Malaysia Bans Distribution of 'Obedient Wives Club' Book

An Islamic fringe group of women called Global Ikhwan has founded an “Obedient Wives Club” in Malaysia. Government officials have stepped in, stopping the Obedient Wives intention to distribute a book titled ‘Islamic Sex, Fighting Jews to Return Islamic Sex to the World’, written by the club’s founder, who argues that women only satisfy 10 percent of husbands’ sex needs and are responsible for the rising divorce rate in Malaysia.

Make no mistake. This Sensual Rebel believes that couples should be spending more time in bed. Why she does it is another issue. Submission and doing the sexual act because it is my wifely duty, or making a constant offering of myself to satisfy my husband’s sexual needs, but not my own,  is not in my vocabulary.

The goals of the polygamy-practicing Islamic group in Malaysia reinforce our recent, conflicting discussions around the desireability of women submitting to men in the bedroom. Younger women and Phyllis Schlafly both believe that ‘uppidity’ feminist women like me are the fault of tensions in modern relationships — failing to make a man — well, feel like a man. (Note that the history of this feminist is the exact opposite.)

For all the social conservatives globally and young people in America who slam feminists for not embracing easily the concept of submission, this feminist is guilty as charged and damn proud of it.

Club leaders in Malaysia have said a wife should serve as a ‘Good sex worker’ and a ‘whore’ to her husband. Schlafly agrees, saying this understanding is part of the marital contract. (Note that I have total respect for Phyllis Schlafly as an amazing, effective woman and intellectual opponent.)

The Malaysia Star reports that an entire chapter of the new book is devoted to ‘sexual worship’ of the man, with no discussion of any mutual respect. Reading now, it seems that perhaps this worship occurs among multiple women in different geographic locations at the same time — presumably using the Internet, with women all bowing down together online.

The Obedient Wives Club is believed to have at least 800 members in Malaysia and has established branches abroad in Indonesia, Singapore, Jordan and Britain. Many club members are in polygamous marriages, insisting the practice helps husbands to avoid committing adultery. Islam allows men to take up to four wives.

A 2010 study by a Muslim activist group found that men in polygamous relationships struggled to meet the needs of all their wives and children, and that the result was often unhappy and cash-strapped families.

Maria Chin Abdullah, executive director of the women’s advocacy group Empower, called the book a “very backward, narrow way of presenting women’s role.”

“It’s really an affront to the women’s rights movement,” she said. “We have come forward so far to say women are not just sex objects.” via Al Arabiya News

Recently criticized for my ‘knee-jerk, classic feminist’ response to the philosophical concept of the natural submission of women, of course this Malaysian movement on how to be a better woman caught my eye.

The movement is alive also in America. Just recently, I watched Oprah’s OWN’s Lisa Ling ‘Our America’ show Spotlight on a Young Polygamist family. (On a side note, presidential candidate Rick Perry and his religious buddies call Oprah the antichrist for her work on behalf of women. They believe Oprah is upsetting the natural order of gender relations.)

In the middle of fighting Republican War on Women legislation being introduced all over America making miscarriage a felony, and now — with the personhood amendment — to make birth control illegal, admittedly it stings to read that as a feminist, I’m now responsible for injuring male manhood, just like the women of Malaysia.

Yikes! And this new verbal assault comes from many of our younger American women, not some male old guard. Searching for a visual for this post, I came upon the blog post, carrying the submissive image above.

The writer is a young Christian woman trying to understand exactly what submission means. Her dictionary references for submission include: unresistingly or humbly obedient; acknowledging one’s inferiority; characteristic of a slave or servant; characterized by tendencies to yield to the will or authority of others; passive; modest; docile; subdued; patient.

This is my understanding of the word submissive, also — and why I reject the theory of the ‘natural submission of women’ in nature. Not only is the female often in charge of who she accepts as a mate, as opposed to having her primal bones jumped on — but PBS NOVA (a little science is always welcome at AOC) reminds us that the overwhelming rule in nature is that children are raised by one parent — the female.

From building a nest and gathering food to giving birth and protecting their young, females do it all. Male involvement rarely extends beyond the moment of conception.

These references to men being the natural world protectors of females and offspring have no scientific basis in evolutionary biology. For the most part, the male is MIA in nature. We are only referencing these facts untruths — not in an effort to fire up a new gender war — but to set the record straight.

When I find myself supporting young women who advocate that males are the natural protectors of females as they are in nature, then it’s time to get our the science books at AOC.

To be clear to all my friends who believe in the natural submission of women, I believe this submission is your right as a person, but it is a choice made with your own choice, not the laws of nature or any isms that have a rational, scientific base.

I also agree with true conservatives — not the Republican War on Women — that what goes on behind closed doors is private business, unless there are children involved or laws protecting citizens against assault and battery are being broken.

The concerns of Malaysia’s Minister for Women, Family and Community Development, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, echo my own concerns about the future of women of America.

(The Minister) asked government officials to monitor the club to ensure it would not ”muddle” the minds of Malaysia’s younger generation. But Ms Shahrizat said the government could not restrict the club’s activities, saying ”we are, after all, a democratic country”.

Among organisations that condemned the club, reports the Sydney Morning Herald, was the Wanita Malaysian Chinese Association, which passed a motion describing this submit to your man advice to women as an insult to their basic human rights.

As an American feminist, I have always fought for basic human rights, including for American women. How fascinating that with all the anti-female legislation being introduced in America, I am the problem for some young women, while Schlafly — who says there is no such thing as rape in marriage — is the icon.

Perhaps Malaysia will lead us out of this spreading intellectual morass about the need to surrender to men for societies to function properly. We’ll be tracking the ‘Obedient Wives Club’. Anne

Related reading:

79% Global Evangelical Leaders: Women Are Subordinate to Men AOC News Musings

Understanding how totally ignorant most young women today are about the history of women’s rights — and responding to new charges from my own friends that women are naturally submissive, I’ve combined the Sexual Politics and Sensually Yours columns into a new one called Sensual Rebel. Read our first feminist history lesson: The Cult of True Womanhood’ & Female Cardinal Virtues | Feminism 201

It is a huge goal of mine going forward to clarify the layers of feminist thought and argument — what we really said and how social conservatives have used our words against us. To make it clear for the record, the vast majority of feminists were positive about sex and loving relationships.

Feminists did reject the theory that the only purpose of sex was reproduction of the species. Feminists like myself know that positive, loving sex is good for our health and nurturing our relationships. I share:

Loving Relationships | 32 Health Benefits of Sex