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March 16, 2011 / Anna Louie Sussman

Is Kathleen Parker for serious?

I hope she’s being ironic, and I’m just too thick to tell, but in a boring story full of generalizations about feminism in the Middle East (about the nuances of which she seems wholly ignorant), Kathleen Parker writes that “what we enlightened Westerners know is that empowering women empowers us all.”  Not only is the story full of sleep-inducing cliches such as the aforementioned, but it utterly fails to address the actual ins and outs of what different sorts of feminism look like in the Middle East, which is, of course, a large and varied region.

She writes:

Among life’s surreal experiences, few can compare with finding myself seated on a baroque bench, one of dozens lining the perimeter of an ornate drawing room in the palace of Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak in Abu Dhabi, chatting it up with three Ph.D.-endowed women sheathed in black abayas, sipping sweet hot tea and eating candies. “I think you Americans do not enjoy being women as much as we do,” said one, peering into my face with an earnestness one usually associates with grim news delivered to next of kin.

Say what?

Yes, if you use your own experience as the standard for how a life should be lived, then having a PhD. and wearing an abaya will strike you as ‘surreal.’  The rest of the article swiftly turns its back on those Emirati women, (useful as an anecdotal lead, not so much after that) and focuses on topics that…hey wait…look at that — have to do with her forthcoming book, “Save the Males.”

Save me from this drivel.

 

 

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