Ambiguity is like idolatry to a man. He worships the precision of science and justice unmitigated by compassion. That is why he gravitates towards sports.
Sports are a placebo for a reality that does not exist. A reality where the rules are predetermined, objective, and will not shift according to the emotional needs of another. Sports are the philosophical metaphor of a world that makes sense.
Men play and compete according to strictly observed and enforced rules. And the women act as cheerleaders, or sit on the sidelines with restrained piety and admiration. Win or lose, rest assured that a women is preparing to make you feel like a winner either by rewarding you with her body, or rewarding you with the notion that there are higher ideals to be achieved than just winning.
Sadly for men, it is only when the game comes to an end that the real challenge begins. Where he was once rational, he is now confused. He can’t think in his own best interests anymore. He can’t give it his all because he is told that in the real world we must exercise restraint. The game ends, but the world still has expectations of him that he cannot fulfill with just brute energy. The object of his desire is no longer a clear target or goal, but a constantly shifting one.
The reality that women’s bodies are the super glue that keeps his mind from disintegrating into chaos and society from following suit becomes the only unconfessed and irrational weakness he does not know how to regulate.
Man begins to realize that he needs, wants and desires woman, not as an either/or, not as a punctuation mark to the full sentence of his existence, but as the author of his entire life story. He must actually move past the calculations of a static reality and learn to recalibrate according to the fluid world of feminine needs and spiritual impulses. Woman seems to be the only one who holds the key to this ambiguous space outside of the playing field.
What he desires of course is not women per se, but what she represents in terms of his own spiritual possibilities. The fulfillment of his deepest desires, ideals, virtues and sacrificial urges. He finds himself obsessing about this higher calling precisely because it is unattainable except through the mechanism of outward projection. He attempts to codify the process of securing her affections by bartering, negotiating, and reducing the process to a contractual agreement which he only knows how to do in one of two ways.
Either through idealization, as in ‘this is my wife, my saint, my mother, my sister.’
Or through a process of devaluation, as in ‘this is a whore, a slut, a lost soul in need of protection.’
In doing this, men have managed to stabilize the currency and women have become conditioned towards dependency by subverting their need for something more meaningful. But human knowledge is cumulative and the continual evolution of society eventually led to the destabilization and fluctuation of the social sexual currency.
When the great recession of the Women’s liberation movement came along and blew this whole equation right out the water, a new kind of woman was born. The kind that is too round to fit into any box. She did not want to be the walking embodiment of ideals that do not exist outside of the artificially engineered playing fields of men’s psyche. In other words, she did not want to be a saint or a slut. She rejected these false alternatives. I want to be meeee she said!
To which man lovingly responded. ‘Tell me who you are and I will recalibrate accordingly. I am liberal and cool and I will adjust to your needs, but I need to know who you are, so I can rewrite the rules of engagement. Nothing can be worse than a game without rules. In fact a game without rules might force me to employ the only rule I know — force’, he threatens.
But this new female aberration was impenetrable in more ways than one. She had spent a thousand years being the anchor upon which society could reliably and predictably lean and so she decided she needs another thousand years to figure out what ‘being me’ actually meant.
‘I will let you know when I figure it out’ she says, ‘in the meantime kindly get out of my way’.
We, as a society decided that we need a new vocabulary for this kind of woman, and so we decide to call her [email protected]#*^. We knew how to deal with the saint, and we knew what to do with a slut, and we always felt secure with the majority of asexual and desexualized maternal types, but this new aberration, is confusing the heck out of us.
Fast forward, and here we are today, where this ancient play is about to be screened on our beach front resorts. In case you have not heard, France has decided to ban the burkini. While I think it would be meaningful to flood French beaches wearing burkinis. I think, employing the same logic, we should also flood Saudi streets with licensed drivers, Capri pants and pony tails.
But why bother?
I hate to break it to you revolutionary types, but this is not about women. Nothing of this kind ever really is. What the French authorities are doing is merely challenging other authorities.
This latest stunt of banning the burkini, is nothing more than an attempt to question the hypocrisy of Muslims who wish to employ authoritarian measures to enforce social and/or religious values, while simultaneously rebelling against that same methodology when other nations attempt to do it. It’s an abstract point but a point worth noting.
We too, say the French, wish to employ the same strategy to enforce our values and to hell with Women’s rights (they are disposable and recyclable).
