Tomorrow, October 26, women of Saudi Arabia will take to the streets in their cars in a mass protest against the taboo that forbids them from driving. The current prohibition isn’t a matter of Islamic law. What women are facing is a long held prejudice that presumes driving is a privilege reserved for males. http://news.yahoo.com/top-saudi-cleric-says-women-drive-risk-damaging-092329183.html To defend that prejudice, some men have no qualms about ignoring science. Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohidan, a judicial adviser to an association of Gulf psychologist, insists a woman shouldn’t drive because to do so endangers her reproductive organs. (Ibid)
That the Sheikh fails to be humiliated by his breathtaking ignorance is overshadowed only by his assumption that women know less about their ovaries than he does. Still some men will go to any lengths to maintain their dominance. In the United States there are those who oppose the Affordable Care Act primarily because it gives women access to birth control – not abortions but access to preventative measures that allow them to chose when and if they have children. (NOW President Terry O’Neill in her 9/30/13 statement to members.)
Even the hallowed halls of one of our most prestigious universities are not exempt from prejudice. Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s first female president, attempted to stem the decline of women enrollment in the MBA program by instituting changes to attract more of them. Her reforms were successful and the grade disparity between male and female students evaporated. Unfortunately, some male students were unhappy with the changes, describing them as tantamount to attending grammar school. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/08/education/harvard-case-study-gender-equity.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 One even complained that assertive women were unattractive. (Ibid)
As for the Sheikh and men like him who pretend that females are frail and need protection, I remind them that women are tough enough to have given birth and raised every person on this planet. What’s more, the human race is thriving and in no danger of extinction. Please, gentlemen, don’t attempt to use our biology against us. As to the man who finds a woman with brains intimidating, he should worry about his own. Lighten up guys. If you’d stop trying to remake women according to your image, you might find you like us exactly as we are.
(Originally published, Octo. 25, 2013)
(Courtesy of www.brianmoneypenny.com)