Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Britney's stylist found outside hospital

Today I had a day of errands. Isn't it always like that right before a long weekend? We had a lot of places to go, appointments to get to, some last minute picking up stuff to do, and of course we needed to hit the library to get some new reading material for me. My pile has dwindled to only one book on my nightstand and I can't stand for that. I need a good, juicy pile of books.

So anyhow, as we were leaving the hospital in the Longwood area, there was a couple walking down the street. He was wearing khaki shorts and a short sleeved cotton shirt. He had sandals on his feet. He looked cool and comfortable walking mid-afternoon on a summers day.

His partner? Not so much. Walking a step behind him, she was wearing an abaya, (large, black cloak, worn either loose and flowing or wrapped around the body) Al-Amira Hijab and a boshiya (veil). You could see nothing but her eyes and about an quarter-inch of brow.

I understand why Muslim women choose to wear hijab. The Quran states that believing Muslim woman should wear "hijab". Interpretation of this single word is the reason behind the vast difference between what Muslim women wear in different countries. It has been interpreted as simply dressing modestly to wearing an outfit that covers the entire body and face. In Saudi Arabia Muslim women are required to cover themselves completely by wearing an Abaya and a Boshiya (veil) and it is suggested women in other Muslim countries wear the Abaya without a Boshiya. Women must wear full clothing underneath the hijab.

What immediately got me though, was that the man was in completely modern American type clothing, and the woman looked like she just stepped out of the Tales of the Arabian Nights. I've been in Muslim countries, and I respect that women choose to dress modestly. It isn't much different than Orthodox Jewish women who cover their hair, don't wear pants, wear long skirts and long sleeved, high neck tops. I get modesty. What I don't get is why it's OK for a man to completely disregard the cultural and religious dress of his country of origin, but expect his wife to obey the rules and be hot and uncomfortable at the same time. Men in Saudi Arabia traditionally cover their heads with a kaffiyah and wear a long white dishadasah. They do have a style of dress that is very un-western. They don't wear shorts and cotton shirts with sandals. So how come it's OK for a man to disregard this code of dress, but a women must hide behind a completely black outfit over her regular clothing, covering everything including her hands? Why is that fair?

I started thinking about how this whole style of dress that Muslim women wear is incredibly convenient, in a way. Which brought me directly to Britney's interview with Matt Lauer. OK, I had just been reading Us Magazine's take on the interview (harsh would be the best word to describe it) and I thought, if Britney, having given up Kabbalah, had chosen to go Muslim instead of born-again Christianity, she wouldn't have had half the problems during that interview. Think about it. Britney's chomping gum? Invisible under the veil. Talking to Matt alone? Not allowed. Her father or (ahem) husband or brother would have to accompany her. Boobs careening out of trailer trash shirt? Who would know when she's fully covered in black. Eyelashes falling off? Not even visible under the veil.

This is the celebrity answer to looking like crap. You want to go places without the papperazzi following you? Do what Saudi women do. Wear hijab and blend right in with the pavement. Brilliant! How come nobody thought of this before?
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Blogger kenju said...

Very funny. Margalit, but with more than a hint of truth. Michele sent me.

30/6/06 10:17 PM  
Blogger Common Sense Beauty said...

Doesn't Michael Jackson wear something like that when he goes out??? I just think it needs a little jewelry or something..I am a mile high diva you know!!! Isn't black just a tad hot in the summer? here from Michele

30/6/06 10:22 PM  
Blogger chelle said...

hehe sounds like you may be on your way to Marketing the stars!! I never watched the interview, poor girl, she just cannot seem to get it together!

Michelle sent me over to say Hi! I am glad I did!

30/6/06 10:31 PM  
Blogger jennypenny said...

Lol this post is too funny. It started me contemplating social and cultural issues and then had be hysterical at the thought of Britney in traditional Muslim dress. Awesome post and made me laugh.

Here from Michele's

30/6/06 11:25 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I have the same issue with Menonites. The men (and boys) look totally normal, and the women look like they stepped off the set of Little House on the Prarie. It's not the style of dress that bothers me, it's the fact that only women are required to dress modestly, while the men dress however they want.

Britney did look hideous in that interview, but I felt sorry for her. It just seems like she's way to young to be a mother.

30/6/06 11:36 PM  
Blogger ~Deb said...

Interesting post! I dated a guy who was from Pakistan (but Americanized) when I was younger. He wanted to take me to see his family, but insisted that I cover every single hair on my head with a scarf. I refused because well...there's just way too much of it for me to hide. And, it's hotter than anything over there. He said it would be a slap in the face for his relatives to see any hair coming out of my scarf and that I 'could' get arrested for doing so.

Anyway, I was reading some of your articles and loved it. I see your a Red Sox fan. Hmmmmm....That's like a religion in itself huh? They are so passionate about their team! (the fans I mean) I'm a true blue Yankee fan.....(sorry) But when I went to the Boston area back in 2004 when the Sox took em' down, I have to say it was quite a surprise and nice to see them win the world series! I like both teams actually. But when I'm in Boston, I'm scared, I put on my Red Sox hat. In NY? The Yankee cap goes back on. What a coward I am, huh? But you guys are tough on us!

The best to you!

1/7/06 10:07 AM  
Blogger ~Deb said...

