Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 100

We need to question the rationale of male honour as directly connected to female sexuality and its deadly consequences. with particular, and by all means in the view of this author, burdensome and ethically repre- hensible conceptualisations of female modesty and shame that reduce women and their bod- ies to mere objects of male sexual pleasure (al- though the proponents of these practices claim to the contrary). Femininity is also, at times, conceptually associated with ontological and biological inferiority which are, needless to say, extremely demeaning to women. These gender cosmologies are then employed as the basis of engendering gender-specific (religious) laws, practices, ethics, and even systems of morality with considerable asymmetries between gen- ders in terms of their rights and responsibili- ties, greatly restricting women’s autonomy and agency. In fact, subscription to such a gender cosmology renders much of women’s agency/ autonomy under the control of their male kin. 100 W W W .T I K K U N . O R G PATRIARCHAL HONOUR Another pillar of patriarchy is the concept of patriarchal honour that we alluded to in the previous section. The basic premise of this concept of honour is that the honour of the family patriarch resides in the behaviour of ‘his women-folk,’ especially the behaviour that can be construed as being sexual in nature. Having conceptually invested in the idea of the ‘cate- gory of a woman’, especially the aggressive and powerful nature of female sexuality, societies in which patriarchal honour codes are prevalent strongly regulate this female sexuality through several socio-spatial mechanisms such as veiling/seclusion of women and strict gender segregation. The regulation of female sexuality can also take place through practices such as female genital cutting (i.e., female genital mu- tilation, FGM) whose major rationale is the ‘re- duction’ of female sexual pleasure as a means WINTER 2019