Sexism is alive and kicking
Or at least slapping and squeezing.
In an odd seredipity of timing, the controversy over Sheikh Hilali's remarks
saying that just as you wouldn't blame the cat if it ate meat you left out, so too don't blame men if they ogle, fondle, or whatever, women who go out uncovered, coincides with a discussion on my feminist sci fi writers group about sexism and harrassment at science fiction conventions, of all places.
I always expect science fiction fans to be relatively intelligent (for the most part they are) and liberal (again for the most part they are) which would seem to be inconsistent with sexism and especially with sexual harrassment. Yet, there are reports of sexual harrassment taking place and being ignored or winked at during sci fi conventions -- reports that I find credible given what happened to Connie Willis
at this years Hugo Awards.
That science fiction conventions and Egyptian-born imams should share this problem strikes me as clear proof of why we still need a feminist movement. (For those like many in my daughter's generation who think that the feminist movement has succeeded 100% and is no longer relevant or needed.)
I suppose many of the men doing this stuff in sf circles come from an older generation -- one where men could still expect to get away with stuff like this. The circles that spawned Star Trek, where every woman succumbed to the charms James T. Kirk, and the female "officers" wore miniskirts, and distracted miners with exotic fan dances. (Yeah, right, when I'm exploring new planets, give me a practical set of pants please, and no dancing at all!)
Similarly, the mindset of many in the Muslim world is still in the day and age which believed a menstruating woman suddenly becomes less capable than she is when she doesn't have her period (I can't tell you how many books I've read with that claim!), and which accepted as dictum that boys will be boys, even if they are fifty years old.
These two communities -- one that would claim to uphold the purest values, and the other which would claim to uphold the most modern -- make strange bedfellows indeed, and the fact that they are both falling down with regards to women and harrassment points to the need for more work to be done across the board.Islam, Feminism, Science Fiction