Man Chops Off Wife’s Fingers Because She’s More Educated Than Him

BANGLADESH-CRIME-DOMESTIC-VIOLENCE-20111216-161044Rafiqul Islam told his wife that he wanted to give her a surprise present. He blindfolded her, taped her mouth shut (huh?) and asked her to hold out her hand.

Then he chopped off all five of her fingers.

Why? Because she was working toward a college degree without his permission.

Mr. Islam had only made it to eighth grade and was a migrant worker in the United Arab Emirates. He did not want his wife thinking that she was better than him with some hoity-toity education and future career.

His wife, Hawa Akhter, promptly moved in with her parents and took to writing with her left hand in order to finish her studies.

According to the Daily Mail, this was one of a series of attacks against educated women in the Middle-East. Here’s another:

In June, an unemployed man gouged out the eyes of his wife, an assistant professor at Dhaka University, apparently because he could not stand her pursuing higher studies at a Canadian University.

These incidents occurred a couple of years ago but I just learned of them as the reports became “popular” on Reddit.

While extreme, these cases show what ill may come from “gender ranking” men above women: believing that men must be on top and women below.

In the US gender ranking of this sort arises a bit more benignly. When men lose jobs and wives become breadwinners, middle-aged couples still insist that husbands are “head of home.”

Or, Fox News goes ballistic over reports that wives increasingly make more money than their spouses. Next stop, Hell.

All this leaves me wondering about men who occasionally complain on my blog about hypergamy: the tendency of women to “marry up” — to marry men who outrank them in earnings and status.

These guys ignore men’s own discomfort with marrying higher-status women. It’s all women’s fault because we’re genetically rigged this way. Genetics. Not patriarchy!

Like this comment appropriately attached to a post called, “Men Who Hate Pretty Women.”

Why don’t feminists like to discuss hypergamy and how it has rewarded “alpha” men for bad behaviour. Why is it that despite an age of equality, women are more than ever intent on marrying up. I love how feminists like to deny evolutionary psychology when it has a basis in reality.

This guy doesn’t seem to realize that times are changing. Women are increasingly marrying down. That couldn’t happen if hypergamy were in our genes. But it could happen as patriarchy — and ranking men above women — diminishes.

I’ve often wondered at the attachment these men have to a theory that insults them: I’m not as good as Alphas — dominant males — and that’s why I can’t get women.

But as they see it, Alphas are at the top, followed by Betas like themselves. Women — with our sorry genes that can’t appreciate them — are dead last. So at least Betas are superior to someone — more than half the race.

Superior even in their inferiority. I sort of get it.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 30, 2013, in feminism, men, psychology, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. This is sick. It makes me feel sick. Violence towards women is a global problem that each nation should be facing together. Here in America, men and women are slowly reaching gender equality. My dad is a stay at home dad and my mom is the bread winner. My dad is extremely proud of my mom and respects her. If only every couple were like my parents…

  2. And here’s a recent article in Ms. Magazine: “When a Wife/Partner Succeeds, Men Lose Self-Esteem”

  3. This post reminds me of a conversation I was a part of in English class the other day. Our professor has a gender studies unit planned for us later on in the semester, but in one of our summary exercises was an excerpt of a piece about how society treats women as inferior by controlling appearance expectations.

    As a class we then discussed our views on the issue. I was the only one who agreed with the author’s stance. My classmates are most certainly entitled to their opinions, but if you take a look at the media and the messages it sends us, some very overtly, I think it’s hard to ignore what’s going on. I hate to be critical, but honestly I think they’re in denial of the situation. Oh, before I forget to mention it just because it makes the scenario even more interesting, I’m going to a women’s college.

    • Thanks for writing in. Wondering if you meant to put this comment on a different post – “appearance expectations.” (Sometimes people read more than one post and then put a comment in the “wrong” place.) Regardless, it’s interesting to hear what you have to say about women’s perspectives at a women’s college. I think it can be difficult to “get” something like this when you only hear it one time, or are first introduced. Maybe you were better prepared than most to be able to understand what your instructor was saying. And maybe the instructors need to create more context for students to get it.

      I definitely appreciate getting your input on these sorts of subjects. Thank you!

  4. I’m reading a book called The End of Men By Hanna Rosin. just curious if you read this, Georgia, and what you thought.

    • I haven’t read it. I’ve only read book reviews. My sense is that where there is an end of men, so to speak, it’s due to the privileges they have. In the past men have been able to make more money than women even if they didn’t get a higher education, and nowadays women are getting more education than men are, and are also beginning to pass men up educationally and earnings wise. Hookup culture is working for women, she says. But really, other research shows that neither men nor women really like it very well. And that for the most part it’s not really even happening on any wide scale. But also, she is focusing on the United States and not the world so much, where patriarchy is still very strong. But as I said I haven’t read it so I can’t really make much of a judgment.

  5. Several points to comment on.

    My father, a teacher, commented in frustration about what he saw as the dumbing-down of standards. This was in the UK in the 1980s to 90s. We can’t educate everyone to the same level, because some kids are too smart. Instead, he said, the education system was increasingly geared towards holding back the smart kids. That way everybody will be at the same level, sure enough.

