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#1 of 124 Old 09-06-2008, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A few times now I have seen some women who wear head coverings who also wear masks. One groups wears metal face masks, and another wears fabric masks. I have to admit, the masks are really scary, and I worry that Ds will get scared if he sees them. I know that's probably not politically correct, but masks on peoples faces are a scary thing for most people I think, especially kids. Why do they wear masks? Why not just head coverings?
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#2 of 124 Old 09-06-2008, 08:40 PM
 
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I have no idea what you mean with the metal but I see people in niqab somewhat frequently and I don't see anything scary about it. If your son is scared why don't you show him some pictures of niqab and explain that they are wearing it to honor god and keep god always in their thoughts. BTW- I'm not sure of the exact explanation for wearing it but that sounded kinda close.
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#3 of 124 Old 09-06-2008, 09:29 PM
 
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Metal? Do you mean coverings decorated with metal discs? Or something like the old-fashioned Omani style, sort of like this?

Sorry, I'm a little confused as to what you're referring to.
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#4 of 124 Old 09-06-2008, 09:37 PM
 
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maybe a battoulah?

http://www.qatarliving.com/files/battoulah.jpg

seems like some women wear wear them in Qatar. It looks like it's actually fabric.
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#5 of 124 Old 09-06-2008, 09:40 PM
 
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Oh, and from what I could google, it's just a variation of a face veil, specific to the culture of Qatar. I'm not an expert - just relating what google tells me.
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#6 of 124 Old 09-06-2008, 09:56 PM
 
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Oh, and from what I could google, it's just a variation of a face veil, specific to the culture of Qatar. I'm not an expert - just relating what google tells me.
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The stiff face masks worn by many women are thought to have entered Oman about 200 years ago from Gujarat in India, via Baluchistan and Persia. The 'fashion' spread amongst certain tribes and townswomen in Oman. The 'batula' could be seen in parts of Saudi Arabia and reaching the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, and the island of Failaka in Kuwait. Mainland Kuwaitis seem to never have worn the 'batula.' The 'batula' was made of black indigo dyed material which when rubbed with a flat stone becomes iridescent. In other places it was heavily embroidered and in the south of Iran it was a deep red color. Each woman made her own mask to the style of her tribe and to suit her features.
- from Silver Jewellery of Oman

... though still not sure that's what the OP means? I've never seen it in the U.S. personally, anyway.
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#7 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 12:42 AM
 
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Whenever I saw face coverings (in Brooklyn, where I worked, while not common, it certainly appeared) it was always just a scarf under the eyes.

Certainly exotic, never scary.

Maybe she's talking about the type of thing you see in pictures of Taliban-era Afghani women, with the 'grill' type of thing over the face? (No energy to try and find a pic right now, sorry.)
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#8 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 03:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Metal? Do you mean coverings decorated with metal discs? Or something like the old-fashioned Omani style, sort of like this?

Sorry, I'm a little confused as to what you're referring to.
That link is sort of what the fabric one looks like. The metal ones were like, I don't know, metal. I can't find a picture, but I remember the mouth being covered with a silver metal piece, it was very darth vader looking. Very frightening. The fabric one I recently saw brought that memory back up and maybe that is why it frightened me. But I do think a fabric one would frighten Ds. It isn't the kind where fabric is wrapped around the mouth area loosely, that isn't scary, this is an actual mask.
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#9 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 03:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If your son is scared why don't you show him some pictures of niqab and explain that they are wearing it to honor god and keep god always in their thoughts.
I can't find any pictures of it to show him. I can find head covering pics, and the head coverings with the fabric loosely going over the face, but not the masks I'm talking about. There are lots of women around who wear head coverings in our area and I don't really think he has ever noticed that. I'm not sure if he noticed the masks when I saw them, I was just afraid that he would and be frightened, because it frightens me, so I tried not to let him see. And I can't really explain about god, because he is only 3 and doesn't know what god is. Dh is atheist, and I'm agnostic, so it's not a part of our conversation with him, and it wont be something we teach him about until he is older.
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#10 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 03:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe she's talking about the type of thing you see in pictures of Taliban-era Afghani women, with the 'grill' type of thing over the face? (No energy to try and find a pic right now, sorry.)
Oh, I found a picture of that, and it's not it. As I recall, it was like a full face mask in fabric around the eyes, and then a silver metal piece covering the mouth. It looked like darth vader.
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#11 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 03:34 AM
 
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Why does it frighten you?
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I thought I would put out there that I showed my dd the picture of the woman in the Omani Burqa from the link the pp provided and my dd thought the picture was scary. I can see why with the mouth totally covered and the shape of the eye holes.

