From bitches to burqas

We in America and other postchristian societies have among us a widespread cadre of libertines whose identity is founded upon crossing the old fuddy-duddy moral boundaries. A voraciously sensuous video-cinema media/web feeds the frenzy of sex obsession that goes viral every time a new star is found among the constellation of party-down celebrity icons.
From Hemingway to Kerouac to Hefner to James Dean, James Bond and  the Jagger blather, through Gurley Brown, gaypride and Gaga, downward toward gahenna, ever-more-permissive westerners celebrate their taboo-busting liberation. Woohoo.

Meanwhile on the other side of the world, Muslims say no thank you to all that western decadence. One way that they public reject our degenerative licentiousness is by seeking to embrace their legalistic Islamic heritage. Women wearing burqa and hajib is the most obious religious practice by which the neo-Islamists publicly refuse to submit to Euro/American hedonism.
As a Christian who has struggled most of my life to resist sexual provocation of all kinds, I can relate to their resistance.

The aidsy-douchy end of our libertine ways takes many forms: sexually transmitted diseases; epidemic abortions; disappearance of  romantic love,  of fidelity and of marriage itself. I came across a video this morning that illustrates how far our descent into the libido inferno has taken us. Its one of those undercover videos stealthily obtained at a Planned Parenthood office in New Jersey by a faking pimp/prostitute due. Its a real ear-opener:
http://www.redstate.com/mdannenfelser/2011/02/01/planned-parenthood-caught-aiding-and-abetting-sex-trafficking-of-minors/

Meanwhile, there are among us a few sycophants who have traveled the paths of liberality and lived to tell about it. Phyllis Chesler, erstwhile feminist/neoconservative shares her concerns today–prompted by the current rumblings in Egypt–about the victimization of women in fundamentalist Islam. She posts an alarm today about the trend among women in Islamic countries back to the burqa and the hajib. She includes some “revealing” photos:
http://www.newsrealblog.com/2011/02/01/am-i-the-only-one-troubled-by-cairo-street-scenes/

The class pictures show, as Phyllis says, “Cairo University graduates in 1959, 1978, 1995, and 2004. Clearly, there is a progression—a regression really, in terms of women’s rights. Former feminist gains have, increasingly, been washed away.”

Most of the students in the earlier pics appear very much like you or I would have dressed for a class portrait in 1959, ’78, or ’95. But the 2004 photo with the Cairo women mostly clothed in burqa and hajib is real eye-opener.

I can see Phyllis’ point about the “Islamization” of women in Muslim cultures. From a democratic standpoint, I share her concern, especially with the looming possibility of the Muslim Brotherhood strongarming their way into power in post-Mubarak Egypt.

On the other hand, the Islamists have a legitimate point. It just could be that  societies function better when women are willing to keep themselves modestly clothed. In that sense, I think the revolution in Egypt, and even the one that happened in Iran, is about more than politics. Its about the clashing worlds of fundamentalism and libertinism.

As for me and where I stand on this–I’m caught in the middle, like many an existentialist post-religiot westerner, and like many an Egyptian citizen standing in Tahrir right now, somewhere between the Muslim  Brotherhood and the Mubarak police.

Glass Chimera

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