Earlier in the week I posted a ‘great of gross’ piece which focused on a young woman who had decided to defy convention to stop shaving. The commentary subsequently focused on the way many men and other women like to be judgemental on others.
In a sense, this post is ploughing the same furrow, as it focuses on men seeking to control their women, with the added frisson on Islamic gender inequality, as well as looking at the way western society mirrors Islamic values and is just as guilty of looking in the wrong direction for solutions.
A Facebook page exists called ‘Be a man and don’t let your woman out in revealing clothes‘, with others emerging to fight ‘pro-Islamists’. This resulted in a counter-page being published, then taken down, then reinstated, calling for a ‘mini skirt day’.
For ‘the west’, nothing unremarkable. For parts of the Islamic world, shocking.
The story, which I picked up via the BBC, is also being reported across Europe, including France, where there is a sense of militancy, at government level, to ban full face hijabs. I hope I’ve translated it correctly in saying that t is being reported that a ban on mini-skirts in Algeria (via the El-Manchar website) is likely to be passed to stop molestation and to show respect for Islamic values.
I’ve no problem with ‘respect for Islamic values’, on the proviso that there is equal respect given to western values, which isn’t always the case, with some people arguing for an extension of certain laws and values being extended to western democracies. Sorry, we don’t or shouldn’t do that. But if respect is a two-way street, then certainly, we can respect Islamic values. The waters are going to be further muddied in respect of Algeria, a former French colony which is almost certainly going to be subject to deep historical association with France, and French values.
I do have a problem with ‘molestation’ being written in as an argument in favour of a ban on mini-skirts, and it’s not unique to Islamic culture. Why focus on the women? Shouldn’t any ban be focused directly on those molesting, that is, young men with a very, very screwed-up attitude that says ‘a lot of leg on display? Prime target for sexual assault or rape!’ (I should add that the same attitudes are often displayed in young western males, and we’ve got the ludicrous situation where senior policemen in the UK and elsewhere have occasionally suggested that women shouldn’t dress ‘provocatively’ or get drunk: as stupid an utterance as any Imam). Indeed, feminism responded to a Canadian policeman’s suggestion women ‘shouldn’t dress like sluts’ with the birth of the Slutwalk.
The Slutwalk encourages women to dress ‘provocatively’, or ‘normally’, if you prefer, and highlight that, however they’re dressed, they’re ‘not asking for it’.
‘Society teaches don’t get raped instead of don’t rape’: no difference between Islamic and western teaching in this respect
My feeling is that this is a problem -control by men- shared by both Islamic and western women, with both being told how to dress by elements of society, be it Imams or the Canadian police, and both of these male-dominated bodies miss the point. The problem isn’t with the women, but with those ‘molesting’ or sexually assaulting or raping women.
We, the west and the Islamic world, should be addressing that, with some urgency, and stop the sub-conscious idea that ‘she was asking to be assaulted due to her mini skirt’.
In another story I read this week, a Turkish Imam has suggested that males who masturbate will ‘get their hands pregnant and they will need to look after the babies in heaven’.
Hmmm…..surely masturbation, as sexual release, is infinitely preferable to molesting or assaulting or raping a woman?
Stories such as these feed back on what I and other bloggers have been discussing and analysing over the past couple of weeks: how men objectify women, in and out of SL, have no apparent social skills to understand how to speak to women, in and out of SL, and how, in many ways men, in and out of SL, seek to control their women in telling them how to dress, wear their hair, etc.
I know at least one female avatar who was told, in effect, ‘you would be pretty if you didn’t have such short hair…I’ll buy you a hair I like….’ The subtext to this was ‘and if I buy you hair that makes you fit with my ideal of beauty, you’ll sleep with me’. I’m sure that there are plenty of RL women who’ve experienced the same ‘I bought you two vodka and cokes, so the payback is sex’ attitude.