The Saltlist

Satire in the Age of Letters and Technology- more than just a pinch of it.

The Hijab: From the Side That Is Covered

 

 

 

 

– Saachi Sharma

 

With France banning its use in public offices and state schools and the Shiv Sena calling for a ban on the Burkha (which is inclusive of the headscarf) for ‘security reasons’, the good old debate has made a comeback. The Hijab has traditionally been perceived as symbolic of the overt suppression of gender justice and rights, a premise, which possibly stems from rampant Islamophobia. To what extent is it true? Let’s find out –

1. It is not community or gender specific

Contrary to popular opinion, the Hijab or headscarf does not only pertain to a particular community or gender, that is, Muslim women. Catholic nuns have traditionally worn the headscarf and turbans are common to Sikh and Rajasthani men. The typical rural Indian woman can be seen working in the fields with her Ghoongat in place. In fact, male members of the Turkana Tribe of Kenya cover their head with mud, which is then painted blue and decorated with ostrich and other feathers. Thus, head covering is a practice followed by many communities and singling out a community has resulted in radical and selective perceptions of the headscarf which has further lead to social ostracization.

2. Religious Freedom

It’s very easy, not to mention naive, to take a morally high ground by being outside the ambit of a particular socio-cultural context, however, understanding the nuances of a religion and its subsequent imposition or voluntary adoption is a different ballgame altogether. So long as a woman is making an educated and informed choice, devoid of any kind of societal or familial pressure, we must respect her exercise of the inalienable Right to Freedom.

Noted writer Kamala Das, an Islam convert, epitomizes the principle of an ‘informed religious choice’ based on religious beliefs and faith, bed rocked on individuality. True, many women chose the Hijab due to social conditioning, but in that case, we must enable them to make an educated choice (even if it’s pro Hijab) and not force them to ‘discard’ their religious identity. Change, after all, is not a vigorous chemical reaction; it’s a cauldron of potions brewing on a dimly lighted fire. Any attempt to speed up this process can lead to a catastrophic blast.

3. Women Power – What can a piece of cloth do?

The core belief in the anti – Hijab banter is that it is oppressive, which not only is an anti – feminist perspective, it is also built on shaky grounds. Can a piece of cloth incapacitate a woman to such an extent that she can’t think for herself, she needs to be thought for? That she can’t speak for herself, she needs to be spoken for? That she can’t dream for herself, her dreams need to be shown to her? Clearly not. The Hijab has religious and sentimental value, it by no means belittles a women’s competence or strength of character.

4. The West: Savior of women? Maybe not!

The West is often hailed as the new age Messiah, saving women from the atrocities of Islam, upholding the principles of a functional Democracy, Equality and Secularism. This is flawed in its very essence for it is easy to take off the Hijab in the West, but it is much more difficult to put it on (with those doing so facing employment problems and being viewed with suspicion) and therein lies the inherent contradiction. Respect must be accorded to those donning the Hijab, as well as those dropping it in equal measure, if Secularism needs to be upheld in a Democracy. Selective Secularism will cause nothing but marginalization and the subsequent alienation of a community.

What this really boils down to is an integration based multi – pronged approach, based on the absolute principles of religious and gender equality and mutual respect. It’s high time the veil on the minds of the policy makers and people is lifted and the ‘head’, not the ‘scarf’ is counted.

The author’s article was published here also http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2010/10/the-hijab-from-the-side-that-is-covered/

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27 comments on “The Hijab: From the Side That Is Covered

  1. Abhinav Srivastava
    April 5, 2011

    Can you enter a bank or board an airplane with a ski mask on? No? Try walking down the street with ski mask, every policeman will stop you. An guess what? Its justified. But when the same is done to someone wearing a black tent called burqa then its “a violation of rights”. People walking around in Burqa’s is a serious security risk and needs to be addressed.

