Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Islamic Feminism: An overview

Islamic Feminism: An overview Introduction Feminism is a secular ideology and Islam today rests on fundamentalist foundations. Those who advocate that feminist projects be conducted within an Islamic framework have clearly despaired of secular options for change without considering how have elaborated Lilas argument against the possibility of the coexistence of Islam and feminism because it explains the anxiety many Muslim women public intellectuals, including Chandra Talpade (2003), Jasmine (2004), and Martin (2003), feel as they watch the Taliban taking away womens rights in Afghanistan, the Algerian Front Islamique de Salut targeting women intellectuals, the fundamentalist Sudanese government oppressing its women. Many are sure that compromise with such a religion is fatal. Some women are joining religious groups despite their gender conservatism. Others are fighting these same groups, fearing the dangerous chemistry of politics and religion. Whether through or against religion they are choosing to become part of the struggle for a better world. The question many pose to women who voluntarily Islamize is: Do they accept their communities reactionary norms or do they appropriate and in the process subvert them? If there are some who can be considered feminists according to my definition of the term, how do they adapt their convictions that women have certain rights with the perceived need to subsume them to the community interest? How will the ways in which they position themselves to assert responsibility for the construction of their own, new religious identity change the face of Islam? How does participation in jihad allow for feminist activism? These are the questions which are imposed and discussed by Amina Wadud, Badran (1995), Hamid (2006), Saba ( 2005), Lila (2002) and other writers in their respective books and articles. Feminism according to Holy Quran The Quran is unequivocally opposed to gender equality, and the Sharia is not compatible with the principles of equality of human beings (Afshar, 1996, p.122). Despite its growing currency throughout the Muslim world, Lila asserts that Islamic feminism has no coherent, self-identified and/or easily identifiable ideology or movement. Those who advocate its utility as a concept and a marker for a specific brand of feminism are not women from within Muslim societies but rather diasporic feminist academics and researchers of Muslim background living and working in the West (126). These women she later characterizes as exceptionally forgiving, postmodern relativist feminists in the West whose indigenized and exotic form of Western feminism excludes core ideas of legal and social equity, sexual democracy and womens control over their sexuality (146). The attitudes to Islamic feminism span the gamut of leftists like herself who reject its possibility because they consider divine laws inherently hostile toward feminism, to those who posit that feminism within an Islamic framework is the only culturally sound and effective strategy for the regions womens movement (134). The latter group may include secularists overwhelmed by the political and discursive influence of Islamic fundamentalism (134). Here lies the major problem in Lilas argument: she confounds Islam and Islamic fundamentalism, as though the two were the same. This affirmation, she dramatically asserts, relies on twisting facts or distorting realities, ignoring or hiding that which should be clear (135). Her very real fear is that to celebrate Islamic feminism is to highlight only one of the many forms of identity available to Middle Eastern women, obscuring ways that identity is asserted or reclaimed, overshadowing forms of struggle outside religious practices and silencing the secular voices which are still raised against the regions stifling Islamification policies (137-38). An Anti-Modern Feminist Perspective A considerably different perspective is presented in Anouar Majids â€Å"The Politics of Feminism in Islam.† Majid is wary of the dangers of imposing Western feminist traditions on non-Western cultures and attempts therefore to recuperate a feminist tradition within traditional Islamic culture, though he is not entirely successful in doing so. Majid recognizes that the problems women face in Islamic societies cannot be divorced from European colonialism. For Majid, the political and economic structures that have resulted from independence from European domination have not emancipated the poor (341). He feels that nationalist elites have established Eurocentric models of government, namely nation-states (342, n. 17). For Majid, representations of Islamic culture as undemocratic and patriarchal reify the history of Muslim culture and downplay the impact of imperialism on gender relations in Islamic countries (349). Majid finds that a major problem in attempting to develop Islamic feminist perspectives is the difficulty of overcoming the Western and often Orientalist biases that pervade feminist thought. These biases include a dehistoricised notion of human rights and â€Å"an implicit acceptance of the bourgeois political apparatus as a reliable mechanism for negotiating the grievances of the exploited† (339). Western feminism cannot be readily separated from hostility to Islamic culture, according to Majid. To illustrate the point, he cites the example of upper-class Islamic women who have sometimes embraced Western feminist values and in the process â€Å"condemned native customs as backward, proclaimed the superiority of the West, and uncompromisingly equated unveiling with liberation† (338). Females in Islam Even though women may have high-status professional jobs and make important decisions in the course of the day, and even though Islamic sharia insists that women have the right to keep their income, it appears that husbands continue to control the decisions concerning expenditures. The husband is pivotal in allowing his wife to work in the interest of the welfare of the