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New "Obedient Wives Club" in Malaysia: wives should be submissive helpmeets and first-class whores

Marry one, get one free: Two members of the Obedient Wives Club and their husband.

MRAs regularly accuse feminists of promoting the idea that all women are “perfect princesses” who can do no wrong. Which is a rather silly accusation, as every feminist I’ve ever met is well aware that women, like men, are capable of vast evil. Jiang Qing, also known as Madame Mao, was one of the ringleaders behind China’s bloody Cultural Revolution. Madame Delphine Lalaurie was a 19th century New Orleans socialite who tortured her slaves and performed bizarre medical experiments on them. And then there were Ilse Koch, the “Witch of Buchenwald,” and her counterpart Irma Grese, the “Bitch of Belsen,” sadistic Nazis who tormented the prisoners under their charge and kept grisly “souveniers.” (For more on them and other truly evil women see here and here.)

But today I’m going to talk about some women who aren’t so much evil as retrograde and wrong: the 800 women who have reportedly joined the newly formed Obedient Wives Club in Malaysia, an offshoot of a fundamentalist Islamic organization called Global Ikhwan, previously known for its Polygamy Club.

If you set aside the whole fundamentalist Islam thing — MRAs by and large don’t seem terribly fond of Islam — these Obedient Wives would pretty much represent the ideal women for manosphere misogynists; much of what they profess sounds like it came straight from discussions on The Spearhead or one of the popular MGTOW forums.

According to the Obedient Wives, for example, “disobedient wives are the cause for upheaval in this world” — including social ills like domestic abuse. As one spokeswoman for the group sees it, “domestic abuse happens because wives don’t obey their husband.” Asked by the newspaper The Star if this meant that a wife was at fault if she was abused, the spokeswoman replied with a “yes,” because “most probably … she didn’t listen to her husband.”

But it’s the group’s pronouncements about sex that have caused the most controversy in Malaysia. Apparently Obedient Wives need to be sexual dynamos as well as submissive helpmeets, eager and willing to “obey, serve and entertain” their husbands “better than a first-class prostitute” can.  As one of the group’s founders put it at the event heralding the formation of the Obedient Wives,

Sex is a taboo in Asian society. We have ignored it in our marriages but it’s all down to sex. A good wife is a good sex worker to her husband. What is wrong with being a whore … to your husband?

Several days later, another Obedient Wives Club spokeswoman attempted to “clarify” these remarks in an interview with the Malay Mail:

I believe we have been misunderstood and misinterpreted. When we said that husbands should treat their wives like first-class prostitutes, we were not putting wives on the same level with prostitutes. We are talking about first-class elite types, not street hooker types.

So that’s … good, I guess? Although we should point out that actual prostitutes in Malaysia – even those working at “high end” clubs — are treated like shit.

Before all the “American-Women-Suck” dudes reading this convert to Islam and buy one-way plane tickets to Malaysia, I would like to note that there are feminists in Malaysia who think these women (and the men Involved in starting the group) are full of it. Islamic feminists, even.

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Alex
9 years ago

Fucking MRAs. They’re misogynists, so they hate independent women, but they’re religiously intolerant racists, so they’ll find a way to hate these women too. There is literally nothing a woman can do to please MRAs.

Amnesia
Amnesia
9 years ago

According to the Obedient Wives, for example, “disobedient wives are the cause for upheaval in this world” — including social ills like domestic abuse. As one spokeswoman for the group sees it, “domestic abuse happens because wives don’t obey their husband.” Asked by the newspaper The Star if this meant that a wife was at fault if she was abused, the spokeswoman replied with a “yes,” because “most probably … she didn’t listen to her husband.”

Cause, really, it’s not like men are capable of making rational decisions by themselves or anything like that.

SallyStrange
SallyStrange
9 years ago

Yes, Amnesia, that really is striking about all this gender essentialism business — it is so insulting to men! They are incapable of dealing with a person who won’t listen to them without resorting to physical violence. They are incapable of seeing a flash of thigh without flying into a rage of lust and raping the owner of said thigh. They require constant sexual satiation or else they will be incapable of honoring their marriage vows. They require perfect obedience at all times or else they just might start a war or crash the economy or something. Etc., etc.

Anyway, these women have obviously been listening to too much Ludacris. He was way ahead of them with the “lady in the street but a freak in the bed” stuff.

