Friday, March 31, 2006

Musings on Other Cultures X: Wife Beatings

In the West, we assume that wife beatings are misogynistic. But are they? In fact, wife beatings are very common in cultures that are superior to ours.

Let's look at the data.

While only 22% of American and Canadian women were physically assaulted by an intimate partner, the figure is 67% in rural Papua New Guinea, 47% in Bangladesh, and 58% in Turkey. Now, smug Americans can condescendingly sneer on wife beatings in Papua New Guinea, but the average Papua New Guinean can (justifiably!) sneer back at Americans for not allowing full First Amendment rights for prison inmates.

So, who is right? Of course, the Papua New Guineans are. One person's wife beating is another's expression of culture. And if your culture is an honest one, then wife beatings are an honest expression of that culture. After all, who are we, the capitalist imperialists, to lecture anyone else on what is right? Did Papau New Gunea invade Iraq? Does Bangladesh deny union benefits to Wal-Mart workers? Does Turkey impose its Christianist genocide on the rest of the world?

In fact, that 58% of Turkish women have been beaten is a good argument for Turkey to join the European Union; i.e., other countries can learn from the Turks, like Norway (where only 18% of women have been beaten) and Switzerland (where only 21% of women have been beaten). If you support diversity, you would have to support the inclusion of a wife-beating country in the European Union.

Now, let's look at attitudes. 71% of Palestinian men approve of wife beating if the wife is suspected of committing adultery. And 57% of Palestinian men say that wife beatings are justified if the wife "answers back or disobeys". People, these are the Palestinians saying this! These are the victims of Zionist oppression, and these are the people who know what Amerika is all about . They are the fountain of moral wisdom!

For that matter, in Egypt, 59% or urban women and 78% of rural women say that wife beatings are justified if the wife answers back or disobeys. Or, phrased another way (in an admittedly dubious blog)...

In a sample of 13 African countries between 1999 and 2004, 52% of women surveyed say they think that wife beating is justified if she neglects the children; around 45% think it’s justified if she goes out without telling the husband or argues with him; 36% if she refuses sex, and 30% if she burns the food.

And this is what the women think.

The question for my students who are reading this is: Could America rise the cultural level of African and Middle Eastern countries if wife-beatings increased here?


Anonymous said...

Alas, this post fills me with despair. Even if we could somehow put Amerika on par with the Sun cultures vis-a-vis wife beating, how can we possibly catch up to them in other vital areas such as infant mortality? After all, Amerika's health care system has already been gutted and dismantled by Big Corporations--and we still don't see the same high rate of infant deaths!

Professor Peter Kurgman, PhD, PhD, PhD said...

“Infant Mortality” is just the Christianist expression for fourth-trimester abortions, which, if you read your Constitution, is highly recommended. We will catch up with the Sun Cultures when the Supreme Court learns how to interpret the laws correctly.

Laika the Space Dog said...

We did invent the "wife-beater tank top" and produced the greatest wife-beating film of all time, "A Streetcar Named Deisre", so there is some redeeming qualities in Amerikan culture.


Also, what do you say to a womyn who has two black eyes?
Answer...Nothing she hasn't already been told twice!

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