Women on the UHJ

Jun 2014
1,100
Wisconsin
Since @ahanu references it, I must confess, that of all the things 'Abdu'l-Baha has said or supposedly said, the one thing I've found that I cannot agree with is this:

"The most momentous question of this day is international peace and arbitration, and universal peace is impossible without universal suffrage. … the mothers will not sanction war nor be satisfied with it. So it will come to pass that when women participate fully and equally in the affairs of the world, when they enter confidently and capably the great arena of laws and politics, war will cease; for woman will be the obstacle and hindrance to it. This is true and without doubt."

Of course, since it merely a report of what he said, there is a chance that he has not actually said it, or the words have been misreported or misremembered, but this statement attributed to 'Abdu'l-Baha is observably false. Women are not inherently anti-war, which I feel is a shame given that, if they were truly anti-war, it would be a great thing.

The reasoning 'Abdu'l-Baha gives in the full quote is that mothers don't want to see their sons die. But the same is true of fathers. And certainly men don't want to see themselves die. So if this reasoning was sound, men would be the more anti-war gender.

But in my country women are the majority of the voters. Has this ended war?? No, it has not. In fact, my country appears to be the most warlike on this planet at this time. Women have not been an obstacle at all to my country's war machine, and this is true and without doubt.

And I've seen a women-focused all-female news show, wherein the all female hosts shouted down and slandered an anti-war politician, accusing that politician of sympathizing with tyrants for merely not wanting to be in a state of endless war.

And then there is the white feather tradition of Europe. Started in France as a campaign by women to present men who did not go off to the crusades to slaughter and kill with a white feather ~ a symbol of cowardice, as a method of shaming pacifist men to go off and commit acts of violence. The white feather returned in Britain in WWI, wielded by the feminist movements themselves, again to shame men who refused to participate in that war. A war that 'Abdu'l-Baha himself urged against getting involved with.

Just looking at history and the world around us, and the pro-war acts of even the most ardent feminists, I don't see how this statement can be true.

It's just the one statement attributed to 'Abdu'l-Baha that I cannot seem to reconcile with. Just - women have had the vote for about a century in my country, the same century which my country transformed from a relatively pacifistic country that deplored the idea of fighting in far-off countries into the self-appointed world police in a state of endless war. Where is the promised peace??

On biological differences between men and women

Overall I tend to think men are more violent than women. High levels of testosterone are linked to aggression. You can see the link between aggression and testosterone in comparisons between bonobos and chimpanzees. The former female-dominated group have much lower levels of testosterone than their aggressive cousins. The same is true for human beings. That is, testosterone in an adult male is 20 times higher than that of an adult woman.
I've read some studies focusing on child behavior that say something a bit different. I'll see if I can dig them up later.

Basically they stated that violence levels across genders are roughly equal, with men being slightly more violent, but the nature of violence is different between genders. Mainly that males favor direct or physical violence, and women favor indirect or social violence. In other words, a man is more likely to punch you in the face, a woman is more likely to spread false rumors to your friends.

When it comes to war and history, this seems to reflect the findings of the study. Men being the warriors, with movements of women indirectly promoting war, like the white feathers. Different methods of violence between the genders.

Hence the proverb from the Maori of New Zealand sums up the list of reasons behind war, and the list is short: "Men die for women and land."
In the context of the aforementioned white feather movement of WWI, the statement definitely rings true.

In general women, in "regards tenderness of heart and the abundance of mercy and sympathy," are superior. We can observe this fact in the NT, in which we find Mary Magdalene is the first to know of Christ's resurrection. She seems to have naturally sensed it before everybody else. In everything else women are equal, says Abdu'-Baha.
I don't know if I'd agree with that point's supporting evidence. After all, the NT also mentions a different woman who demands the decapitation of John the Baptist... hardly a beacon of mercy and sympathy.
 
Sep 2010
4,602
Normanton, Far North West Queensland
Where is the promised peace??
Why have we not chosen this path? Baha'u'llah said mankinds perversity will long continue.

I see the spirit behind what was said by Abdul'baha is 100% true. It does not stop people being drawn into the perversity. We must be aware that no Baha'i is exempt from this perversity, it is a lesson for a Baha'i, just as much as it is for all humanity.

