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Why don't men cover their faces?


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#1 ~~~

Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:33 PM

I was reading this article today -
http://www.dailylife.com.au/life-and-love/...1129-2ai19.html

and it was really interesting to read this perspective. I have never understood, well, most religions, and particularly the differences in dressing for men and women (other than practical reasons).

Would love to hear people's thoughts about this Muslim woman's words...... And if you are Muslim yourself, have you ever felt like she does?

Thanks original.gif

#2 katpaws

Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:48 PM

It's easier to make women responsible for the crimes of men than for men to seek their own solutions to the male propensity towards violence, abuse and gratification of sexual needs. I think one "smart" idea by men was to create religions that were (are) patriarchal organisations where women could be subjugated in a legal and socially accepted way.

DH showed me a picture (ding the rounds of FaceBook atm) of a female university student holding up a sign saying something similar to: I go to a university that teaches me how to avoid getting raped but doesn't teach people not to rape. That pretty much sums it up for me.

ETA i know a lot of Muslim women are ok with the veils etc but i am commenting in general on all religions, not specifically theirs.

Edited by katpaws, 03 December 2012 - 02:06 PM.


#3 ~~~

Posted 03 December 2012 - 02:27 PM

katpaws, you raise interesting points about patriarchal society.

Years and years ago I saw this amazing documentary about the history of civilisation /society and how things changed from matriarchal to patriarchal at some point. Wish I could remember more about it.


#4 BetteBoop

Posted 03 December 2012 - 02:38 PM

QUOTE (~~~ @ 03/12/2012, 01:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I was reading this article today -
http://www.dailylife.com.au/life-and-love/...1129-2ai19.html

and it was really interesting to read this perspective. I have never understood, well, most religions, and particularly the differences in dressing for men and women (other than practical reasons).

Would love to hear people's thoughts about this Muslim woman's words...... And if you are Muslim yourself, have you ever felt like she does?

Thanks original.gif


What the writer is saying is the men have power and so their perspective is the only one that's important. Men define who is a temptation and to men, a woman is a temptation.

As katpaws said, the way to remove the tempation is not to exhibit self control. He doesn't have to do a thing to control himself. She is the problem.

So while a gorgeous man is a tempation for women, he doesn't need to be covered up because women have no power. A woman is powerless so she must control her own temptation. She can't expect a man to do anything to change to accommodate her.

Suggesting women are jewels who need to be protected is just a pretty way of saying she is a pretty object and nothing more. It's prettily worded oppression.

#5 Phasmatis angelam

Posted 03 December 2012 - 02:42 PM

Years ago I was at an interfaith forum where I heard of an Islamic group - somewhere in Africa, I think - where the traditional take on modesty had been turned around and it was the men who covered and stayed indoors and the women who were out and about unveiled.  What was interesting to me wasn't so much that story, as the responses of the people in the room with me to it; the Muslims seemed to feel that this was some sort of betrayal of Islam, an aberration or departure from what should be and they took it quite personally.

That says something to me about how our experiences of the divine get caught up in and conditioned by our culture, our history, our psychology.  

I also find it interesting that in the article she doesn't make connections between her experiences and feelings and her faith.  Does she feel guilty for feeling rebellious about part of her religion?  Does she identify the freedom to express her feelings with the mercy and love of Allah?  I feel that the piece is incomplete without looking at that side of the question, but perhaps that's a stretch too far for an article like this?


#6 kpingitquiet

Posted 03 December 2012 - 02:43 PM

I read a huge story, once (I wish I could remember where...Slate maybe?) where an elderly Muslim woman (not middle-eastern, further into Africa) described life in her city when she was young. They did not do full body covering, at that point, in her neighborhood/community, but they started having horrible incidents of teen boys being kidnapped for wars and hard labor and so they adopted the full body covering to conceal which children were boys and which were girls. Of course, then the paramilitaries began taking anyone they saw because boys would be soldiers/workers and girls would be raped. The story went on from there into a huge twisting domino fall of how they went from a modest-but-not-veiled community all the way to a veiled-female free-male community, when and where a religious precept became involved. It was really quite frightening to see the development in her particular community.

#7 ~~~

Posted 03 December 2012 - 03:13 PM

I think I'm just depressed now sad.gif I wonder if the gender scales will ever get near to balanced or even swing back towards matriarchy.......

#8 Feral_Pooks

Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:07 PM

While I recognize that this is the author's truth, the covered women I know have chosen to be covered as an expression of modesty and of their faith, and/or due to cultural norms. So I think there is a huge spectrum of experiences when it comes to covering, including to what extent you are covered and what pressure exists to be covered, and I just caution the extension of this woman's experience to that of most covered women in Australia.

#9 PigNewton

Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:10 PM

QUOTE
I wonder if the gender scales will ever get near to balanced or even swing back towards matriarchy.......