Captain Bathrobe
Captain Bathrobe
9 years ago

I think those lists of “evil” women Dave linked to were a bit hard on Mary I and Elizabeth I, as they were probably no worse than male rulers of the age–and certainly no worse than their grandfather (Henry VII, who had quite a few political opponents executed), their brother (Edward VI, a fanatical protestant in his own right), or their father (Henry VIII, surely no comments necessary).

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
9 years ago

In the second link, the clarification between elite prostitutes and street walkers, the club’s spokesperson makes it clear that wives should be sexually skilled but that their club will not be giving practical sex lessons. I wonder, assuming as with most religious fundamentalists that they value chastity in a woman prior to marriage, how they expect wives to be able to perform as well as prostitutes?

Although I suppose, that since they’re basing the whole sexually skilled thing on the tenant of obedience, I’m probably over thinking it. Any wife who does whatever her husband wants whenever he wants it will be considered skill, I guess. I wonder if Islam has religiously based sexual manuals?

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth

The thing that annoys me is that they almost never ever ever ever admit that a man did something wrong (and if he did, women and manginas drove him to it) but expect feminists to constantly agree that this or that woman was bad, did something bad or wrote something bad to or about men.

Sarah
Sarah
9 years ago

Sexual skill comes from god’s will and love. You will automatically know how to give an amazing blow-job and be a good kisser if you love your husband enough and do what he says. If you can’t, then there is something wrong with you, and you should feel ashamed. Also, you orgasming has nothing to do with being good in bed. Don’t worry about that.

@Captain Bathrobe: Just because they were no worse then the men around them dosen’t make them not terrible people. Those men did some pretty awful, horrible things too. Just because everyone else is doing it dosen’t make it right.

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth

Female orgasms make it easier to get pregnant with boys. You would think the men would know this…

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
9 years ago

Mary and Elizabeth (and many queens throughout history) are why I have never believed or argued that if the world was run by female rulers there would be no war.

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth

Elizabeth I just did it to make some dude happy. She thought war was useless.

Seraph
Seraph
9 years ago

Female orgasms make it easier to get pregnant with boys. You would think the men would know this…

Is this true, or are you implying that MRA’s and traditionalist Muslim men would be thinking in terms of boys when they’re trying to impregnate their wives? I know female orgasms make it easier to get pregnant in general.

Seraph
Seraph
9 years ago

Elizabeth I just did it to make some dude happy. She thought war was useless.

I don’t know if this would make her better or worse. Or is this snark?

Amused
Amused
9 years ago

Sarah wrote: “@Captain Bathrobe: Just because they were no worse then the men around them dosen’t make them not terrible people. Those men did some pretty awful, horrible things too. Just because everyone else is doing it dosen’t make it right.”

Sarah, I think what Captain Bathrobe was referring to is that female rules are singled out for criticism. Acts that are considered par for the course on the part of male rulers (though not necessarily “not terrible”) are held up as evidence of particular evilness when committed by female rulers.

And by the way, the Listverse entry on Elizabeth I is shocking inaccurate and unfair. Elizabeth I didn’t have “thousands of Catholics murdered”. Fewer than 300 Catholics were executed during her 45-year reign (see this , for instance) — only slightly more than the number of Protestants that Mary I had executed during her reign of only 5 years. Most of those Catholics were priests, and Elizabeth had them put to death under pressure from Parliament. Lest we forget, many of those “martyrs” were agents sent by Rome to either assassinate Elizabeth or foment rebellion against her. There were, in fact, a number of Catholic rebellions against Elizabeth, seeking not civil rights or religious inclusiveness, but the deposition of Elizabeth, possibly her death, and the restoration of Catholicism to the exclusion of Protestants. Same with Mary Queen of Scots — Mary constantly plotted against Elizabeth and while still in Scotland, styled herself Queen of England and dined on plates with the English royal crest. She was put to death after overwhelming evidence was produced that she was seeking to have Elizabeth assassinated. What Elizabeth did do was create a religious settlement crafted in such a way as to appease all but the most extreme of Catholics and Protestants. That’s a lot more than can be said for most rulers in that age of fundamentalist faith, intolerance and religious violence.

