Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Phoenix: SIMAN

Siman (left): born in Somalia, practicing Muslim, went to Howard University, works for the public health department, a single mom raising her daughter, Safiya. Does not identify as a feminist.

“I came into fundamentalist Islam in order to get back to basics.” I told my Marxist parents, 'You’re for the proletariat? Well, the proletariat believes in God'...[Eventually] Islam bumped up against my core beliefs….when you get down to the barebones of Islam, women are just NOT equal. I actually started thinking [as a woman], ‘Am I less? This can’t be.’ But it’s hard to give up my religion and culture. It’s a pull of allegiances.”

Discussion Questions:

Question 1
Question 2


Leticia said...

Siman - thanks for speaking out on behalf of us single mommies of color!

Violeta Antonette said...

I really believe in what she said that when you're culture is under attack, gender inequality doesn't seem to be as high priority, if at all. This is what me and Isis were saying. It's just interesting though that when your culture is under attack BECAUSE it is displaying or promoting gender inequality. But even then you have to keep asking why is this the case until you get to the core. In which i think the answer is that most societies (so u could ALMOST say universally) are male dominated. So it almost seems like its a fact that you have to just deal with the status that you've been given. But the activist in me and that I think is in everyone when conciousness is raised, is that it's not true. You dont have to *deal* with the place you've been given. You can fight for the place that you feel you deserve.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why race should always trump sex, perhaps because I am not a person of color. What percentage of the world belong to people of your culture? Now, how many people belong to your sex? I see any woman as my sister, but then again I realize my views are different from most peoples'.

I understand that some people are at peace adhering to traditional gender roles but many of us are not. I am much happier embracing some androgyny than being confined to a traditional gender norm. I can't help but say I am disappointed to hear that she has accepted her religion wholeheartedly without asking, "Why does my religion say this?" (No, I'm not attacking her because she's muslim as most religions are male dominated). For the past few centuries religions dominated by men have done a lot of harm to women. I respect everyone's religious freedom but I'm also afraid religious beliefs will infringe on my rights (i.e. abortion rights, marriage rights, etc.)

I appreciate hearing your thoughts, Siman.


Susan said...

There are more WOMEN on this planet altogether than there are white women, black women, or any other race of women, and the more we recognize this commonality, the more the problems of race will fade into the background.

GIRLdrive said...

just to clarify for siman's sake--she did question her religion and realized that it conflicted with her cores beliefs as a woman and as a human in many ways...but religion is one of the main debates where feminism is concerned and i think it's important to keep tackling it.


Anonymous said...

I will take the feminist desire for equality seriously when they demand the right to be drafted alongside men.

Anonymous said...

Who says they aren't? I would gladly be drafted alongside men if it meant I would be treated equally under the law.

Leticia said...

SUsan wrote: There are more WOMEN on this planet altogether than there are white women, black women, or any other race of women, and the more we recognize this commonality, the more the problems of race will fade into the background.

I personally don't want the problems of race to "fade" away. Mexicans being lynched in Texas shouldn't fade away, blacks being lynched in the South shouldn't fade away. As a person of color I don't want race to fade away I want it to be acknowledged and embraced as a benefit. Being race conscious does not need to be seen as being separatist. It's extremely insulting to hear good liberals talk about race in a Can't We All Just Forget About It and Get Along vein because I know I can't forget about it. I know when someone sees my name on an application they won't forget about it. I know when I am told I'm not like those 'other' Mexicans/Puerto Ricans/whatever Latino group they've designated me to--that race is not forgotten. You can't have an honest dialogue about race and what it means in this society with an attitude of forgive and forget.