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MuslimGirl Founder Claims Islam Is “Inherently Feminist”

March 26, 2015

She has started a web presence to bring together her feminist views and concept of Islam. MuslimGirl founder is 22 years old and says that she believes Islam is “inherently feminist.” MuslimGirl doesn’t explain HOW Islam is inherently feminist. She just states that it is and then rails agains “Westernized” attacks against Islam. For all of her reaction to a Western reaction to Islam, she fails to understand that her reaction is just that, a reaction, not necessarily a proactive state that will speak to others, not that she has to, that is, speak to others. One might assume that launching a web presence assumes she wants to speak to others, but she merely reacts to “Westernized” concept of Islam, assuming that the only knowledge anyone from “the West” might have is Fox News, which is insulting, but it’s also merely a form of reaction. There is no religious depth to a person who uses her religion to lob insults.

The problem I have with MuslimGirl is that she doesn’t seem genuine. Oh, her anger is genuine, but it’s all anger. There is no specific genuine emotion for her religion that is voiced in a way that isn’t just reactionary, a bit like throwing a religious tantrum to get attention:

No one has the right to pass judgment on Islam or Muslim women if their only knowledge of either of them comes from Fox [News] or “American Sniper.” The whole premise of feminism is to empower women’s individual choices and autonomy of their own lives. It’s interesting how Western feminism has always been gung-ho about this concept unless it is applied to Muslim women. Not only does the misconception of Islam’s relationship with feminism reveal a very politicized and stereotypical image of Muslim women, but it also infantilizes us as though we are incapable of thinking or making decisions for ourselves. As a Muslim woman, my hijab is my feminism; both in asserting my authority over my body as well as defying post-9/11 Islamophobia, racism and stereotypical expectations.

This woman uses her hijab as a form of rebellion and then lashes out when others judge the motivation for wearing a hijab. I get it: she is young. She is angry. Maybe she wants to be heard. And, I am always up for a feminist debate. What I don’t like is when said feminist uses insults or derogatory statements against entire countries like “the West” to try to get a point across while generalizing about all of Islam being a feminist agenda. It isn’t. Simply put, if Islam was a feminist, an inherently feminist religion, then all the women in predominantly Muslim countries would enjoy equal rights beyond compare, beyond any of those “in the West.” They don’t. While “the West” often fails to acknowledge women as even full people, I don’t pretend that it is feminist. I don’t delude myself that way.

 There is a much more compelling argument in response to an article about a Muslim woman wearing short shorts, responding to people who judged based on appearance, and frankly, this argument is more compelling than the comment about wearing a hijab to defy Islamophobia, as if  a clothing change that defines a religious movement that has declared war on another religion can do that. But the argument from the woman who wrote about short-shorts is much more compelling:

But before I get there, I need to comment on judgment. You see, when we sense the need to say, “I have no right to judge her for wearing short shorts because for all I know, she’s probably a much better person and Muslim than I am,” the implication is that she may be subject to judgment because of what she’s wearing. Would the same person say, “I have no right to judge this girl who’s wearing the hijab and practicing Islam the way I believe she should, because for all I know, she’s a much better Muslim/person than I am?” We also don’t get to not-judge people just because they might be better than us in some way or another. We don’t get to judge people, period.

“We don’t get to judge people, period.” Much stronger statement, don’t you think? She isn’t using a religious tome to attack, merely to separate that religion shouldn’t be used as a tool of measure, and this woman’s take on the concept of feminism and Islam is staggeringly simple, but rings true in it simplicity, that Muslim men determined their view of God, not Muslim women. Muslim women have every right to construct their own concept of God, unfettered by an imposition of patriarchy:

I emphasize that Islamic law was established by a group of elite Muslim men (most of whom held views on women that would be offensive to many contemporary Muslims, men and women alike). Gender is important here because think back to my above point on culture and religion: patriarchy reigns and frequently blinds our perception of religion and hence of the parts of Islamic law that pertain to gender and sexuality, especially to women. We may want to believe that Islamic law is solely from God, solely from the Qur’an, but that is not the reality because God hardly played a role in it. For God, the Shari’a is whatever is just, whatever is good; men have decided, and largely continue to decide, what exactly justice and good mean. There have been and continue to be multiple sources of Islamic law, and the Qur’an has been hardly a part of it, mainly because of how open it is to interpretation (I know – it’s heartbreaking that the Qur’an isn’t as clear, decisive, and simple as we’re taught when we’re kids; I was crushed when I found out, too). And believe it or not, circumstances and necessity are considered a source of Islamic law. It gets complicated here because every other Muslim then feels compelled to opine, “Yes, BUT! But only an authentic scholar can speak on that, not you,” and it gets even more complicated because none of us can agree on what an “authentic scholar” means.