    Banning of Burqa does not limit any kind of freedom, it is not a free choice but a result of societal pressures. Direct quote from a Muslim woman who moved from London to KSA where she had to wear a burqa because of societal pressures:

    “At the age of 18, the thought of covering my body in a shapeless black gown and hiding my face so that only my eyes would show was inconceivable. It was humiliating, violating, dehumanising. Upon donning the headpiece, my body language immediately changed, becoming apologetic, withdrawn and subdued. Wearing it seemed to empower all the men around me and put me firmly in my place as inferior.
    On landing in Saudi Arabia, women – all of whom were wearing the veil – were channelled into a separate line for processing. My eyes stung with tears of rage and shame. Most of all, I felt infantilised, stripped of the right to dress how I pleased due simply to the fact that I was a woman, and hence, purely a sexual object to be concealed lest it should inflame desire. ”

    Maybe banning Sati practice also limits religious freedom and women should be allowed to burn themselves when their husbands are dead? /sarcasm

    • Saachi Sharma
      April 6, 2011

      @ABHINAV

      Thank you for your comment. I have thematically presented my response. You have been quoted prior to my response
      .
      “Can you enter a bank or board an airplane with a ski mask on? No? Try walking down the street with ski mask, every policeman will stop you. An guess what? Its justified. But when the same is done to someone wearing a black tent called burqa then its “a violation of rights”.

      That is an argument premised on the equation of a ski mask to a burqa. Flawed in its existence. Please realize this, while you may not be religiously inclined or be extremely critical of religion, there are many who attach immense value to their religion, or what is symbolic of it. Explain to me what a ski mask symbolizes and why it is essential to wear it while walking down a street or boarding an air plane. On the other hand, religion has always played an integral role in every society, and in forming most individual identities. Individuals wear things symbolic of their religion. It is accorded due respect (in most democratic societies) because it has religious connotations to it while a ski mask is devoid of any such associations

      Also, as the Editor, I request you not to use derogatory terms (read : ‘black tent’). Umpteen number of such terms can/have be used for other religious articles (turbans, abbayas, the holy cross etc) and it does no service to anyone except infuse religious hatred. Please feel free to voice your opinion, but religious insensitivity will not be tolerated here (We know what a burqa looks like – the adjective was unnecessary/demeaning). Opinions can be bed rocked on strong grounds without taking cheap-shots. Please consider this a warning to all who post subsequently – critical analysis is fine, religious castigation is not. Thank you.

      “People walking around in Burqa’s is a serious security risk and needs to be addressed.”
      I could be concealing a weapon under my overcoat. Or in my pocket. I could be wearing trousers with a knife wedged between the elastic band and my waist. Islamophobia is so deep rooted now that a burqa will be seen as a security threat simply because the identity of the person in a Burqa acquires negative religious overtones. Quite simply, I don’t need to be in a burqa to be a security threat. I could be a Sikh with lighter in the folds of my turban trying to board a plane or I could be nun with a habit lined with RDX. Or I could be a woman devoid of any religious association with a pistol wrapped in a carbon sheet (X ray machines can’t detect it) at the bottom of my handbag.

      “Banning of Burqa does not limit any kind of freedom, it is not a free choice but a result of societal pressures.”

      I ‘ll take that in two parts –

      1. Banning ANYTHING limits freedom. However, the very concept of freedom is inclusive of reasonable restrictions. The question to ask is, is the burqa/ hijab such great a threat to the society that it should be banned? Is such a restriction on religious freedom ‘reasonable’? I argue it is not. Principally, on the following grounds –
      a. The day most number/ a sizable number of crimes are committed by those wearing a burqa/hijab, I ‘ll eat my words. b. Not a threat to security (as expounded above).c. The value called ‘choice’ I hold fundamental to Human Rights (as expounded below)

      2. Yes, women are forced to wear the hijab/burqa in certain places, and the author lampoons it with all the contempt it deserves, but assuming EVERY woman wearing a burqa/hijab is doing it out of compulsion is, to be blatant, dreadfully inaccurate (Kamla Das, case in point – and many others, including women in my college whose mothers don’t wear the hijab/burqa). You or I are in no position to tell a woman she chose what she did because of societal compulsions. She chose because she wanted to. And if she didn’t have the choice, then she SHOULD have had it.

      Moreover, if you think she didn’t have a choice when she wore it, you are not giving her any choice by banning her from wearing it either.

      “At the age of 18, the thought of covering my body……should inflame desire. ”

      For every time you quote a woman who has had a harrowing experience, I can quote another who revels in her Hijab. Who identifies with it. Who wears it with pride. It is a moot point. Case in point – the number of Facebook groups proclaiming their love for the hijab/burqa.

      “Maybe banning Sati practice also limits religious freedom and women should be allowed to burn themselves when their husbands are dead?”

      Sigh. Rhetoric. Apply the test of reasonable restrictions on freedom, religious or otherwise, and you will get your answer. ( Conceptually attached to the value of freedom since the times of Greek democracy till today in most democratic societies – obviously it has evolved to the current set of principles we have.)

