Like the lights being turned off


More to chew on – Mehdi Hasan talks to Mona Eltahawy in front of an audience in Oxford.

http://youtu.be/5vWHJczVRwM

A few pull quotes from Mona:

I’ve been a feminist since I was 19.

Moving to Saudi Arabia as a young girl was like the lights being turned off.

I consider the niqab an erasure of women.

Comments

  1. Rob says

    Indeed. Nothing says respect like telling a woman to shutup, be invisible, not drive, swim, go to the shops alone etc unless they are prepared to be raped because they are obviously sluts who deserve the consequences.

    It’s a fucked up religion that has warped the society it’s in.

    Not that fundamentalist religions of any type are any better

  2. leni says

    Rob, don’t be absurd. According to GirlWritesWhat those things are all signs of female privilege. They get to have unpaid chauffeurs. By law!! And shopping BFFs, also by law!!

    The real victims here are the men who have to take time out of their busy schedules (being forced to work for women) to drive those same women all around town while they spend someone else’s hard earned money on designer niqabs. Clearly this is the work of feminists who are not only horrible people, but also too lazy to drive themselves anywhere.

    Just ask GirlWritesWhat. She’s like an expert or something.

    /sarcasm

  3. Seth says

    Recently I spoke with a friend of mine who happens to be a Muslim woman; she does not wear hijab, though every few years she struggles with the urge to cover her hair, because some part of her feels it’s essential to her religion. But she told me something curious about some of the ‘cultural’ reasons for wearing the niqab, which arguably predate the invention of Islam; basically, some Muslim women take to the full-body veil because they feel they are ‘too beautiful’ to go through their daily lives without sexual harassment from all of the men around them.

    Thus we see in microcosm something that Christopher Hitchens condemned for religion in general; it is at once the height of abjection and servility, combined with the quintessence of arrogance and solipsism. Men are the favoured of God, entitled to all of the power and property and respect, but they are base animals who cannot be expected to control themselves if they see the curve of a woman’s chin; it’s the wretched woman’s fault for putting herself in ‘civilised’ company, distracting from the business of the day, for being too beautiful and perfect a creature to do anything but be admired in the home of the man who owns her. This utter debasement of men and women (with its concomitant erasure of non-cis, non-heterosexuals) is present in all of the major religions, but it is rarely so blunt and transparent as we find in Islam.

    I am glad that I live in a country where a woman can wear the niqab if she chooses…but I’m much more concerned with providing women the space and freedom to take it off if they choose, as well. I wish there were women’s shelters designed specifically to accommodate women and their children fleeing religiously-inspired abuse (no matter what religion), spaces for women to take refuge away from the patriarchs who seek to enforce their control by force. And I believe that all children must attend a public, secular school, where they interact at least a few hours a day with kids of every gender, kids whose parents aren’t the same religion, or colour, or economic status. Children have a right to a diversity of opinion and experience, a right that trumps any self-proclaimed right of parents to cloister them into only one worldview. These measures are by no means sufficient conditions for the dismantling of sexism inherent in religion, but I believe they (or something like them) are necessary.

  4. Omar Puhleez says

    Seth:

    Thanks for an excellent post.
    Then again, it is possible that The Prophet (pubh) called for women to wear bourkers in Saudi Arabia so that eventually as an ethereal immortal soul floating around unseen and undetected, he could have his way with them under the things.
    Just a thought.

  5. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    <blockquote cite=""
    The Prophet … an ethereal immortal soul </blockquote cite="" Sorry, Omar Puhleez , Mo wasn't just an ethereal immortal soul. He was also- according to islam- a very real and mortal body that was pretty enthusiastic about having his way with women in a bodily and corporal way- so much so that the angel Gabriel told Mo to order men to divorce women Mo wanted to become more closely acquainted with.
    There's no need to think like that…

  6. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    I meant

    The Prophet … an ethereal immortal soul

    Sorry, Omar Puhleez , Mo wasn’t just an ethereal immortal soul. He was also- according to islam- a very real and mortal body that was pretty enthusiastic about having his way with women in a bodily and corporal way- so much so that the angel Gabriel told Mo to order men to divorce women Mo wanted to become more closely acquainted with.
    There’s no need to think like that…

    …of course.

  7. Omar Puhleez says

    sc.etc

    “He was also- according to islam- a very real and mortal body that was pretty enthusiastic about having his way with women in a bodily and corporal way-”

    The mortal and immortal activities are by no means exclusive, though if Mo was around in the flesh in S. Arabia today, all those bourkers would cramp his style for sure, and more than just a tad.

    :-)

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