family, he is also the final arbiter in defining what constitutes that welfare. In many instances, while accepting that she may work outside the home, he will not allow her to participate in public events. As already noted, Oven the power of the constitutions of various countries affirming the determination of the sharia that men are in charge of women, there is little chance for change in the foreseeable future. Modernization and urbanization, however, have brought about certain changes in family life. One is a preference for nuclear families. This has altered the traditional power of the mother-in-law which has been undermined by the new system. Instead of being a guest in her mother-in-laws home, the bride gets to be in charge of her own household. But, if she also has to go out to work in order to maintain private residence, her workload is doubled. In addition, the change in housing design from the traditional open courtyard with a garden and opening to the sky to the small apartment has confined the woman and restricted her contact with other members of the family as well as with nature. If her husband restricts her going out, she feels imprisoned and lacks contact with friends and intimate relations. Zine identifies what she sees as the roles for women, determined by the tripartite class structure of Arab society: the working class, the middle class, and the upper class. In the working class, she says, a sharp distinction is made between feminine and masculine characteristics (Zine, 2006, p.19). Conclusion One of the themes that emerges from contemporary writing about Muslim women is that of woman as victim of the experience of oppression in developing countries. The oppression is not unique to the Arab context but is a consequence of disempowerment and feelings of impotence. The condition of the woman serves to demonstrate the extremes of disempowerment. She has become the projection of the inadequacy of the society, shackled with the burden of failure and weakness. Her inherent worth is devalued in relation to her physique, intellect, gender, productivity, and status. At the same time, her role as mother is symbolically elevated. Islam provides security and equivalence to the females and it has made many laws which secures the importance of females in this male dominant world. References Abu-Lughod, Lila 2002. Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others. In American Anthropologist, Vol. 104, No. 3, pp. 783-790 Afshar, Haleh 1996. Islam and Feminism: An Analysis of Political Strategies. In Feminism and Islam: Legal and Literary Perspectives, ed. Mai Yamani. NY: New York University Press, p.122-138 Badran, Margot 1995. Feminists, Islam and Nation: Gender and Feminists, Islam, and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt. Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press. Hamid, Shadi 2006. ‘Between Orientalism and Posrmodernism: the changing nature of Western Feminist thought towards the middle east’, HAWWA 4,1:76-92. Mahmood, Saba 2005. Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject (Princeton: Princeton University Press). Mahmood, Saba 2006. ‘Performativity, Agency, and the Feminist Subject‘, in (eds) Ellen Armour and Susan St. Ville, Bodily Citations: Religion and Judith Butler (New York, Columbia Uni Press). ISBN 0-231-13407-X Majid, Anouar 1998. The Politics of Feminism in Islam, Signs, Vol. 23, No. 2, p. 321-361 Martin F McLelland 2004 ‘Re-placing queer studies: reflections on the queer matters conference’, in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies vol 6, number 2: 299- 311. Talpade, Chandra 2003. Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham London: Duke University Press. P.71 Zine, Jasmine 2004. Creating a critical faith-centred space for antiracist feminism, in Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. Vol. 20, No. 2, Pages 167-187 Zine, Jasmine 2006. Between Orientalism and Fundamentalism: The Politics of Muslim Womens Feminist Engagement, Muslim World Journal of Human Rights: Vol. 3, p.19 Public Health Issue Analysis: Smoking Public Health Issue Analysis: Smoking ENHANCING HEALTH AND WELLBEING ACROSS POPULATIONS: INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this essay is to identify a public health issue related in my field. To facilitate the discussion smoking as a public health issue has been chosen. The holistic impact smoking have on the wellbeing of an individual will be explored. The stage of change model and the Healthy Lives (2010) policy will be explored in relation to smoking. The rationale for choosing this topic is because smoking is an important public health issue. The smoke is very toxic to every human tissue it touches on its way into, through and out of the smoker’s body (Ewles 2005). Smoking is considered as a health hazard because Tobacco smoke contains nicotine, a poisonous alkaloid, and other harmful substances such as carbon monoxide, acrolein, ammonia and tars.Gorvenment initiatives like the Public Health White Paper, choosing health; Making Choices Easier (DH 2004) will be addressed. The nurse’s role and other professions involved will be highlighted .Confidentiality shall be maintained throughout this essay as prescribed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (2008). The impact of tobacco smoking on public health extends beyond the direct effects on the individual smoker and their personal health, plus taking into account the effect on their economic, environmental and social effects (Ewles 2005).). Smoking harms nearly every org an of the body thereby causing many diseases, reducing quality of life and life expectancy. Also it has been estimated that in England, 364,000 patients are admitted to NHS hospitals each year due to smoking related diseases which translates into about 7,000 hospital admission per week and 1,000 admissions per day (ASH 2006). In the UK, smoking causes about a fifth of all deaths, approximately 114,000 each year, most of which are premature with an average of 21 years early (Ewles 2005). According to Peto