Full bag or partial bag?

Pew did a survey on –

well this is how they titled the summary:

How people in Muslim countries prefer women to dress in public

Which is annoying, because there aren’t “Muslim countries.” Even the ones that have constitutions saying Islam is the official religion aren’t “Muslim countries”…

…but never mind, one knows what they mean.

Then again it’s annoying for another reason, which is that it sounds so bossy.

Never mind, never mind – what about the survey?

It’s depressing. Almost everyone in every country surveyed thinks women should have their heads bandages up to one degree or another. Lebanon did manage a whopping 49% who think no bandage at all is best, but even that is under half. In Saudi Arabia 63% opt for the black bag with a slit for the eyes.


  1. Nepenthe says

    The writeup is pretty bizarre. They apparently don’t understand the woman in #3 is wearing a chador and seem to think that the difference between #3, #4, and #5 is simply color. Doesn’t give me much confidence in the quality of the research.

  2. Ben says

    I had a look at the linked site and there’s no breakdown by the gender, only by country. Almost the first thing I wanted to know is whether men and women answered differently. So I had a look at the full PDF and there’s no breakdown by gender there either. For any of the questions. Questions like “a wife must always obey her husband”. Surely one would want to know how men and women might answer this question differently? Maybe further analysis is in hand.

  3. says

    Putting blinders on the men is much cheaper and requires less material, made all the more adroit by the fact that it addresses the source of the problem.

  4. rq says

    Ah, but in America, they can wear what they like and be Mipsterz, so what does it matter?

    Demographic information, including results by gender, were not included in the public release of this survey.

    I’m wondering at the women-to-men ratio in respondents, esp. from such countries as Saudi Arabia.

  5. Katherine Woo says

    Nepthene, the difference between 3,4, and 5 is pretty obvious to me. It certainly is not merely color.

    3. A chador as you recognize, meaning a billowy garment that completely obscures the body.

    4. A tight headscarf that scrupulously covers all hair and neck, but allows various lower garments (but often paired with a long jacket and trousers).

    5. A loose headcovering that allows the woman to show some hair (something that can get you arrested in Iran by the way, so the issue is not trivial) and presumably wear a variety of garments.

    I have to wonder at your motive in find such a forced reason to dismiss the results.

  6. opposablethumbs says

    Katherine Woo, Nepenthe clearly stated that they were talking about the write-up. It isn’t Nepenthe who has any trouble failing to distinguish between the “options”!

    You seem to have completely mis-read their comment.

  7. Katherine Woo says

    No, opposablethumbs, I think I interpreted Nepthene correctly, until they can explain themselves.

    I re-read Pew’s write-up and see no indication the Pew people are confused. They clearly see 3, 4, and 5 as distinct grades of conservatism. The charge they ” seem to think that the difference between #3, #4, and #5 is simply color” is totally baseless.

    And a chart is part of a “write-up” in my world, especially when it has, you know, writing.

  8. Katherine Woo says

    In fact having re-read it, i am just going to remove my initial uncertainty, and say that Nepthene’s post is most likely a leftwing attempt to dismiss some very uncomfortable data. The survey is utterly damning about Islamic misogyny.

    Not a single country has a majority in favor of women being allowed to dress with the same basic requirement as men. They even tried to included the most liberal Muslim states and failed to reach that incredibly low bar of gender equality.

    The median supporting how probably virtually every woman who reads this blog dresses every single day is 4%. 4%!!! And people wonder why I call out the hijab as an outright symbol of misogyny.

  9. Nepenthe says

    Yes, opposablethumbs has it right. It appears that they’ve edited the write up in response to some of the comments. I was responding to the paragraph beginning “Overall…”, which originally had the colors of the hijabs (and “hijabs”) in italics, as if the salient difference were color and not degree of covering.

    My motive is obviously to excuse sexism by desiring accuracy. Speaking of which, you misspelled my nym twice Katherine.


    The original report has all the demographic information on page 16. It’s pretty close to 50/50 in terms of sex; Saudi Arabia is exactly 50/50. It might be worth noting that the overall study was about the Arab Spring movement in Tunisia and not attitudes toward women’s roles.

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