I have sat back with amusement listening to the media talk about the 'War On Women' as if it is a full blown battle that pits American Conservatives against American Woman. The smoke and mirrors of American politics, and in the name of the election or re-election of people who bask in their own self importance, is obscuring the 'Real War On Women".
What is being obscured is the daily struggle of women in the Muslin world who toil, under the sometimes barbaric, attitudes of Muslin men. Women are held back and treated like second class citizens with little cries in support of their plight.
In "Distant View of a Minaret," the late and much-neglected Egyptian writer Alifa Rifaat begins her short story with a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband that as he focuses solely on his pleasure, she notices a spider web she must sweep off the ceiling and has time to ruminate on her husband's repeated refusal to prolong intercourse until she too climaxes, "as though purposely to deprive her." Just as her husband denies her an orgasm, the call to prayer interrupts his, and the man leaves. After washing up, she loses herself in prayer -- so much more satisfying that she can't wait until the next prayer -- and looks out onto the street from her balcony. She interrupts her reverie to make coffee dutifully for her husband to drink after his nap. Taking it to their bedroom to pour it in front of him as he prefers, she notices he is dead. She instructs their son to go and get a doctor. "She returned to the living room and poured out the coffee for herself. She was surprised at how calm she was," Rifaat writes.
I would encourage all to read "Distant View of a Minaret". It is a short story that will give you a real view of what it is like to be a woman in the Muslim world. It is powerful description of life under the heels of men who believe themselves superior to all others.
If you read no other recommendation I have ever given; please, please read this one.
While this story is specific to the Muslim religion I am not trying to single out any single religion for its transgressions against women. Most religions and many political structures attached to them relegate women to subservient levels. The history of civilization is ripe with examples of the struggles of women.
When you finish your reading I will guarantee you will look at your wives, girlfriends, sisters, mothers and all women that you encounter with just a little more reverence and respect. To do otherwise would be an injustice equal to that of which you have just read.
*****Link to "Distant View of a Minaret"; http://books.google.com/books?id=5BxI_57l_CkC&lpg=PP1&dq=distant%20view%20of%20a%20minaret&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=distant%20view%20of%20a%20minaret&f=false