Ugliness of a beauty contest A couple of days back I suggested here that it would be interesting to see which way the National Organization of Women would go on the Nigerian anti-Miss World riots. Jill Nelson is hardly NOW but she makes my point:
"What this is really about is men protecting men’s domination of women across geography and religion to perpetuate the tyranny of an acceptable womanhood created and enforced by men."
Well, no. What it is about is the surge of the 13th century's view of what is acceptable in defence of Islam. Murdering people in the street and burning churches has nothing at all to do with male/female issues.
Nelson's wonderfully even handed conclusion is:
"While I’m well aware of both the real impact and profound symbolism of exporting Western values, standards and most of all products, around the world as part of globalization, I don’t believe that Muslim or Christian men are really concerned about the rights of women. As far as I’m concerned it’s equally disrespectful and abusive to have women prancing around a stage in bathing suits for cash or walking the streets shrouded in burkas in order to survive."
The point she misses or choses to ignore is the bathing suit clad women are volunteers. We might not like their choice but it is theirs to make. The women in burkas risk beatings or even death at the hands of Islamist religious police. No Western woman who declines to participate in the Miss World Contest will have either the state or the mullahs flail or stone her.
Ms. Nelson calls for what she lamely describes as,
"Certainly there must be a way for us to join in a discussion of how we believe the world can become more fair and equitable. If nothing else, we must raise our voices and declare that there must be an end to intolerance and violence."
Such as discussion can only be joined when people like Ms. Nelson stop making specious moral equivilancies between bathing suited volunteers and burka bound slaves and the societies which produce either.