THE DEATH OF FEMINISM by Phyllis Chesler


What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom


Chesler (The New Anti-Semitism, 2003, etc.) aims a loud wake-up call at her fellow feminists, charging that while feminism is not exactly dead, it is failing, suffering from the disease of politically correct passivity.

She argues that Western feminists are not focusing on the really important problem: jihadic Islamic terrorism. Western feminists, she claims, are largely leftists infected by a multicultural relativism that is actually a disguised form of racism and sexism, and they do not understand the dangers to our lives and our values represented by reactionary Islamism; further, she says, they have become rigid and intolerant of diverse opinions, silencing and harassing anyone, such as herself, who disagrees with them. Chesler’s personal experience with Muslim male psychology and the Islamic way of life is the subject of a chapter titled “My Afghan Captivity,” in which she tells of her mistreatment and virtual imprisonment in Kabul as the bride of a Western-educated Afghan and of her eventual escape back to the United States. She uses the expression “gender apartheid” to describe the position of women in fundamentalist Islamic societies, which seems a curiously bland term for cultural acceptance of genital mutilation, forced marriages of young girls, stoning of women and “honor” crimes. The author provides a host of examples of the brutal crimes committed against women by fundamentalist Muslim men, not just in non-Western countries but also in Europe, where millions of Muslims have emigrated in past decades and are largely unassimilated and hostile to Western culture. American feminists, she urges, must make the plight of Muslim women one of their top priorities. In her final chapter, Chesler calls on American feminists to rethink their priorities and work to make U.S. foreign policy reflect their concern for women’s rights everywhere.

A fierce polemic, filled with vigorous arguments and distressing human stories.

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 2005
ISBN: 1-4039-6898-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2005


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