Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Hijab to burka – a sign of misogyny and oppression of all women

Posted in Hijab is a threat to all women by sheelanagigcomedienne on November 23, 2014

Whenever I see a women wearing a hijab/veil/scarf covering her hair I feel very uncomfortable. I feel that the very concept of the hijab as a sign/symbol of modesty in a woman affects all women. The way women dress and definitions of femininity is very much a feminist issue. hijab 3

Hijab” or “ḥijāb” (/hɪˈdʒɑːb/, /hɪˈdʒæb/, /ˈhɪ.dʒæb/ or /hɛˈdʒɑːb/; Arabic: حجاب‎, pronounced [ħiˈdʒæːb] ~ [ħiˈɡæːb]) is a veil that covers the head and chest, which is particularly worn by a Muslim woman beyond the age of puberty in the presence of adult males and non-Muslim females outside of their immediate family. Wikipedia says of the hijab Most often, it is worn by Muslim women as a symbol of modesty, privacy and morality….Some claim that the mandate of the Quran to wear hijab applies to the wives of the Prophet, not women generally.

hijab policewoman  hijab torture

The Islamic veil is the most symbolically loaded item of clothing in the world. These various forms of Islamic female head-covering – hijab, niqab and full-body burqa – have been condemned as oppressive, celebrated or shunned as representations of cultural difference, denounced by those who claim to defend women’s rights and defended by those who advocate religious tolerance.

On the one hand there is the view that Wearing conservative clothing protects them from sexual harassment and objectification. This came from Women in World History section on Historical Perspectives on Islamic Dress


Wearing conservative clothing protects them from sexual harassment and objectification An Iranian school girl states, “We want to stop men from treating us like sex objects, as they have always done. We want them to ignore our appearance and to be attentive to our personalities and mind. We want them to take us seriously and treat us as equals and not just chase us around for our bodies and physical looks.”

These are very deluded school girls if they think that wearing the hijab will protect them, but not the rest of us, from sexual harassment and worse.  The same piece states:  In the same way, students who take up hijab are able to move into areas that were once closed to them, such as attending classes, discussion groups and religious activities. How ironic.

Poppy hijab

Poppy hijab

Thinly veiled misogyny | openDemocracy

Laurie Penny describes how the Islamic veil has become yet another item of women’s clothing for men to fight over for their own ends.

She cites President Bush using the premise of liberating the “women of cover” from their men in the days leading up to the bombing of Afghanistan. Lord Cromer, who was British consul general in Egypt from 1883 to 1907, declared that the veiling and seclusion of Islamic women was the “fatal obstacle” to the Egyptians’ “attainment of…Western civilisation.” but saw no contradiction in founding the Men’s League Opposing Women’s Suffrage. Sarkozy, with his macho gesture of the ban on the full veil,  being concerned with “sending a message” to “extremists”  instead of tackling inequality, misogyny or violence against woman. Then there are the racists and imperialists claiming cultural superiority in western/European/British modes of female attire who want women to dress for them.

beauty pageants girls beauty pageants beauty evening weer

In this very interesting piece she quoted academic Dr Nina Power’s hypothesis, in her book One Dimensional Woman, that the veil, for Western men, represents an attack on the internalised ideology of misogynist capitalism. 

I agree that women under rampant, global, market capitalism and our perceived role as wives, mothers, for male sexual gratification, as inferior beings to be excluded from public  life except as consumers, is the ideology of misogynist capitalism. But misogyny also underpins all religious ideology which is about social control by men including Christianity, Islam Judaism, Hinduism etc. It is manifested in male only priests and  Imams, only men achieving Nirvana, concepts like virgin birth springing from womb envy,  the burning of witches, unclean women,  female genital mutilation, suttee etc.

For ex-Muslim Mariam Namazie, who used to work at the British Humanist Association the veil is more than just a piece of clothing – it has become a symbol of women’s oppression under Islam, and deserves to be treated as such: “The veil, more than anything else, symbolises the bleak reality [of life for women in strictly Islamic countries]: hidden from view, bound, gagged, mutilated, murdered, without rights, and threatened and intimidated day in and day out for transgressing Islamic mores. And this is why the veil is the first thing that Islamists impose when they have any access to power.”

For Yasmin Alibhai-Brown;  This is a cloth that comes soaked in blood.” and the veil in the West has come to represent “a slur on decent Muslim men, portrayed as sexual predators who cannot look upon a woman without wanting her.”