I don't think there has ever been a true matriarchal society. Equality would be nice though. I actually have no issue with dressing a particular way for religious reasons when both sexes have to do it. There was recently a show on SBS about the Amish, and the men have just as many rules about what they can and can't wear as the women do (ie must have facial hair, shirts only have 2 buttons and are closed the rest of the way to prevent "temptation", no belts as they are adornment, no jewellery, plain fabrics)

#10 noi'mnot

Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:16 PM

QUOTE (Pooks_ @ 03/12/2012, 05:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
While I recognize that this is the author's truth, the covered women I know have chosen to be covered as an expression of modesty and of their faith, and/or due to cultural norms. So I think there is a huge spectrum of experiences when it comes to covering, including to what extent you are covered and what pressure exists to be covered, and I just caution the extension of this woman's experience to that of most covered women in Australia.


Similarly, in my social circles I have only come across women who choose to be covered (often against their family or partner's wishes or at least to the surprise of their family/partner). I'm fully aware that there are many women who are forced/coerced/obligated to be covered (similarly to this story) and I do work with some women in this situation. This has taught me that every woman's experience of being covered is different and contextual.

From my experience, her words are pretty common amongst women who are involuntarily covered. These stories are (again in my experience) also one large reason why family members don't like their women choosing to be covered, as they don't want them to be judged wrongly for their choices.

#11 Feral_Pooks

Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:28 PM

There are cultural/religious codes of dress and appearance for men in many Muslim communities, too, including around modesty. In fact, there are codes of dress around modesty in pretty much every culture for men and women.

A friend of mine explained it to me this way. As children, we would run around without our tops on sometimes. As we grew, we began to feel a need for modesty and to cover our chest/breasts. She said that for her, not wearing a scarf would be like for me, not wearing a top. She would feel undressed.

#12 ~~~

Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:56 PM

QUOTE (Pooks_ @ 03/12/2012, 05:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So I think there is a huge spectrum of experiences when it comes to covering, including to what extent you are covered and what pressure exists to be covered, and I just caution the extension of this woman's experience to that of most covered women in Australia.
I definitely don't assume this is the norm for the majority or really any proportion of the female muslim population, I just have never heard it described from a Muslim woman's perspective, as in the questioning etc.

QUOTE (redkris @ 03/12/2012, 05:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I actually have no issue with dressing a particular way for religious reasons when both sexes have to do it.
See, I guess I think this is just a fairer way of doing it. Too many religions have the female having to be "modest" and covered up a hell of a lot more than the men in that faith. Even with women wearing veils in church etc.

QUOTE (Pooks_ @ 03/12/2012, 05:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
A friend of mine explained it to me this way. As children, we would run around without our tops on sometimes. As we grew, we began to feel a need for modesty and to cover our chest/breasts. She said that for her, not wearing a scarf would be like for me, not wearing a top. She would feel undressed
I would be interested to see how this sense of modesty has been brought about in her life - why don't the men have to wear scarves or hats/head covering etc? I bet the boys she grew up with, while they cover up their chests etc, don't feel like they are being naked/immodest without a hat etc.... I can see the religious and cultural influences for sure, and I guess it is like that for all of us, what we are raised with is often what we feel is normal and of course majorly influences our views/practices.




#13 I look incredible

Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:02 PM

QUOTE (redkris @ 03/12/2012, 05:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't think there has ever been a true matriarchal society.


Catholicism pretends to, with Mother Mary and all that. But who is allowed to hold the senior positions in that church? Men. From the Pope down. Anglicans? Same same, but without the faux reverence for Mary.

#14 ~~~

Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:10 PM

QUOTE (I look incredible @ 03/12/2012, 07:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Catholicism pretends to, with Mother Mary and all that. But who is allowed to hold the senior positions in that church? Men. From the Pope down. Anglicans? Same same, but without the faux reverence for Mary.
See, I see Catholicism as totally patriarchal......hmmmm.... thinking about this now....

#15 Phasmatis angelam

Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:59 PM

QUOTE (I look incredible @ 03/12/2012, 07:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Anglicans? Same same, but without the faux reverence for Mary.


Ahem.  We have two women bishops in Australia now.  Change is afoot!

(And I have met some very Marian Anglicans!)

#16 **Xena**

Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:23 PM

I read an interesting story where a Muslim woman said she covered her face because she felt it shouldn't matter to society what she looked like and wanted people only to see who she was inside.

The way this article was worded though just reminded me of that poster that says "I changed schools because mine was teaching classes for women on how not to get raped instead of teaching classes on why people shouldn't rape others"

#17 **Xena**

Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:26 PM

QUOTE (~~~ @ 03/12/2012, 06:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would be interested to see how this sense of modesty has been brought about in her life - why don't the men have to wear scarves or hats/head covering etc? I bet the boys she grew up with, while they cover up their chests etc, don't feel like they are being naked/immodest without a hat etc.... I can see the religious and cultural influences for sure, and I guess it is like that for all of us, what we are raised with is often what we feel is normal and of course majorly influences our views/practices.


I agree. In Australia we would baulk at women going topless down the street though it's okay for men to do so, yet in some indigenous tribes the women don't cover their breasts. A lot of what is acceptable seems to come from cultural norms and traditions.




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