Author Topic: Women's Corner  (Read 1529 times)

Offline nusrat-diu

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Women's Corner
« on: June 25, 2011, 03:54:08 PM »
How the oppression of women began, and what that implies for fighting oppression today.
By Lilian Thomson

As long as recorded history has lasted, so too has women's oppression. To many people, it just seems natural that women are worse off— it's because of women's smaller size or their capacity to bear children. Men comfort themselves with the thought that women need looking after.

It's hard to combat that when history shows that not just the present capitalist system is to blame: in feudal society, and in earlier societies too, women occupied second place to men.

But in the late 19th Century, the work of anthropologists began to question that assumption.

Early anthropologists began to speak of an earlier time when women, not men, ruled society. Friedrich Engels gave a Marxist, that is a materialist, analysis of the 'woman question' in his pioneering work, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.

Engels wanted to trace the prehistoric roots of women's oppression, so he could prove wrong those who claimed women's inferior status was 'natural'. Drawing on the work of anthropologist Lewis Morgan, Engels argued that a 'predominancy of women generally obtained in primitive times'. Its 'material foundation' was the 'communistic household' headed by women.

In these times, descent could only be traced with certainty through the mother, since women were not tied to any one man, and indeed, men's role in procreation was for a long time unknown.

This household became threatened, according to Engels, when domestication of animals developed. The breeding of herds meant that human groups no longer had to live hand to mouth. They could now possess fixed wealth, in the form of animal herds.

'But to whom did this wealth belong? Originally, undoubtedly, to the gens (kin group). But private property in herds must have developed at a very early stage... On the threshhold of authenticated history, we find that everywhere the herds are already the property of the (male) family chiefs.'

Wealth came into these men's hands because of a sexual division of labour that had existed previously. A division of labour by sex alone does not mean oppression will follow. Probably the earliest divisions of labour occurred for reasons of convenience —men and women did different jobs because of different physical capacities.

But, 'according to the division of labour then prevailing in the family, the procuring of food and the implements necessary thereto, and therefore, also, the ownership of the latter, fell to the man... Thus according to the custom of society at that time, the man was also the owner of
the new sources of foodstuffs—the cattle. ..'

The fact that human labour could produce a surplus above what was necessary for bare survival also gave an impetus to making slaves of prisoners taken in war. These slaves belonged to the men who had captured them, thus further raising their status and power.

This power gave men more status than women in society. The desire by men to pass on their wealth and power to their descendants led to men's overthrow of the female order of inheritance in favour of father to son inheritance.

Engels saw this overthrow of 'mother right'—inheritance through the female line — as 'the world historic defeat of the female sex. The man seized the reins in the house also, then woman was degraded, enthralled, the slave of man's lust, a mere instrument for bearing children'.

Women thus became the world's first oppressed class.

'However, within this structure of (primitive) society based on ties of sex, the productivity of labour develops more and more, with it private property and exchange, differences in wealth, the possibility of utilising the labour power of others and thereby the basis of class antagonisms... until, finally... the old society, based on ties of sex, bursts asunder in the collision of the newly developed social classes; in its place a new society emerges, constituted as a state... a society in which the family system is entirely dominated by the property system...'

'Recorded history—the history of class struggles—shows the continuing effects of the "world historic defeat of the female sex" interweaved with and subordinated to class relations of exploitation.'

Engels was aware that there were gaps in his account. He could not explain how 'mother right' had been replaced by domination by the father. His work can also be corrected on at least three other points.

Later researches by Marxist and other anthropologists alike have established that a system of tracing descent through the mother does not necessarily mean female dominance over men. Most researchers now think that no period of female dominance over men ever existed.

The development of society from primeval horde to kin group to family is also unsatisfactorily explained by Engels. Following Johann Bachofen, Engels saw this as primarily brought about by women, who found sex with many different men 'degrading and oppressive', and who thus wanted marriage with one man only. This seems to be a case of applying contemporary morality retrospectively. After all, biologically, women's capacity for sexual enjoyment is greater than men's.

Engels also cannot explain why the sexual division of labour developed the way it did, or even at all. All known societies have some division of labour, though what it is, and how rigid it is, varies. But the point is— why have one at all? Engels cannot explain it.

Later writers and theorists have tried to fill in the gaps and have come up with different theories. What distinguishes Engels's account is that he tackled it to prove that women's oppression was not 'natural'.

He wasn't just trying to increase the store of human knowledge for the hell of it. He was trying to arm people with knowledge they could use to fight back against oppression.

Later writers have built upon that work and gone further. But if they have seen further, it was because they stood on the shoulders of a giant— Engels's pioneering work pointed the way.

The emergence of men's domination may never be clearly understood since the evidence available for study is so fragmentary, and is often clouded by the prejudices and beliefs of those interpreting the data. But Engels's work did establish that women's oppression is not dictated by nature.

