Over the past few days a lot of my conservative friends and some internet boards have shared this meme:
Now this meme is a hasty generalization. The Islamic groups (mostly ISIS) who do these things are not the majority of Muslims, and assuming that Muslims support these actions is wrong.
But there is something to be said about women’s rights in some Muslim countries. Not all countries, but some (like Saudi Arabia) are very far behind when it comes to the rights of women. This is a problem and one that needs to be addressed, and I agree that we need to help women get rights around the world.
At the same time though I think we have a double standard going on among conservative groups. Many of them express outrage at the subjugation of some women in Islamic countries, as they rightfully should. Ben Carson made statements about how all Islamic texts subjugate women while Marco Rubio states that Islamic countries hate us because of our women’s rights.
Yet, as soon as they are forced to look inwards at our own country, suddenly they forget all their egalitarian ideals and become vehemently anti-feminist.
For example, look at how many conservative politicians deal with rape. Marco Rubio recently reaffirmed that he thinks that rape victims should not be allowed to get abortions and should have their babies no matter what. A West Virginia Republican delegate went on the record saying that rape babies are beautiful gifts from God. Ben Carson compared rape victims to slave owners if they decided to get an abortion and Mike Huckabee argues in favor of a 10-year old girl having to carry her rape baby to term. Those are just some examples, but if I am going to look at a group who contributes to a rape culture, the GOP would be near the top of my list.
And if you really want to get your blood boiling, go ahead and read these 40 quotes about rape from Republican politicians.
Of course let’s not forget the charming things that Republican front-runner Donald Trump says about women.
These things are all bad, but according to our GOP lawmakers we should accept their anti-women rhetoric while condemning Islamic instances of anti-women action.
My concern is that as Americans we are very quick to get outraged at other cultures and very slow to fix our own. We are gripped with American exceptionalism, the idea that our country is uniquely free, a shining beacon to the world. And that allows people like conservatives to make blanket statements about Islam without feeling bad about their double standard when dealing with women in their own country.
Of course, I am not supporting repressive Islamic governments that do support anti-women laws, and am well aware that some of those countries are much worse off than we are. But we are spending too much time focusing outward, and not fixing the problems we have here.
We need to encourage women’s rights around the globe, but that starts by encouraging equality at home, which the GOP is not doing.