I think it’s unfair to apply modern standards to rulers who lived in a completely different cultural and political environment, hundreds of years ago. I also think it’s facile to characterize a ruler as “terrible” for the simple fact that he or she had people killed, outside of context. Those in power are responsible for hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of lives, as well as the day-to-day well-being of their citizens. It’s therefore problematic to judge them according to the rules of individual, private morality. Given the very nature of what they do, it’s kind of inevitable that they sometimes have to have people killed.

Sorry for the off-topic discussion.

Seraph
Seraph
9 years ago

I think it’s unfair to apply modern standards to rulers who lived in a completely different cultural and political environment, hundreds of years ago.

True. There are some we can judge as “bad even for their time” – Vlad Tepes, Elizabeth Bathory (assuming she wasn’t framed), Gilles de Rais – but beyond that, it gets murky.

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
9 years ago

I can’t speak for anyone else but I’m enjoying this particular digression. I’m not a pacifist and consider war an inevitability of the human condition. Which doesn’t mean that I approve of every war or even most wars. I’m just noting, realistically, that humanity has yet to figure out a method of solving some disputes without resorting to violence. Throughout our recorded history, across cultures and continental divides, we have engaged in warfare. That some wars are dismissed as senseless and others heralded as necessary or noble doesn’t really change the essence of war. Every side believes that it’s on the right side of history and the winners usually get to the write the stories.

I’m holding out hope that this is something upon which we can improve. I believe that we have the capability. Already we have developed philosophies regarding human rights that would have been alien all over the world only 200 years ago.

Plymouth
Plymouth
9 years ago

Not to brag or anything but my fiance has on several occasions told me the best sex he’s ever had is with me. I think this might have just a teensie bit to do with me having more “experience” than his prior girlfriends. Of course it does also have to do with us being absolutely crazy about each other and having good chemistry 🙂

Amnesia
Amnesia
9 years ago

@SallyStrange

This just in: Men all over the world are starving to death because women won’t make their sandwiches!

zombie rotten mcdonald

That Delphine LaLaurie stuff is really creepy. We did one of those Haunted French Quarter tours when we were down there, and that house was a big part of it.

Kes
Kes
9 years ago

Its like bizarro-world sex positivity: “All sex should be great! For your husband!” No mention of female pleasure at all. Sex is still something the wives have that they give to their husbands. They should just give really well.

nerd
9 years ago

To bring the word “obedience” into a relationship in a context that isn’t sexual, is pretty twisted.

Sarah
Sarah
9 years ago

“It’s therefore problematic to judge them according to the rules of individual, private morality. Given the very nature of what they do, it’s kind of inevitable that they sometimes have to have people killed.”

I dunno. I suspect you may be right, on some level. But the idea of killing a few people for the greater good is definitely something I struggle with. The moral rules governing leadership positions are very murky to me.

But, certainly, I can agree that is is not so black and white as “She was a terrible person for having 100s of Catholics killed! There were mitigating circumstances. (My knowledge of this part of history is quite shallow, sorry. =p)

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
9 years ago

By the way, I meant tenet of obedience up there. Obedience probably doesn’t have renters.

Kes
Kes
9 years ago

“I dunno. I suspect you may be right, on some level. But the idea of killing a few people for the greater good is definitely something I struggle with. The moral rules governing leadership positions are very murky to me.”

If you read the writings of the time, you will find that these rulers were not killing “for the greater good”; they were killing to stay in power. Elizabeth I, for example, was reluctantly talked into killing Lady Jane Grey because she was used by her relatives to try and claim the throne. Same deal with Mary, Queen of Scots. If you are going to stay king, or queen, of anywhere for very long, you need to be willing to kill pretenders. When you don’t, or won’t, you end up with civil war.

2020
2020
9 years ago

“disobedient wives are the cause for upheaval in this world”

Your damn right they are that’s why there awesome

“When we said that husbands should treat their wives like first-class prostitutes, we were not putting wives on the same level with prostitutes”

I should hope not prostitutes have more self respect

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth

Seraph, it was not snark-Lord Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester wanted to get involved in the Netherlands’ rebellion against the Spanish. So she supported his efforts there despite not being a big fan of spending the money.

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth

Mary I ordered the execution of Lady Jane Gray. Elizabeth I narrowly missed her own head being lobbed off because of the same concerns.