He also showed that it was not the result of of a male conspiracy or of a cataclysmic sex war, as some people would like to believe even today. He showed that women's oppression arose out of the development of early societies in the same way that classes states, and private property emerged from those developments.

ince then, class and sex oppression have been so closely intertwined that teasing out the strands has become impossible. For sure, the underpinning of women's oppression in most societies has been the family plot of land, handed down from father to son. The woman is an indispensable part of the family, for childrer1 are an economic necessity, but her role is a secondary one.

Jewish Hindu, Chinese and Christian ideologies all defined women as subordinate. Traditional Chinese usage bound women's feet. Ancient Greece was particularly ruthless at imprisoning women in the home.

Ancient codes of law punished female adultery severely, while not touching male adultery.

Probably feudal Western Europe was, of all major pre-capitalist civilisations, the least harsh in its oppression of women. The sexual division of labour was not rigid. Women workers were frequently paid the same as men for the same work. Women, though their economic activity was more centred on the home, played a large role in social life.

Women dominated important trades, such as ale brewing. A widow could engage in trade as the equal of men. Women at the head of convents were important people.

Still, women were clearly subordinate. They could not hold any public office. Generally, they could not appear as independent persons in court. Rape, for example, was not treated as a crime against a woman's body, but as a crime against a man’s property. Lords could rape peasant women with impunity.

Women's property was likely to be seen as dowry to attract a husband. The household was headed by the father. Women were advised to try to get a 'good' husband as the best available course for them. ~ ..

Oppression does not always mean rebellion and women's oppression in feudal times produced no womens' rebellion. There was no arena where women could gather collectively. Instead of rebellion, oppression of women meant women sought consolations for their lot, such as the mediaeval cult of the Mother of God.

The growth of industrial capitalism did not abolish women's household drudgery. But it changed the nature: of it. The home became a sphere sharply cut off from social labour. In earlier times, the household was the: basic economic unit, with most production done in or around the home. In the new capitalist order, the factory became the centre of production, and it brought together people from thousands of different households.

Capitalism continued women's oppression, but it changed it. Women were brought into the work force as independent individuals. However underpaid or overworked the woman factory or office worker may be in the workplace, she is not part of any man's household, but an individual, independent worker. In this way capitalist laws have given a slight measure of forrnal equality with men.

Capitalism did not create women's oppression, but it did create the conditions for the rise of the women's liberation movement Women now had an arena for organising collectively, so the possibility of winning equality through change in society became realistic.

Women will never be liberated while class oppression exists, since so many women suffer from class oppression as well as sex oppression. Middle class women do suffer from general sexism too, but their compensating class privileges — greater wealth, better access to education and health care, freedom through wealth from sole responsibility for child care or housework — forces them to side with their class rather than with working class women struggling for liberation.

The knowledge that women's oppression has not always existed, and thus that it can be overthrown, may seem old hat today; we may take it for granted. But many women today draw the wrong conclusions from that knowledge, so it is important to reiterate the ideas first expounded by Engels, so that we can use those ideas positively, to fight for change

Many women today still blame men solely for women's oppression. They see the answer in men voluntariIy giving up their power over women. Others see the only solution as living in complete separation from men. Even more drastically, some women conclude that women's oppression can only be ended by the 'final solution' of eliminating men altogether.

Simone de Beauvoir thought that was a bit drastic, and she was right. All the above 'solutions' provide no way for women to fight back against their oppression. Waiting for men to give up their power is passive (and utopian). Lots of women don't want to live separately from men. And mass extermination of men is not an option.

The ideas of Engels state that women's oppression comes from societal structures. These can be fought. Women are oppressed in this society, and have been oppressed in earlier societies, because it suits society economically that it should be so.

To change that, we have to change society.


Nusrat Jahan
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Daffodil International University

Offline nusrat-diu

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Re: Women's Corner
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2011, 03:07:38 PM »

Weight-loss Techniques:

1. Water yourself. A recent study proved that dieters who guzzled plenty of H2O lost more weight than those who didn’t.

2. Halve at it. Divide your normal portion by two and save the rest for later. You are likely to feel full on less food than you think.

3. Go meatless. In general, vegetarians have lower body weights than their meat-eating peers. Follow their lead…at least until you drop a few pounds. (Need some meat-less recipe ideas? Try these Vegetarian Dishes That Blast Belly Fat.)

4. Go vegan. Vegetarianism not helping you lose? Take it to the next level by swearing off eggs and dairy too. Cheese can be a diet killer.

5. Get fresh. Eliminate all packaged foods and eat only fresh ingredients you’ve prepared. No bags, boxes, cans, or cartons allowed.

6. Diet 2 days a week. If you can’t stick to a program all the time, try slashing your calories to 650 a day just 2 days a week and eating normally the other days. A recent study suggests this offers protection from breast cancer as well as assistance with weight loss.

