Re: Rogue Males by Lionel Tiger

From: Francesca S. Alcorn (
Date: Thu Jan 24 2002 - 07:33:57 GMT

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    Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 02:33:57 -0500
    From: "Francesca S. Alcorn" <>
    Subject: Re: Rogue Males by Lionel Tiger
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    >At 01:47 22-01-02 -0500, Francesca wrote:
    >>please see the first snipped statement. We are in agreement here.
    >>The author's position was that women also participate by choosing
    >>mates who are Taliban members, when in fact they have no choice
    >>whatsoever. Marriages are arranged and there are no single career
    >>women under the Taliban.
    >But who is it that arranges the marriages? Is it not both parents?
    >And from what I've seen of Arabic cultures, women are the principle
    >enforcers of such traditions. It seems to me that their men are too
    >busy providing for their families, to devote much attention to this
    >aspect of life.

    I am not an expert on Muslim culture, but I have read some accounts
    of women's lives, and the sense I get is that women are used as pawns
    to cement political and economic ties (as in Bin Laden's case). That
    more powerful men (read taliban) can demand to marry a woman, forcing
    her family to surrender her or flee the country (this has happened
    alot.) Rape is not uncommon, and if the men are powerful there is no
    recourse for the women or their families. In many ways the burqa
    serves the same role that stripes on zebras do - it allows women to
    merge safely into the herd and not draw unwanted attention to

    >Secondly... if it were even remotely possible for a culture to
    >approach a condition so extraordinarily out of balance that men not
    >only provided for their families but also manipulated the family
    >relationships and the behavioral trajectories of their sons and
    >daughters, what might we make of the women of such an out-of-whack

    That they are powerless. Again, the little I have read suggests that
    the man is the head of the household, and all give way before him.
    He sets the laws, enforces them, settles conflicts, controls the
    money, chooses favorites etc. The political maneuvering in the
    household usually centers around competing for the husband's ear.
    Coalitions form to advance the causes of favored children against
    other wives, mothers-in-law etc. Your life and the life of your
    children depends quite literally on securing your husband's favor.

    >Is it conceivable that any mother-as-primary-nurturer could
    >willingly surrender Woman's Power at so wholesale a level as what
    >such a scenario might seem to imply? At issue here is the fact that
    >there is no aspect of a culture that acts independently of any other
    >aspect... that is, if men are "powerful", then it is because women
    >have permitted it, and because women have exercised their own power,
    >for example, over their sons in training them to become the sorts of
    >adolescents that finally get initiated into the culture's manhood.

    Most cultures do not smile on a "mama's boy". Often the very
    definition of manhood turns on the rejection of women and women's
    values. How can you suggest that women have "permitted" the men to
    be powerful? This is like saying that African Americans permitted
    slavery. Permission implies choice and there is no choice.

    >Incidentally, such imbalances (if one accepts that Taliban culture
    >does indeed approach such a condition - for example, Taliban
    >fundamentalism as a reaction to Western globalization) are not
    >sustainable and will invariably result in corrections, whether from
    >within or from without. For this reason, we cannot look to them to
    >provide generalizations about "all" men or "all" women.

    Muslim culture has been patriarchal for a l-o-n-g time. But you are
    right, I don't think that you can generalize from one man to the
    next, much less one culture to the next.

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