Tuesday, November 14, 2006
  Sexism is alive and kicking
Or at least slapping and squeezing.

In an odd seredipity of timing, the controversy over Sheikh Hilali's remarks saying that just as you wouldn't blame the cat if it ate meat you left out, so too don't blame men if they ogle, fondle, or whatever, women who go out uncovered, coincides with a discussion on my feminist sci fi writers group about sexism and harrassment at science fiction conventions, of all places.

I always expect science fiction fans to be relatively intelligent (for the most part they are) and liberal (again for the most part they are) which would seem to be inconsistent with sexism and especially with sexual harrassment. Yet, there are reports of sexual harrassment taking place and being ignored or winked at during sci fi conventions -- reports that I find credible given what happened to Connie Willis at this years Hugo Awards.

That science fiction conventions and Egyptian-born imams should share this problem strikes me as clear proof of why we still need a feminist movement. (For those like many in my daughter's generation who think that the feminist movement has succeeded 100% and is no longer relevant or needed.)

I suppose many of the men doing this stuff in sf circles come from an older generation -- one where men could still expect to get away with stuff like this. The circles that spawned Star Trek, where every woman succumbed to the charms James T. Kirk, and the female "officers" wore miniskirts, and distracted miners with exotic fan dances. (Yeah, right, when I'm exploring new planets, give me a practical set of pants please, and no dancing at all!)

Similarly, the mindset of many in the Muslim world is still in the day and age which believed a menstruating woman suddenly becomes less capable than she is when she doesn't have her period (I can't tell you how many books I've read with that claim!), and which accepted as dictum that boys will be boys, even if they are fifty years old.

These two communities -- one that would claim to uphold the purest values, and the other which would claim to uphold the most modern -- make strange bedfellows indeed, and the fact that they are both falling down with regards to women and harrassment points to the need for more work to be done across the board.

Islam, Feminism, Science Fiction
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Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too.
MoveOn.org. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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