Friday, October 06, 2006

The Way We Dress

In the news this morning was Jack Straw’s comment about Muslim women wearing a veil. (See the BBC News Story)
There has, of course, been much discussion on the topic this morning, which is excellent. The trouble I have with it is this:
”The reason we wear veils is because the Quran says to cover our selves in order to avoid attraction from the opposite sex. Men should also lower their gaze. Women who wear a veil are the women who choose to keep their respect and cover their beauty.”
Oh dear.
Cover up so that men don’t find you attractive ladies. This, to me, is an indirect agreement that girls who wear mini-skirts are “asking for it” when they do so. I have no problem with women (or men) choosing to cover themselves up – it’s a practice which has been common in many religions, not just Islam.
[1 Corin. 11:5]
But any woman who prays and prophecies with her head unveiled dishonors her head - it is the same as if her head were shaven, for if a woman will not veil herself then she should cut off her hair. But if it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil.
That’s what the Bible has to say about women.
It is also true that is used to be considered rude to be seen in public without a hat of some sort, covering the crown of a woman’s head.

I have quite mixed feelings about this. Of course women should be able to wear whatever they like, be it to cover themselves head-to-toe or to wear a bikini in February – that’s the choice of the woman. However, if she feels that she must cover up to stop men from finding her attractive then I don’t think I can agree.
Especially as men are excluded from the extremes of this, only needing to cover their “private parts”.
I can’t help but think that women are required to cover up so that men don’t find them attractive (as it is always the woman’s fault if a man fancies her, not his!) and that only a man could have made up that rule. Men don’t have to cover up so that us women don’t find them attractive (and in some cases it would be preferable!)
My other thought on this is that many young women will only be dressing like this because everyone else does and while I wouldn’t condone them wearing bikinis in February, I don’t like the crowd following which so many young people do.
I don’t think that this is an issue of faith, perhaps just one of understanding. Providing that the women wearing the veil understand why they are doing so, and agree with the reasons, then that is their choice.

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