Amused
Amused
9 years ago

“If you read the writings of the time, you will find that these rulers were not killing “for the greater good”; they were killing to stay in power. Elizabeth I, for example, was reluctantly talked into killing Lady Jane Grey because she was used by her relatives to try and claim the throne. Same deal with Mary, Queen of Scots. If you are going to stay king, or queen, of anywhere for very long, you need to be willing to kill pretenders. When you don’t, or won’t, you end up with civil war.”

I think people at that time had a somewhat different conception of what “for the greater good” meant. We today perceive the greater good as best being served by a liberal and secular democracy. In Elizabeth’s time, however, staying in power was often seen as serving the greater good, and I think you touched on that at the very end.

SallyStrange
SallyStrange
9 years ago

If I were married, and my husband said he wanted me to act like a high-class prostitute, I’d put a tip jar by the bed straightaway, with a $500/hr minimum sign on it.

Captain Bathrobe
Captain Bathrobe
9 years ago

My only point in spawning this derail was that if Elizabeth and Mary are evil, then most rulers throughout history are evil–which is likely true. Still, we don’t single out, say, Henry VII as being especially evil, even though he had quite a few political enemies put to death (after all, he essentially usurped the throne through force of arms from Richard III, who generally is, rightly or wrongly singled out as being evil). History is indeed written by the winners, as the article’s author stated, which is why Mary is “Bloody Mary” but Elizabeth is “Good Queen Bess.”

tl; dr: context matters, and I don’t think either Mary or Elizabeth was exceptionally evil in context–just plain, ordinary everyday evil, like most rulers throughout history.

Xtra
9 years ago

Why does no one ever argue that if as many people are happy as possible, it would be a better world?

**sigh**

zombie rotten mcdonald

Why does no one ever argue that if as many people are happy as possible, it would be a better world?

In the MRA world, women don’t count as people.

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
9 years ago

Too many people think that happiness and equality are zero-sum propositions.

tawaen
tawaen
9 years ago

Because there are too many people who can’t be happy so long as other people they don’t agree with are happy.

See also, Puritans.

zombie rotten mcdonald

Because there are too many people who can’t be happy so long as other people they don’t agree with are happy.

the “pissing in someone’s cornflakes” axiom.

Johnny Pez
9 years ago

“It is not enough for me to be successful. It is also necessary for my friends to fail.”

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
9 years ago

@Captain Bathrobe:

I’m gonna point this out because I see it a lot and it bothers me. You don’t need to get defensive about evil women rulers being “singled out” here, because that just happens to be the topic of conversation. Talking about one side without mentioning the other does not equal thinking the other side doesn’t exist. I think you know this, though..

OT: Grah, this stuff is pretty bad, and people have already mentioned what I want to say. You can’t get good at sex by wishing for it, its something that comes with practice and enjoying what you do. Saying that women are to blame for any and all abuse not only blame the victim, but make men out to be inhuman, unable to keep their penis in their pants when so much as a square centimeter of flesh shows up on a woman, or absolutely unable to restrain their violent tendancies. Keep men human! Hold them accountable for their actions!

sarahejones
9 years ago

The Quiverfull wives would be so pleased…*gag*

Fuck MRAs
Fuck MRAs
9 years ago

I urge anyone who was intrigued by those lists to do some research of their own. Like a lot of those “lists” sites, they take SIGNIFICANT liberties with the facts. In particular, while she was certainly an abusive sadist, the Delphine LaLaurie details seem to be mostly made up to serve the “ghost tour” biz in NO.

katz
9 years ago

The “feminists never think women do anything wrong!” argument is such a catch-22, since if you answer it by giving examples of women who did things wrong, you’re just reinforcing their other argument, “all women are evil!”

Xtra
9 years ago

In the MRA world, women don’t count as people.

Pretty much…………this is depressing.

tenya
tenya
9 years ago

As much as this movement is getting lots of attention, it really isn’t that far removed from stateside fundamentalist Christian groups who feel that women who are unhappy in their marriages just aren’t TRYING hard enough, and that domestic violence is just the same – such as the Saddleback church. And these are women espousing these opinions and teaching the next generation of their large families, although I don’t see too many of them with husbands fighting for them to be equal and they just refuse.

sarahejones
9 years ago

@Tenya: Absolutely true, hence my Quiverfull comment earlier. I’ve researched the Quiverfull movement pretty thoroughly and I grew up in fundamentalist Christianity, and it is accurate to state that the onus is generally placed on the woman. You’ll hear about the role of men, and their importance of leaders, but you hear much more about the role of women. It’s quite an industry, actually.

