Veiled Muslim women

veiled ladyFor some reason this site has been ranking high in Google Images searches for “burqa” in recent weeks.  I don’t understand it; we feature a grand total of one picture with a burqa in it, and that went up in June.  If you are one of the dozens of people who lands here every day looking for pictures of burqas (or niqabs, or chadors,) below are some links you might like. 

  1.  two ladies on the street 
  2.  a customer in a dress shop chooses a blue burqa
  3. Muslim couple looks at the Eiffel Tower
  4. veiled lady pays her respects to America’s war dead 
  5. black and blue together
  6. veiled women texting
  7. Blackberry hijabi
  8. veiled lady sewing burqa  
  9. black-white-black
  10. jungle print burqa
  11. white and gold gown (face veil down)
  12. bejeweled veil on fashion catwalk
  13. American flag veil
  14. veiled lady snowtubing  

Familiar faces, veiled: Minnie Mouse; “Liberty Leading the People”; “Liberty Enlightening the World”;  Li’l Kim partly veiled (but almost nude); Mary, Mother of Jesus; Condoleezza Rice; Indian tennis star Sania Mirza, veiled

The Internet being what it is, one needn’t look far for images that are , shall we say, naughty.  Some of these images seem calculated to offend Muslims; others, to titillate them.  Conservative Muslim women might well see a threat of sexual assault as implicit in some of these images; men who want to protect them might see such a threat as well.  Judge for yourself.  Here are some rather naughty veiled women; another, much less thoroughly veiled woman ; an equally naughty veiled woman; and a woman who may be the naughtiest of all, though she is also the least exposed to assault.

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15 Comments

  1. cymast

     /  October 29, 2009

    Wow, you really take care of your readers!

    I like the main burqa pic showing in the post, in a midnight-at-the-oasis kind of way. But most of the linked pics just look sad. IMO

    It’s sadly ironic that so many burqa-ed women are assaulted.

  2. acilius

     /  October 29, 2009

    “It’s sadly ironic that so many burqa-ed women are assaulted.” It certainly is. It’s sad that any woman is assaulted, of course.

    Obviously the veil is not a defense against assault. I really don’t think many people believe it is. What I’ve heard conservative Muslims say that I understand is that the veil is an index of respect for women. Their idea seems to be that men who respect the veil are likely to respect the woman inside it, while men who treat the veil with contempt are likely to show contempt for the woman as well. That’s why I put those caveats in front of the naughty links.

    Of course, Le Falcon is the expert on Islam, and on this subject particularly. So I hope he weighs in.

  3. cymast

     /  October 29, 2009

    Yes I was also thinking of Le Falcon weighing in, and hoping he does. I know very little about burqas. I have tried to learn about the reasoning behind the burqa, but I find the information obtuse. I have read claims that a burqa is for woman’s protection, because men are too weak to resist the sight of a woman’s skin, and men may helplessly assault a woman whose skin is showing. And it will be the woman’s fault. Or something like that, I couldn’t make any sense of it. Muslimas say it makes them feel free and liberated. Maybe if I was brought up in that culture I would understand that claim better.

    “It’s sad that any woman is assaulted, of course.” The nearly worldwide culture of mysogyny is something else I don’t understand. How depressing to conclude it’s something inherent in being human.

  4. acilius

     /  October 29, 2009

    “How depressing to conclude it’s something inherent in being human.” And maybe not just human- maybe patriarchy is an evolved trait that we share with other species. There’s a depressing thought for you.

    Anyway, I’ve never shared the Romantic belief that there is some benevolent force called “Nature,” some sort of deity that will give us perfect laws of behavior if only we turn away from our cultural encumbrances. The Puritans and their heirs used to say that “Nature is what we are put on this earth to overcome,” and I suspect that they were far closer to the truth than was old Rousseau when he claimed that “Man is born free and is everywhere in chains.” We might turn Rousseau on his head and say that man is born a witless, all-devouring, screaming lump of flesh and that a few of his kind have, when conditions permitted, been cultivated into something marginally more attractive than that. So even if men have a biological tendency to abuse women, that’s no excuse for the men who act on that tendency, and no grounds for despairing of culture’s ability to curb it.

