Friday, January 7, 2011

Snap judgements

"Burqa sales on the rise" screamed the headlines. I reacted instantly. All these days, I had taken the increased number of Muslim girls graduating from high school as a sign that the community was getting more progressive, while in fact it has been regressing and putting more girls behind the veil. I was livid, and also upset.


I read further. The number of young girls buying burqas has gone up exponentially in the last decade, but the reason for it is that more girls are stepping out of the house, so need the veil.

Snap judgements are very often wrong.
_____
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

For a longer post on the same topic, do check out what I posted at Burrowers, Books & Balderdash earlier this week- Burqa sales on the rise

21 comments:

Karen Walker said...

I have gotten in trouble making snap judgments. I'm learning to catch myself now. I so love your drabbles.
Karen

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

So ultimately, it's a good thing!

Rek said...

But I do hope that some day the Burqa dies a slow death as the Ghunghat has over the years....

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It's always been my opinion the only way to bring peace to certain areas of the world is for the women to have more rights and education. I'm glad to see a little light and hopefully the Burga thing will soon pass away.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I had to wear a Burqa when I lived in Saudi Arabia – it was not a pleasant experience. However, it is strange how sometimes something that seems like a negative turns out to be a positive. I'm glad you kept reading.

Deb and Barbara said...

Wow, fascinating twist at the end!

Have you read Infidel yet? So interesting. B

Florence said...

It is not an uncommon sight to see a girl walking down a city street in New York wearing one.

Perhaps the day will come that these things will change. I am not sure it will because the mythical melting pot is more in our dreams than in reality.

Francine Howarth said...

Hi,

Feminist or not, (I'm not) the wearing of a burqa or veil by Muslim women is little different than Christians' wearing a cross around their necks: it is a religious symbol. It defines one's own religious and cultural beliefs from that of others.

That said, if I visit/reside in a strict non secular Muslim country I am expected to don sense of modesty and to abide by the "religious laws" of that state.

Which, does beg the question, why then - when Muslims "choose" to visit/reside in a Christian church state - do they ignore/refuse to abide by the "religious laws" of that Christian state?

In fact, as is the case in the UK, Muslims have sought to set up their own Councils & law courts, and have succeeded to an extent, yet the same courtesy is not extended to non indigenous Christians residing in a Muslim state.

The same can be said of Jews residing in the UK, they have privileges afforded them but do not reiprocate in kind toward Christians: Arab/European Christians who dare to reside in Israel.

Personally, I think religion is a private matter, and if worn on one's sleeve/head/around neck/whatever, is it not a sign of weakness, fear of losing one's collective identity?

If that be the case, it becomes so much more understandable to those of us who have no fear of loss of collective identity, because our cultural and religious beliefs come from within our hearts, from our family and our indigenous roots. These things can only be changed if we wish to change them, by choice as individuals.

Men fear women, fear the power of womens' sexual allure, fear the power of women giving birth, which makes them feel inferior because they are merely the planters of seed and from thence onward of little use beyond that of seeing the produce of their loins feeding from their beloved's breast, hence mans' desire for centuries has been to take control, to rule the household, to rule the land, to render women to status of child-bearers, to lessen their worth. Where Europeans have of late told men to go to hell and to accept them as equals, while other patriarchal societies are still pandering to male superiority! It will not last, these women will eventually rebel or find themselves returned to mediaevil status as second-class citizens within a short space of time.

Female education beneath a burka is one thing, male education another and the men will not give over loss of control as easily as might be assumed. I'll eat my hat if they do!

best
F



best
F

Francine Howarth said...

Hi,

Feminist or not, (I'm not) the wearing of a burqa or veil by Muslim women is little different than Christians' wearing a cross around their necks: it is a religious symbol. It defines one's own religious and cultural beliefs from that of others.

That said, if I visit/reside in a strict non secular Muslim country I am expected to don sense of modesty and to abide by the "religious laws" of that state.

Which, does beg the question, why then - when Muslims "choose" to visit/reside in a Christian church state - do they ignore/refuse to abide by the "religious laws" of that Christian state?

In fact, as is the case in the UK, Muslims have sought to set up their own Councils & law courts, and have succeeded to an extent, yet the same courtesy is not extended to non indigenous Christians residing in a Muslim state.

The same can be said of Jews residing in the UK, they have privileges afforded them but do not reiprocate in kind toward Christians: Arab/European Christians who dare to reside in Israel.

Personally, I think religion is a private matter, and if worn on one's sleeve/head/around neck/whatever, is it not a sign of weakness, fear of losing one's collective identity?

