Keep the harlots occupied

Oh good god – what a clusterfuck it is when reactionaries co-opt the jargon of liberation to decorate the chains.

A new Islamic tv station is launching in the Middle East, an all woman station. Progressive, huh?

Its pilot broadcasts will start towards the end of this month, where all the staff including the broadcasters will be veiled women. No men or non-veiled women will be employed says Sheikha Safaa , the manager of the channel.

Oh. Not so progressive then. Kind of brazenly discriminatory, actually.

[Safaa] has made it quite clear that the objectives of launching this channel is to offer veiled women the chance to appear on the screens and to empower other veiled women by activating their roles. She claims veiled women suffer marginalization.

They will empower other veiled women! Kind of like the way Michelle Duggar empowers other Quiverfull women, and those four women married to the one guy empower other Fundamentalist LDS women. Solidarity, sistas! Good luck with activating their roles – whatever that means. Reminding them that only whores don’t wear hijabs, probably. You go, girl!

“The affairs of the channel will be handled by the sisters who will be running the television channel, since women are more qualified to address and talk about their own needs”. She added Sheikh Abu Islam Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah, the owner of the “Al Ummah” channel and the new “Maria” Channel, said in a statement that “God willing, the channel will employ Muslim women graduates of various departments of media collages and institutions. This project aims at protecting women from temptations by finding them suitable work opportunities .”

Oh that’s kind. Women are such feeble-minded sluts, you know, that it’s pretty much impossible for them to resist temptations. They keep flinging themselves down in the street and spreading their legs in a hopeful kind of way, because they just can’t help it. It’s super-nice of Sheikh Abu Islam Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah to make up some pretend jobs for a few of them so that they’ll be too busy to fall down and spread their legs. It’s hugely empowering, too, that reason for giving people jobs. “Here, honey, this will keep you busy so that you don’t run around grabbing every penis you can reach.”

Abu Islam confirmed that the pilot will start with a broadcast of 6 hours through ‘Al Ummah’ channel, until the time of actual broadcast. He also made it clear that this channel will not host guests who are men or unveiled women, but telephone interventions from both will be permitted.

Makes sense. Spread your legs all you want, but it won’t do you any good over the telephone, so interviews with men (with penises!!) and unveiled women (who wear their vaginas on their heads!!) will be safe.

Allah is wise, merciful.



  1. Stacy says

    This project aims at protecting women from temptations by finding them suitable work opportunities

    Perhaps the “temptations” he means are intellectual rather than sexual? One way to keep educated women from getting too uppity is by giving them some status within the system that confines them…

  2. Kiwi Dave says

    Ahhh – separate but equal, and highly moral as well! It would be unreasonable to ask for more.

    Alas, Ophelia, I cannot match your sublime snark.

  3. Gnumann says

    This happens in my neck of the woods too, only of course the veils are cleverly hidden. Instead of coarse actual veils, there’s the idea that a real woman cares for nothing but daytime soaps, clothes and believes every kind of wooish bullshit under the sky.

  4. Emptyell says

    As crappy as it looks from over here, the optimist in me can’t help but see an upside to this. Due to the strict segregation I assume this means that the women will have to learn all about broadcasting. One of the fundamental rules of slavery is don’t teach them how to shoot. And these days video is mightier than the canon.

  5. Aliasalpha says

    Is there much variety in the permitted woman-tents in terms of colour or decoration? The only ones I’ve ever seen are black ones, assuming all the presenters are of roughly average size, the channel’s titling operator will have to be on the ball to make sure the presenter gets the correct name up.

    Either that or just put the word “woman” up instead of a name

  6. naturalcynic says

    Reminding them that only whores don’t wear hijabs, probably.

    Psssst. Get your terms of oppression correct. Hijab is sometimes the general term for “modest dress”, but it specifically refers to a hair covering [shawl or cap and shawl], leaving the face open. Such a woman would be far too brazen for this channel. Niqab refers to the mask that covers all but the eyes.

  7. says

    I’m with you, Emptyell (#5).

    “One of the fundamental rules of slavery is don’t teach them how to shoot.” Or to read the evening news. Even as what amounts to no more than a voiceover from behind the cyclorama.

