Half the Sky
Published on September 6th, 2010 | by Harmonist staff21
Published on September 6th, 2010 | by Harmonist staff21
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This is an important video.
The part where she spoke of Bill Gate’s visit to Saudi Arabia was interesting. She explained how the room was divided down the middle between the men and women. Sounds like most Gaudiya Vaisnava temples.
A very sad testimony to the worse part of seeing women as inferior to men. Undoubtedly there are differences between the sexes, but they vary according to individuals in many areas. Stereotyping is very dangerous and it takes an intelligent and strong person to begin to go beyond them. And we see this tendency of discrimination against race, gender, religion and so on, among those professing to be spiritual seekers. If anyone needs a motivation to rethink their prejudices, the information presented in this clip should help thoughtful people willing to reexamine their attitude. Spiritual life is about the soul–which is neither gender–and about developing the good qualities of enlightenment such as compassion, kindness, and wisdom–and acting upon them even if they are not popular.
This is really good. She leaves little doubt that those who believe that there is any reason for treating women as if they were less than men in any way would do well to reconsider their position. phalena pariciyate: We may judge a thing by the fruit it bears.
I didn’t watch the vid because it is early morning and I don’t want to stir the kiddies, but read the book a couple of months back. Definitely a good book. Her husband is on Facebook–you can become a fan.
For the holidays this year, I plan to gift the teachers at my children’s school a sponsorship for a little girl through Vrindavan Food For Life so that she may stay in school and delay marriage.
Thank you for posting this. I think many people who come to Gaudiya Vaisnavism come from a socially conscious/politically activist background, yet that is often lost along the way. Humanitarianism is not below the bar of Krishna consciousness.
If Half The Sky is “important”, it is important because it shows that gender inequality in society is still the source of most maladies on the planet, and is therefore an even more urgent issue than economic inequality.
And as WuDunn shows in her research the issue is complex but nevertheless clearly directly connected with religions, culminating with Islam specifically as an impossible concept. Anyone who recommends genders equality on the planet and on the same page defendes the inherently misogynystic structure of Islam is incurring in contradiction, to say the least.
I don’t understand how you can make the comments that you do about Islam and then cite a link to abook review that ends with this statement:
“Their book is a powerful argument that those who want to fight gender inequality in the Muslim world must resist simplistic notions of Islam and instead view Islamic traditions as complex and evolving. It changed my mind.”
My reading of the review is that the book changed this blogger’s mind from being islamphobic, owning to its sexism, to a a more balanced position that views Islam as a religion that needs to evolve culturally beyond previous centuries’ ideas of women much like all other religions and secular traditions have done or need to do. In other words, she does not seem to agree with you that “Islam is an impossible concept.” She feels it is reformable with regard to its views on women, as many men and women Muslims do.
But perhaps I am missing something here. Jaya Radhe!
Having worked closely with several female, Muslim students who wear the hijab, I have to say that in my conversations with them about their faith and culture, I found their ideals of chastity and honor to be admirable and empowering for them. Indeed, I found their conduct and focus to be much better than their peers, specifically because of their adherence to the Muslim faith.
Some “cultural baggage” will accompany any faith and the extremes of any group tend be “louder” than others. Rather than dismissing a group because of their fringe, we would do well to engage members so that we might understand their spectrum of thought.
On this very auspicious day of Radhastami it is important to reflect on the feminine principle in general. I find it odd how so many Gaudiyas proclaim their supreme worship of Sri Radhe and yet in ‘real life’ they treat women like second class living entities. How is it possible that we under-appreciate women in general while we think that God’s female counterpart is not only equal to Him, but in some aspects even superior?
It is not just lila… there are very profound philosophical and implications to these truths.
Yes, today a man…tomorrow a woman.
Yesterday a man… today a woman.
How about awareness of this fact
to lead to intelligent decisions?
Actually, most sources disagree with such constant changes, Rudrani-ji. We tend to reincarnate as male or as female life after life. Gender preference is one of the more enduring elements of our personality.
You still have a point, though… a lot deeper than most people think.
I have read a lot on this subject matter over the years. From Ian Stevenson to Edgar Cayce and ethnographic research on reincarnation beliefs among Innuit and American Indians. And this was a very striking common thread – men reborn as men, women reborn as women… in general, of course. The same trend can be seen even in Puranas.
“yam yam vapi smaran bhavan…Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.” (BG 8.6) Srila Prabhupada quotes this verse in regard to SB 4.28.28, wherein King Puranjana becomes a woman in his next life due to thinking of his wife at the time of death. So from this it seems that whatever person we are most attached to and thinking of at the time of death–most often one’s love-partner–that is the gender we become in the next life. For heterosexuals this would involve going back and forth from male to female to male to female, life after life.
In general, we are actually most attached to ourselves.
“Ourselves” is an illusory concept that amounts to little more the composite of our attachments. Our “I” is determined by our “my.”
“Us” being the composite of our attachments seems to be true even in the spiritual sense, Maharaja.
Yes, our spiritual identity is the composite of our attachment to Krsna.
You mean my body, my mind… etc ?
Our real self, a soul without ahankara, is glorious indeed, a minute particle of that which is even more glorious, Bhagavan Sri Krishna.
Unfortunately people are not too attached to that idea. If they were, there would be no reincarnation.