In November I spent two weeks in Iran which was an overwhelmingly positive experience.

The only negative was having to wear a headscarf at all times. They are (at least as worn by inexperienced Westerners) unflattering, uncomfortable – and hot! At least in November the temperatures were moderate, but still way above needing or wanting to have your head and neck wrapped in fabric.

The local women either have submitted completely to the idea, or – especially the young women – have found a way to look absolutely fabulous while shrouded in black. They are showing that it is quite possible to “distract” a man without showing your hair. Or your ears. But then I never thought that ears were a huge turn-on for men.

I mention this in the context of two articles I have read today – one about the President visiting a mosque and the other about Muslim women in America being subjected to scorn for wearing headscarves.

Here’s an idea. If Muslims want to fit in to American society, how about reducing their “I am a Muslim” message. Any woman who wears a headscarf (or more) is advertising her faith, or possibly her subordination to her husband’s faith. She is inviting a reaction from those who think it matters what her faith is. She is issuing a challenge. She is saying, in effect, I am a Muslim, what are you going to do about it? She is encouraging confrontation.
So, of course, are Orthodox Jews with their somewhat ridiculous ringlets, and others with their yamulkas.
So are the Amish and Menonites with their bonnets and straw hats.
And Christians with ostentatious crosses.
You get the idea.
Yes there is freedom to practice the religion of your choice. Some even suggest that there is freedom not to practice any religion at all. But, if I went around wearing a button proclaiming “I am an atheist”, I guarantee that I would get as much flak as veiled Muslim women do.
No one cares what your religion is, unless you challenge them to do so.

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One Response to Hijab

  1. Beth Williams says:

    What I am left wondering, after reading your post, is whether the physical visuals of a religion or lack of a religion, i.e. covered heads or crosses or bonnets or yamakas, or beards or curls or atheist buttons, etc. is really the point. I don’t care what people believe in and what their beliefs drive them to do to their physical presence, what I do care is whether their religious beliefs become laws that dictate what I do or what I don’t do. So wear whatever your religion or lack of religion dictates is fine for you, but don’t make me wear it or be ruled by any of your religion’s mythology. Scarves and bonnets and beards and buttons are really not threatening, as long as I don’t need to don them..

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