Best Cereal For Weight-Loss

7. Not so sweet. Everyone knows sugar isn’t healthy, but when you start reading labels, you find it in unexpected places, like pasta sauce and frozen entrees. Cutting the sugar out of your diet will mean healthier meals overall.

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9. Be virgin. Alcoholic beverages are some of the emptiest calories out there. Replace them with water, and the weight comes off.

10. Walk 2 minutes out of every 30. Short walking breaks add up to weight loss.
Nusrat Jahan
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Daffodil International University

Offline rina

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Re: Women's Corner
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2011, 01:29:15 PM »
good suggestion.

Offline farzanamili

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Re: Women's Corner
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2011, 04:52:39 PM »
Regarding weight loss...
I think,if u think,u will lose ur weight,u can. During eating n drinking if u r conscious about their calorie,u can control ur food habit. Remember,food is for life,life is not for food!
Mirza Farzana Iqbal Chowdhury
Senior Lecturer
Department of Law
Daffodil International University.

Offline nusrat-diu

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Re: Women's Corner
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2011, 07:12:38 PM »
Thanks Rina miss for your inspiring note.

@ Farzana miss...Thanks to you also!
Nusrat Jahan
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Daffodil International University

Offline nusrat-diu

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Re: Women's Corner
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2011, 05:44:02 PM »
Some Responsibilities of the Husband and Rights of the Wife in Islam

Dr. G. F. Haddad
Damascus
Q: I have frequently read what, according to Islamic teachings, a husband may or may not do in a dispute with his wife if he attributes it to disagreement with or misbehavior of his wife. I almost never read anything about the opposite situation: if the wife has a disagreement with her husband or *he* misbehaves. Things are nearly always told from the man's point of view! What are the wife's rights in the case of bad behavior of her husband?

A:

Praise belongs to Allah the Lord of all the worlds. Blessings and Peace on the Messenger of Allah, and on his Family and all his Companions.

Allah ordered the believers to "consort with women in kindness" (4:19) and He said: "And of His signs are this: He created for you helpmeets from yourselves that ye might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo, herein indeed are portents for folk who reflect" (30:21).

A Wife's Basic Rights Regarding Her Husband's Behavior

NOTE: This is distinct from her other rights regarding living expenditures, housing, clothing, and education of children. And from Allah comes all success.

1. The first and worthiest condition of marriage to be fulfilled by the husband is to "keep the promise or promises he made to the wife at the time he married her." This is an order of the Prophet [salla Allahu `alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, abbr. (s)] according to the hadith: "ahaqqu al-shuruti an tufu bihi ma astahlaltum bihi min al-furuj"

2. He cannot order her to do anything that is against religion. The Prophet (s) said: "No obedience is due to creatures in disobedience of the Creator" (la ta`atan li makhluqin fi ma`siyat al-khaliq).

3. He must exercise patience and be prepared to listen to her advice in every situation. The Prophet (s) listened to the advice of his wives in matters ranging from the smallest to the greatest.

4. If she invites him to wake up and perform the late night prayer, it is praiseworthy for him to do so and vice-versa. The Prophet (s) prayed for such people: "May Allah grant mercy to a man who gets up at night and prays, and wakes up his wife, and if she refuses, he sprinkles water in her face; may Allah grant mercy to a woman who gets up at night and prays, and wakes up her husband, and if he refuses, she sprinkles water in his face."

5. He must respect her and pay attention to her needs so that she will respect him and pay attention to his.

6. He must control his passions and act in a moderate manner especially in the context of sexual intercourse. Remember that Allah has placed between you and her "friendship and mercy" (mawadda wa rahma), not the gratification of your every lust; and that the Prophet (s) advised young men to marry "because it casts down the gaze and walls up the genitals," not in order to stimulate sexual passions. The husband should habitually seek refuge in Allah before approaching his wife and say: "O Allah, ward off the satan from us and ward him off from what you have bestowed upon us in the way of children" (allahumma jannibna al-shaytana wa jannibhu ma razaqtana). Allah has called each spouse a garment for the other (2:187), and the purpose of garments is decency. The Prophet (s) further said that he who marries for the sake of decency and modesty (`afaf), Allah has enjoined upon Himself to help him.

7. He must never ever divulge the secrets of the household and those of the married couple.

8. He must strive with sincerity to acquire her trust, and seek her welfare in all the actions that pertain to her.

9. He must treat her generously at all times. The Prophet (s) said that the best gift or charity (sadaqa) is that spent on one's wife.

10. If she works outside the house, it is praiseworthy for the husband to hire house help to relieve her from too heavy a burden. The wife's duties do not require her to feed her child, nor even to nurse it, nor to clean nor cook. It is the husband's duty to provide a nursemaid, food for older children, and servants to clean and cook. However, if the wife does those things out of mercy and love, it is a gift to the husband on her part.