There is this expectation in this community that women must be sexually available at all times to their husbands. I’ve read blogs by Quiverfull women that actually stated that a woman does not have the right to refuse her husband sex. That is not a unanimous opinion, of course, but it exists within the community. And it’s not hard to see why.

Fuck MRAs
Fuck MRAs
9 years ago

No Longer Quivering is an excellent blog that looks at Quiverfull and other fundamentalist religions/movements from the perspective of women who have left the lifestyle. I’ve been reading for a while so just wanted to plug them since others were talking about Quiverfull.

sarahejones
9 years ago

No Longer Quivering is awesome! They posted a really encouraging comment on my guest post for Feministing on the intersection of religion and feminism, and that convinced me I must have written something at least halfway decent on the subject 🙂 I admire their bravery so much.

katz
9 years ago

The most that can be said in defense of the emphasis on “the role of women” in complementarian circles and the relative de-emphasis on the role of men is this:

Saying a lot about what women are supposed to do is probably just an attempt to balance out the obvious amount of stuff women aren’t allowed to do by making it look like there’s a bunch of stuff that they can do. It’s not necessarily intended as a burden.

David K. Meller
David K. Meller
9 years ago

With fewer and fewer modern women marrying at all, and having their child(ren) out of wedlock, with all of the insoluble and appalling problems that creates in the coming generation, and fewer and fewer men finding it worthwhile to marry women who value ANYTHING more than their husbands–their goofy girlfriends, their “careers”, their political causes, their looks, pocketbooks, and petty egos, or even their unmanagable, spoiled, and loathsome brats (of both sexes)–Is it up to US to say that fundamentalist Muslims have things the wrong way?

I would agree that some of this–especially if polygamy is included–may be “over-the-top”, creating more problems than it solves.. Polygamy can inflict its own problems on a community, as spouseless, restless, and violence-prone young men can’t be economically or sexually integrated into the larger society, but even then, it is no worse than the matriarchal urban ghetto –or white” trailer trash”- culture(???) polluting Western, including American, society that has less and less constructive place for men, masculinity and patriarchy!

“Obedient Wives Club”–for American Jews and Christians– Sounds good to me! I’ll take this as a peace offering from Moslems anytime! We can always learn from others!

PEACE AND FREEDOM!
David K. Meller

PS- And you ‘politically correct’ feministas probably thought that we Men’s Rights advocates were all noisy, gun-totin’, anti-Muslim bigots and militarists who always voted for the GOP, didn’t you? Wrong again! DKM

sarahejones
9 years ago

@Katz: Yes and no. From what I’ve read, and my own experience growing up in fundamentalism, yes, submission is portrayed as a blessing. A gift, even. But there’s also the concept of servanthood, and if you check Ladies Against Feminism’s page, you’ll see quite a few articles on the subject. It’s portrayed as a burden, too. Even as a punishment, given to women as a result of Eve’s disobedience. It’s a very conflicting message: “Your role is to be a servant for the rest of your days! Aren’t you the lucky one???!!”

sarahejones
9 years ago

And @David K. Meller: Please look up a list of logical fallacies. You’ll find generalizations on the list.

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
9 years ago

“Saying a lot about what women are supposed to do is probably just an attempt to balance out the obvious amount of stuff women aren’t allowed to do by making it look like there’s a bunch of stuff that they can do.”

Well-put!

David K. Meller
David K. Meller
9 years ago

There has been some thought objecting to the habit of some of the wives offering themselves to their husbands as role-playing high priced call girls. What people do behind closed doors is their own business, but even at its worst, I still think that it is less harmful to the larger society than modern women pretending–through affirmative action laws, hostile-workplace legislaion, mandatory hiring and promotion quotas and so on–to be police detectives, Senior partners in Law firms, Corporate CEO’s, University department heads or college Presidents, long-haul truckers, journalists, or (Lord help us) Servicemen in the Armed Forces! Little ladies could no longer PRETEND to infest MEN’s work outside the nome, and no harm done!

I say “pretend” deliberately, since if these blatantly egalitarian laws and court rulings were repealed, women would disappear almost overnight from those occupations and professions, and normal gender balance would return very quickly!
Care to try it?

PEACE AND FREEDOM

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