Search This Blog

Friday, June 15, 2007


When getting to know the feminism ideology for the first time in 2003, I was so impressed in it that I did not want to read any books/articles etc that are written not from feministic perspective. I intentionally blocked my mind from other kinds of writing, avoided reading writings that adore the status quo of patriarchal culture. Before I bought books/novels/journals etc, I had to make sure first that they were written by feminist writers, or at least, free from gender bias.

Laughing at this ridiculous attitude of mine, my close friend said, “It means that you are still worried if you found a new ideology (again) that would break your faith in feminism.”

When buying books on Feminism and Islam, I happened to find books written by Fatima Mernissi and Riffat Hassan, Qasim Amin, Amina Wadud, Nawal El Sadawi, etc that just a month ago I found out those people were labeled “radical Muslim Feminists”. Pay attention to the word RADICAL. People mostly refer the word into something negative, just like radical feminists who choose to be lesbians, and in fact until now homosexuals are still considered to deviate the norm.

My getting to know feminism ideology spoiled myself with more liberal (and perhaps people label it radical) ideas to fulfill my rebellious character, besides to find the answers of my own questions since I was a kid. When (some) people in Indonesia suspect the word LIBERAL as something negative, I find it intriguing. This made me read more various books, the ones that were easily red-penciled by my elementary school teachers (and perhaps my parents too). For example, whether there is something very wrong with Syekh Siti Jenar’s ideas so that this particular character was forbidden to talk about in my community.

My curiosity whether God really takes side to a certain religion needs to be answered. It obliged me to be more open-minded and broad-minded.

Without my awareness, I started to leave the “ridiculous attitude” of mine in 2003. I don’t imprison myself to read only books written by feminists, or books written by fanatic Muslims who easily judge other religions or faiths as rubbish because the adherents do not worship the Omnipotent Allah.

Why is that?

The answer is because I have strong faith that feminism exists to help women who are jailed in patriarchal culture consensuses.

I also have strong faith that Allah doesn’t take side to any religion or faith so that people do not need to feel arrogant that their religion is the absolute truth. I keep being a Muslim because of my strong faith in this religion that I have adhered since I was born.

But I am not a fanatic. I am not a fanatic feminist. I am not a fanatic Muslim either.
I found a good quote in one blog the other day:
A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

A fanatic—in my opinion—just shows narrow-mindedness.

PT56 09.50 140607


Ivo Cerckel said...

A radical is somebody who goes to the root (radix in Latin) of the problem.
“Fanum” means “temple” in Latin.
A fanatic is somebody with an extreme enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion.

Is the root of women’s problem that they are jailed in patriarchal culture consensuses?

Are you sure the only culture consensuses are patriarchal?

An OUTCAST is a person who is stigmatised or otherwise denied the benefits of a culture, usually for being perceived as being outside the social norms of that culture.
(Wikipedia outcast)

In sociology, a NORM, or social norm, is a rule that is socially enforced.
Social sanctioning is what distinguishes norms from other cultural products or social constructions such as meaning and values.
Norms and NORMLESSNESS are thought to affect a wide variety of human behaviour.
(Wikipedia, norm sociology)

NORMS = rules and expectations by which a society guides the behaviour of its members.
(John J. Macionis , “Sociology”, Prentice Hall, 2003, 9th ed., p. 69).

So if you don’t follow those rules, you’re an outcast.

Are ALL women outcasts?
Or are ONLY women outcasts?
Or is it radicals and fanatics who are outcasts?

Ivo Cerckel

A Feminist Blog said...

Ivo, thanks for dropping by at my blog and leaving a comment.
Talking about an outcast, who has rights to say so? The majority? Who believe in the social norm?
To answer the three questions you wrote:
1. Of course not all women are outcasts. In fact many women even feel comfortable with the situation they have been facing since they were born, women who feel comfortable with whatever it is and don't question anything. Consequently, they don't need to feel as outcasts.
2. Many men in fact have become victims of this patriarchal culture too: men who cannot fulfill what patriarchal culture ASSIGNS them to be/to do, to be the breadwinner, to provide all things the wife needs, without reserve, men who don't feel confident with themselves, but still believe that patriarchal culture is what God created, instead of socially constructed.
3. Perhaps society--with the majority--feel to have rights to consider those radicals outcasts.
Talking about fanatics, oh well, in my community, I find more fanatics rather than secular as me. In my own family, I can say that I am an outcast coz being a secular. But I don't feel as an outcast anyway.

Ivo Cerckel said...