If that be the case, it becomes so much more understandable to those of us who have no fear of loss of collective identity, because our cultural and religious beliefs come from within our hearts, from our family and our indigenous roots. These things can only be changed if we wish to change them, by choice as individuals.

Men fear women, fear the power of womens' sexual allure, fear the power of women giving birth, which makes them feel inferior because they are merely the planters of seed and from thence onward of little use beyond that of seeing the produce of their loins feeding from their beloved's breast, hence mans' desire for centuries has been to take control, to rule the household, to rule the land, to render women to status of child-bearers, to lessen their worth. Where Europeans have of late told men to go to hell and to accept them as equals, while other patriarchal societies are still pandering to male superiority! It will not last, these women will eventually rebel or find themselves returned to mediaevil status as second-class citizens within a short space of time.

Female education beneath a burka is one thing, male education another and the men will not give over loss of control as easily as might be assumed. I'll eat my hat if they do!

best
F



best
F

Sash said...

Fascinating read, both your post and Francine's comment.

Isn't it strange how these things are, amongst many other things, a matter of perception?

Jemi Fraser said...

I would have thought the same thing as you - I'm glad to hear our snap judgments weren't great. :)

Marjorie said...

I still hate the burqa. It just makes me so angry to and sad to see women wearing them. I can't help my reaction.

LTM said...

saw this earlier, and I agree that it's ultimately a good thing. Also agree w/Marjorie that I still hate seeing it... And to Francine, I say "that's what makes us different and ultimately better." We must rise above and show a better way. There has to be hope~ :o) <3

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Francine - Thank you so much for a post that was much longer than my own.
And I couldn't agree with you more. If a religious community demands special priveledgs in other secular countries, they should be willing to offer the same to other religionous communities in the countries where there's is the official religion.

Perhaps the mistake is partly that of your country and mine- we are so proud to call ourselves secular, we give into the religious demands of the more militant/ demanding religions even if they are not in a majority. But when the same religions deny the right to practice their own religion to others in countries where they are a majority, we do not demand our rights.

Extremely sorry situation, I would think- you get hit both ways.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Karen - and no matter how many times we get into trouble, we keep doing so, don't we?

@ Alex - absolutely. Education of girls is ALWAYS a good thing.

@ Rek - I am sure it will in another generation. The girls who are girls today, are unlikely to wear the burqa when they are older.

@ Susan - absolutely! Education, specially education of the girl child. That is the only way to bring change.

@ Jane - living in Saudi Arabia must have been quite an experience!
And yes, when I see women in burqas in the height of summer, I wonder how they survive.

@ Barbara - it was, wasn't it? And no, is it good?

@ Florence - I read somewhere that to wear a burqa is a statement in many places- including NY. Wonder how many wear it because their family demands, it, and how many do it out of a misplaced sense of religion.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Sash - I do wish the burqa goes, but if wearing one is the only way girls can get an education, I am all for it.

@ Jemi - it is a good thing, isn't it?

@ Marjorie - I used to react adversely to the burqa too, tilll I met this girl who told me that actually made her feel safe, because men stay away from her. Not saying I agree with her, but I guess if it is a matter of personl choice, rather than of comuplsion, it is fine.

@ Leigh- what is inexplicable is how certain religions force others to live by their rules in countries where they are the official religion, and yet demand special privelages in secular countries.
That said, you are of course right. That is what makes an India, or an England or a US better than "them".

Tina said...

Great discussion you've got going here! I think it's sad that so many times religion becomes something to fight about rather than something that brings the individual believer comfort and joy.

dipali said...

That said, I have a couple of Muslim women friends who have opted to wear the veil purely of their own volition (their mothers and sisters do not) and actually find it empowering!
I personally feel very curious to see the face of a woman who hides it behind a burqa- I'm sure I would not give most unveiled faces a second glance.
The whole business of religious freedom and women's freedom across cultures is extremely complex.

Patricia Stoltey said...

That is very interesting. My first reaction would have been disapointment.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Tina - that is really sad, isn't it? I would love to have a world where religion is something you practice at home, and leave out of everything else, unless you are doing good.

@ dipali - you do? I have heard about a few women who choose to don the burqa despite not growing up with it, but don't know anyone.
And yes, the whole issue is too complex for any one to pretend to understand more than just a part of it. So much really depends on choice v/s lack of it. To me, that is the moot point, not what is done.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Patricia - that is the most obvious conclusion, isn't it?

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