    The fact that they are doing it at all indicates to my investigative mind that there could be at least one reason behind it. Possibly more than one. They don’t make even minimalist concessions for nothing. And though Ophelia and other commenters have picked the farcical implications and possibilities, your comment is spot on.

    Old saying: give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.

    New saying: They’ve given you an inch. Now how many miles are you prepared to take?

  8. says

    Note that women are doing everything at that TV station – except owning it. That apparently can only be entrusted to a man.

  9. Stephen Turner says

    No need to bother learning to distinguish burka/niqab/whatever. Generically they are mosuits, for followers of Chairman Mo.

    #7: Maybe they could wear medallions or badges: “Woman 1”, “Woman 2” etc.

  10. gillyc says

    I think (someone correct me if I’m wrong) that women only have to wear the niqab when in public – that is, where men who aren’t part of their family can see them. In a workplace where there are no men, only the women in front of the camera would need to wear one; they could probably get away with only having three or four, passing them round to whoever needs one at the time.

  11. says


    Strikes me that in a TV studio where there are no men, women would have to be doing all the technical stuff, operating cameras, mixing vision and sound, directing live participants and calling the (TV) shots.

    Even so, there would always be the chance that they could get caught on camera due to their own or operator error, and (horror of horrors) get broadcast far and wide minus bourker, hijab, niquab, shoes; whatever.

    Might as well be stark naked.

  12. says

    All of these Islamic broadcasters and none of them have had the idea of creating a show entitled Come Dīn With Me

  13. Lyanna says

    Stephen Turner @ 11: that’s a shortsighted statement, which I hope you just meant as snark. There’s a huge difference between a headscarf (hijab) and a tent that covers your whole body, including your face and eyes, and restricts your vision and mobility (burqa). Different physical effects–a woman wearing hijab can run away from you or even beat you up if she’s strong enough; a woman in a burqa is hampered. Different social effects–a woman wearing hijab shows her face, displays her facial expressions, speaks to you directly without a cloth between you and her, etc. Different symbolism–hiding the face has a particularly strong repressive symbolism, plus more covering = a more extreme statement about what level of “modesty” a woman requires before she’s fit to be seen. Different security effects as well–how do we know who a woman in a burqa is? Excellent way for a criminal or terrorist to hide!

    Aliasalpha@7: I’ve seen colorful, personally styled hijabs (and have seen Muslim women of African descent who basically wear the hijab as a hair-wrap over hair styled as a bun, which doesn’t even look like Westerners’ idea of hijab).

    But I think the whole point of the burqa is to avoid any such personal style. That kind of thing is attractive, you know! It’s all black, or gray, or sometimes dull lavender.

  14. says

    Lyanna – yes but beware of the Overton window here. Yes the hijab is different, and not as horrible, but that doesn’t make it good. It’s not good. And it too hampers – not as much as the burqa or abaya, obviously, but more than nothing.

  15. Dave Ricks says

    I see the TV station presenting a “progressive” image as part of a larger PR campaign. Consider The Koran for Dummies (2004), or A Short Islamic Cartoon about Modesty (2009). They promote interpretations and images that can be accepted and supported by a broad base of western believers-in-belief.

    Last week a Jewish friend sent me an email where she saw a woman’s “choice” to wear a head scarf as “empowering” for women. I’ll write my friend back to say a couple things. For one of my points, I ordered a copy of the Qur’an so we can review the tortures in hell for her being Jewish, and for not giving her husband sex when he wants it. If this is a campaign of imagery, I’m only being fair to let her know those images, too.

    Greta Christina has said our work is a long game. I see Islamic strategists playing a long game too.

  16. Lyanna says

    Ophelia: not saying it’s good. It’s not, since it is based on the same idea that women must follow a rigid code of “modesty” to avoid tempting men or else it’s their fault if they are harassed or assaulted. The symbolism is very similar to the burqa.

    But I don’t think it does physically hamper (I’ve known athletes who’ve played soccer, tennis, and rugby wearing headscarves), and I think that’s a major and oft-overlooked point.

    I suppose it could hamper by trapping heat and sweat in the summer, though. Hmm.

