Bella Donna

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15 Responses

  1. This was very interesting–especially as I watched on the news tonight that France is arresting women who continue to cover their faces. Also? Have your read the book “Infidel”? It blew my mind.

    • Jocelyn says:

      I haven’t read INFIDEL but am eyeballing it for the Kindle right now. Here, women are more and more pushing the laws against covering themselves in public spaces–with university students trying to enter classrooms enscarved and then getting kicked out (or not, sometimes). The same thing is happening with the national legislature, where increasing numbers of female candidates are running “with headscarves” and arguing that there cannot be a representative government if there are no women in scarves in there, too…to represent all the millions of women who choose to cover themselves.

  2. kmkat says:

    I notice that girl children do not wear scarves, presumably because they do not *entice* men. Is there a ceremony-type thing when a girl begins wearing a scarf? Does that happen at a set age, or is it up to the discretion of someone? “Infidel” is an interesting book; #2 Son, my go-to expert on things Islamic, said that it riled up the modern Islamic feminist types. Still an interesting read, though.

    • Jocelyn says:

      Thanks for the added voice on INFIDEL. I’m on it!

      There are many adolescent and teen girls who do wear scarves, for sure. I don’t think there’s a ceremony; it ends up being personal or family choice, really. I think the youngest I’ve seen is a 10 year old…my guess is that covering starts with puberty.

  3. Choochoo says:

    I don’t get why people are so terrified of women in headscarves in western countries? I mean, what’s the big deal? And a lot of them are absolutelyt beautiful. Also, since I haven’t been to a hair salon since christmas-ish of 09, I feel pretty ready for a headscarf myself right about now :S

    • Jocelyn says:

      I suppose women covering their heads feels like an affront to women who fought for equal rights; the larger issue, though, would tie into a willingness to see a woman who chooses to cover her head as being quite liberated in making her own choices. The underlying story in many cases, however, is that the “choice” is enforced by Daddy or Mommy or relations or the larger community and isn’t personal at all. I know a few “modern” women here who get endless grief, publicly, for not covering their hair; in turn, their husbands are beheld with a bit of scorn for not “making” their wives do the “right” thing.

  4. geewits says:

    I don’t like what the scarves represent, but I also wonder how they can stand it. I can’t tolerate anything on my head for more than a few hours.

    • Jocelyn says:

      I agree. I get a headache when I wear a headband for any length of time. But what would bug me even more is the restriction of peripheral vision when the scarf is pulled forward. Also, I know someone here who covered herself for a short while and says she can’t believe how much time it took each morning, to get the hair restrained, in the “bonnet,” into the scarf…and then, another important piece: to work up the fancy accompanying outfit.

  5. Jazz says:

    And there’s the rub. The whole “women must cover themselves so as not to be attacked by the crazy men”. That is such utter and complete bullshit because a) give men some credit already, they aren’t animals and b) if they want to attack a woman, a headscarf won’t do a thing to protect her.

    You see a lot of scarves in Montreal, once in a while a woman is totally veiled. It seems to irk people to no end – I think it becomes unacceptable when, for example a woman won’t unveil to get a picture taken for a driving permit or to confirm her identity while voting. Are they forced to wear scarves, do they want to? I don’t know, nor can I judge, but damn! the number of bad hair days that must result from polyester scarves!!

  6. I remember when I visited Saudi Arabia on breaks from boarding school, I covered my hair and wore a long-sleeved long dress for self-protection. Still, I got pinched frequently. I think the scarves do nothing more than perpetuate the idea that men ought to be allowed to mistreat women.

  7. chlost says:

    My recollection is that some of the either observant or orthodox Jewish women never allowed their heads to be uncovered in public-they wore wigs or scarves or hats. Also, up until the 1960s or so, the Catholic church required women’s heads to be covered in sanctuary. They wore lace doily-like head coverings. Catholic nuns also wore head coverings until relatively recently, some still do. The wimple covered their entire head and neck sometimes. Amish and Mennonite women still wear bonnets when in public.
    How are the Islamic head scarves different than those religious requirements? I don’t have the answer. I think that they were perhaps more a directly religious act-respect for the church and their god, rather than the protection of their bodies from sexually uncontrollable males?
    But the nun’s wimples definitely took the woman out of the nun. she was married to god, so she no longer had a sexual identity to worldly men.
    I don’t understand any of it, and suspect that all of it has been engineered by men within the religion, to keep control of “their” women, no matter the religion. It clearly identifies the woman as part of a religious order. I am sick of any organized religion, the male control being one part of the reason.

    Turkey sure seems to make a person think.

  8. Pearl says:

    I came. I was educated. Joce, this shizz if FAScinating, and I mean that.


  9. A good reminder that the truth behind things can be so complicated. Makes me wonder what they’d think of some of our cultural choices–and what a variety of explanations might result.

  10. Deborah says:

    Chlost brought up the point I was going to make, being that as recently as my mother’s generation (and my girlhood) it was considered the done thing to cover your head in (Anglican) church. It is often said that the reason for the scarf and its more sinister cousins the hajib and the burqas, is to render a woman sexless, or at least unattractive, but is this a modern slant to the original Qur’an-based intent? I have heard it was a sign of respect to Allah, in the same way our Western head-coverings in church were.
    But yes, I agree with everything you’ve said. It bothers me to see women – especially young ones – wearing a scarf because I suspect them of being under the influence of their men/families, and damn it’s also because when I ride in a sportcar I don’t feel like I’m channeling Grace Kelly any more!

    Wonderful slideshow, perceptive analysis, hugely interesting post. Jocelyn, you’re going to have to make Duluth just as intirguing!

  11. lime says:

    i appreciate you sharing your complex set of feelings about the issue because mine are also no very cut and dried. i grew up in pennsylvania german country where seeing mennonite and amish women with headcoverings was not at all unusual. granted they were not designed to obscure the hair or cover some “forbidden” bit of anatomy but rather as a way of reminding themselves to be on constant prayer and following bits of scripture tat indicated the head was to be covered during prayer. so i don’t find dress that is dictated by religious belief troubling in theory. and mere headcoverings for muslim women don’t upset me per se. a full burqa though. i have trouble with that. i’ll never forget seeing a very pregnant, black burqa clad mother of 4 little ones chasing those kids around in the august heat at the philadelphia zoo while the father of the brood just stood there like a dumb sh!t. i wanted to hand her a scissors and a baseball bat. on the other hand i remember seeing one of my eldest daughter’s muslim classmates all decked out for prom in a beautiful gown that covered her to the wrists and ankles complete with a matching fancy headscarf. she looked very elegant and quite honestly, much lovelier than the girls who had left very little to the imagination with their scant excuses for formalwear.

    it is a complex thing indeed.

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