Oh, how the feminist movement has lost its way.
And the deafening silence over ISIS’s latest brutal crimes makes that all too clear.
Fifty years ago, American women launched a liberation campaign for freedom and equality. We achieved a revolution in the Western world and created a vision for girls and women everywhere.Second-wave feminism was an ideologically diverse movement that pioneered society’s understanding of how women were disadvantaged economically, reproductively, politically, physically, psychologically and sexually.Feminists had one standard of universal human rights
— we were not cultural relativists — and we called misogyny by its rightful name no matter where we found it.
An astounding public silence over ISIS crimes against women has prevailed among Western feminists. As late as 1997, the feminist majority at least took a stand against the Afghan Taliban and the burqa. In 2001, 18,000 people, led by feminist celebrities, cheered ecstatically when Oprah Winfrey removed a woman’s burqa at a feminist event — but she did so safely in Madison Square Garden, not in Kabul or Kandahar.
Six weeks ago, Human Rights Watch documented a “system of organized rape and sexual assault, sexual slavery, and forced marriage by ISIS forces.” Their victims were mainly Yazidi women and girls as young as 12, whom they bought, sold, gang-raped, beat, tortured and murdered when they tried to escape.In May, Kurdish media reported, Yazidi girls who escaped or were released said they were kept half-naked together with other girls as young as 9, one of whom was pregnant when she was released. The girls were “smelled,” chosen and examined to make sure they were virgins.
ISIS fighters whipped or burned the girls’ thighs if they refused to perform “extreme” pornography-influenced sex acts. In one instance, they cut off the legs of a girl who tried to escape.These atrocities are war crimes and crimes against humanity — and yet American feminists did not demand President Obama rescue the remaining female hostages nor did they demand military intervention or support on behalf of the millions of terrified Iraqi and Syrian civilian refugees.
An astounding public silence has prevailed.