Our Shabana-Rehman-like musical revues,
titled SHE, are available featuring eight spicy sections.
Each one paints uncompromising looks at women's lives. Shabana
Rehman has been creating a stir in Norway and Europe with her
stand-up comedy and columns that are expanding the range of cultural
dialogue. She is brilliant and has taken on the job of bridging
two cultures: her father's Pakistani Muslim culture and her mother's
In 2002 Rehman won Norway's Freedom of Expression Award.
SHE, A Tapestry of Women's Lives, can do no less than shed
its own light of insight on controversial topics in the gender
Section One is a spicy, blazing socio-political farce
titled The Burkas Can Can made
to enlighten and empower all women. The feisty Islamic woman driving
this confection is enveloped in a traditional Islamic dress made
so only one eye shows mirroring the first line in SHE's
"Money Makes a Woman Free," viz.: "With one
eye on the public." As Islamic nations step onto the world
stage, the confining nature of these garments has caused comment.
Interestingly, the lyricist did not know at the time of writing
that women anywhere had to dress so that only one eye showed,
proving truth is stranger than fiction.
Photo by Daniel
This woman is the main character
in the farce that opens SHE's musical revue.
The farce's heroine tells the world what she really thinks in
a free, honest voice. and she has lots to say. As she talks she
turns her world upside down, noting Islamic women need male houris,
too, in paradise. She asserts Allah is female - showing she has
not accepted her culturally-mandated low status. She makes fun
of polygamy, and behaves as though she is the full equal of men
though her Islamic religion permits men to beat their wives, to
confine them to the home, to divorce them at will, to allow them
few child custody rights, to kill them if they are raped, to ask
male permission for all significant matters, and so on.
In the West, Sigmund Freud stated that women's true natures were
masochistic, and in doing this he set up prisons for Western women
that it took years to knock down. Wherever this type of thinking
appears, it must be stopped for the world has enough prisons.
The Islamic Dress Code features "La Poeta-Dream"
by Gaël de la Rozière, a poem about personal
honesty, in which nudity and honesty are equated. Rozière
wrote the poem in Spanish and translated it into English. The
farce roars to a conclusion with The Burkas
Cancan, featuring Black, Rainbow and White Burkas. This cancan's
flavor is in the lyric line: "Dropped my burka in a flower
pot/ It grew into a red lace top."
Scandalous songs featured are "Multiculturalism Died of Despair" and "Money Makes a Woman Free!"
As the head-scarf controversy bubbles on in France, this
Wardrobe Warriors' issue will attract audiences, for the veil,
hijab and burka are dirty symbols of women's oppression, just
as the swastika became a symbol of Nazi oppression. The veil,
hijab and burka bully women. In the Islamic context, they are
cruel instruments of terror, just as Freud's theory of women's
masochism was a form of cruelty. These garments must be transformed
into garments under women's total control, having no reference
at all to men's needs or wishes.
The Dubai-based Al Arabiya has proclaimed, "France,
the country of liberty, defends only the liberty of nudity, debauchery
and decay, while fighting chastity and modesty." This is
nonsense. France has long been a fashion leader in women's clothing,
perfume and cosmetics, items women enjoy. Prominent French feminists
published an open letter to President Chirac in Elle on
December 8, 2003, demanding that the liberty and status of the
women of France not be compromised by Islamic missionaries seeking
to impose Islamic law on French women. The separation of church
and state is based on a 1905 law.
In 1905, France decided to separate church and state because
of the Dreyfus case. In this infamous case, a French Jewish Army
officer was accused of treason by an anti-Semitic military intelligence
officer, Colonel Henry, who forged evidence against him. Emile
Zola wrote a 4,000-word newspaper article, J'Accuse, in
defense of Dreyfus, and was forced to flee to England. He was
impoverished because of the aid he gave Dreyfus, and Zola's death
in 1902 has been attributed to right-wing fanatics. Anatole France
said at Zola's funeral that he became "a moment in the conscience
of humanity," a perfect tribute and reminder.
Given her history, France has no reason to yield to the bullying
of any wishing to turn her into an Islamic nation, one in which
women have neither freedom nor meaningful citizenship. Full equality
for women is essential today to all democracies. You cannot have
one without the other.
to read the lyrics of "Multiculturalism Died of Despair".
Section Two titled Billie Jean
King vs Bobbie Riggs Revisited shows how a girl copes with
bullies so slimy she calls one, "The Buchenwald Butcher
of the Fifth Grade and a Viper of the First Degree."
It features the tennis sports song, "Our Women Are Strong,"
"Bullies Run Free," and other delights.
Section Three, Cinderella with
a Ph.D., sensitively explores women's jealousy of other
women, and ways women exploit other women. A standout song in this
revue is "Cinderella Zap a Bunch of Cobwebs." Two poets grace this
section: Noelle Caskey with her astonishing "Messages
for a Daughter" and Linda S. Hagler, with her all-too-true
At this section's close, a duel between two sopranos unfolds,
pitting women's role as family slave against women's equality.
They sing "Give Me (or You) That Old Slavery, Slavery."
This is a classy rephrasing of the 1865 "Gimme That Old Time
Religion" that celebrated slavery's end in the U.S. In both
instances, slavery is the issue.