Now is not the time to start doubting and seeing what was offered as wrong, now is the time to support it with 100% of soul and mind. If we doubt, we join the degradation of the decaying old world order.

Regards Tony
 
Jun 2014
1,100
Wisconsin
Why have we not chosen this path? Baha'u'llah said mankinds perversity will long continue.

I see the spirit behind what was said by Abdul'baha is 100% true. It does not stop people being drawn into the perversity. We must be aware that no Baha'i is exempt from this perversity, it is a lesson for a Baha'i, just as much as it is for all humanity.

Now is not the time to start doubting and seeing what was offered as wrong, now is the time to support it with 100% of soul and mind. If we doubt, we join the degradation of the decaying old world order.

Regards Tony
What was alleged to have be said, mind you. There's always the possibility he was misquoted, as this isn't his writings we are talking about.

I don't see the spirit behind that quote being 100% true. Women's participation was said to lead to "wars will cease". When women were given the vote in my country, we were isolationist. We were culturally speaking strictly anti-war. Now, this country views itself as the world's policeman, and has been at war for the majority of my life. The quote said giving women the vote would lead to peace, but despite giving women the vote, the country I live in has transformed from determined pacifism to constant militarism.

The reason for that being somewhat obvious, my country is in the Iron Age of the four-age cycle observed by philosophers. But giving women the vote did nothing to hinder the encroachment of the Iron Age, history has shown women to be just as capable of warmongering as men can be. Even the original suffragettes were staunchly pro-war, after all.

Again, this is the only thing I've read attributed to 'Abdu'l-Baha that I can't get behind. And, again, since this an account of his words, and not his words themselves, there's always the chance this isn't what he said. As has also been mentioned, there seems to also be a disparity between what 'Abdu'l-Baha has been reported to have said about gender, and what he has written about gender. Which might put his supposed comments into question.
 
Apr 2011
1,094
Hyrule
I don't know if I'd agree with that point's supporting evidence. After all, the NT also mentions a different woman who demands the decapitation of John the Baptist... hardly a beacon of mercy and sympathy.
Pilate's wife desired to spare Jesus' life (Matthew 27.19). It's not often you find beacons of mercy and sympathy in antiquity's aristocracy. They were pretty ruthless . . . even if they were female. Still, Mary beat the men to the punch in understanding Christ's message. Even the Gospel of Mary attributes to her teachings only she knew, and some of the male disciples were clearly not happy about it:
1) When Mary had said this, she fell silent, since it was to this point that the Savior had spoken with her.
2) But Andrew answered and said to the brethren, Say what you wish to say about what she has said. I at least do not believe that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas.​
3) Peter answered and spoke concerning these same things.​
4) He questioned them about the Savior: Did He really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did He prefer her to us?​
5) Then Mary wept and said to Peter, My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I have thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Savior?​
6) Levi answered and said to Peter, Peter you have always been hot tempered.​
7) Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries.​
8) But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well."​


I've read some studies focusing on child behavior that say something a bit different. I'll see if I can dig them up later.

Basically they stated that violence levels across genders are roughly equal, with men being slightly more violent, but the nature of violence is different between genders. Mainly that males favor direct or physical violence, and women favor indirect or social violence. In other words, a man is more likely to punch you in the face, a woman is more likely to spread false rumors to your friends.

When it comes to war and history, this seems to reflect the findings of the study. Men being the warriors, with movements of women indirectly promoting war, like the white feathers. Different methods of violence between the genders.
Sounds interesting. I look forward to what you can find.

The reasoning 'Abdu'l-Baha gives in the full quote is that mothers don't want to see their sons die. But the same is true of fathers. And certainly men don't want to see themselves die. So if this reasoning was sound, men would be the more anti-war gender.
Women go through the pain of childbirth, so I would assume maternal bonds are stronger (especially when they give birth naturally).

But in my country women are the majority of the voters. Has this ended war?? No, it has not. In fact, my country appears to be the most warlike on this planet at this time. Women have not been an obstacle at all to my country's war machine, and this is true and without doubt.

And I've seen a women-focused all-female news show, wherein the all female hosts shouted down and slandered an anti-war politician, accusing that politician of sympathizing with tyrants for merely not wanting to be in a state of endless war.

