasure go unnoticed, nobody cares...

Since 9/11 Islam is the news item number one and the obsession with it goes down to the sexes of Muslim women. As the ADL leader seems to think that Islam is the root of all evil, I understand the west's obsession with the sexe of muslim women as a concern for what might come out from it. While Muslim extremism is actually a restricted phenomenon that can be contained if there is a political will, the west's obsession with Muslim women and their sexes is creating a prejudice that has alaready attained proportions out of control and this, we may fairly assume, seems to be the product of a clear political will converging from all strata of western society...

P.S: Blog layout has changed and I must thank the Two Wolves blog for lending me an adage, which is his family's coat of arms, Toujours le même, Always the same or, 'Always Myself'. You can find it on the upper left corner of the blog page sitting on the blog title. I may post some articles and pictures during my three weeks vacation starting tomorrow. Don't forget to go to my right side link bar where you can find a selection of articles on this blog as well as wonderful bloggers I read and appreciate.
Take care...


Anonymous said...

excellent article. I'm also glad you did not blame any ofthese problems on Zionists like you always do.

Sophia said...

I did, you did not click on all the links.

Ann said...


A thoughtful and thought-provoking post pointing out the double standards on hymenoplasty.

Enjoy your vacation and hope to read more from you.


Since March 29th 2006