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Of course, those first seeds of misogyny had to come from somewhere. Some say that it's simply because men are bigger and could fight their way to dominance; some that men seek to control women, and particularly female sexuality, out of a subconscious fear being of cuckolded and raising another man's child; others that the rise of the nation-state promoted the role of warfare in society, which meant the physically stronger gender took on more power.You don't hear these, or any of the other evolutionary theories, cited much. Like Christianity, Islam is an expansive and living religion.And so do South Asian societies -- where a population of nearly five times as many women as live in the Middle East endure some of the most horrific abuses in the world today.

They were Turkish -- or, as they called themselves at the time, Ottoman -- British, and French.

These foreigners ruled Arabs for centuries, twisting the cultures to accommodate their dominance.

It has moved with the currents of history, and its billion-plus practitioners bring a wide spectrum of interpretations and beliefs.

The colonial rulers who conquered Muslim societies were skilled at pulling out the slightest justification for their "patriarchal bargain." They promoted the religious leaders who were willing to take this bargain and suppressed those who objected.

The other way to think about misogyny in the Arab world is as a problem of misogyny.

As the above rankings show, culturally engrained sexism is not particular to Arab societies.

As Maya Mikdashi once wrote, "Gender is not the study of what is evident, it is an analysis of how what is evident came to be." That's a much tougher task than cataloging the awful and often socially accepted abuses of women in the Arab world.

But they both matter, and Eltahawy's lengthy article on the former might reveal more of the latter than she meant.

Their final ranking included only one Arab country in the bottom 10 (Yemen) and one more in the bottom 25 (Saudi Arabia, although we might also count Sudan).

That's not to downplay the harm and severity of the problem in Arab societies, but a reminder that "misogyny" and "Arab" are not as synonymous as we sometimes treat them to be.

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