  2. Iconoclast
    April 5, 2011

    Umm…how do you make sure it is an educated and informed choice,free of familial or societal pressure? The very notion of free choice is debatable as it is influenced by so many external factors. I’ve heard from many people that feminism is about choice. Well,what if a woman chooses to be anti-feminist? A woman committing Sati cannot be made the poster girl of Choice and Religious freedom.Besides, I oppose any piece of clothing which restricts women’s movement, be it ghoongat,scraves or victorian gowns. Not to forget that the burqa/hijab have a nagative impact on the body language of the speaker. And I think you should also include the experience of those who are forced to don the attire. 
Though I agree that the west is not the ‘saviour'(talk about delusions of grandeur) of women, at the same time, I think you are trivializing their role in the development of feminist thought. Regarding selective secularism, I think I’ll just recommend this article by Irfan Husain http://www.dawn.com/2010/08/26/the-limits-of-tolerance.html


    • Saachi Sharma
      April 6, 2011

      Thank you for bringing a gendered perspective into play. It was much needed and provides a brek from the rampant bigotry.

      “how do you make sure it is an educated and informed choice,free of familial or societal pressure? The very notion of free choice is debatable as it is influenced by so many external factors.”

      That is good point. What is free choice? While societal and familial ‘influences’ may shape view points, it gives adequate space for individual thinking and discretion. Even if a lot of it is a facade, there is hope for alternate views. Also, it is assumed the individual is rationale, and therefore CHOSE to be influened. Thus, the choice was still made. On the contrary, when we talk of familial/societal ‘pressure’, there is certain force applied to bend/tune an individual in a certain way. Individual thinking is squashed.

      Basically, it boils down to the intensity (influence or pressure?). You are right in saying that there can never be absolute free choice. The choice is between no choice and some choice.
      Moreover, if you think she didn’t have a choice when she wore it, you are not giving her any choice by banning her from wearing it either.

      Moving on to the tougher question of how to ensure a choice is free of any form of coercion. This article primarily deals with the principles behind WHY there needs to be ‘free choice’ and hopes to present the voices that are increasing being muffled. It doesn’t deal with the how. But just to quote myself, ” Change, after all, is not a vigorous chemical reaction; it’s a cauldron of potions brewing on a dimly lighted fire. Any attempt to speed up this process can lead to a catastrophic blast.” Point being, I would rather take it slow than hit a new low. Staunch Islamic nations have considerably loosened up, even though there is much to be done. The choice is creeping in. Arguably not fast enough, but creeping in through that little space between the floor and the door. I hope, in all honesty, that someday the door will be blasted away and my sisters would be able to make a choice – wear or discard. BUT, my respect for them will not be based on whether or not they chose to wear/discard the burqa/hijab/niqab/abbaya.

      “A woman committing Sati cannot be made the poster girl of Choice and Religious freedom.”

      The concept of freedom, religious or otherwise, is inclusive of reasonable restrictions and the test of reasonable restrictions has been applied to every principle in the Declaration of Human Rights (1948) – most of our developed principles, as they stand today in democratic countries, have been derived from here. Women committing Sati is a big enough threat for the society to ‘reasonably restrict’ the abuse of religious freedom. Women chosing there clothes is not.

      “Besides, I oppose any piece of clothing which restricts women’s movement, be it ghoongat,scraves or victorian gowns.”

      Great. Don’t wear them. You have a choice.

      “Not to forget that the burqa/hijab have a nagative impact on the body language of the speaker.”

      Possibly. However, it has no bearing on the verbal ability of a woman. Is the fact that the hand gestures aren’t as visible enough reason enough to ban it? I can chose at what levels I want to communicate in everyday life.

      ” And I think you should also include the experience of those who are forced to don the attire.”

      Will surely consider it next time. But the purpose of the article was , as stated before, the present an alternate view – the one that is increasingly getting muffled.

      “Though I agree that the west is not the ‘saviour’(talk about delusions of grandeur) of women, at the same time, I think you are trivializing their role in the development of feminist thought. ”

      Absolutely not. I personally am deeply impressed by Virginia Wolf , Gloria, Betty Friedlan and Ms Truth ( I recommend her famous ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ speech – feminism from the Ghettos). The point is, that is NOT the ONLY line of feminist thought available. I find pro choice (burqa/hijab/whatever) arguments extremely compelling and feminist. Meaning, ‘I can wear a hijab and still beat ’em Ivy Leaguers! My religion, and what is symbolic of it, is my strength, not my handicap.’ Like I stated, the aim was not to present what is already visible (dominant western feminist thought ) but what is not recognized ( a counter thought which is just as feminist).

