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Saturday, May 25, 2024

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Opinion: What’s with all the misogyny?

There was another disturbing piece of news from Afghanistan this week. Despite early promises that they wouldn’t restrict women’s rights when they took over power, the Taliban have ordered hair and beauty salons across the country to close. This is the latest outrage committed over the past two years – others include banning teenage girls and women from classrooms, gyms and parks and banning them from working for the United Nations.

Other decrees state that women should be dressed in a way that only reveals their eyes, (as shown in the picture above, with exceptions), and must be accompanied by a male relative if they are travelling more than 72km.

It could be argued that the Taliban are simply following their religious beliefs, but I believe this is arrant nonsense. What is actually happening is a vile attempt at controlling and persecuting women.

For some inexplicable reason, there are men across our species who seem to actually hate women. Sure they desire women, marry them, etc, but they actually want dominion over them. Their contempt is usually veiled by claims that they are simply protecting women or that it is god’s will, or that women need to be pure and chaste. But no matter the rhetoric the result is always pain and distress for women, lost opportunities, and in extreme cases death.

These medieval views of a woman’s place in society are not limited to theocracies. They exist in incel communities, right wing religious freaks in America, and sadly here in New Zealand. An example of our own home-grown variety are the young violent misogynists who created the ‘roast busters’ outrage a few years back. They also exist in groups who seek to tell women what kind of healthcare they can receive, and also in organisations and companies who still pay women less than men.

I do not know what the answer is to the situation in Afghanistan. Clearly no one is prepared to go to war again to liberate the millions of women and girls in that country who now face a very bleak, controlled, and unpleasant future. But we all can stand up and say ‘no’ to violence against women, especially in our own communities. We can all recognise that being treated fairly and equally in our societies is a right not a privilege. 

Being human has no subcategories. 

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