Women and clothing. Women and shame. Women and honor. Women and honor killings.
The evil West. Lyrics of Songs.
An article in the National Post by Mireille Silcoff about the columnist's young child and the lyrics the little girls sings at home, having picked them up at camp and other places, strikes me where I care a lot. She writes well, as usual.
Since I have grown into adulthood, a few decades ago, I have felt that there has been a war on the family. This began in my mind when the stores began staying open on Sundays, women began working at marginal jobs at all hours, the orginial "precariat", and people went to the mall instead of to church. Really, store hours seemed to me the thin edge of the wedge. We all are now only consumers, first and foremost.
In the eighties, our clothes were a little weird with shoulder pads and huge glasses and such, but they were neither overly modest, uncomfortable, confining nor provocative. It seemed to me that the revolution happened to my daughter's generation. When the Spice Girls began performing the way they did, all the little girls wanted to look like them. The clothes in the stores seemed transformed overnight to imitate these scantily clad idols. How did this happen all at once? As Silcoff says: they began to look like very small prostitutes. We went from dressing like a princess or a bride to dressing like a woman at a bar looking for action. What the hell happened? Now we had to start fighting about clothes with our daughters in the stores. ("This is your back-to-school outfit?" NOT.)
Meanwhile, the images traveled around the world and one can sometimes hardly blame the Islamic backlash. We were somehow powerless to control the way our culture was evolving, but they tried their best to stop theirs from going down the same road. The Islamic culture warrior was born.
For some reasons, these wars are waged on the front line of women's clothing. Personally, I was raised in Germany and there was not much problem with people going nude. We wore bikinis and loose summer tops and nobody thought anything of it. So it's not the amount of skin per se that poses the problem. It is how it is presented and when and where. Is there skin because it is more comfortable for sport? Is there skin because you have a thing for nude bathing at a nude beach?
Is there skin because you want to be provocative? And how does someone interpret provocative skin? If you get a woman drunk in a bar, that is wearing more or less clothing, and then have sex with her that she can't remember, or can't remember inviting you to have, you have most likely "raped" her. It is a tricky thing and scary thing. In my days, I would not have found myself in such places or drunk, but noways, it seems the norm for young adults to wear themselves out with use of substance and hanging around parties and bars. You mix in scantily clad, and the situation for our girls has become very hazardous. You can't blame any parent for freaking out about these scenarios. The damage to women and girls is unspeakable. It is not acceptable.
This image became iconic last week during the Rio Olympics. The German women played in bikinis. The Egyptian women played fully covered. The German's won the match.
Personally, I don't find either outfit obscene or provocative. And as Hamed Abdel-Samad says: we should just be glad, the Muslim woman gets to play volleyball. Just that should be celebrated. I see his point.
Still, if I was required to play in such a covered outfit, I would be furious. This has got to be so hot. I hardly like to have longer hair, as it makes me feel too hot. If I had to be covered in a hot country, or any country, I would call it oppression not modesty. I want to feel the air on my temples, the wind playing with my hair, the breeze around my neck, the cooling effect of the perspiration being carried away. As someone said, they would not subject an animal to such suffocating conditions.
I have seen Muslim women, at the mall, shopping for clothing, with shimmering things attached to their headscarves, like roses and hearts, that advertised them as available for dating. Is this less modest, less enticing to a man? I am not a man, I can't say. I don't think it's a great idea to walk around with the bust hanging out. As a woman, I don't really like to see that on other women. At the beach, fine. I don't have to stare at them. In public, where we interface a work, etc., not nice. Keep your bust to yourself. That's basically it. Keep your private parts covered in public. You really want to be part of the meat market?
There are images of women in India. The Hindu women wear beautiful robes that cover and are still designed to get the air moving around the body, to keep cooler. I'd love to wear such lovely fabrics. The Muslim women in India, have this tight fitting thing around their heads and necks that look like torture. It would be enough for me not to convert to Islam to have to wear such a thing.
Still, overall, I think that the West should come up with some sense of propriety without blaming everything on women. This is communicated through our movies and songs, our outings and manner of speech. The transgender movement contributes to this misunderstanding of women as carriers of certain body parts and voice tones. There is so much else to womanhood that needs protecting and nurturing and valuing. We have all lost our way.
Ok. There, I have blogged something.
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