      “Regarding selective secularism, I think I’ll just recommend this article by Irfan Husain http://www.dawn.com/2010/08/26/the-limits-of-tolerance.html“


      The link appears broken. Please repost it.

  3. An inhabitant of this weird world
    April 5, 2011

    Generalizing the entire issue is a BAD idea. As has been stated in the Quran, one should cover their heads irrespective of the gender. Nowhere has it been mentioned that wearing a burqa is mandatory. Islam, th religion is not the one depicted by its so called ‘guardians’, The Taliban or the royal family of Saudi Arabia. A woman has the right to wear/ not wear a burqa and by banning the same, one is curbing her from exercising her rights. When you say that the burqa is a threat to the national security, what about the nuns and the ‘habit’ that they wear? It is of the same nature as that of the burqa. They wear the hijab too. Why not just ban the bikinis or other clothings of women too? No nation would do such a thing because wearing one is part of popular culture. I think it’s nothing more than islamophobia.
    It’s the woman’s personal choice if she wishes to wear either the burqa/ hijab.
    Majority of the muslims in India do not wear the Burqa. So does it mean that they are not following the religion as has they are supposed to? No it doesn’t.
    Also, when you say that the hijab/burqa has a negative impact on the speaker, maybe it is just a product of your perception and views on the matter.
    A woman wearing the hijab. burqa is equally capable of performing the same tasks when she is not wearing one. Things just appear as we perceive them to be.

    • Saachi Sharma
      April 6, 2011

      Thank you:)

      Your points have been well noted. The author lauds the value you place on the freedom of choice and believes your fears regarding Islamophobia are not unfounded – something the aforementioned article is premised upon. Please keep posting and the author, along with the TSL team, hopes we can garner your attention even in our subsequent releases.

  4. Iconoclast
    April 5, 2011

    Quran,like most of the religious texts,is very ambiguous and open to various intepretations. So lets not get into the debate of whether it is mandatory or not. It is…well futile.

    And nowhere have I said that a woman wearing burqa can’t perform normal chores. But you can’t deny the fact that it hinders their communication ability(non-verbal aspect),especially with strangers.

    For me, both burqa and bikini are visible symbols of patriarchy,constructed out of the mindset which treats women as sexual objects, who should always be on guard for the male gaze.

  5. Saachi Sharma
    April 6, 2011

    Thank you all for voicing your opinions. We, at The Saltlist, thank our readers for making this article the most read among all stories thusfar. ( This being our first issue majorly helps, in addition to the nature of the topic at hand ). My name is Saachi Sharma and I am the author of this artical and editor of The Saltlist. I will be responding to your comments in my capacity as both.

  6. Random Thoughts
    April 6, 2011

    Comparing Hijab to other forms of cultural outfits, rather head-coverings is a little vague, as the Rajasthani/Sikh turbans or the mud-coverings in some Kenyan tribe does not conceal wearer’s identity. The ban in France was in public places, as aforesaid, not an absolute ban to Hijab what-so-ever. The question here would be who is bigger, the individual or the State? Concealing one’s identity is a matter of security, be it general or national. A major difference in a nun’s habit and a hijab could be that one of these doesn’t hide the face. The questions of an altered (read “lowered”) body language or confidence on donning the garment would, in my opinion, not stem from an informed choice.

    The ban of Hijab can not just be declared ‘unjust’ and ‘curbing-of-freedoms’ over a debate when national security or even public comfort is concerned.

    The ban, however, if stemming from mere Islam-o-phobia might be termed as a naive but a rather instinctive decision.

    Going back to the title of the article though, – “The Hijab: From the Side That Is Covered “ – does not really debate the right of a woman to wear the Hijab, rather it should reflect the wearer’s perspective to the world. Now, people do believe that all world appears pink if you wear pink glasses. They might just be distorting the whole spectrum.

    • Saachi Sharma
      April 6, 2011

      “Comparing Hijab to other forms …………..what- so- ever”

      When the author drew comparisons btw similar headcovering practices, she was refering to the hijab, which is primarily a headscarf (sometimes may also include a veil). However, the veil is most often than not called the ‘niqab’.

