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No Matter the Culture, Women Face Obstacles

June 03, 2005

Re "The Inner Mullah Shouts, but He's No Cheerleader" and "Inner Mullah? 'Yo Momma!' Covered Women Might Say," Opinion, May 29: In the articles on women's adjustment, or maladjustment, to living in the Muslim way of life, both writers were reasonable in their findings and opinions. Cara Anna understood that she was "a powerful distraction" to men -- and women as well -- mainly because of the traditions of society in Pakistan. Ammara Durrani felt she understood the value of conformity, suggesting that women should become informed about what techniques are acceptable "to fight for their rights."

Neither writer mentioned that the underlying problem is flagrant male chauvinism, the mentality that men are superior and women are best suited to having babies and raising them. This has left Muslims and other cultures back in the Middle Ages.

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I will probably not live long enough to enjoy reading that Muslim societies have granted women many of the freedoms that men relish, such as being able to openly enjoy being female, voting and running in public. I grieve for the talents and personalities of women buried in Islamic traditions. So much ingenuity and creative energy is being wasted. Scorned and "revered" women as well as chauvinist men are all losers.

Lou Jacobs Jr.

Cathedral City

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Never thought I'd say this, but a culture where a woman can put on a sheet in the morning and then go about the business of living becomes more appealing with every magazine cover at the supermarket checkout that shows female flesh with circles and arrows pointing out the cellulite of the stars. There are probably few women in Western culture who haven't felt more bullied by the media, by each other and by this culture into obsessing and loathing and remaking the female body than any mullah ever could.

Mary Dolphin

Laguna Beach

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