The French logic is that the exploitation of state power to enforce social values has proven to be effective for Muslims, as evidenced by the fact that even on French beaches women elect to dress according to the dictates of their repressive regimes. Never mind our private motivations. Never mind that each woman can actually dress any way she wants until she figures out what fits her most comfortably. Women are and have always been understood and processed as a collective, and not as individuals, which is why they are always the first to become objectified in any ideological debate.
But if we women can step outside of this playground fight, we the women might realize that we are being drafted, without our consent, into a battle of wits between two ego maniacally motivated patriarchal systems. We (the women) must not allow ourselves to be reduced to this kind of obscene debate. Our bodies are not a public commodity to be enshrined with some kind of collective social value.
Social norms are supposed to evolve organically in every society based on community standards and not to be enforced by state entities. Community standards cannot exist unless a community allows women to actually function in positions of leadership and as fully engaged citizens of the state. No official entities should regulate the natural progression of women’s rights. The operative word here is natural. Social engineering is a male construct. Women evolve organically, men socially engineer.
Men enforce rationality upon the world and decide how to structure societies because they are in a rush to secure some kind of tangible outcome which inevitability leads to social regulations imposed exclusively on women.
This is a childish measure on France’s part since it’s obvious, especially to them, that you cannot preserve something by destroying the principle that makes it possible. But they are prepared to sacrifice so much in principle because the experiment is only affecting the women they pretend to respect. They have reduced this into a battle over women’s bodies, when it’s really a battle over men’s power to reinstate a double standard, while simultaneously using women as the vehicle to showcase the superiority of their societal norms.
Women need to hit the pause button and disengage from this debate. We need to reflect more deeply to ensure that how we dress and how we live our lives is governed and inspired by our own inner leanings and deepest impulses, not as a reaction or act of rebellion to political trends that have nothing to do with God or our own personally held values. Left to our own devices we naturally gravitate towards a merciful and pluralistic set of social norms and it is man’s constant interventions that led to the kind of exaggerated manifestations of strikingly contrasting dress codes.
We must NOT allow our bodies to become the front lines for experimental ideological debates on how social norms and cultures are preserved or evolve. We will not secure our freedom by employing aggressive male tactics of protest and counter protest, either by wearing a burqa or running around topless. We do not have to justify our complicated existence or our diversity of thought and self-expression. We dress differently because we are different. We are not a singular entity. We are individuals. By offering up countless explanations for why we do or do not cover we are recognizing the authority of those who have no legitimate authority in our lives.
We should dress according to the dictates of our soul.
Can we do that? Or is it now impossible given the heavily loaded social implications being hoisted upon us like one leash around our collective neck.
The only thing we need to resist is the wielding of state power to enforce a social norm. I am allowed to hate the bikini, and you are allowed to hate the burkini, but no one is allowed to wield the legalized use of force to enforce their arbitrary subjective perceptions of abstract principles regarding modesty.
Having said that, I believe France is taking a step back from its enlightened position of being a free society in its attempt to legislate a standard. Saudia Arabia never took any real meaningful steps forward so it can’t very well be accused of becoming what it already is. The loss to progress is now being shouldered by France and not the already repressive Saudi establishment. That is a burden that France must now bear. In their paranoia they pulled a kind of Brexit and exposed their subconscious motivations. It is a step back to a stonier age every time we legislate private choices.
The protection of individual rights and private property is an enlightenment principle, when violated, becomes more detrimental to the overall progress of humanity than when an already dictatorial regime acts with impunity against the individual rights of its citizens. You cannot violate a principle that has not been constitutionally memorialized. And individual rights never existed in authoritarian places like Saudia. So this approach on the part of France is pathetic and ineffective and very Trumpian and trite. But also more philosophically dangerous and corrupt than the unambiguous oppression of women in other parts of the world.
It’s a confession that the law is no longer a benchmark of an unyielding principle of objectivity in government matters. In other words, it’s a confession of defeat to the very societies they wish to defeat. Rather than stand on the objectivity of rational principles, they decided to play the game of cultural relativism that the slave states of the world have been playing for decades. And they have decided to do it in the only way that all such games are played, by putting women squarely and maliciously, back in their place.
This article first appeared on thecompanion.in. It’s republished with the author’s kind permission.