Let me be clear: I am a committed feminist and a passionate supporter of the Enlightenment and its ideals. Indeed, I have been the beneficiary of those ideals in ways unimaginable to most people in the western world. I traveled from a genuinely patriarchal society poisoned by Islamism to a free, secular society where women, whatever issues we might still have, were equal to men under the law and able to pursue opportunities I could scarcely have dreamed of growing up.
As I have written before, however imperfect western civilization might be, we haven’t seen anything like it anywhere else in human history. The progress we have made is dizzying. One of western civilization’s greatest achievements is the emancipation of women. For most of human history, and still across large swaths of the world, women have been, at best, second-class citizens and, at worst, chattel. In the West today, women are freer than they ever have been. Why would a woman want to be born anywhere other than in the modern West?
But however grateful I am, I cannot pretend that the legacies of feminism and the Enlightenment are perfect. Like many women born into societies that oppressed them, I fully embraced western feminism, warts and all. But these days I am beginning to really see the warts.
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