What Will Women Get From All This ‘Squawking’ About Sex Pests? Male Crocodile Tears

peter hitchens

Behold the fat, glistening tear-drop of Peter Hitchens’ that spells the demise of male privilege. The fall of Harvey Weinsten and now the Westminster sexual harassment scandal has prompted a deluge of tears from men mourning the loss of their power. “With great power comes great responsibility”, said Uncle Ben from Spider-man. That poignant chunk of wisdom appears to have sailed straight over the heads of some men in power, who instead have abused that responsibility as a vehicle to grope women.

Pre- Harvey Weinstein, it probably never occurred to these men in power sat on their thrones built on the cloudy plumes of their egos, that they would have to think twice about staying their wandering hands. But now the question rattling the minds of every Harvey Weinstein, seedy politician and average misogynistic Joe of the world is: “To grope, or not to grope?” That is indeed the question. It’s this thought that is eating away at the minds of the likes of Daily Mail columnist Peter Hitchens, whose article published yesterday is the perfect example in which to see the unfurling of male egos at the mere thought of emboldened women owning the narrative and speaking out against their abusers. As the Arabic adage goes, ‘A woman’s voice is a revolution’, and it’s this voice, bold and resolute, that is right now the mother of all male crocodile tears and crumbling male egos.

The unfathomable leap Hitchens makes in his article from the Westinster sexual harassment scandal to the Niqab is almost as absurd as Daily Mail readers going red-faced over Nadiya Hussain celebrating Christmas: It’s just downright bonkers. Apparently, if you’re a modern liberal calling out sexual harassment, you have something in common with a ‘militant Islamist’ who wants to gender segregate and cover the entire planet with a Niqab (face veil). On the one hand Hitchens’ ‘old fashioned’ and ‘prudish Victorian’ sensibilities are incensed by the seediness that has gripped gender relations in our country, a direct result of the big bogey-woman that is equality and the F-word that is feminism. On the other, he lambasts the ‘Islamic world’ (as if Islam functioned on an entirely different planet), a world where the merry mixing of the sexes without black shrouds, physical contact and (God forbid) handshakes, is not permitted. He laments the demise of the ‘old code’ of the Victorian world where women were made to wear excruciating corsets, every Mrs Bennet was eagerly seeking a suitable arranged marriage for her daughters, and romantic sophistry in public went as far as talking about the weather as a kind of sexual innuendo or exchanging longing, smouldering glances with your intended in-between synchronised dances. That society was sexual repression incarnate. Brits weren’t exactly blasting the Victorian equivalent of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’ on the streets. If you’re struggling to visualise all this, you need only watch a Jane Austen period drama to get a sense of what I’m saying.

The sheer irony is that it’s inflammatory views like Hitchens’ that are on par with that of this phantom ‘militant Islamist’ (a multi-syllabic word which sounds more like it is supposed to confuse and stoke fear than it sheds light on the situation). Like many, Hitchens has jumped onto the very modish bandwagon of misogyny combined with big, bad Islamophobia. There’s nothing quite like killing two squawking birds with one stone now, is there? His joking suggestion that the Niqab is a panacea to the plague of sexual assaults that have been a reality of women’s lives since time immemorial, sounds like the plot-line to a far-right dystopian novel which involves a Muslim Freddie Kruger as the anti-protagonist and terrified men fleeing into the night. Why throw women under the bus when you can throw visibly Muslim women who wear the Niqab under the victim-blaming bus as well? Hitchens need only speak to an actual rape victim or a visibly Muslim woman who has also been subject to sexual assault to know it’s not clothing that draws in a perpetrator, it’s the perpetrator. Period. Of course this will be a shock to his prudish Victorian ways, but there’s no time like the present to break that Islamophobia fortified, misogynistic echo-chamber. As for the image, how Orientalist – I mean original. Never mind it’s a stock-image that looks more like a screenshot from a makeup tutorial promoting a cosmetic brand to get the smoky, kohl-lined eyes of Angelina Jolie. It’s the same tiresome conveyor belt of click-bait stereotypes and images used to feed the hungry masses who internalise these narrow conceptions of Muslim women and project them onto living, breathing human beings.

With so much mansplaining from men advising how and if women should speak out about sexual assault, to quote Nigel Farage’s favourite adjective, what exactly is the ‘proper’ way for women to make it obvious that we don’t give consent to a man’s roving hands drawn into the sanctuary of our bodies? If we were to shout “YOUR GROPING HAND SHALL NOT PASS!” with the baritone gusto of Gandalf the Grey, or better yet clobber the fool square in the face, (the mantra ‘fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee’ comes to mind), I’ll wager we would get accused of being bullish and manly faster than you can say ‘Margaret Thatcher’. In short, there is no easy way to avoid treading on frail male egos erected on a foundation of making women feel inferior. So stampede we must.

