The epigraphs to this essay may seem unlikely bedfellows. After all, the traveller Beatrice Grimshaw journeyed to Fiji in 1907, while Jonathan Miller’s journalistic statement about ‘downtrodden’ Afghan women was published nearly a century later. In many respects, Grimshaw’s nakedly racist declaration is of a different order to Miller’s expression of concern for women’s rights. Nevertheless, this essay contends that there are important continuities between protofeminist travel writing and the feminist content of reports by journalists who are committed to the ideal of secular democracy. In order to explore this connection, the following essay interweaves two apparently distinctive strands of debate. The first pertains to the colonial content (or not) of British women’s travel writing from the period of high empire.1 The second concerns the ‘integrationist feminist’ practice of advocating Western-style secularity as a remedy for gender inequality. As Liz Fekete (2006, 2) and Arun Kundnani (2007, 24-44) observe, the latter phenomenon has particular political consequences. They point out that prominent feminists in Western Europe and the United States are today increasingly inclined to oppose liberal immigration policies on the grounds that multiculturalists have been indifferent to patriarchal customs such as polygamy, clitoridectomy, forced marriages and honour killings. Given this trend, the essay also attends to the feminist content of current news media coverage.