From the little I have been able to find on the internet the mask is more of a cultural or tribal tradition than a purely religious one like the head covering. Not that it matters I guess. I think I would just say to dc that is the way the woman wants to dress because of religion or tradition or whatever and it's not meant to be scary, it's just different.

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#13 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 04:26 AM
 
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The face coverings are worn for religious/traditional reasons and the style varies by country or ethnicity. Frankly, at the age of 3, your son is likely to be more frightened if you project your own feelings about them. I would address it, matter-of-factly, in the context of different national/traditional dresses.

We spent 2 months in Egypt with our then-2.5yo daughter. I was sure that the first time she saw a woman with her full face covered, she would ask me something along the lines of "where is her face". Instead, she never asked and just interacted normally with these women - talked, laughed, played. She sees me at the park talking to women that are covered and thinks nothing of it. There is nothing to fear - they are mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, aunts; doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers; they get up in the morning, eat breakfast, send their kids to school, even go the beach (yes!), eat wonderful family dinners, and put their children to bed with hugs and kisses. They even have SEX! We still live in the Middle East and our daughter is exposed to a wide range of head and face coverings - she has never been frightened because WE are not frightened as there is nothing to be frightened about. They are people, perhaps with different traditions and beliefs, but people. Yes, some may be "bad" people, as are some people that are dressed in Gap clothes.

Sorry to sound harsh, but we live in a globalized world, where we have an opportunity to teach our children about so many more things that we were exposed to growing up. Re-evaluate your own prejudices and perhaps you will learn to respect, rather than fear those that are different from you. Frankly, I found your "darth vader" comment to be a bit offensive - you are assuming that the person under the mask is "evil" in some way.

Open your mind, open your son's mind, and we will all live in a better world where there are fewer things to fear, masks and otherwise.

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#14 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 04:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The face coverings are worn for religious/traditional reasons and the style varies by country or ethnicity. Frankly, at the age of 3, your son is likely to be more frightened if you project your own feelings about them. I would address it, matter-of-factly, in the context of different national/traditional dresses.

We spent 2 months in Egypt with our then-2.5yo daughter. I was sure that the first time she saw a woman with her full face covered, she would ask me something along the lines of "where is her face". Instead, she never asked and just interacted normally with these women - talked, laughed, played. She sees me at the park talking to women that are covered and thinks nothing of it. There is nothing to fear - they are mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, aunts; doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers; they get up in the morning, eat breakfast, send their kids to school, even go the beach (yes!), eat wonderful family dinners, and put their children to bed with hugs and kisses. They even have SEX! We still live in the Middle East and our daughter is exposed to a wide range of head and face coverings - she has never been frightened because WE are not frightened as there is nothing to be frightened about. They are people, perhaps with different traditions and beliefs, but people. Yes, some may be "bad" people, as are some people that are dressed in Gap clothes.

Sorry to sound harsh, but we live in a globalized world, where we have an opportunity to teach our children about so many more things that we were exposed to growing up. Re-evaluate your own prejudices and perhaps you will learn to respect, rather than fear those that are different from you. Frankly, I found your "darth vader" comment to be a bit offensive - you are assuming that the person under the mask is "evil" in some way.