And then there is the white feather tradition of Europe. Started in France as a campaign by women to present men who did not go off to the crusades to slaughter and kill with a white feather ~ a symbol of cowardice, as a method of shaming pacifist men to go off and commit acts of violence. The white feather returned in Britain in WWI, wielded by the feminist movements themselves, again to shame men who refused to participate in that war. A war that 'Abdu'l-Baha himself urged against getting involved with.

Just looking at history and the world around us, and the pro-war acts of even the most ardent feminists, I don't see how this statement can be true.

It's just the one statement attributed to 'Abdu'l-Baha that I cannot seem to reconcile with. Just - women have had the vote for about a century in my country, the same century which my country transformed from a relatively pacifistic country that deplored the idea of fighting in far-off countries into the self-appointed world police in a state of endless war. Where is the promised peace??
In 1982 thousands of women organized against male militarism, forming a human chain around a U.S. military base.


'Embrace the Base’: 30,000 women link hands, completely surrounding the nine mile perimeter fence at RAF/USAF Greenham Common, Berkshire (1982), Edward Barber. © Edward Barber


Childrens garments on the wire fence at Greenham Common during the protest by Women Against Cruise Missile in 1982
The idea women hold the key to peace is not a new idea. In Aristophane's play Lysistrata, Greek women plot to create peace by withholding sex from their men. And Mother's Day started as a peace movement. There's even an organization today called Women Waging Peace which has a number of statistics and data about the connection between women and peace here.
 

ams

Nov 2019
88
Thailand
Hi Walrus

And then there is the white feather tradition of Europe. Started in France as a campaign by women to present men who did not go off to the crusades to slaughter and kill with a white feather ~ a symbol of cowardice, as a method of shaming pacifist men to go off and commit acts of violence. The white feather returned in Britain in WWI, wielded by the feminist movements themselves, again to shame men who refused to participate in that war. A war that 'Abdu'l-Baha himself urged against getting involved with.

Just looking at history and the world around us, and the pro-war acts of even the most ardent feminists, I don't see how this statement can be true.
Those womens were tricked out - by the militar leadership - to blackmail men... to force men... via emotional blackmail... to go to war... killing other men and unavoidable (called: "collateral damage") also women and childrens. There never was a war without!

In August 1914, at the start of World War I, Admiral Charles Fitzgerald founded the Order of the White Feather.
The organisation aimed to shame men into enlisting in the British army by persuading women to present them with a white feather if they were not wearing a uniform
White feather - Wikipedia
It was the same kind of perversion of "yin and yang"... as it is the case if men supress women. There is no different.

The warlords... incited women against men... to emotional force them... to go to their war.

Such women are never could be meant by 'Abdu'l-Bahá...

The teaching was: Men and Women in Harmony. Two Wings, not fighting against, but working together.

With women who inner-fight against men in such a way, there is no way for peace... same as if men supress women.

Let us not forget: There exists - of course - also women... who want to blame men in any way possible.

You can find them i.e. in radical feminist movements.

Such radicals ... have no interest at all to establish harmony between man and women... but the goal is to blame all men, for the suppressing of women.

But in reality... this is just the same kind of very unbalanced mindest... when men supressing women. Just the other side of the coin.

With both kind of mindest, peace is not possible. Because in reality it is the same mindset.

Only with real harmony between men and women peace is possible.

That was (and still is ) the teaching of Bahāʾullāh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
(btw: also of Jesus Christ and Yogananda )

Also it was (and still is) in Taoism with Yin and Yang.


Neither in the mentioned Tablet nor in any other did 'Abdu'l-Bahá just blindly suggesting women.. no matter of their attitude.
No. Because it is clear that this would be completely out of context of his own and Bahāʾullāh's teachings of the topic.

Of course... he not suggest those kind of Women who have any kind of antipathy against men, like those of the "White Feather" or any other radical "men-blaming movement".

Same as he never ever were suggesting any men in high positions... who have a deep drive... to supress or forbid womens in high positions, with all kind of tricks.. even religious tricks! People must learn to look through all those tricks and arguments.


Of course he mean only man and women ...... who have no antipathy or supressing-drive... against the other gender...

but deeply realized that both are created by God as two golden wings... flying together in harmony.
 
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