By Sahar El-Nadi
In a women’s meeting I attended recently, where those present came from different nationalities and backgrounds. The discussion took a turn towards comparing our childhoods as little girls, to those of the present generation, and what horrifying things we read in the world news about girl gangs, Ladettes (masculine girls), and soaring crime rates committed by girls. We all had the same question:
Whatever Happened to Girls?
One of the ladies present told us how her cute 3-year-old daughter loved to play violent video games with her older brother and beat him at it, and how she would only buy ugly lizards and snakes as toys instead of dolls. Another expressed disgust at seeing the picture of celebrity’s toddler strutting around in silver high-heals and her daughter demanding the same from her. However, the scariest part of the discussion by far was about the sadistic crimes committed by young girls around the world. Of course this has to be seen in the context of rising crime rates in general, resulting from a multitude of factors including drugs, violent TV, and unemployment. Yet, the truth is that what was once almost impossible among the “gentle” sex has now become a shocking fact of life.
Was this Really what Feminism Was All About?
Feminist pioneers who fought for equal rights for women probably never imagined that one outcome would be equal wrongs by women. Yet that is precisely what has happened.
According to Home Office statistics in (UK), crimes committed by girls aged between ten and 17 have shot up by 25% over a three-year period. Murders committed by girls are often sickeningly sadistic. For example: rival girl gangs were reported to use snooker balls in socks to batter each other in a mass brawl at a railway station in West Sussex.. A 15-year-old girl was jailed for using a mobile phone to film two drunken teenage male friends beating a man to death in West Yorkshire. A gang of teenage girls stoned a 72-year-old woman and forced her into a busy road, leaving her with a broken nose and two black eyes. Two 15-year-old girls murdered 71-year-old lady, binding her mouth so tightly that her false teeth were pushed down her throat, and giggled as they wheeled her body through the streets before throwing it into a canal. Then a girl gang was found guilty of murdering a mentally-ill woman after torturing her.
Of course, most girls would not engage in such horrible crimes. Yet it is highly disturbing that so many are now committing such acts of savagery.
Equality vs. ‘Identicality’
Feminism regarded masculinity as a problem. Men were seen as aggressive, emotionally illiterate and unfairly monopolizing work opportunities, while being so evil as to shut women off from a world of choices awaiting them by keeping them ‘chained’ to kitchen sinks instead. The equality agenda pushed through modern feminism defines equal rights as 'identicality'. The notion that men and women behaved differently because they had different roles in life was suddenly sexist, and discriminatory, it was propagated as an “evil” male chauvinist agenda, designed solely to control women in a patriarchal society. Equality according to feminism meant that men and women had to lead identical lives, with identical responsibilities, and consequently identical pressures.
Yet, did this really make women any happier?
Are ‘Librated Women’ Any Happier Than Their Grandmothers?
Actually, the more women have achieved -by those feminist standards- the more they seem aggrieved. According to the General Social Survey, tracking Americans’ mood since 1972, and five other major studies around the world, women are getting gloomier and men are getting happier. Women certainly got the worse deal, since they were required to play two roles instead of one: that of women inside the home, and that of men outside.
Women, under the feminist revolution, ‘won’ the freedoms of the masculine world, while men were pushed into an identity crisis, so visible today in the “feminized” dress style, attitude, and social roles assigned to men, as if in “punishment” to the evil male.
While women are encouraged to boast being “equal breadwinners”, men are encouraged to “get in touch with their feminine side”, and while boys are taught from kindergarten to adopt a soft attitude, girls are taught at the same early age to be bold and aggressive. Consequently, they grow to hold a self-centered approach to the world. for teenaged girls, their female role models in movies, video games or rap music increasingly glorify being “tough” and even violent, while in parallel pushing an increasingly provocative (to use a polite expression) appearance as the only “cool” look for modern women, regardless of pubic decency or family opinion, as a “right” girls and women should fight for.
As a result, more women in civilized countries look down upon their roles as wives and mothers; they want nothing to do with those duties. Instead, they demand free sexual relations without long term commitment; they raise children without their fathers, and engage in same sex marriage, all under the sign of “women’s rights”. Have the duties on offer by women to society disappeared?
Reality is that girls and women are actually more confused now than ever about their roles in life. Combined with the men’s identity crisis, and their sudden lack of purpose and responsibility, we are looking at a very serious social problem.
In the past, girls learnt to control their behaviour to reflect an image of decency and good upbringing; this was their way to attract equally decent men. However, now they are told that they do not need anyone’s opinion, in fact who need men at all, when women could marry their girlfriends, and get sperm donations to have a baby with no strings attached?
Girls Will Be Boys
As the brakes on girls’ behaviour have been taken off, they constantly set out to prove how to be “one of the boys” through outrageous behavior, including bad language, tasteless outfits, and consuming intoxicants. Violent crimes have to result from such corruption of nature, but what is worse is that such corrupted hearts and minds are not fit to mother the next generation, nor are they expected to be successful career women either! A successful person is a confident, focused, disciplined individual, and those poor girls have no idea what those characteristics even mean.
The original middle-class 19th-century feminist pioneers fought for women's rights in a society where they really were second-class citizens. Their feminism wanted women to play an equal role in public because they believed that women's superior moral virtues - sobriety, chastity, self-discipline - would civilize public life. Now look what has been brought into the world instead.
Equity vs. Equality in Islam
As a Muslim, I’m sad to see more women in my part of the world racing down the same steep path to jump off same cliff. The Qur’an makes it very clear that God the Creator made men and women different, which equipped them to play different roles as complimentary team members, rather than competitors. It advocates the notion of ‘equity’ rather than equality, which is the equal measure of rights and responsibilities for both sexes (sorry, I don’t use the word “gender”!) while taking into consideration their unique physical, psychological and biological needs and preferences. This to me as a modern woman is a much fairer deal.
No one wants to deprive women of their rights, but we must recognize that freedom never meant the degradation of women, and that equality is not 'identicality'. Women bring unique gifts and values to the world, and restoring family values to the modern society would make men, women and children happier - and cut crime as well.
It is both sad and shocking to read in the news that the police in England had investigated a three-year-old boy for disorder and vandalism, making him the youngest suspect in a British criminal inquiry. The toddler is among 10 children aged five and under investigated for crimes, including sexual offences.
There is no doubt that depriving children of the love, security and discipline resulted in the lack of balanced personalities we see today. Yet, who exactly is responsible for this deprivation?
Sahar El-Nadi is Egyptian currently based in Cairo. She majored in Management and Culture and has worked in people-focused careers, including presenting TV programs; as an instructor in communication skills; cross cultural issues; and localization consulting for international educational projects. She has extensive experience in multinational e-communities, with award winning online projects.
Sahar El-Nadi was recently selected as one of the Women Leaders for the World by the business school at the University of Santa Clara, California, in recognition to her work in promoting cross-cultural understanding.