Section Four, Jonathan's Harem,
, shows ways women can cope with Harem Guys in a country-music
operetta modeled after Mozart's opera, Don Giovanni. It
can be retitled Donna Elvira's Revenge as it blithely cooks
the goose of Béla Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle.
When women are 50 percent of everything, how different our world
will be. Love will be discussed and implemented in foreign policy.
(Defining "love" is not easy, but we can keep trying.)
Section Five is Hello Joyce or
Shaky Marriage featuring San Jose's outstanding poet and
writing workshop organizer, Jean Emerson, and an unforgettable
single mom who copes with impossible demands and dreams of escaping
her hectic life by fleeing to Australia. She believes Australia's
gotta be better than this! She clings to her friend, Joyce, as
to a life raft. Emerson's poem, "Hummingbird's Nest,"
opens the scene. Emerson believes "Poetry can save
the world," and here we see how music, humor and poetry work
together to create revelation after revelation.
Section Six is Four Young Women
of Valor. This musical revue asks "Why did certain
rotten people (you know who you are) leave Monica Lewinsky,
Anita Hill and Patty Hearst for dead?" It takes on Joan
of Arc's pants' problem, and also her communication-with-angels's
problem. For talking to angels, Joan was burned at the stake,
but made a saint in 1920. You never know how things are gonna
go. A sinner one century, a saint the next.
Joan of Arc, like Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison and Shirin
Ebadi, are great people who belong to the whole world. Full
of feisty songs, this section includes "Unbroken Hearts for
Women," the rap song "Living on the Edge," and
"Save the Last Laugh for Me!"
Section Seven is The Love Section.
Its three major songs are "Blue Rose Blue,"
"The Lavender Raccoon," and "A Heart Full of Love."
Its themes are, in a world full
of hate, can humans learn to love and be loving? Also, love is
cheaper than war. Choices? Funny songs, jokes, stories with the
right messages and strength double-distilled enough to douse hostility.
Let's compare the value of a pro-woman, gender joke with war
costs. It could be worth five tanks. Once such generous-spirited
gender jokes get going, women and their male sympathizers will
find ways for women to acquire full world citizenship. Let's remember
that when Chrétien de Troyes wrote The Art of Courtly
Love in the 12th century, it was because aristocratic women
joined with the clergy to improve male behavior. De Troyes, a
monk, formalized the thinking of that time, and his book became
a bestseller which students stole so regularly from libraries
it had to be kept in a locked case.
Ultimately women must be 50 percent of legislatures worldwide,
owning 50 percent of the money, status and power. They will
have fewer children, which will bring wages up, save the environment,
and stop warfare. The world will gain a higher cultural level
and fewer Stinger missiles, rifles, jet fighters, bombs, generals,
etc. The planet will breathe a sigh of deep relief. Three cheers
for comic writers of such songs, poems, jokeslike Rehman
and the U.K.'s Shazia Mirza who can help us all
transform our planet. After that we can cultivate the joys of
Section Eight is Every Age Should Have the Stage,
an irreverent treatment of the "Duty to Die" mentalities
foisted on older people in various places and cultures. The featured
song urges "Don't act your age/ Refuse!"
SHE Song List
About SHE's Songs
About SHE's Musical Revues
Culture relativity and
multiculturalism are used as shields for male privilege. They
protect such woman abuses as Female Genital Mutilation, honor
killings, bride burning.
Cooking the goose of the opera, Bluebeard's Castle
with SHE's Jonathan's Harem musical revue section.
Do you live in the Hello Joyce House?
In SHE's Four Young Women of Valor, the beans
are spilled on why Monica Lewinsky, Anita Hill and Patty Hearst
were left for dead. It also takes up Joan of Arc's pants' problem.
Can humans learn to love and be loving?
Love is cheaper than war.
What about male houris (angels) for women in
Is The Art of Courtly Love relevant today?
Grunge is gone with the wind for guys.
"If women need burkas because men 'thirst'
after them, maybe men just need blindfolds." Woman in India,
a chat room.
Why should Americans not call Islamic leaders
to account for the manifold cruelties endorsed in the Islamic
legal code, the Sharia, and that are written also in the Haddiths
and Koran, with regard to women? If we call American men to account
for wife abuse, why do Americans not insist that Islamic and other
people within America's borders treat women in unprejudiced ways?
Why do we not link our foreign policy to human rights for women
worldwide? If the whole world joined in, our world would change
so much for the better we'd be amazed.
Four Women for All Seasons are Joan of Arc, Abigail
Adams, Dolley Madison and Shirin Ebadi. They belong to the whole
"The veil signifies that women are made responsible
for men's desires
The veil is not acceptable to me as a feminist
one accepts the veil today, why not a burka tomorrow?" Elisabeth
Badinter, French philosopher and historian.
The "chosen people" idea infects many
religions. It is outmoded and an impediment to good human relations.
"If I am 'chosen,' then you must be unchosen."
If females and males become nudists, we will
not have a veil problem.
Women of all faiths must insist on gender equality.
We must have a Human Values Project to evaluate
all values a great boon to international relations.