Unless you've been living under the rock for the past month or so, you've probably noticed the campaign season has kicked into overdrive. One of the critical voting blocks being targeted by Democrats are women. The airwaves are clogged and mailboxes stuffed with the message that the crusty old white men who comprise the GOP are engaged in a "war on women." Their goal? To blast American women back into the Stone Age by refusing to subsidize their birth control and their abortions.
This is the crisis facing the modern American feminist. Evil Mitt Romney and his conservative cohorts want to oppress the Sandra Fluke's of the world by making it a little bit more inconvenient to engage in federally-subsidized, consequence-free sex, a little bit more difficult to terminate the lives of their unborn children. Meanwhile, half a world away a fourteen-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, is fighting for her life after being shot in the head for defying the Taliban by speaking up for women's education. For daring to suggest that women should be allowed to participate fully in society, including pursuing and education and career, she was tracked down and shot by Taliban militants who vow to finish the job if their first assassination attempt is unsuccessful.
This is the terrifying reality facing women across the Muslim world, yet amidst the hubbub of Election 2012 this story is barely making the news cycle. Planned Parenthood is too busy ginning up panic over the prospect of a Romney-Ryan victory in November, and Code Pink is preoccupied with their campaign to "wage peace, not war" with a despotic and dangerous Iran. For some strange reason, American feminists don't seem all that bothered by the fact that in many countries Muslim women are treated as second class citizens – mere chattels in a male dominated society. They are divorced with impunity, routinely abused, killed for breaches of honor, beaten for being in the company of men who are not their husbands, and in some cases subjected to excruciatingly painful and humiliating genital mutilation. They are shot on their school buses while their friends and classmates look on in fear and horror.