As I said in “Life”, and I am answering my own rhetorical questions,
“we” have been created in order that some of "us” may have a passion,
not for freedom and demokracy,
but for TRUTH and justice which (the latter) is the recognition of truth. (section 1)
and in order to again become nothing before we can arrive in our origin (section 5)
Perhaps outcasts are those who have been back to their origin, arche
(hence they are without origin, an-arche, anarchists)
(I myself had two serious comas in my life, six weeks in 1970 at the age of 8, three more days in 1982),
and who upon coming back to this world,
realise that there not many people on this planet who are interested in TRUTH.
The “normal” persons are only interested in money and fun.
They are not interested in principles and ideas and they will certainly not change their ideas.
I recently came to the conclusion that the value for which I thought I was living, that is, freedom, does in fact not exist.
The question is: Are you acting in conformity to your being?
After Rene Descartes (1596-1650) had replaced being with thought,
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) wanted to reconcile the (the determinism of the) starry heavens with the moral law within.
That can not be dome.
As I said elsewhere this morning Indonesian time.
Jun 17th, 2007 - 7:37 PM
Ivo - Re: Subconscious
The current President of the EU, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is hoping that a simplified version of the draft EU Constitution which has been rejected in 2005 by Dutch and French voters is going to be agreed on at the EU summit in Brussels, June 21- 22.
Like the original Cartesian one, Merkel’s res cogitans (thinking thing) has no contact with (democratic) reality.
Hence Merkel thinks she’s entitled to impose her Kantian moulds of concepts of Social Justice upon reality.
As a former East-German freedom fighter, she should know that reality has to be respected

A Feminist Blog said...

I agree with you, not many people are interested in TRUTH, or bother themselves what TRUTH is. They just live their life. Perhaps their mind is simple? Maybe because they never ask complicated questions like we usually do?
Btw, that's really amazing that you "came back from temporary death" twice. People must have called it a miracle. I call it as a miracle too. :)

Ivo Cerckel said...

Minds are like parachutes,
they work only when they are open,
says you.
Parachutes don't stay/remain open for very long time.
And they work only in one direction.
They cannot work (think) outside box.
The wind can only mould itself in one way in the mould of the parachute.
If your mind is a parachute, you can only do what everybody tells you to do.
Kant thus wants to reconcile freedom and determinism.
Some people are determined to think outside (of) the box.
Yes, the parachute is determined to move in one direction. That’s determinism.
An Open Society should not to be confused with a Free Society nor with an Open Parachute.
What is an Open Society?
One of the definitions which Dr Karl R. Popper, himself a Kantian, seems to offer is that an Open Society encourages individual initiative and self-assertiON.
(Karl Popper, “The Open Society and its Enemies”, Vol. I “The Spell of Plato”, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1966, 5th rev. ed., p.190)
Dr Nathaniel Branden defines self-assertiVENESS as the assertiON of consciousness. This, he continues, entails the choice to see, to think, to be aware. To ask questions is an act of self-assertion. To challenge authority is an act of self-assertion. To think for oneself – and to stand by what one thinks – is the root of self-assertiON.
(Nathaniel Branden, “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem” , New York, Bantham books, 1994, pp. 119-120)
An Open Society is thus a society where one has the choice to see, to think, to be aware to ask questions, to challenge authority, to think for oneself – and to stand by what one thinks.
But I’m not interested in an OPEN Society.
Until some months ago, I wanted a FREE Society.
But now I want a TRUE society.
Otherwise I am an outcast again.
And then I become an anarchist again.
And the revolution, it does not want to start.
Wait until the Asian central banks start to sell their dollar reserves to buy the four-letter word, G O L D.
I hope our golden parachutes will protect us during the imminent Greater Depression.
I didn’t yet have such a golden parachute when I "came back from temporary death" twice.
That was the divine parachute at work.

A Feminist Blog said...

Ivo, thanks very much for your illustration above.
I myself don't really let myself get splitting "headache" by reading those big philosophers such as Kant. I'd prefer to use a more simple way to depict what has been going on in my surroundings. I need to learn a lot from you for that.
Some years ago I bought a book entitled (if I am not mistaken) WOMEN PHILOSOPHERS, and I never reached till half of the book when reading it. :( I always have trouble in concentrating when reading something, I always let myself distracted by many other things at the same time.
Anyway, you are right about that parachute. Many parachutes will open eventually. While men's minds (in my opinion) don't always open gradually because they (at least to me) already feel comfortable with anything they have believed in their life, even sometimes since they were little. Their simple way of thinking to accept this life just the way how their religious teachers have indoctrinated them has made them dumb. And I am surrounded by many people like that. :(

Ivo Cerckel said...


The philosopher who saved my life, through partner Dr Nathaniel Branden of that philosopher, was Ayn Rand.
And guess what, Ayn Rand was a lady.

I googled for “Ayn Rand parachutes”

Here’s where I arrived.
“On minds and parachutes by Sir James Dewar”
"On what men have been taught" by Ayn Rand Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

The hyperlink to the Rand quote does not seem to work.

So I googled again (I think the quote is from Rand’s novel “The fountainhead”)
"Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man who disagrees. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the man who goes against the current. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to stand together. But the creator is the man who stands alone."

A Feminist Blog said...

Thanks so much for the lovely quote, Ivo. I am really thankful for that.