No, this doesn’t mean dismissing the centuries of scholarship and hard work on Islamic law (unless you want to do so), but it does mean thinking critically about it when its effects are harmful to us, whether as individuals or as community members. We cannot be spiritually blackmailed into accepting every guideline about us (Muslim women) just because scholars worked hard for centuries to reach a consensus on so many (patriarchal) guidelines and rules about us. We get that the scholars may have meant well, but that’s irrelevant and does not negate the reality of the damaging consequences of some of the guidelines they established.

While MuslimGirl still has yet to establish her voice as anything other than reactionary, she has established a platform for a nuanced response to the means in which feminism and Islam can interact, how feminism really asks for a woman’s perspective, without male influence, to define spirituality not as a response to a male concept, i.e. that the female body is inherently a sexual form that must be covered so as not to incite violence against women (which could only be argued that worked if women who wore the hijabe faced no violence, and this is definitely not the reality of so many women today). Spirituality is deeper than a visual image or deeper than one’s body or image. Who would have thunk?? Women are more than their vaginas? What?? Says whom? Women’s spirituality is vagina-identified?

It’s about time the religion of Islam stopped talking about women’s bodies and started talking about what spirituality is, the very essence of which does not condone or describe a corporeal form. How do women define their sense of God in Islam when they are not yoked by their physical forms?

Perhaps, in this way, MuslimGirl feels that when she puts on the hijab, she can ignore her body and focus on spirituality, but that’s not her argument. Her argument is that she wears the hijab out of defiance, to attract attention. In it’s own way, she is revolutionary. She is demanding attention. She is using image though, specifically a very feminine image to incite, as it were, outrage. That, perhaps, is less than productive. If we apply feminism to Islam, we should focus on spirituality, a lack of anchor to the physical image, a mind that is not moored by gender, a connection that isn’t based on the physical but rather the metaphysical. Feminisms application to Islam could be about the female’s experience, but I much prefer the interpretation that we remove the filter of gender and image and focus on the spiritual. MuslimGirl anchors her image to her religion and then is angered by it. Leave the image and let’s talk about spirituality.

Fraternities and Greek Social Organizations Block Rape Investigations? Yep, Headed to Washington. Only The Guilty Hide Investigations…Fraternity Members 3Times More Likely to Commit Sexual Violence

March 25, 2015

It’s not surprising, really, but it I am saddened that it has come to this. HuffPost reports that fraternities and Greek social organizations are planning to travel to Washington to try to lobby to block laws that would push for investigations of reported rapes. Greek organizations blocking rape investigations? Surprising? Fraternities want to go back to “status quo,” which resulted, ultimately, in schools failing to investigate rapes entirely. So fraternities want to block rape investigations? That’s sure how it sounds.

Fraternal Government Relations Coalition members planned to send more than 100 undergraduate fraternity and sorority members to Capitol Hill in late April to lobby on sexual assault and other issues. The national organizations have instructed the students involved not to speak with media.

O’Neill said on the Feb. 2 call that national leaders spoke with individual Greek organizations and concluded “the best position for the coalition to be in is to say that we should go back to the status quo” and allow colleges to pick the standard of proof they use in campus rape cases. The Education Department recommends schools use a standard called “preponderance of the evidence,” which means more likely than not. The fraternity representatives suggested colleges be allowed to adopt a stricter standard, such as criminal courts’ “beyond a reasonable doubt,” that would require more evidence to determine that a student committed sexual assault.

The fraternity lobbyists said they planned to utilize an index of lawmakers who have relationships with Greek life organizations and members.

The lobbying effort was slammed by anti-assault advocates.

