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? Stumble It! JBlog Me