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Thread: "‘World Hijab Day’ insults millions of women and girls"

  1. Top | #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea View Post
    I really don’t understand hijab. Never have. I’ve tried to get explanations, but it just doesn’t really compute for me because the different explanations seem to contradict each other. I have friends who wear them, and I don’t ask about it because I don’t want to be inadvertently insulting, but I don’t feel like the explanations make sense. It feels like all of the explanations confirm that it is subjugation, or at best a blatant insult to others that “if you see my beauty, you will harm me,” and I just don’t see what they are seeing when they say that stuff.

    So I watch and listen, follow news items like this one to hear the dialog from the people who support it, and I hope to be able to get what they are trying to convey. But so far it doesn’t make a lick of sense to me. Like stiletto 5” heels.
    What is hard to understand? The hijab is part of female, Muslim, conservative dress.

    The point of the dress code is modesty, to avoid arousing sexual feelings in people who you are not married to. The exact garb and the degree varies between different schools, but the underlying purpose is the same.

    There is a male dress code, although it doesn't involve covering the hair, it would still be pretty conservative by our standards.

    It's pretty straightforward. The Abrahamic religions are obsessed with sexuality. This, I thought, was obvious.

  2. Top | #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea View Post
    I really don’t understand hijab. Never have. I’ve tried to get explanations, but it just doesn’t really compute for me because the different explanations seem to contradict each other. I have friends who wear them, and I don’t ask about it because I don’t want to be inadvertently insulting, but I don’t feel like the explanations make sense. It feels like all of the explanations confirm that it is subjugation, or at best a blatant insult to others that “if you see my beauty, you will harm me,” and I just don’t see what they are seeing when they say that stuff.

    So I watch and listen, follow news items like this one to hear the dialog from the people who support it, and I hope to be able to get what they are trying to convey. But so far it doesn’t make a lick of sense to me. Like stiletto 5” heels.
    I think it's that the hijab originally developed as a means of sexual control, much like Western notions of purity and the like. But over time these customs become disconnected from their original intent and become fused with a person's cultural identity. So the hijab is a means of subjugation, but that's not what it feels like to many women who wear it, and in many cases that's not even what it's doing.

    So it's fine and well to argue from a Western stand-point, but one shouldn't ignore the cultural reality that these customs feel normal to the people who follow them; stripping them of the hijab is stripping them of their identity.

    And if women in these cultures don't want to wear one or take part in the culture they can rail against it, or move. That's also a part of the process of humanity.

    In my view women shouldn't be legally obligated to, or to not, wear a hijab, but cultural customs are much more complicated.

  3. Top | #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by J842P View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea View Post
    I really don’t understand hijab. Never have.
    What is hard to understand? The hijab is part of female, Muslim, conservative dress.

    The point of the dress code is modesty, to avoid arousing sexual feelings in people who you are not married to. The exact garb and the degree varies between different schools, but the underlying purpose is the same.

    There is a male dress code, although it doesn't involve covering the hair, it would still be pretty conservative by our standards.

    It's pretty straightforward. The Abrahamic religions are obsessed with sexuality. This, I thought, was obvious.

    But that is oversimplified compared to what the women themselves say.
    While I was not comfortable asking my hijab friends, I did seek out hijabi women online to ask (in places where they are offering to talk about it). hose answers were contradictory and confusing.
    “I wear it to honor Allah and show that I am obedient to Islam”
    “I wear it because it makes people see me as me and my worthy talents instead of judging me for my looks” (If I hide my looks, I can be sure people aren’t missing my engineering skills)
    “I wear it to be modest and not flaunt my sexuality”
    “I wear it to avoid creating temptation to men”
    “I wear it to save my special inner self for sharing with only my husband”
    “I wear it as an outward sign and celebration of my muslim culture”

    The women who wear them do not give a single answer.

    So far, I have found all of these answers unsatisfying, and doubly so when they contradict each other.
    Many of them do convey the embrace of sexual control over themselves. Some of them embrace making sure everyone knows their religion or piety. Some of them embrace telling others they are judgmental and biased. And many of them seem to embrace the idea that they are in-group and the rest of us are out-group.

    None of these feels friendly or companionable to me. So I have not yet found an explanation for any religious dress code that builds rather than divides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea View Post
    None of these feels friendly or companionable to me. So I have not yet found an explanation for any religious dress code that builds rather than divides.
    It's likely that many people who follow cultural customs don't really understand, or have a concrete reason why they do it. It's just a thing they do and have always done that they've never questioned. If it doesn't bother them, they don't change it.