“This proposal is completely backwards,” Gillibrand told The Huffington Post. “We should be making universities more accountable for providing a safe campus, not less. Waiting for long legal process to play itself out for those victims who pursue criminal charges while leaving potential serial rapists on campus in the interim would put public safety at risk.”

McCaskill suggested fraternities’ national leadership is out of step with undergraduate members. She told HuffPost that when she visited Missouri campuses last year to build support for her campus sexual assault bill, “I met with students involved in Greek life who were committed to ensuring that sexual assault had no place on their campuses, and that when these crimes did occur, their university had an important role to play in helping survivors seek justice.”

Lisa Maatz, top lobbyist for the American Association of University Women, said the fraternity effort confuses campus civil rights proceedings with criminal investigations. “The campus proceedings are supposed to identify whether a student has violated the school’s policies, not the law,” she said.

The problem with the idea of returning to the “status quo” is that fraternities are pushing to ultimately change the law in their favor, to obstruct rape charges and investigations in an effort to “protect” fraternities. Hear, hear for the NFL!  Oh, wait, the NFL has had to change its policies, too. No national organization should seek to protect criminals or criminal behavior. Misguided or no, the fraternity lobbying group sounds surprisingly like the NFL, wanting to cover up abuse against women to “protect” its organization, get specialized lenient policies to ignore criminal behavior. I resoundingly pose the questions: Why? How does it help an organization to stonewall rape investigations?

Seriously, why block a rape investigation unless there is a fear that lots of rapes and criminal activities are occurring? If the fraternities are as lily white as they are purported to be, what would be the harm in allowing investigations into alleged rapes? If the organization and its members are innocent, no harm could come to them. So, tell me again how it helps legitimize an organization to act like its dodging investigations of abuse and rape? Just sounds like the mob, not a student organization. Or, maybe Greek organizations would like to lose legitimacy like the NFL did. I can’t tell, because if the accused students were innocent, why do they need a national organization to say that they don’t want an investigation of said supposedly innocent students? Methinks the Greeks doth protest too much…

In the past month, police revealed Penn State’s Kappa Delta Rho chapter was being investigated for circulating nude photos of unconscious women on a private Facebook page. North Carolina State University discovered the alleged pledge book for Pi Kappa Phi joked about rape and necrophilia. Sigma Alpha Epsilon, which had been trying to eliminate hazing to improve its image as the “deadliest frat,” has launched a national review of racial intolerance after the University of Oklahoma chapter was caught joking about lynching black men.

Pete Smithhisler, North-American Interfraternity Conference president, noted that issues of hazing, racism, sexual assault and binge drinking are not exclusive to fraternities. “The vast majority of [fraternity members] are having those very positive fraternal experiences,” he said.

Greek organizations have promised to improve members’ behavior, launching task forces and commissions to make specific recommendations. Fraternities at Brown University and Dartmouth College have pledged to kick out any member found to have sexually assaulted someone.

The tally of more than 100 fraternity-related incidents of alleged hazing, sexual assault and date-rape drugging this academic year is likely understated, according to researcher John Foubert, president of the anti-rape advocacy group One In Four USA. Sexual violence in general is dramatically underreported, and Foubert’s research has found fraternity members three times more likely than non-Greek students to commit sexual violence.

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Goddesses Who Don’t Ask For Permission To Kick Your Ass: Part One–Goddesses Send You to Hell or Orgasm Brings Light to the World

March 18, 2015

There is a certain type of ego involved in our society today, namely that since we have invented computers that we hold the candle on inventions that rock, that we are somehow smarter than those past generations who have trouble navigating cell phones. We might pity them, sure, but we are quite confident that we have the upper hand. We invented sex, too. As well as war, violence, and Call of Duty. We have so got this.

Consider that we do not. Consider that past generations recognized something that society today seems to have forgotten, the ferocity of women. And they immortalized them, talked about goddesses, recognized the full scope of humanity includes some kick-ass women, and not nice ones, or some who only are violent when defending their precious progeny, just plain recognizing the full spectrum of humanity doesn’t always include helpless virgins. Cell phones be damned, they had the whole bit of humanity by its teeth.