P.S. You said you've been on the net since 1982? Was the internet even around then? I remember when it came out back in 1990------and it was still a little 'new'. In 1982 they had those terminals, instead of PCs. ha! Remember that?

1/7/06 10:08 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

Michele sent me, Margalit. We kept posting at the same time, so I came back to visit.

Mr. kenju was selling those terminals back in '82!

1/7/06 10:53 AM  
Blogger David said...

your analysis is so strange that it is brilliant.

1/7/06 10:55 AM  
Blogger David said...

actually Margalit helped ALGore invent the internet!

1/7/06 10:55 AM  
Blogger Shane said...

mid east double standards take the cake

1/7/06 11:01 AM  
Blogger srp said...

Here from Michele.
ANYTHING other than what Britney or Brittany or however she decides to spell it today, wore or did in that interview would have been better. OK, if she had done it in a bikini then it would have been worse, but you would think her mother would have been cringing and mortified to see her on screen like that.

As for the question about fairness in the dress... don't get me started.

1/7/06 11:05 AM  
Blogger verniciousknids said...

It seems to me that no matter what culture you are from, it's always the women who have the stricter rules to follow.

Michele sent me today.

1/7/06 11:06 AM  
Blogger David said...

yes a "black sack " may be the answer for Ms. spears, but I think its oppressive in its current usage in strict Muslim cultures.

1/7/06 11:12 AM  
Blogger margalit said...

Deb, Yes, I have been on the internet since 1982. I used to work for BBN, the company that actually DID build the internet, despite Al Gore's claims to the contrary. It was Darpanet back then, and just used to the military. Then it went to Arpanet, and universities and companies that worked for the military were added. Back then there were Usenet newsgroups to chat on, but this was well before the great renaming.

1/7/06 11:14 AM  
Blogger honestyrain said...

i wonder, though, if muslim women honestly choose to dress that way or if they are mainipulated into feeling as though they must. the treatment of women in those countries is frightening to me.

britney? also frightening but in a different way.

here via michele and i enjoyed reading this.


1/7/06 11:22 AM  
Blogger Crayonsetc said...

LOL... that is a good way of thinking of it... and since she wants her privacy, if she were in the vail, no one would have a clue who she was!!!

I couldn't do it... I can't handle the heat as it is!! But boy, would it come in handy on Bad Hair Days!!!

Stopping by via Michele this afternoon!!!

1/7/06 3:28 PM  
Blogger craziequeen said...

Ah, now my comment falls neatly into Honestyrain's question....

We holidayed in Tunisia for about 12yrs and in that time the previous premier ditched the hijab and dishdash and told people they would 'go western' - in his efforts to attract tourism.

Since he died the women have naturally returned to the veil of their own accord - and very striking they all look....from a simple head veil to a full hijab.

Of course, we did discover that despite the hijab and the patriarchal society, in the home women were very much in control!

Michele sent me this time.

1/7/06 3:28 PM  
Blogger Miss Cow is a Cow said...

Hello via Michele's this time. Britney is scary in her own way. hahaah

1/7/06 5:05 PM  
Blogger Terri said...

Hi...here from Michele's.
Very interesting post and I SO agree....Britney needs to do us all a favor and go into hiding.

1/7/06 5:24 PM  
Blogger Nikki said...

Ahoj Margalit! Thanks for commenting on my site... I was going to come by and say "I stand corrected about Americans and football" - but then I saw that you lived in England and The Netherlands! You're one of the extra cool Americans who's lived abroad and therefore knows the joys of proper football. ;)

Britney! Dressed as a muslim! hahahahahaha! Ya know, I think that would be a GREAT idea - anything to get that girl covered up and out of our sight...!

2/7/06 8:50 AM  
Blogger karen! said...

That pic looks like Britney. Could it be her?
I thought her gum smacking was horrible! And she WAS falling out of her top, wasn't she!
She needs a stylist to tell her how to dress. Look at Gwen Stefani, she is a bleach blonde with a new baby, but she still looks great! There are always great pics over at The Green Straw, http://virendaslife.blogspot.com/

2/7/06 11:08 AM  
Blogger Belinda said...

Echoing Erin, I witness the same phenomenon regarding the disparity between the genders of anachronistic or non-mainstream clothing, but around here, it's most prevalent in members of certain branches of the Pentecost church. The women cannot cut their hair or wear pants (or skirts that are not cut well below the knee or full-length, apparently), or use makeup or anything ornamental that serves no other purpose. You can spot a Pentecost woman a mile away, often by her dour expression. Meanwhile, their men may blend perfectly into mainstream society, seamlessly integrated socially. It just seems like another form of control, and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I may be a little defensive about some branches of this religion anyway, as it accounts for a large branch of my family on one side. My great-aunt was allowed to die rather than seek medical attention for an infection that could have been easily treated with abx. Years later, when her husband, the one who didn't allow the antibiotics for my great-aunt, had a NON-life-threatening medical problem, he got to have surgery and the whole nine yards to get relief. Bitter? Little bit. It was like my aunt, being just a woman, after all, was dispensible and replaceable, but the MAN...well, HE was sacred, and too valuable to simply trust in God for his health. Grrrrrrrr.

2/7/06 11:14 AM  

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