Continuing with this week's apparent feminist theme, a bit on women's life in the Arab world.
There seems a common consensus in the West that women in Muslim countries are oppressed. And the symbol, at least, of that oppression is the burqa, the covering worn over the hair.
Those who object to women wearing this do not seem to care that it is voluntary. Or that it is growing in popularity. Or that men, too, have their traditional dress.
There is no question that Arab culture believes is a strict separation of men and women. But this does not imply a secondary status for women. Quite the contrary: in many ways they have it better than men.
For example, at the college where I work, the female employees are assigned the parking lot next to the entrance. Men must park across the street.
In the buses, similarly, men must sit in the back. Women sit in the front. If there are too few seats, a man must get up and give his seat to a woman.
If this is discrimination against women, blacks were the ruling elite in Mississippi in 1959.
Most of the city parks here are for women and children only; as a man, I cannot enter. When I go to the hospital, I need a permission slip from my employer--as I do for most things. My wife needs only to show up.
Women also dominate the student body at the universities.
In light of all this, why the notion that women are oppressed?
The official purpose of the burqa is modesty: it is supposed to cover the hair because the hair is a sexual attractant.
I think the fact that it has become such a red flag says something about the origin and essence of the "women's movement." In the end, it is not about equality for women and men, and it is not about improving life for women or men. It is about enabling casual sex. That, after all, was very much what "liberated woman" meant at the beginning of the "Women's Liberation" movement.
The burqa, and the Muslim-Arab practice of separating the sexes, are designed to make casual sex more difficult.
And that is the whole point.