Don’t think that this is just an isolated incident–nope, worldwide. We don’t even have cell phones worldwide. We might be falling behind…

Consider Ancient Egypt had a goddess who birthed the major gods, a goddess of water in a desert might be the most powerful goddess ever:

Tefnut was the ancient Egyptian goddess of moisture, rain and dew—a very significant task in a desert country. Daughter of the sun god Ra, she was depicted as a lion-headed goddess, occasionally with the body of a serpent. Tefnut’s rage caused droughts; her return brought renewed life; and oh, yeah, she was the mother of the gods of the sky and earth, and grandmother of Egypt’s principal gods, Horus, Isis, Osiris and Set.

HuffPost has an article entitled, “10 Most Badassed Goddess of World Mythology,” from which the above was quoted. You should check it out. Norse mythology had a goddess for whom the term “go to hell” was phrased. She was “Hel,” goddess of the torment, goddess from hell, literally. Talk about kick ass.

Perhaps you are wondering: “what about heaven?” We have a goddess of hell, but what about heaven. Japanese have the covered, a goddess who ruled in the heavens, with no male in sight, and when she was unhappy, total darkness, not a goddess to displease. How about I suck the entire light out of your life, leave you in total darkness, control the heavens, and then kick my dumb brother out when he acts like an ass. Yes, got it, or as Huff Post article describes, rules it:

Amaterasu or Amaterasu-ōmikami is one of the major deities in the animistic Shinto religion of Japan; her full name means “Great Divinity Illuminating Heaven.” One of the world’s few female solar deities, a principal myth featuring Amaterasu depicts her conflict with her brother, Susanoo, god of storms and the sea. Angered with Susanoo because he threw a flayed horse into her weaving hall (rude), Amaterasu withdrew to a cave and brought an age of darkness upon the world. She was eventually coaxed into leaving the cave (pictured above), but Susanoo was banished from heaven. As a gesture of reconciliation, he gifted her the legendary sword Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi (天叢雲剣, “Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven”)

Was it some shapely male that coaxed the female goddess out of hiding to bring the world out of total shutdown? Nope, a woman was a savior, once again. This time, a dancing woman, who partially undresses to make people laugh and engages the other angry goddess. Dancing goddess who saves the world from total darkness by figuring out how to relate to another woman?

Amenouzume, in full Amenouzume No Mikoto,  in Japanese mythology, the celestial goddess who performed a spontaneous dance enticing the sun goddess Amaterasu out of the cave in which she had secluded herself and had thus deprived the world of light.

Amenouzume decorated herself with club moss and leaves of the sakaki tree, lit bonfires, and made a platform of an upturned tub. Her inspired cries and divine dancing, in the course of which she exposed herself, so delighted the assembled gods that they roared in laughter, thus awakening the curiosity of the sun goddess.

That description of “inspired cries and divine dancing” sounds a lot like an orgasm, from a surprising source, the Britannica. What woman wouldn’t be tempted by the mother of all orgasms? And with said orgasm comes light to all the world. I like it. I really like it. As in Harry Met Sally, I’ll have what she is having.

Meg Ryan does this best, maybe a shout out to Amenouzume in the the scene below?

Check out the goddess post. Or, you can just wait; I will bring out their best in a few more posts…

Deaf Man Responds To Video “A Day Without Barriers” And Why I Only Partially Agree

March 17, 2015

Initially when I blogged about this video yesterday, I had said that I wished for something like this for my hearing impaired friends. I should have been more specific. I don’t like the fact that the deaf person is surprised by the “niceness” of corporate advertising. I like the fact that Samsung has set up a call center for the hearing impaired–it’s about time, and I am going to savor that victory.

I remember a time when a phone call with my hearing impaired friend included a small typing device, and we had to try to type our thoughts to one another, plugged in through the phone line. How provincial. How very like e-mail, but without the connection. It’s hard to get expression from someone’s typing skills. It’s there, but it’s masked, or sometimes, if you are 13 and not the best typist, maybe it’s not there. Maybe it can’t be, and maybe as you try to struggle through the rough realities of your friend knowing people are talking about her through clenched teeth, because she could read lips, maybe you can forgive yourself for being 13 and not being able to communicate through a typing device.

Maybe, later, when call centers became popular, as in, you respond in voice to someone who types to your friend, you will forgive yourself for being less than honest, because let’s face it, even having an “interpreter” hear what you have to say inserts a third person into the conversation, and even if they have to supposedly be objective, they can’t be, because they are people, too. You might even forgive yourself for getting angry or getting off the phone when you felt judgment from said interpreter for not being able to express yourself while someone else typed it to your friend with a hearing impairment.