Non Muslim pupils donning a hijab.

Non Muslim pupils donning a hijab.

From Jihad Watch website.

Here are some victims whom these public school students would be better off studying: Aqsa Parvez, whose Muslim father choked her to death with her hijab after she refused to wear it; and Amina Muse Ali, a Christian woman in Somalia whom Muslims murdered because she wasn’t wearing a hijab; and the 40 women who were murdered in Iraq in 2007 for not wearing the hijab; and Alya Al-Safar, whose Muslim cousin threatened to kill her and harm her family because she stopped wearing the hijab in Britain; and Amira Osman Hamid, who faces whipping in Sudan for refusing to wear the hijab; and the Egyptian girl, also named Amira, who committed suicide after being brutalized for her family for refusing to wear the hijab; and the Muslim and non-Muslim teachers at the Islamic College of South Australia who were told that they had to wear the hijab or be fired; and the women in Chechnya whom police shot with paintballs because they weren’t wearing hijab; and the women also in Chechnya who were threatened by men with automatic rifles for not wearing hijab; and the elementary school teachers in Tunisia who were threatened with death for not wearing hijab; and the Syrian schoolgirls who were forbidden to go to school unless they wore hijab; and the women in Gaza whom Hamas has forced to wear hijab; and the women in Iran who protested against the regime by daring to take off their legally-required hijab; and the women in London whom Muslim thugs threatened to murder if they didn’t wear hijab; and the anonymous young Muslim woman who doffed her hijab outside her home and started living a double life in fear of her parents, and all the other women and girls who have been killed or threatened, or who live in fear for daring not to wear the hijab

hijabbed girlsj

Penny Laurie is the author of Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism. For her the the veil is both a symbol of religious choice and cultural pride and an emblem of the second-class status of women in Islamist cultures but the liberation of women across the world will not begin with veil-burning any more than the long march to freedom in the West really began with bra-burning.

Hijab Hijab beauties

This is the dilemma for women, like me who feel discombobulated by the hijab. I know that many women who wear the hijab in Britain do see it as a way of escaping from the sexualisation of girls and women as sexual objects. They feel that it does, in some way, protect them from the pressures faced by non-Muslim girls and women. I resent being caught between these two projections of women. It is a dilemma faced by all women.

I have a choice about visiting Muslim countries. I have felt intimidated and very uncomfortable being in places where women are not very visible and kept away from tourists in some areas. I have seen the freedom that Muslim boys have compared to their mothers and sisters and it sickens and angers me. I have been sexually harassed in Egypt by a boy who groped my breasts while men and women looked on and laughed. Obviously, I was seen as fair game because I was on my own waking the promenade in Luxor as Dave was confined to bed with the tummy bug.

hijab young

I am discombobulated by women wearing the hijab because it reminds us of women’s inferior status and all that is entailed in it as a symbol.  I feel this because the hijab 1)  is a an Islamic symbol because 2) Muslim men apparently are so sexually aroused at the sight of a women’s hair that they can not control themselves and must be protected from their own lust and as a potential rapists and 3) it is a sign/statement that the wearer is a modest Muslim unlike non-Muslim women and 4) if she is single that she is a potential virginal bride and if she is married she is off limits to all men. I think that forcing prepubescent girls to wear the hijab is contrary to any notions we have of equality for girls and women in education and in society.

As secularist I am completely opposed to any sectarian schooling  because children are not born with religious beliefs and we should never define children by their parents supernatural beliefs. I think I have good reasons for the way I feel about this and that I have the right to express this without accusations of racism.  I believe that religious beliefs and many practices have a detrimental influence on all of us especially as they impact on women. Of course, I think that people have a right to believe whatever they want including me and have the right to express it.

Sexualised girls Bathing belles

I feel threatened and upset by  the impact of religion, child sexual abuse, misogyny, pornification,  everyday sexism,  women’s inequality, the  symbolism of the hijab, male violence, capitalism, the frightening growth in inequality of wealth,   TTIP,  privatisation of the NHS and all our public services and utilities,  the Tories, the government, by UKIP,  the housing crisis,  the continuing conflicts between Israel and Palestine, Islamic State, the ebola crisis, climate change and all other the issues and causes whose petitions I have signed. I had better stop now and have a 125 ml glass of wine before I go to bed.


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