On allowing women to do things

To all those who get outraged when it is pointed out to them that they and their religion are no one to “allow” women freedom, ask yourself when was the last time you heard about your religion “allowing” men to go out, to get an education, or even to take a walk at night.

You don’t hear of men being “allowed” to do, be, and exist because you have internalised the idea that women are property. You don’t talk about it in those terms perhaps, but the values laid down by your religion (any religion) are patriarchal in flavour. Your religion was created and maintained by men. Sure there were token women involved in the process too, but they remained in service of the patriarchal order laid down in earlier times.

It’s a system of generational oppression of course. But it is also a system of forgetting. Because in order for the system to remain in practice, people need to see it as a benevolent system. They need to think that even though the system may not be perfect, it is the best system possible. Hence, we get people who justify an inherently anti-woman system but even so, they want to be thought of as open-minded, modern, and even liberal. They think that “allowing” women things, they are proving themselves paragons of modernity and liberal thought. If you really care, try taking yourself out of the equation.

The answer to “do you allow?” shouldn’t be “yes”. It should be “I am nobody to allow” or “It’s not my decision”. The way out of a system from which you benefit is to not try to become a hero and continue to benefit from it. It’s to step down, resign, and cede space to those whose voices were not being heard.