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    Tradition, a lot of things are accepted without much question, the existence of a God or gods, what God wants from us as taught in the holy book, so wearing the Hijab just becomes part and parcel of the package. God's Will be done....

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    Catholic women at one time could not go into a church without something on the head. Girls carried around this tiny little thing with them to bobby-pin on just in case. Then Vatican II dispensed with the rule. Many older women continued to wear their little coverings for a while because they had all their lives.

    Yes, it's a form of control and sexual harassment. Women who have an option and still do it are largely clinging to an abusive guardian.

  7. Top | #17
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    Anyone who wants the inside story -- really the inside -- on Muslim face coverings -- should read Betty Mahmoody's Not Without My Daughter, which was filmed with Sally Field. It's been a few years, so I forget if she was discussing the niqab or the burka (I think it was the burka), but her Muslim husband's female relations gave her one to wear after he insisted that she wear it, while they were in Iran. Not only did she find a loss of dignity, agency, and identity in the burka, she found a lot of old mucus from the previous wearer. I remember putting the book down and waiting for my head to stop spinning before I could read more. Time to blow a little plastic trumpet for heirlooms & tradition & all that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ideologyhunter View Post
    Anyone who wants the inside story -- really the inside -- on Muslim face coverings -- should read Betty Mahmoody's Not Without My Daughter, which was filmed with Sally Field. It's been a few years, so I forget if she was discussing the niqab or the burka (I think it was the burka), but her Muslim husband's female relations gave her one to wear after he insisted that she wear it, while they were in Iran. Not only did she find a loss of dignity, agency, and identity in the burka, she found a lot of old mucus from the previous wearer. I remember putting the book down and waiting for my head to stop spinning before I could read more. Time to blow a little plastic trumpet for heirlooms & tradition & all that.
    Does one story really depict the multiplicity of perspectives coming out of the Middle East?

    Obviously such cultures could be more progressive from a materialistic perspective, but I think Politesse was pretty much on point that it's somewhat patronizing to not default to the many opinions of those actually wearing the covering.

    On the other hand, people railing against such cultural artifacts are how these cultures change, and that's fine too. But I don't know where I sit philosophically on this issue. Where do we draw the line between how we think the world ought to be and how it really is. And in which instances is our ought actually removed from human nature? Maybe a kind of passive-resistance is more appropriate than forcing your will on people who aren't asking for your advice.

  9. Top | #19
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    My take on all this is that originally men wanted to hide their property so it wouldn't attract rival males. It also said, "This is mine."

  10. Top | #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by J842P View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea View Post
    I really don’t understand hijab. Never have.
    What is hard to understand? The hijab is part of female, Muslim, conservative dress.

    The point of the dress code is modesty, to avoid arousing sexual feelings in people who you are not married to. The exact garb and the degree varies between different schools, but the underlying purpose is the same.

    There is a male dress code, although it doesn't involve covering the hair, it would still be pretty conservative by our standards.

    It's pretty straightforward. The Abrahamic religions are obsessed with sexuality. This, I thought, was obvious.

    But that is oversimplified compared to what the women themselves say.
    While I was not comfortable asking my hijab friends, I did seek out hijabi women online to ask (in places where they are offering to talk about it). hose answers were contradictory and confusing.
    “I wear it to honor Allah and show that I am obedient to Islam”
    “I wear it because it makes people see me as me and my worthy talents instead of judging me for my looks” (If I hide my looks, I can be sure people aren’t missing my engineering skills)
    “I wear it to be modest and not flaunt my sexuality”
    “I wear it to avoid creating temptation to men”
    “I wear it to save my special inner self for sharing with only my husband”
    “I wear it as an outward sign and celebration of my muslim culture”

    The women who wear them do not give a single answer.

    So far, I have found all of these answers unsatisfying, and doubly so when they contradict each other.
    Many of them do convey the embrace of sexual control over themselves. Some of them embrace making sure everyone knows their religion or piety. Some of them embrace telling others they are judgmental and biased. And many of them seem to embrace the idea that they are in-group and the rest of us are out-group.

    None of these feels friendly or companionable to me. So I have not yet found an explanation for any religious dress code that builds rather than divides.
    Honestly, I think you are looking for a conundrum where there is none.

    Those explanations are all compatible with what I stated. The ultimate explanation is that Islam proscribes a dress code, for men and women, that despite variations in specifics is always explicitly about enforcing modesty in relations between the sexes. This is pretty plain.

    When you ask individual people why they choose to adhere to this dress code, you'll get various explanations like the ones you've given as examples, but I think all of those are totally compatible with "because it is conservative, Muslim dress and I am a Muslim."

    Not sure why you would expect an explanation for a religious dress code that builds rather than divides.

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