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Naomi Wolf on Muslim Women's Dress

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
"The West interprets veiling as repression of women and suppression of their sexuality. But when I traveled in Muslim countries and was invited to join a discussion in women-only settings within Muslim homes, I learned that Muslim attitudes toward women's appearance and sexuality are not rooted in repression, but in a strong sense of public versus private, of what is due to God and what is due to one's husband. It is not that Islam suppresses sexuality, but that it embodies a strongly developed sense of its appropriate channeling - toward marriage, the bonds that sustain family life, and the attachment that secures a home"

You can read the whole article at http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/b...516734637.html
post #2 of 11
The link didn't work. But this one hopefully will be the same article: Naomi Wolf's Veiled Sexuality

(And what one finds when one searches for that article. )

She talks about a similar subject from a different perspective in this article:

I will never forget a visit I made to Ilana, an old friend who had become an Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem. When I saw her again, she had abandoned her jeans and T-shirts for long skirts and a head scarf. I could not get over it. Ilana has waist-length, wild and curly golden-blonde hair. “Can’t I even see your hair?” I asked, trying to find my old friend in there. “No,” she demurred quietly. “Only my husband,” she said with a calm sexual confidence, “ever gets to see my hair.”
post #3 of 11
Quote:
It is not that Islam suppresses sexuality, but that it embodies a strongly developed sense of its appropriate channeling


I've often found myself looking for words to express the sort of blooming sexuality that oftentimes exists behind the (for lack of a better word) veil of privacy in our religion, without getting all inappropriately explicit. Haven't found them yet, but the above is a good start.

If more people picked up classical muslim works on sexual etiquette, I think there'd be a lot of looks going around.

I'm curious how much other often-perceived-as-sexually-repressive faiths are the same. About being misperceived due to privacy ideals, I mean.
post #4 of 11
I think they are likely more similar in ways people don't talk about.

I wonder how much of that has to do with the beginnings of anthropological study being done by men who did not have access to interviewing women in the same way that women have access to interviewing women.

And to the impulse to view anything not like ourselves as too "other" to understand.
post #5 of 11
Thanks for sharing that. I think in the West the veil has come to symbolize repression, but my experiences with women who veil (including my MIL) have proven to me how woefully ignorant this perception can be. And I was as ignorant as they come!
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaverdi View Post
I wonder how much of that has to do with the beginnings of anthropological study being done by men who did not have access to interviewing women in the same way that women have access to interviewing women.
Also the Kinsey catch ... no matter how accurate a picture of people's private sphere we may think we have, that picture still depends entirely on the idea that the people willing to talk at all are a representative sampling.
post #7 of 11
post #8 of 11
Wow, those articles by Naomi Wolf are INCREDIBLE. I really love the quote about how Ilana's husband doesn't even see another woman's hair and how hot she must feel.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
In reading these, there's a big part of me that wants my kids to grow up in a country where there is still some mystery about women. Where modesty is more the norm... if only for their spouses' sake.
post #10 of 11
Really good article. Thanks for sharing.

I am agreeing with everyone here...

There's a lot to be said for the mystery a woman can carry....

God bless!
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
I'm curious how much other often-perceived-as-sexually-repressive faiths are the same. About being misperceived due to privacy ideals, I mean.
I find this to be true even beyond modesty. In my faith we have modesty standards that don't seem so far from other modesty traditions but still are viewed as being just as "bad". This probably is due to my area, though. Being in the desert and not wearing tube tops and short-shorts is apparently a sign of repression and self-hatred But I see this more so in sexual purity as well. The biggest example is premaritial sex. People seem to believe that if you don't believe in sex with anyone but your future spouse then you are ashamed of the act and/or don't know anything about it when the truth is it is just held as so sacred (not sinful or dirty) that that part of a person is just no one else's business.

These days privacy is interpreted as shame and that is where the real shame lies.
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