      “The question here would be who is bigger, the individual or the State?”

      Oh no. The question here would be what is going to prevail- Minority Right(s) or Majority Fright ?

      “The ban of Hijab can not just be declared ‘unjust’ and ‘curbing-of-freedoms’ over a debate when national security or even public comfort is concerned.

      The ban, however, if stemming from mere Islam-o-phobia might be termed as a naive but a rather instinctive decision.”

      I find an apparent dilemma in the demarcation you have stated with regard to when banning the burka is just and when it is unjust simply because public discomfort may STEM from Islamophobia. The points not only overlap, they are enmeshed together. Also, I have stated a counter arguement with regard to security hassles pertaining to the HIJAB previously.

      “Now, people do believe that all world appears pink if you wear pink glasses. They might just be distorting the whole spectrum ”

      Now, a ‘spectrum’ is made up of many colours, isn’t it? Maybe you just need that bit of pink to make the world more rosy 😛 On a more serious note, decisions must be inclusive of multiple perspectives. Else, they tend to get a tad authoritarian.

      • Random Thoughts
        April 9, 2011

        As I must have mentioned before, I am not a supporter of the ban on Hijab, or turbans or likewise, but I do resonate with the objections with the Niqab. Then again, I posted under the name “Random Thoughts”
        Minority Right or Majority Fright? Well, aren’t both important? Being a policy maker, and having to tackle a few problems, what would one try and resolve first? Delivering rights or containing the fright?
        “The ban of Hijab … instinctive decision.”
        The points do overlap, but seriously, “enmeshed” is just CRUEL!
        Humans have a very complex system of perception and reaction. It could be evolutionary, from when we were still living in caves, hunting animals, still discovering fire. I know this could attract some razor-sharp replies here, but nevertheless, an incident following WTC incident – a freight truck was stopped somewhere in Europe as it had “LADEN” written on it(meaning ‘loaded’ in German). The road was blocked for about six hours, disrupting the whole chain of timely supplies affecting the whole market, and hence quite a few lives for a few days to follow. How could we label this incident?
        All I want to say here is that one thing leads to another and the sequale might seem unjust and downright wrong if we try to measure it up without considering the preceding events.
        The public discomfort might stem from a number of things, those being conciliation of the next person’s identity or may be certain/ past incidents or n other factors.
        And this being a public stage, hence being quite volatile, might be unsuitable for mentioning those, not to mention my fear of “moderation” of my comments. (chuckles) 🙂
        And about the spectrum, trying to see green through pink glasses will just make it brown (or black, or just weird for that matter). To really make the different perspectives count, we need to enjoy all the colors of spectrum, one at a time. Otherwise, it just becomes a mess.

        • Saachi Sharma
          April 9, 2011

          A”s I must have mentioned before, I am not a supporter of the ban on Hijab, or turbans or likewise, but I do resonate with the objections with the Niqab. Then again, I posted under the name “Random Thoughts” ”

          I ‘ll quote you, “Comparing…. does not conceal wearer’s identity “. There was a clear misconception. You presumed the hijab covered the face. It does not. Since it does not, identity is not concealed. Simple. Since we are debating on whether or not the hijab should be banned, lets not digress. The niqab is a different debate.

          “Minority Right or Majority Fright? Well, aren’t both important? Being a policy maker, and having to tackle a few problems, what would one try and resolve first? Delivering rights or containing the fright?”

          How about containing the fright by eliminating rights under the garb of ‘effective action’ by the state? It is an action, all right, but its not effective. If the fright stems from Islamophobia, work on containing the ‘phobia’, not Islam.

          ‘How do we label this incident?’…plus the public discomfort point.

          I say stamp it with Islamophobia. Can you rationalize the fear? Our hide and seek champion won’t go around advertising his existence on a truck. It is common sense. But unfortunately, irrationality prevailed. Just an another incident laced with Islamophobia. Just another incident that will be justified with a ‘WTC…Osama …terrorist…muslim…so the entire lot must be like that – anything to do with them must be hated and feared. ‘People have distorted perceptions and misguided reactions. When a state, or anyone for that matter, takes an ‘action’ based on Islamophobia, it only gives legal sanction to irrational fears. The result? Public discomfort when ‘they’ share public spaces, or even exist.

          Spectrum.