Open your mind, open your son's mind, and we will all live in a better world where there are fewer things to fear, masks and otherwise.
So you've seen the metal masks I'm talking about? I'm trying to find a pic, but unfortunately can not. I didn't bring up Darth Vader to be offensive, I'm just trying to describe what they look like and why it looks frightening. I honestly think that a face mask of any type would scare Ds, maybe I have a more sensitive kid then you do, but a lot of kids are scared of masks. The metal ones would scare him for sure, because the women don't look like people anymore when they wear them, I really wish I had a picture...
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#15 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 05:25 AM
 
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Like this? http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/image...n_burqa203.jpg

It is a traditional face covering from the United Arab Emirates according to this article:
http://www.xpress4me.com/news/uae/na.../20004215.html

Quote:
The design of the burqa is meant to mimic the features of the falcon, a symbol of grace, pride and strength.
Another picture:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2051/...g?v=1203693542
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why don't you talk to someone about their burqa, or metal mask? just go up to them and be friendly and nice, and ask them about their covering. many people would prefer that to frightening children or women. i find that when something is strange, sometimes it is best for children to address it head on and talk to the person directly. children respond most often with curiosity rather than fear. plus, it shows them that you are not chastising anyone or their religion because it is different.

just an idea. the women in metal masks might be able to answer you best themselves.

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#17 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Like this? http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/image...n_burqa203.jpg

It is a traditional face covering from the United Arab Emirates according to this article:
http://www.xpress4me.com/news/uae/na.../20004215.html



Another picture:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2051/...g?v=1203693542
Nope, that's not it. Their faces were covered almost completely and the masks covered the mouth area completely, and were made of metal, they were not just a metalic color.
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#18 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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why don't you talk to someone about their burqa, or metal mask? just go up to them and be friendly and nice, and ask them about their covering. many people would prefer that to frightening children or women. i find that when something is strange, sometimes it is best for children to address it head on and talk to the person directly. children respond most often with curiosity rather than fear. plus, it shows them that you are not chastising anyone or their religion because it is different.

just an idea. the women in metal masks might be able to answer you best themselves.
But I don't think they could talk with the mask on. I mean, this mask looks like it meant to prevent them from talking or eating or using their mouths. The women walk together in the center and the men stay in front of and around them, like body guards. Maybe the fabric masked ones I could do that, but I think approaching them would frighten Ds. I was just wondering why the women wear these masks, when most just wear head coverings, which I am totally cool with and we see all the time.
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#19 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, this is the closest picture I can find: http://www.rand.org/publications/ran....p14.burqa.jpg In this picture, it kind of looks like there is something over the woman's mouth underneath the fabric, but on the women I saw, that thing was on the outside. You could also see their eyes as well, I don't recall how much of their faces you could see, but I don't remember seeing any of it.
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Okay, this is the closest picture I can find: http://www.rand.org/publications/ran....p14.burqa.jpg In this picture, it kind of looks like there is something over the woman's mouth underneath the fabric, but on the women I saw, that thing was on the outside. You could also see their eyes as well, I don't recall how much of their faces you could see, but I don't remember seeing any of it.
That is an afghan burqa.
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#21 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 02:44 PM
 
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Yes, that's a burqa.

When I asked why it was frightening, I didn't mean why you thought it might frighten your son. You said it frightens you, and I'm curious why.
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#22 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, that's a burqa.

When I asked why it was frightening, I didn't mean why you thought it might frighten your son. You said it frightens you, and I'm curious why.
But it wasn't really a burqa, the fabric was open to the face, and the face was covered with a metal mask, perhaps a partially fabric one as well, that is just the only picture that looks remotely like what I am talking about because it seems like there is something over her mouth under the fabric.

Anyway, I don't know why it frightens me. I think because it looked like a device from a house of horrors or something, like it was meant to make it so these women could not talk or eat. They looked machine like, or sci fi like, not person like. And in this culture, masks are frightening, they appear in horror movies, on robbers and bandits, or on doctors and dentists - and I find all those things scary or anxiety producing. So, when I see a mask on a person, my first instinct is anxiety, and when the mask was a sort of horrible metal thing that seemed very mean to make a woman wear, I had a sick to my stomach sort of response. Now the fabric masks make me think of those metal ones and that adds to the anxiety.

I guess I'm wondering if the women who wore the metal masks chose to, or where made to. And it seems that no one here has the vaguest idea what I'm even talking about, so unless I can take a pic one day on my camera phone, I guess I'm not gonna get an answer. Thanks anyway...