Hitchens is not alone in his diatribe against the growing number of women who are becoming emboldened to speak out. Telegraph columnist Charles Moore, who by-and-by is “praying women share power with men, not crush us”, is male privilege incarnate. I can imagine his hands clasped tightly, a glistening halo circling above his head as he fervently prays an army of Boudicca’s and Amazonian warriors don’t crush the patriarchy with their iron fist of egalitarian justice. I hope he never comes across Beyoncé’s ‘Who Run The World Girls’. He might just have a cardiac arrest envisaging the matriarchal world she created in that music video.

Now a revolution is afoot, led by the women who bravely came forward, the Tamara Burkes and the Rose McGowans of the world, not forgetting the many, many women who haven’t come forward. In the title of his article, Hitchens asks ‘What will women gain from all this ‘squawking’ about sex pests?’ Well Peter, for one thing, accountability. For too long men have lived with impunity, assaulting women as they see fit for little than a fleeting gain of sadistic pleasure on their part, and a life-time of trauma inflicted on their victims. Speaking out won’t stop sex assaults to be sure, but if the shocking number of women coming forward signals the death-rattle of the toxic culture of victim-blaming that has silenced women for so long, I for one will happily lend myself to the cause. You say the future generations will laugh at us as we lose ourselves in the kerfuffle. I say they will glower with pride as they look back at how hard we fought to create a world where no means no, and your actions have consequences, no matter your status in the world.

Advertisements

Dear Muslim Brother Who Utters “Astaghfirullah” As I Walk Past

ma5h8

As I passed by you earlier today, you spat out astaghfirullah (I seek refuge in God) with the ferocity of a Muslamic MC, simultaneously shaking your head from side to side like the dog in that Churchill car insurance advert.

Why may I ask, did you do this?

I find your use of terminology, to put it lightly, very puzzling; puzzling like why David Cameron won the 2015 General Election, or puzzling like why Zayn Malik left One Direction.

Are my sartorial choices that un-Islamic to you that you seek redemption from God on my behalf?

Perhaps there was something wrong with the physical aesthetic of my hijab.

Did I violate the unofficial code of conduct for Acceptable Hijab Wrapping Standards (2015), by wrapping my hijab around my head ancient Egyptian mummy style?

Were there too many pins stuck in my head, so that I resembled a walking pin cushion, or worse, a voodoo doll?

Maybe it was the Iranian hijab style I adopt, which makes me look rather like a female reincarnation of Elvis Presley wearing a hijab, what with my hair jutting out like a quiff at the front.

I flatter myself, but perhaps the sight of my beauty was so spell binding, so breathtaking, that you were attempting to dispel lustful ergo totes haram (forbidden) thoughts that erupted into your mind.

But a word of sisterly advice if I may, my dear Brother.

If your intention was to compliment my beauty, why on earth did you use astaghfirullah?

There are many Muslamic alternatives for you to incorporate into your vocabulary, if you want to win the heart of a lady with religious rhetoric.

Instead of astaghfirullah, why not subhanallah (glory be to God), inshallah (God willing), or better yet, mashallaaaaaaaaah (God willed it)?

It is a fact universally acknowledged that every Muslim woman has received at least one elongated mashallaaaaaah from a cat-calling Brother during her lifetime, but alas! There has been little evidence to suggest such interactions have blossomed into fruitful Hollywoodesque romance and ultimately marriage, the first albeit final pit stop of these said romances.

But believe me when I say that unless you want a woman to think you are a senior member of the Haraam Police, mashallah is a far superior alternative to astaghfirullah.

Yes, I know. Society likes to portray us Muslims as one giant convent of medieval monks and nuns, spending our lives separated from the opposite sex as if they were the bubonic plague. The fact that Muslim’s are equally culpable of this makes you feel as if romantic eloquence of the tongue can only be acquired through what you perceive to be the ‘halal’ (or permissible) pickup line that is astaghfirullah.

But to quote something a wise Shaykha by the name of Taylor Swift once said, “Haters gonna hate.” Muslims are and certainly can be just as romantic as anyone else.

Sure, we might not have Muslim equivalents of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan starring in romantic comedies such as ‘Sleepless in the Masjid’, to guide us through our tumultuous romantic lives.

But if anything, the vast number of halal pickup lines we 21st century Muslims have created, such as: “I want my children’s jannah (heaven) to be under your feet”, is testament to our romantic prowess.