          What makes a spectrum is the colours. The minute you view a colour in isolation, it is no longer part of the ‘spectrum’. Akin to many colours making a spectrum, many perspective should make a society.

          • Random Thoughts
            April 9, 2011

            I did not presume what Hijab would mean, for I see Muslim girls with Hijab every day of the week. And I see the ones with Niqab. The misunderstanding here would rather be due to my raw writing abilities.

            A debate is basically a formal argument. and arguments generally don’t end up with either person agreeing to the other. That’s unfortunate, as if it were not so, they could have been great learnig tools. You and I, I’m sure have had our share of debates on this and similar topics. And I have heard arguments ranging from your logic to How can I explain to you what you do not understand. Rather naive this one, nay?
            Everyone, in a debate, has their set of defenses termed as “logic” or “rationale” and will continue to label other’s “opinions” with the same and would settle for nothing less.
            But as I said, this debate has already progressed from Hijab to Islam and taking it any further will just make it more volatile.
            We can argue seamlessly over rational and the irrational, but that does nothing for even one person who has suffered and has lost in this “battle of logics”

            Just another incident that will be justified with a ‘WTC…Osama …terrorist…muslim…so the entire lot must be like that – anything to do with them must be hated and feared.
            This is nothing but a sad perception.

            This has been one of the best articles I’ve read on The Saltlist so far, and this has been a good talk. Time and experince will surely continue to better your team.
            Good Luck 🙂

  7. Saachi Sharma
    April 6, 2011

    Thank you for your comments yet again, however, the Editors of this blog would like to bring to your notice that henceforth, all comments shall be moderated owing to the sensitive nature of the topic at hand and the rather bestalized way in which certain bloggers are dealing with it . It does no service to anyone except infuse religious hatred . Such comments will now not be approved and repeated offenders will be debarred from commenting .

    Please feel free to voice your opinion, but religious insensitivity will not be tolerated here. Opinions can be bed rocked on strong grounds without taking cheap-shots. Please consider this a warning to all who post subsequently – critical analysis is fine, religious castigation is not. Thank you.

    • Random Thoughts
      April 6, 2011

      Two good thoughts from you now: the article itself, and the moderation of the comments. Just keep the good work coming.
      Good Luck 🙂

      • Saachi Sharma
        April 6, 2011

        Thank you:)

        Please feel free to drop in feedback. Constructive feedback will not be moderated:P
        Incase there is a special request you have (an event to be covered, a book review, an ensuing debate etc), shoot us a mail.

  8. isha
    April 8, 2011

    One of the major misconceptions about the hijab (covering of the body except the face and hands) is that young women are forced to wear it by their parents or by male family members.
    when a woman is covered, men cannot judge her by her appearance but are forced to evaluate her by her personality, character, and morals. The truth is that Muslim women only cover themselves in front of men who are not direct relatives (brothers, fathers, and uncles) to prevent indecent acts or thoughts. People have to understand that we (males and females) are not equal in body image but we should be equal in rights, in justice. Taking off your shirt will not make you equal to a man; it’ll make you lower. Why? Because the woman’s body is created differently. hijab does not restrict a woman from working or accessing education or even roaming on the streets… when a woman wearing hijab do not a comment on a woman who’s not wearing it,, then i think people commenting on ‘what should be worn and what not’ is totally debile….

    • Random Thoughts
      April 9, 2011

      The discussion here is a subjective analysis of the Ban on Hijab. Its not about covering one’s body or going around Salman-style. I suspect anyone posting/reading this article would be pro that. (Unless Salman himself is reading this)

      Men who have to be forced to evaluate a woman based on her personality or character or morals, will never evaluate her on these basis. Such an evaluation would, according to me, stem from respect for the opposite sex, and no one can force anyone to do that. Now that would be debile.

      And thank goodness for the differences in the body images, for if it weren’t so, there would be 6 billion Ricky Martins here! Now who wants that?

  9. Saachi Sharma
    April 9, 2011

    Thank you for commenting, Isha.

    “One of the major misconceptions about the hijab (covering of the body except the face and hands) is that young women are forced to wear it by their parents or by male family members.”

    Wrong. Women ARE forced to wear the hijab/burqa etc. Women ARE also forced to take it off. The prevalent misconception is that ALL women are forced to wear this attire. The minute we see a woman in a Hijab, we think opression. We don’t think choice. The author feels this is a by- product of partiarchy and Islamophobia.