And I realize the fabric ones are a choice the woman makes to wear, it just seems frightening and I wondered why she has to wear a face mask as well as a head covering. No one really seems to know, so thanks anyway on that one too
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#23 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 03:16 PM
 
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And I realize the fabric ones are a choice the woman makes to wear, it just seems frightening and I wondered why she has to wear a face mask as well as a head covering. No one really seems to know, so thanks anyway on that one too
They wear niqab/face veil (it's not a mask) for the same reason they cover their head - a religious observance. Some believe it's required, some believe it's prefered, some just like it. The niqab gives a woman power as you are forced to deal with her intellect rather than her looks. I wore niqab for a couple of years and it was an amazing experience.

I have never heard anyone express fear of how niqab looks. I'm curious if your fear is more about the unknown, the mystery of their faith, than it is about how they look?

eta: They could be Rashaida people. The women adorn their face veils with metal.
http://saharanvibe.blogspot.com/2007/02/rashaida.html

Perhaps what you saw was just a woman with a tribal niqab or burqa which just happened to hang low, thus over her mouth.
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#24 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 03:23 PM
 
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I think it sounds more like some weird sect, or maybe fetishists... But thats just my two cents...

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#25 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 03:24 PM
 
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Now that I think about it I kind of vaguely remember seeing something (pictured, not personally) with a clearly metal piece at the mouth area once, but I can't for the life of me remember where. or with regard to what people.

FWIW, I don't think it's necessarily out of line to be uncomfortable with styles of dress that are out of one's norms, because dress ordinarily is used to say something about ourselves, with unfamiliar dress it can be hard to have a feel for what it is being used to represent, and sometimes styles of dress from one culture can coincide with negative imagery in another. Facial coverings that may have everything to do with faith, privacy, respect, tradition, culture, and even beauty, in America do not natively carry any of these connotations. An initial emotional response that reflects this is, I think, totally normal.
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#26 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Facial coverings that may have everything to do with faith, privacy, respect, tradition, culture, and even beauty, in America do not natively carry any of these connotations. An initial emotional response that reflects this is, I think, totally normal.
Thank you
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#27 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have never heard anyone express fear of how niqab looks. I'm curious if your fear is more about the unknown, the mystery of their faith, than it is about how they look?
I think it was just that they were wearing a mask, (it tied on, not like a veil that wraps around loosely).

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eta: They could be Rashaida people. The women adorn their face veils with metal.
http://saharanvibe.blogspot.com/2007/02/rashaida.html

Perhaps what you saw was just a woman with a tribal niqab or burqa which just happened to hang low, thus over her mouth.
Nope, not it, but getting closer. This was a circular metal piece that covered the entire mouth and appeared to inhibit movement of the mouth. It wasn't pretty either, it wasn't like jewelry.
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#28 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it sounds more like some weird sect, or maybe fetishists... But thats just my two cents...
This is what I'm starting to think too. I'd seen them a couple times, so thought it was just another known group, but I can't seem to find any photos at all or get people to understand at all what I mean.
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#29 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 07:02 PM
 
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just to add something, i'm not a muslim, but i was a religious studies major in university. i have taken a half dozen courses on islam, but i have never heard of this as part of female dress. i agree with some of the previous posters that said it might be a cultural dress of say, yemen, or something. or it could signify something tribal. i am certainly curious about it, since i have lived in a number of large east coast cities with lots of immigrant communities and have not seen anything like what you describe.

curiously, besides muslims, does anyone know other religions that prescribe veiled women? maybe they are not muslims at all?

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#30 of 124 Old 09-07-2008, 07:10 PM
 
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I think it would help if we knew some other details. Did the women wear all black or did they dress colorfully? From what you could tell were they of African, Middle Eastern or Asian descent? From what you could tell were the women old or young? Were they in groups? Did all the women have the same sort of face coverings or just a few? Modest dress is practiced a lot of different ways and for a lot of different reasons, and it is like looking for a needle in a haystack to say why a mystery woman with any specific kind of face covering would be wearing modest dress.
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