And if you think bestowing mashallah upon a woman is sinful, fear not. As my mother likes to say, there’s nothing wrong with admiring God’s creation, right?

You don’t have to be a Muslim Shakespeare to capture the heart of the ladies my dear Brother, nor do you have to be a Haram Police, astaghfirullah spitting individual. Unfortunately, we can’t rely on Cupid to prick people with love arrows because (let’s face it), that would be totes haram.

With the holy trinity of subhanallah, inshallah, and most especially, mashallaaaaaaah at your disposal, how can you possibly go wrong?

So the next time you want to drop an astaghfirullah on a sister, just remember, that won’t make you her Mister…

Best Wishes,

Elvis Presley Hijabi

Astaghfirullah, mashallah and inshallah are religious Arabic terminology used mainly by Muslims. The noun “brother” is used to refer to Muslim men to establish a fraternal link with fellow Muslim men who aren’t related by blood.

Moderate Muslim Species Facing Extinction According to Naturalist David Attenborough

6125306-large

In an emergency press conference held yesterday by the World Wild Life Foundation, renowned naturalist David Attenborough declared the “moderate Muslim” species was facing a real threat of extinction.

Describing his search for the species as “the most arduous” in his 60-year career, he grilled the international community and mass media for their demonization of the Muslim community, claiming their unsolicited calls for moderate Muslims to come out and condemn terrorism had endangered the species.

“Encumbering the moderate Muslim species with collective guilt based on the violent actions of a few members, has effectively wiped out the entire population”, he said to an audience of ashen-faced journalists.

Attenborough’s comments were met with indignation by many, including FOX news expert Steven Emerson. He slammed Attenborough for buying into the farcical idea that any Muslim could be “moderate”.

“They are a myth, much like the unicorn, the boogey-man and Santa Claus. I mean has this guy even been to the Independent Islamic State of Birmingham?! It’s teeming with extremists!”

Despite the fact that the subject of the “moderate Muslim” is such a well traversed topic of discussion, there is still much deliberation as to what the elusive creature actually looks like.

David Starkey, a noted Tudor historian by day and Islamic expert by night, shed some light on the subject in his thesis entitled “Where’s Ahmed?” which looks at his own extensive journey in searching for the moderate Muslim. He discussed how the quintessential moderate Muslim has “Homer Simpson-like tendencies” and “must be called Ahmed“.

The Muslim communities response to Attenborough’s findings so far have been bitter-sweet.

A spokesperson for the Council of World Muslims (CWM) issued a statement, saying:

“We are saddened to hear that the moderate Muslim species is facing extinction. But at least it means one less box for us to tick when we complete the next Census.”

The Wolf of Wall Street and I

Wolf-of-Wall-Street

Today, I received a rishta from the most unlikeliest of places: from an old American man (who was not Desi I might add). He wasn’t Hugh Heffner part two looking for his next young thang. He was merely looking for a bride for his son.

After rummaging through some photos, he approached me, pointed to a young man in a photo standing by a bridge in New York, and said: “Would you be interested in marrying my son? He’s a stock broker you know!”

In my head, I thought “he could be the Wolf of Wall Street for all I know.” But such things we don’t say out loud in the real world, so I politely and unabashedly declined.

No doubt if any rishta aunties were near by, they would have been toba toba-ing away and tutting as passionately as King Tut himself, had they witnessed this man attempting (unsuccessfully) to take their crown for being the most voracious bunch of match makers you’ll ever come across.

Don’t worry aunty jees, your crown is safe for now…

The Rishta Diaries


Marriage proposals, or “rishtas” as we South Asians like to call them, have an uncanny way of finding a poor, unsuspected Desi woman where she least expects them. I’m not talking about those conventional social settings such as a wedding or a distant relatives house, where an army of aunty-jees are scouting for girls. This can be at work, in passing on the streets, in the market, almost anywhere. I’m convinced that even during Armageddon, someone, somewhere, probably an aunt-jee figure of roughly 4 ft 9 inches with binocular like spectacles, will be attempting to play cupid for her father’s sister’s mother’s sister’s unsuspecting daughter. You get the picture.

Where there is an eligible, single Desi girl, there are marital sharks cruising the waters, looking for their next kill- I mean, rishta.

These Rishta Diaries are an attempt to poke fun at Desi (and some non-Desi) matchmaking norms, whilst trying to debunk the logic that goes behind them. Some accounts are pure fiction, others are based on real experiences.

If there are any tech-wise aunty-jees out there who have stumbled across this blog, WARNING: You are advised to read the contents of these posts with the utmost discretion. You have been warned…