You should forgive yourself, because another 15 years later, after three marriages and a divorce between you, when your friend shows up in town with her children to visit you with her children again, after visiting her shortly after the birth of her first child (whose entrance signaled first husband’s departure for her), after visiting at a local agricultural fair to coo over gorgeous, blonde male horses and dodge piles of poop,  after her second marriage and two more children goes south, you might still reconnect for hours, and while you text, you might still be happy for her when her world gets a bit easier. Don’t feel guilty, and don’t let the fact that while Samsung makes money off of this, it’s still a service that the hearing impaired community deserves. Be happy for them.

There is a response video to the Samsung marketing video, entitled: “My Reaction to Samsung Turkey Advertisement-Subtitled.” The video is linked below. It’s not that I don’t agree with some of what he says, but I don’t agree with all of it. Jesse Conrad asserts that the only reason the people in the video learned sign language is to pat themselves on the back. Jesse Conrad asserts that it is only the hearing community that erects barriers to communication, and that is simply not true.

It’s true that sign language, like any language, is complicated. I learned to sign most with signing the alphabet. It’s tough for me to sign without my hands hurting because I have a growth on the nerve in my wrist, but I didn’t learn sign because I wanted to feel good about myself. I learned sign because I wanted to communicate, and I have a friend that I value. We communicate in our own way, including sign.

My daughter has taken a sign language class, not because she wants to feel good about herself, but because she met my friend and wants to communicate, too. It’s not about some self-aggrandizing notion of altruism, but that there is a deep human drive to communicate with one another. Jesse Conrad is missing what is important to people–that connection, the drive to communicate with one another in meaningful ways.

The Samsung video isn’t about meaningful conversation, except the “good morning” comment, and even that, coming from a stranger might not be construed as meaningful, but it’s about little encounters during the day that fill that need we all share to to feel “connected” with one another.

Interestingly enough, I found evidence of this on a site for people going through divorce, and the blogger, whom I feel is gifted not just with insight, but with the ability to express it, terms that desire for connection as being open to “encounters.” Encounters, as I understand them to her, are those same moments of connection with others that make us feel good, with no strings attached, goodness just there for us to enjoy.

My trip to LA lasted for exactly 48 hours.  In that time-frame I had dozens of encounters.  Goodness, at LAX this afternoon I had 5 meaningful encounters alone.  That doesn’t include the encounter with a woman last night who had lost her ticket to the concert (I had an extra – got massive karma points for that.), or the man who stepped in as I mangled my photo ops, taking my phone and saying, “You are missing too much of this show trying to futz with your camera.  May I?”

“Yes, you may.”

Or the encounter with the cab driver who brought me back to my hotel after the concert. We made each other laugh, and when we said goodbye we looked deep into each others eyes and smiled a big, warm, glittery smile that said, Thanks for making me feel special even though I am just a fare, I am just your cabbie.  I think of him now and get teary eyed.

Honestly, drought areas should bring me in for emergency water supply.

These encounters are different compared to those I had before The Pocket Call, back when I was in a relationship.  I was more dismissive then.  Polite, yes, but not so interested in a connection, more closed off.  I didn’t value the power of an encounter.  I didn’t give people (nature, animals) credit for being able to impact me in a way that was life-changing, memorable, rich, in the space of a moment or a few.  I expected to get that from The Genius and our circle of family and friends, but I didn’t honor what a brief encounter could gift to me.

Spouses, lovers, family, friends – these are relationships that develop over time, morph and shift.  They have beginnings, middles and ends, mainly as defined by us.  We value them, and we also take them for granted sometimes.  We push and pull them, we support, we use, we utilize, we trash ‘em, and we rebuild ‘em.

Encounters may often go unnoticed.  Yet they are so ripe with opportunity for growth and joy that I feel compelled to sing their praises. 

Encounters like these are what Samsung tried to mimic, to show what the hearing impaired community might not experience in their daily lives. It’s one dimensional, true, because we don’t know what encounters the man in the Samsung advertisement has without a camera attached. The man in the video in Turkey isn’t “saved” by these constructed encounters, but neither is he destroyed. Maybe the people in the video are seeking an encounter similar to the one in which they learn to play a role. Maybe we are all seeking encounters that connect us, make us feel good, not just to pat ourselves on the back but because we require them.

