I wrote my Politico column today on Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and how she should be a feminist hero, but isn’t (she’s no Lena Dunham, after all):
Ayaan Hirsi Ali should be the perfect feminist hero.
Viewed from a certain level of abstraction, it is hard to imagine one person who fits the role on so many levels: She’s an escapee — literally — from an abusive patriarchy. She’s an African immigrant who made her own way in a Western country, the Netherlands, starting from nothing. She’s a fierce advocate for women’s rights. She’s a target for deadly violence by angry men who want to shut her up. She left her religion and became a scourge of its repressive practices.
All this — her searing personal experience, her Third World background, her secularism — would seem fit to make her a rock star of contemporary feminism. Except for the blemish on her record: Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a dissident from the wrong religion.