11. He must avoid excessive jealousy and remember that Allah is also jealous that he himself not commit. The Prophet (s) said: "Do not be excessively jealous of your wife lest evil be hurled at her on your account" (la tukthir al-gheerata `ala ahlika fa turama bi al-su'i min ajlik) and he said: "Allah is jealous and the believer is jealous; and Allah's jealousy is that the believer should not go to that which Allah has forbidden for him" (inna Allaha yagharu wa al- mu'minu yagharu wa gheerat Allahi in ya'tiya al-mu'minu ma harrama `alayhi).

12. He must protect her honor and not place her in situations where it is compromised or belittled. The Prophet (s) said that Allah will not ever let him enter Paradise who cares little who shares his wife's privacy. This includes the husband's brother, uncle, and nephew, let alone non-related friends, neighbors, and complete strangers.

13. He must exercise patience and forgiveness in the case of disagreement or dispute, and not rush to divorce. The declaration of divorce is a grave matter indeed, and the Prophet (s) said: "Of permitted matters the most loathesome before Allah is divorce" (abgh`ad al-halal `ind Allah al-talaq). In another hadith he said that divorce is so grave that because of it Allah's throne is made to shake. He said: "The best intercession [i.e. intervention of a third party] is that which brings back together the husband and the wife." Womanizing -- divorce for the purpose of marrying another woman out of sexual attraction incurs Allah's curse according to the hadith: "Allah's curse is on the womanizing, divorcing man" (la`ana Allahu kulla dhawwaaqin mutallaaq). Finally, even in the midst of and after divorce, Allah has prescribed kindness upon the man: "(After pronouncing divorce) she must be retained in honor or released in kindness" (2:228).

For the above-mentioned reason (i.e. to prevent the quickness of divorce), in his time, Ibn Taymiyya gave the ijtihad (juridical opinion) by saying that three talaqs in one sitting constituted only one. He did this to interdict the prevalent custom of suddenly giving three talaqs, which in his time was on everyone's lips, (i.e. had become so commonplace as to be a habit). However the other four schools of fiqh had the opposite opinion in this matter.

14. He must not dwell on what he dislikes in his wife, but on what he likes.

15. The husband is not to stay away from his wife or keep his wife in a state of suspense, whether at home or abroad, for a protracted period of time except with her consent. Allah said: "Turn not away (from your wife) altogether, so as to leave her hanging. If you come to a friendly understanding and practice self-restraint, then Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Merciful" (4:129). Protracted separation (6 months or more in the Shafi`i school) without prior or subsequent arrangement with the wife, whether the husband is away willingly or unwillingly (for example due to war, imprisonment, or illness) is sufficient grounds for her to obtain divorce from the judge.

16. The Prophet (s) said: "Do not beat your wife." He also said: "Do not strike your wife in the face." The expiation for striking one's slave in the face is to set him or her free on the spot, but what expiation is there for striking one's wife? The Prophet (s) condemned the man who beats his wife in the day and then approaches her at night. And to beat her to the extent of inflicting serious injury is enough grounds for her to obtain divorce from the judge.

17. Caring for one's wife's sexual fulfillment is an obligation of religion. The Prophet (s) warned against rushing to gratify one's pleasure and forgetting that of one's wife. He also disliked that the husband should quickly withdraw from his wife afterwards, as it is a strain upon the wife. If she asks for intercourse, he should not refuse.
Conclusion

These are only some of the basic duties of the husband in Islam. The state of marriage is part of one's adherence to the Sunna and an exalted state of life indeed. In the words of the Prophet (s), it permits one to meet Allah "pure and cleansed" (tahiran mutahharan). One's behavior towards one's wife is the measure of the perfection of one's belief as the Prophet (s) said: "The most complete of the believers in his belief is he who perfects his manners, and the best of you in manners are those who act best towards their wives." Marriage must be approached with utmost seriousness, entered with the purest intent, and cultivated religiously as it does not come cheaply and it carries immense reward. The Prophet (s) called it "his way" (al-nikahu sunnati) and "half of religion" and he also said: "Two rak`at (prayer-cycles) of the married person are better than seventy rak`at of the unmarried." He also warned that among the greatest of responsibilities that had been placed upon men is that pertaining to the treatment of their wives.

And may Allah's blessings and peace be upon Muhammad,
his Family and all his Companions,
and praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds.
Nusrat Jahan
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Daffodil International University

Offline farzanamili

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Re: Women's Corner
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2011, 01:34:47 PM »
Very good & informative post. I read every line & I learnt about  many rights of women which I did not know. Thank you for this important posting. :)
Mirza Farzana Iqbal Chowdhury
Senior Lecturer
Department of Law
Daffodil International University.