Tunisian Woman Sent to a Psychiatric Hospital for Participating in Femen

She posted topless pictures of herself to the Femen Tunisia Facebook page she created, so her parents took her to a psychiatric hospital. That may not be the worst thing that happens to her:

The head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Tunisia, Almi Adel, a Salafi Islamic preacher, has called for Amina to be "stoned to death" for posting the images. He warned that Amina's action could cause "epidemics and disasters" and "could be contagious and give ideas to other women." Media reports say Tunisian secular law would punish her with up to two years in prison.

I tend to be a little skeptical of Femen because their protests verge on grandstanding and their agenda seems confused or unfocused. Lately, though, I'm starting to wonder if it might be just the right kind of protest for the parts of the world in which the group is most active.

Saudi Arabia King Swears in First Women on Shura Council

Although the council is appointed, not elected, and serves only as an advisory board with no legislative power, I’d still call this good news.

The monarch, seen as a proponent of gradual reform, has also granted women the right to vote and stand in the next municipal elections, scheduled for 2015.

Some Saudi clerics have criticised allowing women onto the Shura Council, saying it was against Sharia (Islamic law).

The king said he had consulted religious scholars, who had approved the move, before he made the appointments in January.

I’d love a world where Saudi Arabian women don’t need the permission of religious leaders to participate in government, but I’ll take what I can get, and it looks like King Abdullah will, too.

Via the Feminist Majority Foundation blog.

Egypt's Sexual Terrorism

Last month, the United Nations issued a statement expressing “deep concern” after more than two dozen women reported they had been sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square—in some cases, with extraordinary violence—during demonstrations marking the two-year anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. […]

On Monday, the human rights commission for the Islamist-dominated Shura Council held a press conference, provocatively stating that women are to blame for sexual assaults against them. Women “know they are among thugs,” said Adel Afify, a member of the committee representing the ultra-conservative Asala Party. “They should protect themselves before requesting that the Interior Ministry does so. By getting herself involved in such circumstances, the woman bears 100 percent responsibility.” Another member of the council alleged that the tents at protest sites encourage “prostitution.”

Protesters gathering to demonstrate against the surge in incidents of rape are refusing to be cowed by this sort of rhetoric, but they’re fighting an institutionalized misogyny. This war will not be over by Christmas.

Ask Your Father, Dear

Single women in Iran will need the permission of their guardians to be able to leave the country if a new bill secures enough votes in parliament.

At the moment, unmarried women and men above the age of 18 can leave the country if they have a passport but, according to the new bill, single women would need official consent from their guardian, usually their father.

Married women in Iran always need their husband’s permission to be able to hold a passport both under the current legislation that dates back to the pre–1979 Islamic revolution and under the proposed bill.

Iran has also introduced legislation that will authorize the creation of a system for assigning an actual monetary value to each individual female, to further reinforce the fact that women are just property for men to administer as they see fit.[1]

  1. Just me talking aloud for the collective Iranian male subconscious.  ↩

Women in Indonesian City Banned from Straddling Motorbikes in Sharia Crackdown

Women in the Indonesian city of Lhokseumawe have been banned from straddling motorbikes because of fears that it distracts men drivers.

Civic leaders in Aceh province, which is ruled by strict sharia law, have launched a crackdown on what they say are un-Islamic practices.

A culture whose men get distracted when they see a woman sitting with her legs apart while riding a motorcycle or bicycle may have more serious problems.

The mayor told the Jakarta Globe that behaviour and morals were straying from Aceh’s Islamic cultural values.

“We want to save women from things that will cause them to violate shariah law. We wish to honour women with this ban because they are delicate creatures,” he said.

Totally. Remember that time I wanted to honor a woman, so I started bossing her around and forbidding her from doing very reasonable things?

Via The Frisky.

The Purpose of the Wali

Nahida adamantly—and hilariously—explains exactly why no Muslim woman needs a male official to give her away and certify that her marriage was consensual.

You don’t want to start thinking about which of our modern wedding rituals have their roots in the concept of woman as property. You really don’t.

Okay, fine. It’s all of them. Give or take.

Libya’s Women Fight for Constitutional Voice

Despite playing a significant role in the revolution last year, Libyan women are now struggling to stay relevant, retain positions of power or influence, and further their agenda:

Each setback—from a woman presenter who, hosting a ceremony in August before the new parliament, was forced off the podium because her head wasn’t covered, to a militia in Benghazi harassing a women’s conference—prompts more women to return to private life. That’s a far cry from the heady days following the revolution when women believed they would gain widespread acceptance because of their significant roles in the uprising, from the perilous smuggling of guns and medicines to organizing media outreach overseas.

Now it seems that the committee being formed to write Libya’s new constitution will likely contain only a very few women instead of the 20 it should contain. People may have rebelled against an oppressive government, but not enough people are rebelling against an oppressive patriarchy.

"Ghagh": The Pashtun Word for "Everything Is The Worst"

One of the side effects of reading lots of feminist news is the near-daily discovery of information that will make you temporarily miserable. Today, it’s “Ghagh”:

Gul Ghotai has bitter memories of the day her suitor proposed marriage. The reason? This was no ordinary proposal but one made under an ancient Pashtun custom called “ghagh” that entitles a man to force his marriage proposal on a woman.

Once invoked, ghagh—which means “a call”—can have various outcomes, none of them happy for the woman. She might end up being married against her will, or stay single for life, or see her family drawn into a dangerous, lingering feud.

The Taliban Strikes Again

Another schoolgirl gunned down for somehow threatening the Taliban’s regime. This time it was Anisa, a 10th-grader helping with the administration of the polio vaccine at her school, and this time, she died.

The Taliban, you see, is against polio immunizations–which, of course, could save some of their own children from a lifetime of paralysis. But they choose to believe that the health campaign is a coverup for espionage, as was the CIA-backed fake hepatitis vaccine campaign that was run in the town where Osama Bin Laden was suspected of being holed up in order to collect DNA samples and locate children of the Al Qaeda mastermind.

How long?

Teenage Girl Beheaded in Afghanistan By Would-Be Suitors

Her father thought she was too young to get married, so he turned down their marriage proposal.

The victim, named as Gisa, was decapitated with a knife in the Imam Sahib district of Kunduz province on Tuesday, local police said. She is believed to be around 15-years-old.

A police spokesman said two men, named as Sadeq and Massoud, had been arrested following the teenage girl’s murder.

At least an arrest has been made. Read the full article for plenty of additional information not only about this particular case but about the ongoing oppression of women in Afghanistan.