In this week’s Week in Wisdom, our weekly round up of what we’re reading and watching, I shared the trailer for the film Wadjda, a compelling film – one of those films you wake up thinking about the next morning.? It evokes so many questions and feelings. How will we in the West deal with the Arab Muslim version of feminism, which will be very different from ours? (Do a search for Arab – Muslim feminism and you will get close to 3 million results.) Can Muslim feminists reclaim their religion and untangle it from the oppressive patriarchies that dominate it?
Is Islam the problem or the platform for change?? How does our support and close ties with the Saudi regime help maintain the very brutal inequality we criticize and feel so morally superior to?
And where are we in our long, painful struggle for women’s equality? ?Where do we not yet have it right here in our country – the objectification of women, our hyper-sexualized public culture, the explosion of pornography, the inequality of pay, the disproportionate poverty women suffer, the corporate glass ceiling etc. etc.
Social change is complicated and contexts make a difference. Watching Wadjda I couldn’t help but feel something is changing. Recently, it was announced that women could ride bikes – albeit clothed head-to-toe, accompanied by a male guardian, in restricted areas and for recreation only.
Irwin Kula is the co-founder and co-executive editor of The Wisdom Daily. A rabbi, Irwin’s writing has been featured in The Huffington Post and the Washington Post. He is the author of Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life and a co-editor of The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices. Irwin has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The O’Reilly Factor and PBS Frontline. Irwin also serves as President Emeritus of Clal, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a leadership training institute, think tank and resource center in New York City.