    His point of view had nothing to do with gender, but I bet something similar was going on in the mind of Mr Islam: I can’t catch up to my smart wife, but I can slow her down a fair bit. Clearly an idiot and a thug, I think it most likely he had been intensively taught by his religion that men are just better than women. He obviously lacked the intellectual horsepower to question that view.

    Next. In my country (New Zealand) there is a demographic shortage of men in their 20s and 30s. This means some women are facing a difficult choice: hold out for the right guy, even though he may never come along, or lower your sights a bit. No easy decision, I am sure.

    I did read somewhere that women who cheat on their husbands rarely do so within the same social class; either they go up, for the alpha, or down, for a bit of rough with the grease monkey.

    Finally, beta males. I am definitely a beta male, and I do still harbour some resentment (touching on our previous discussion) about my adolescence, and the way I was treated both by the alpha males and the girls who pursued them. Having achieved a measure of social and reproductive success, I am far less troubled (and far less intimidated by alphas, though this still happens). If this success had not happened, I can see how it could have caused me to lead a life of bitterness and anger. Some betas definitely feel this way; but not all!


    • Like I said, I personally prefer betas over alphas, and so do most women. Most of them are great guys.

      I’m sorry that some of them hold hostility toward women. But I don’t think it’s good for anyone, including them. If women are turned off by these guys it’s probably the hostility that’s doing it.

  6. It seems like it’s mainly the extremists that causes this. But it seems like it’s been long ingrained in the culture. though. Ever read parts of the Koran? They say don’t stereotype as Muslims as bad like the fundamentalists, but oh boy, the Islam regligiong is full of stuff where women seem like second class in it. I realize the old testmament of the bible is not so great either, but the Koran is even worse. If infidelity happens according to the Koran is ok for the husband to lash his wife or beat her. A lot of talk of Mohammad raping and raping is fine if necessary. A lot of it pertaining to a man spoiling his wife, but if she disobeys, then punishment as in physical punishment is fine. It makes women sound like dogs that need to serve and obey their man or “masters” otherwise punishment is fine, etc. I thought most of the middle eastern women had to cover up pretty well there, as it’s too tempting and it’s her fault if sexual assualt happens. The blame game happens in america too, but since I could remember things were always worse it seemed.

  7. I don’t understand what is wrong with the middle east or at least various parts of it. I mean, there is still things that can improve here in America with women’s rights and what not. But jeez, while America and Europe and other countries have not viewed or treated women the best or sexism and what not. There has been a lot of progression in America and other countries, there’s still some more progress needed. But I mean the middle east or there countries are like in the stone age and have been there since, like, the beginning of civilization there it seems. Why is the culture and those countries so insecure with their masculinity? There’s been this insecurity and still is in America and other countries, but like I said, enlightenment has came throught the ages. Whereas, the middle East seems to have been close minded since forever, there might have been progress, but such small steps.

    • What you tend to find is that fundamentalist cultures tend to be very patriarchal and want to control women. They also tend to be anti-science. You find this whether it’s Islamic fundamentalism or Christian fundamentalism or Jewish fundamentalism or Hindu fundamentalism, etc. The main differences that fundamentalism is the mainstream in the Middle East these days.

      It wasn’t always so, many years ago Middle Eastern women had more rights than most women in the world. And the Middle East used to be a place of great learning and thought. They are the ones who came up with Arabic numbers for instance. Try to imagine doing long division or calculus with Roman numerals.

      Makes me worry when Christian fundamentalists start becoming strong in the US, denying women’s rights and denying science, especially in the Bible belt of the southern states.

  8. Perhaps this is not a proper post to say this given the gravity of the problem you describe at the beginning… but I really love the topics you choose to write on and your evaluation of the subject. I have very rarely agreed with the arguments put forward in multiple posts written by the same person. I hope to read more and more interesting articles from you in future.

  9. This is the brutality the women in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran , and in most Arab world suffer and subjected to.When l was in Kuwait ,Yemen l saw honor killing of women accused of being Prostitute (false accusation ).There are no laws to punish the husbands.Thank you for the visit.Regards.jalal

  10. Throughout human evolutionary history, men were meant to be physically dominant over women, while the latter were meant to be mentally and emotionally dominant.
    When newer brain scanning technology arose, it was discovered that women were better at language and arts while men were better at math and science. These may be some of the universal traits nature has given us, but what nurture has changed is the places around the world.
    Men are usuposed to be confident in how they operate their life and promote their self-confidence. Women are supposed to collaborate with others (in other words, other confidence). Over time, the roles have started changing. Masculinism has ruled to long and feminism is coming back with a full blow as more and more single mothers raise their male children. This is a really complicated stereotypical abstract concept that is yet to be seen in the future.

  11. Hearing things like this brings so many feelings of sadness. It’s also disheartening that people still try to blame acts like these, from the mild to the horrific, on the “evolutionary female role.”

  12. What a disgusting act of barbarism

  13. Wow, this is incredibly disturbing. THanks for sharing it.

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