et. al. (2003) cited in Ewles (2005), most premature deaths caused by smoking are Lung and coronary cancer, chronic obstructive heart diseases and coronary heart diseases with 42800, 29100 and 30600 deaths respectively every year. In addition, smoking is known to also bring increased risk of many debilitating conditions like impotence, infertility, gum disease, asthma and psoriasis (Ewles 2005). Research has also shown that non-smokers are put at risk by exposure to other peopleâ₠¬â„¢s smoke which is known as passive or involuntary smoking and is also referred to as second-hand smoke (SHS) or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) (Cancer Research 2009). According to the Oxford Medical Companion (1994) cited in the WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic 2008, â€Å"tobacco is the only legally available consumer product which kills people when it is used entirely as intended†. Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the World which causes one in ten deaths among adults worldwide and in 2005, tobacco caused about 5.4million deaths, an average of one death every six second Certain behaviors have been labeled as risky behaviors associated with negative health outcomes among which smoking is and which has been the subject of UK national health strategies (Naidoo Wills 2005). Smoking causes about one fifth of all deaths in the UK, most of which are premature and has hugely significant impacts on the wider environment and community through causing air pollution, fires, litter and environmental damage (Ewles 2005). Prevalence of smoking among the low paid groups has been observed to be twice those of the affluent groups because of the great difficulty people in the less affluent groups experience in stopping smoking (Ewles 2005). Tobacco smoking is also widely recognized as a cause of health inequality in the UK because it is common among the deprived groups and also compromises the already poorer health of deprived population such as those that fall within the marginalized groups. Examples are people with mental problems and prisoners, who are more likely to smoke and less likely to have access to mainstream smoking cessation services (Ewles 2005). The Index of multiple deprivation ranks areas from the most deprived to the least deprived and the odds of smoking increases as deprivation in the area increases (The NHS Information centre 2008). Children smoke for all sorts of reasons. Some smoke to show their independence, others because their friends do while some smoke because adults tell them not to and others do smoke to follow the example of role models. There is no single cause. Parents, brothers and sisters who smoke are a powerful influence. Also is the way it is been advertised and the tobacco companies sponsor sport which makes children want to try it (DH 1998). The problems of smoking during pregnancy are closely related to health inequalities between those in need and the most advantaged. Women with partners in manual groups are more likely to smoke during pregnancy than those with partners in non-manual groups: 26 per cent of women with partners in manual groups smoke during pregnancy, compared with 12 per cent with partners doing non-manual work (DH 1998). Health promotion is a complex activity and is difficult to define. Davies and Macdowall (2006) describe health promotion as â€Å"any strategy or intervention that is designed to improve the health of individuals and its population†. However perhaps one of the most recognized definitions is that of the World Health Organization’s who describes health promotion as â€Å"a process of enabling people to increase control over their health and its determinants, and thereby improve their health (WHO 1986). If we look at this in relation to the nurse’s role in smoking cessation and giving advice to a patient, this can be seen as a positive concept in that with the availability of information together with support, the patient is then able to make an informed decision, thus creating empowerment and an element of self control. Bright (1997) supports this notion suggesting that empowerment is created when accurate information and knowledgeable advice is given, thus aiding the development of personal skills and self esteem. A vital component of health promotion is health education which aims to change behavior by providing people with the knowledge and skills they require to make healthier decisions and enable them to fulfill their potential. Healthy Lives Healthy People (2010) highlight the vital role nurses play in the delivery of health promotion with particular attention on prevention at primary and secondary levels.Nurses have a wealth of skills and knowledge and use this knowledge to empower people to make lifestyle changes and choices. This encourages people to take charge of their own health and to increase feelings of personal autonomy (Christensen 2006). Smoking is one of the biggest threats to public health, therefore nurses are in a prime position to help people to quit by offering encouragement, provide information and refer to smoking cessation services. In 2010 the white paper Healthy Live Healthy People set out the government long term policy for improving public health and in 2011 a new tobacco control plan was published (Department of Health 2011). The Whitepaper Healthy Life Healthy People set out a range of measures aimed at preventing people from starting to smoke and helping them to stop, such as banning cigarettes advertising on billboards, in size and action on tobacco intensified (DH, 2011). WHO defines health promotion a process of enabling people to increase control over and to improve, their health. It implies that the ideology moves beyond a focus on individual behavior towards a wide range of social and environmental interventions. Naidoo and Wills (2010), states ‘health promotion is based on theories about what influences people’s health and what are effective interventions or strategies to improve health.

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