Politics of Veiling and Revealing

Fatma Emam's picture

Women’s body is obsession and battle field of any patriarchal society.  Women either forced to be veiled and be covered, in this case they are portrayed as source of temptation, or they will be manipulated to reveal their beauty to be deemed desired and emancipated.

Enforcing obligatory veil or banning veil or Hijab is a policy applied by the state to penetrate the private sphere of its citizens. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan are forcing women to abide by certain dress code, these states consider Hijab part of the Islamic teachings and women must follow it. These states consider itself the enforcer of Allah laws and the individual can not oppose its regulations.

Other states like Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, UK and France ban certain so called religious dress codes, like Niqab or Burqa.

What women want??!!  This is the question that invaded my mind, there is no single rights answer, women in the North are not like women in the South and there are many variations of women needs and choices.  Another question is why the morality and beauty of women is related to its dress and how much they are covering or revealing.

I have been always critical to the policies of obligatory veil which deem women source of sexual chaos that need to be tamed and covered , these policies also consider men as perverts that perceive women only as sexual objects and they can not control their desires.

I also disagree with the policies of banning certain dress codes like Niqab or Burqa the full body veil.  I think it is a personal freedom to reveal or cover your body and I do not accept the argument that this is emancipation of women from the shackles s of outdated traditions.

I still remember my first course of political sciences in Cairo University when Dr Ibrahim Arafaat said that one of the features of totalitarian state is penetrating the private life of its citizens, like the former USSR, ironically I think Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, France and UK are belonging to this category.

I hope one day women will choose their outfits without thinking of the legal dress code or the social moral judgments.  I just cannot understand the dogmatic absolutist attitude of the states when they claim that it knows the complete truth and can lead its citizens to the only best way.  I hope a day will come when all forms of power like force, manipulation and coercion will not shape women’s life.


(Posted at Brownie)

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