  17. emily isalwaysright says

    Best laugh all day Ophelia! And the line about “using the jargon of liberation to decorate the chains” is just glorious. You’re worth your weight in gold, you are.

    And Ophelia is wise, merciless. 🙂

  18. says

    Lyanna, yes, that’s what I meant – it’s very hot in hot weather (which the weather mostly is in most majority-Muslim countries, sadly enough). How hot the damn thing is is one of the first items in Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis – the little girls in her school were suddenly made to wear it, and they found it hot and horrible.

    But it’s also rather muffling. I don’t like wearing ordinary scarves in winter (or hats either) because they feel muffling. The hijab covers the ears tightly, so that has to be an impediment. It’s not hugely hampering – a good deal less so than high heels, perhaps – but it is somewhat. That’s all I meant. Yes athletes can work around them, but it’s a workaround.

  19. Lyanna says

    Oh yes, good point about the weather, I’ve mostly known hijab-wearers who are in cooler Western climates (and even those get hot in summertime). Plus there’s got to be a difference between wearing a hijab in a Western country, where you know (unless your family or mosque community is super-tyrannical) that you can take the damn thing off at any time, and wearing it in a place where social norms require it.

    I need to read Persepolis! Have meant to for ages.

  20. Emptyell says

    The main issue with hijab is choice, not whether it’s an impediment to movement, hearing, etc. Wearing a red letter or star of David is not physically constraining. Having them imposed under threat of force is another matter altogether.

    Being forced by authorities to wear anything is punishment. To impose such punishments on entire populations is tyranny. Whether one is more or less uncomfortable than another is splitting hairs.

  21. Lyanna says

    I don’t agree, Emptyell. “Choice” strikes me as the least relevant concern here, since all societies have some mandatory dress codes. Practicality is important, but the ultimate point is neither choice nor practicality. The ultimate point is that some types of dress are a mark of subjugation. Dress is used to mark people as members of an underclass or an out-group.

    But impracticality is often a good indicator that a type of dress is about subordination. Traditionalist Middle Eastern cultures impose dress restrictions on both men and women, but only women are ever required to hide their faces. Traditional Chinese society used to require foot-binding for upper-class women. In Western society, professional dress for women often includes garments that make it impossible to walk quickly or comfortably (pencil skirts, high heels). The group that’s being hobbled in some way is the down-group.

  22. Art says

    I suppose they might differentiate between personalities by accessorizing the hijab. The main personality could wear a gaudy tiara on top of the drapery. The food critic gets a chef’s hat. The style commenter a rainbow afro, and, of course, the weather girl gets a beany with propeller. That option has to be better than every woman looking like a dressmaker’s dummy with tarp thrown over it.

    On the other hand any participant running late could simply have a cell phone stuffed into the dressmaker’s dummy and the hijab thrown on top. The women could simply phone it in, literally.

  23. Emptyell says


    Perhaps I did not express myself well. I don’t think that we disagree. At least not substantially.

    Of course all societies have some restrictions on what can be legally worn in various circumstances. There is a fundamental difference between limiting choices and requiring specific apparel especially when, in the latter case, the purpose is to mark a class of people as inferior and subjugate them.

    My point was that it was not the headscarf itself, which some women choose to wear freely*, but that women are being required to wear it. As such it is the freedom to chose what to wear or not wear that is the main distinction. If this freedom is being taken away for the purpose of subjugation then it is wrong regardless of how comfortable or restrictive the garment.

    Perhaps they are more or less bad based on the degree of physical restriction imposed with a scale from hijab to niqab to burka to foot binding, but what about the Stars of David that Jews in nazi Germany were required to wear? These would impose no more physical constraint than a pocket handkerchief but the purpose and effect were far more repressive than anything else I can think of.

    * I do not mean Muslim women who “choose” to wear them so as to avoid being beaten or worse. I mean women who can really wear them or not as they please without repercussions.

  24. Lyanna says

    If this freedom is being taken away for the purpose of subjugation then it is wrong regardless of how comfortable or restrictive the garment.

    Ah. Yes, I think we basically agree. And yes, I’d oppose hijab even if it were comfy, for exactly that reason.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *