MoonDawg's Den: "Women enjoy being deprived of their free will"

MoonDawg's Den

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Women enjoy being deprived of their free will"

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has posted an op-ed piece by a Saudi columnist, Maha Al-Hujailan, who finds himself at a loss to explain why many Muslim women not only embrace the abaya garment - and, by extension, the "humiliation" and "submission" that it represents - but have worked to "create new and more complicated garments which would confine her more than ever before". The male author of the article, which appeared in the Saudi newspaper Arab News last week, relates a very interesting tale about an American woman who donned an abaya as a display of solidarity with Muslims after 9/11; to her amazement she was criticized by Saudis for not displaying the properly sumbissive behavior that wearing of the abaya requires. He then asks the following:

"...how did men succeed in convincing women to transform the free personality that Allah endowed them with into enslaved characters wearing an abaya? The process was not simply a mental one. It was a combination of emotional factors which were cleverly exploited. Men used women’s weaknesses to make women believe that an important part of the male-female relationship was the man loving the weak and submissive elements of a woman’s nature. He then named these elements respect, honor and correct behavior. These do not exist objectively but can only be explained according to the individual man’s desire and will - in other words, a totally subjective conception.

What is strange is that women accepted the idea and were soon submitting themselves to the prison of the garment, the walking slowly, the looking only straight ahead - just to fulfill, it seems, what men imagined the abaya to be all about.

The author goes on to say that this apparently is "part of a strange phenomenon in which women enjoy being deprived of their free will."

While the sexist attitudes are certainly implicit in the Saudi author's reasoning, the underlying premise - that "the abaya makes women appear humiliated, submissive, and blindly obedient to men", and that this has negative social consequences - gives one hope that male attitudes towards the role of females in Saudi society could be changing.

Now if we can only keep these crazy broads from enjoying their subjugation...(joking, folks, JUST JOKING).

3 Comments:

  • of course I had to comment on this one--

    I find it distasteful that people think that any woman who wears a head veil is loving to be submissive. I mean, I'm sure it's true in some cases. When the taliban came into power in Afghanistan, for instance, and millions of women who were unused to such practices were suddenly enforced to abide by them.

    As an LDS woman, I see a paralel between the Saudi headscarf and the temple garment. It's sacred. It's symbolic. Yes, I get hot in the summer. But I'm not being repressed. I choose to wear it. It means something special to me.

    I mean, let's face it-- hear in America we still "restrict" women too, if the definition of restriction is forcing women to wear more clothing than men are legally made to wear. Women are still arrested for indecent exposure if they go topless, for instance.

    Personally, I don't want to go topless and send the sort of message that would create in the society that I live in.

    I'm sure that some women feel similarly about the veil. I guess the whole point is-- some women also DON'T feel this way, and would prefer not to wear it, and the techniques of enforcement are a little more extreme than the ones they use over here.

    Sorry so long-- blog out. :)

    By Blogger NoSurfGirl, At 10:14 PM, November 15, 2006  

  • sorry for the spelling errors. *cringe*

    By Blogger NoSurfGirl, At 10:15 PM, November 15, 2006  

  • I hear you - the laws banning toplessness should be done away with!!

    By Blogger Garry, At 11:08 AM, November 20, 2006  

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