Let Me Make Something Clear Here:

I am NOT endorsing the subjugation of women by brutalizing them into Islamic dress. I am also NOT saying, "Hey, it's for their own good! Look how liberated these women are!"

What I am saying is: Islam, and the style of women's dress associated with it, is far more complex than we think. Everyone can get behind, "Well, we have to stop the traditionalist Islamic regime because it oppresses women, and that's evidenced by the practice of making them ashamed of their bodies and/ or forcing them to cover up." Of course. No one wants to (consciously) subjugate women. But the thing is, isn't this a little of the pot calling the kettle? We say that freedom means exposing ourselves without shame, but I for one am ashamed of all kinds of "imperfections" and go to great lengths to cover them up. We say women are liberated in the West... but are we really? If not, who is doing the oppressing?

So. I'm not saying in this blog that Islamic dress, when used as a tool of oppression, is not actually a tool of oppression but one of liberation. What I am saying is: What would it feel like to dress ultra-conservatively in a country where it's generally seen as a sign of being less educated or less empowered?

My guess: terrifying.


  1. I just found out about you and it has blown me away. Are you going to write a book ?

  2. Let's not forget that the "Islamic" style of dress, was once also the Christian style of dress. Anyone who looks at a statue or portrait of Mary the mother of Jesus will see that Jewish and Christian cultures have also emphasized the covering of women's hair and bodies. In fact, Christian women have been uncovering their hair and body for only about a hundred years. Scarves gave way to bonnets that gave way to hats. This practices was mostly followed by Christian women due in part to the discussion on women covering their hair in I Corinthians Chapter 11. This practice is still followed by many Amish, Mennonite, and Orthodox communities. Oh, and let's not forget nuns. As I understand it, it was not until the 1980s that Canon law got rid of the provision for women to cover their hair.