I do think the Samsung video is a marketing gimmick, but I can see that, even though I am not hearing impaired. I can rejoice in a service making live a little bit easier for the hearing impaired, and I can celebrate that all while knowing it’s a marketing gimmick. For now, though, I will spread the word, the video, and I have posted the response below, but I still can’t help but think of my friend and be so happy that she has a way to make her life just a little bit simpler, even if it’s in sorting out her cell phone bill, because that is complicated enough…



A Day Without Barriers…

March 16, 2015

Ok, I know it’s an ad for Samsung’s new program to reach out to the hearing impaired, but I like it. I have friends with hearing impairments, and I wish this for them, too…


Clitoris Ring Worn By Gloria Steinam: Artist Says It’s A Talisman for Extraordinary Orgasms

March 11, 2015

Who knew that the clitoris has an internal and external manifestation?? Gloria Steinam, that’s who!

OMG I just met Gloria Steinem! So I gave her this gift. My friends just made this ring which represents…. disclaimer: it’s about to get graphic y’all – the internal clitoris. Raise your hand if you have any idea how actually massive the clitoris is? The little nubbin we are all so familiar with is just the tip, the full thing carries on well inside the body and is quite huge. Who knew? Turns out basically nobody did, till like the 90’s. So anyhow @penelopijones have made a ring which anatomically maps the beauty in it’s entirety – and when I found myself at a table with Gloria Steinem I took mine right off my finger and gave it to her. Thanks lady hero!

 Want to see Gloria Steinam wear the ring? Click here:

According to a Huff Post article, the clitoris is much larger than we thought:

Caledonia Curry, an artist also known as “Swoon” who founded the Heliotrope Foundation community for artists, shared a photo on her Instagram account of Steinem wearing the “Clitoring” made by Penelopijones jewelry. The ring is an anatomically correct rendering of the clitoris, which is actually much larger in size than most people realize. (It measures between 3 1/2 and 5 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide on average.)

Want to see the ring? Want to order the ring? Go to:

Penolopi has this to say about the ring she crafted:

What is that, a dragon fly? 
This provocative little anatomical form, mysterious yet oddly familiar, is a subtly stylized representation of a thing we all know, yet may know surprisingly little about. Until very recently both science and culture have misunderstood and often ignored all but the very tip of it. Our ring, like the anatomical renderings in the header, illustrate the newly rediscovered internal structure of the clitoris. The sensitive little button at the top of a woman’s vagina is apparently just the tip of the iceberg. What lies beneath the surface is vastly more complex and fascinating. It contains eight thousand nerve endings at the tip that permeate through this greater internal structure, then connect to fifteen thousand more, suggesting that even vaginal orgasms are technically “clitoral.” Over a lifetime a clitoris will increase in sensitivity and size seven times. The “wings,” called the bulbs of the vestibule hug the vaginal canal, composed of erectile tissue, they become swollen during arousal.  The two “arms,” the crura form a wishbone-like shape. We like to think of them as a tuning fork, a device for sending and receiving vibrational energy, possibly for exploring the resonant structure of the universe.

PenelopiJones has hand crafted these jewelry objects as a fun and elegant conversation piece to help you illustrate to your lovers and friends a greater understanding of the miraculous structure of the internal clitoris.  May it serve you as a talisman for extraordinary orgasms!

Uptown Funk: Bruno Mars’ Voice Like A Caress–Check Out the Senior Version

March 10, 2015


I don’t like the fact that Bruno Mars says “Bitch, say my name…” but otherwise, the sound of Bruno Mars in this one is like a caress. I like the 70’s vibe, that disco underbeat, and apparently I am not the only one. I had posted the Uptown Funk High School Version.

Here is the original Bruno Mars Uptown Funk song below. And under that, check out the Senior Version.

Senior Version:

Originally posted on Unasked Advice:

This teacher’s dance skills are incredible. He also seems to have a rapport with this students that is palpable. I want to go to this high school. There were no dancers like this where I went, but it’s worth a watch for all of you dreaming of dancing through school:

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