    As for the veil, I can’t imagine living in a society where it is the norm. What I can imagine is an attempt to construct a society where people show respect for each other by a system of unmistakable outward signs, and I can see how people who’ve grown up with the veil can interpret the customs surrounding it as such a system of signs.

  5. cymast

     /  October 29, 2009

    This is the point where I blame the aliens, but you knew that . .

    I can imagine a primative human serial rapist spawning more progeny than a primative human non-rapist. Male rapists, unlike female rapists, aren’t sidelined by pregnancy, and therefore are more likely to continue to rape. Furthermore, the biggest, fastest, and strongest male rapists are able to rape with more frequency, spawning more big, fast, and strong rapists. And so it goes. Makes “sense.”

  6. acilius

     /  October 29, 2009

    It does make sense. Evolution works the way it works. There’s no reason to suppose that biological systems will be morally good, or pleasant, or stable over long periods of time. That explains why creeds that begin by exalting nature always end so dismally. Anatole France said that when you begin by assuming that humans are naturally good, you end by wanting to kill them all. It ends that way in part because that assumption leads us to act as if the bad behavior we see is the result of something unnatural that we can wipe away, and the wiping away gets really nasty really fast; in part because it leads us to overestimate the importance of the occasional good behavior we encounter, and to respond to it by taking away the incentives that produced it; and in part because it is so patently false that trying to live by it drives us mad with frustration.

    If instead of beginning with the assumption that humans are by nature good, you begin by assuming that humans are descended from creatures who produced a lot of offspring using whatever reproductive strategies were effective at the time, you can make a more realistic assessment, and a more optimistic one. Bad behavior isn’t a sign that something unnatural has intruded; it’s to be expected. It can be curbed without a program to purge the Unnatural. Good behavior doesn’t demand that we drop everything and accommodate the person who exhibits it, but is a sign that things are working as they should. And because evolution does make sense, we don’t have to force ourselves to believe it. It lets us trust the evidence of our senses, and meet life as it comes.

  7. cymast

     /  October 29, 2009

    Comment 6 seems like it would be a pointedly interesting topic/sermon (whatever it’s called when people stand and share their thoughts) at a Quaker meeting.

  8. acilius

     /  October 29, 2009

    Come to think of it, it does sound pretty Quakerly. Thanks for pointing that out.

  9. cymast

     /  October 29, 2009

    You’re welcome. I would be very curious as to what your fellow Quakers would say about Comment 6 in the context of a Quaker meeting.

  10. acilius

     /  October 29, 2009

    By and large, Quakers dislike creeds and myths. Their mystical strand leads them to echo Thomas a Kempis, who thanked God for releasing him from a multitude of opinions. So praising an idea for releasing you from the strain of trying to convince yourself of something and letting you face life as it comes would be very Quakerly.

    Also, Quakers have historically been pacifists, and are big on conflict resolution. So the idea that we meet bad behavior, not in search of an enemy to destroy, but of a realistic strategy to modify it, would also be Quakerly.

    And, Quakers typically emphasize the virtue of modesty and the importance. So the idea that we should not lose our heads when we see someone behaving well would be Quakerly too.

    Most Quakers, though by no means all, have a lively sense of sin and fallenness. So the idea that nature is something we are put on this earth to overcome is one that comes naturally to them. Most of those who reject the ideas of sin and fallenness do so in the name, not of a Romantic conception of nature as moral lawgiver, but of science. So they too would likely nod in agreement with Anatole France’s remark.

  11. cymast

     /  November 2, 2009

    An example of what happens when you combine misogyny with blaming the victim, because the perpetrator is too weak to help himself:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20091102/lf_nm_life/us_egypt_niqab

  12. cymast

     /  January 25, 2010

    Oh but they aren’t disappointed. Google knows this. That’s why Google keeps sending them to my burqa post. Google wants to own your mind too.

  13. acilius

     /  January 25, 2010

    Must be!

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