No Country for Women- Gender Equality or Radical Feminism? (by Fariyah C.)

Artist: Kousik Zaman

Where would I rather be?

No Country for Women is a blog by the famous Feminist author and former physician Taslima Nasrin who has been living in exile from her motherland, Bangladesh, since 1994. It is lucid and may be outlandish to some because of her choice of language and images. Each and every post will shock and put the readers in a state of awe. The content is, however, ultimately thought-provoking, inviting those brave enough to introspect and even change their mindset. Her recent posts on male circumcision  and breastfeeding in public have created quite a stir, resulting in an array of questions fired from her thousands of cyber readers worldwide. Radical Islamists from Bangladesh and parts of India have been outraged by her constant criticism of Islam in her books and writings; she has gained a global fan base following for her stern voice against gender inequality, religious racism, and fanaticism.

Taslima’s no-nonsense attitude splays across all her posts, be it against any organized religion, unfair cultural bindings, or sexual inequality. Her outcry on gang rape, women’s education worldwide, violence against women, shaming women on their anti-women behavior, female genital mutilation or sexualization of breast cancer may disturb you, but once that wave has passed, it will likely make you question the world and norms that surrounds us. Customs that we practice without recognizing the bigger picture they symbolize will suddenly be on the table for examination.

Taslima directly promotes gender equality, secularism, and freedom of speech through her literary works, seminars, speeches, and her blog. She has written 35 books in Bengali, some of which have been translated into 30 different languages. A few of her books and her presence are banned in Bangladesh and parts of India. This has not stopped her brave voice from reaching millions of eager ears all over the world, including the socially suppressed women of Bangladesh.

Many readers, even those who follow her, have problems with the language of her content and her blatant hatred for men in general, which clashes with her ideology of gender equality. The logical fallacy she practices – that to be a feminist one has to be a man-hater – puts her otherwise profound posts in jeopardy. Some of the explicit images she uses also run the risk of overpowering her words, drowning them in a sea of criticism and distracting her readers.

There are, of course, a myriad of blogs out in the virtual world by renowned feminists, but Taslima seems to be the most prominent and notorious South Asian feminist author and blogger to date. Her writings may initially appear unsophisticated to intellectual readers who would prefer more elevated, refined content. The importance of the issues, however, gives her site staying power.

Any reader, activist or writer who wants to be informed about injustice visited on secularism by religion or on women by the general population will find Taslima’s blog fascinating. Her raw portrayal of incidents, emotional outbursts, and graphic images will turn off readers with moderate ideologies. Readers who do not appreciate violence or nudity as image content are advised to venture through this blog at your own risk.

Taslima Nasrin is an award-winning writer, secular humanist, and human rights activist, spreading her ideas through the mighty sword we know as the pen. Her blog No Country for Women is an outspoken, brash, day-to-day account of all the injustice she sees in this world and her raw reactions. It might anger, confuse, or disturb you, but you will not leave her space with blank thoughts. Like her avid readers, you may even find her aura captivating.

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