    ” when a woman is covered, men cannot judge her by her appearance but are forced to evaluate her by her personality, character, and morals. The truth is that Muslim women only cover themselves in front of men who are not direct relatives (brothers, fathers, and uncles) to prevent indecent acts or thoughts ”

    Why, for pete’s sake, should ‘men’ ‘judge’ me? WHY? Sigh. But I get your point, that happens. The debate is not regarding whether the reasons for chosing the hijab is right or not. The debate is about whether the choice should be awarded or not – and I say YES from the rooftops.

    See, there is nothing wrong with a woman wanting to be judged on her appearance. And there is nothing wrong with her not wanting to, so long as she has the god damned choice. I disagree with the reasons you have stated, but akin to what Volitaire said (I may not agree with what you are saying, but I will defend to death your right to say it) – I will defend to death your right to wear it.

    Eff modesty. I can wear that low cut top and still avert my eyes from the tight pants that outline his organ. I can be in a hijab and feast my eyes. Boils down to choice – I am a rationale woman – free thinking, individualistic, proud and confident and nobody can tell me what to wear. A mini skirt or a hijab has no bearing on my ability to be a woman of character. (Just for the record, I don’t equate breaking of the hymen to breaking of character. Its my vagina – I chose what goes in it )

    Please don’t go into the reasons for the said choice. Its subjective and reasons can be galore. There is no end to this discussion. Arguments are not needed for why the reasons for wearing the hijab are right – arguments are needed for why according that choice is right. Don’t mischarecterize the debate.

    “People have to understand that we (males and females) are not equal in body image but we should be equal in rights, in justice. Taking off your shirt will not make you equal to a man; it’ll make you lower. Why? Because the woman’s body is created differently.”

    Men and women have different bodies. I have that pair of breasts to take care of, right? Explain to me the difference again. Nipples are common, we just have more flesh. No honey, taking off my shirt doesn’t make me ‘lower’ and hiding that cleavage doesn’t make anyone ‘higher’ (Morality is subjective, innit?) Again, lets not get into the reasons for the choice. I was afraid this debate would take that turn – when individuals try to ‘justify’ their reasons. Isha, there are people here who believe that you shouldn’t even have the choice to chose your clothes- tell ’em you are a human being- and they can’t snatch away your right to choose because of your gender or religion or because they diagree with what they presume are your reasons for the choice. Your right to choose it basic and fundamental to your existence .

    • Random Thoughts
      April 9, 2011

      Damn! That was some direct speech!!! But with much more character!
      Nice to have some first person comments finally from the author.
      Thumbs Up girl!

  10. Saachi Sharma
    April 9, 2011

    Why, thank you! 😀

  11. ADITI
    April 9, 2011

    Brilliantly written n awesome arguments..:)
    Especially the 4th part- about the west!! it is so true.. Neo-orientalism is setting in and fast.
    p.s: i argued d same thing ages back..;)

  12. thesaltlisters
    April 9, 2011

    Thank you. As always, great minds think alike:P

  13. mel
    April 23, 2011

    well, this one is very good article 🙂 you state your point of view clearly and quite brief.

    I will not comment on this matter on the religious view or woman’s right, but from the cultural view. France, as we all know, is not recognize the use of burqa. The Muslim immigrants are the one who brought them in and in fact, it brings quite uneasy feeling for the France people. The French doesn’t have the culture to recognize someone base on their eyes only, so we can understand where those uneasy feeling come from. Moreover, there are a lot of increasing numbers on the immigrants who are wearing the burqa, so you can imagine the French people think will be like “wth! my country now is going to be full of foreigners who are wearing some strange outfit that makes me uncomfortable in mw OWN country”

    I think, as the immigrants, they have to respect the France culture or the wearer can just go to another country who don’t restrict the burqa.

    wherever we are, we have to respect the local culture, don’t we?

  14. shashankreddy93
    May 4, 2012

    Brilliant article! 🙂 I completely agree with you, whether a woman wants to wear the burqa or not is completely her choice and I don’t think anyone, and I mean ANYONE, has the right to tell a woman whether she should be wearing a burqa or not.

  15. thesaltlisters
    May 9, 2012

    Thanks, Reddy! 🙂

  16. Pingback: The Hijab: From the Side that is Covered [The Debate Roundup] « awomaninthisworld

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This entry was posted on April 4, 2011 by in Democracy, Governance and Human Interest.

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