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Elizabeth Cady Headscarf
If you think denial of Enlightenment values and the enslavement of women is beautiful, well, ladies, don your hijabs and your burkhas. If you prefer to move forward rather than being vaulted back to the Middle Ages, but with cell phones, don't listen to girls like the one on who claims the hijab is a focus on inner beauty. Here in the west, where we still have science (and not just to blow up people who think differently), data says otherwise.

I've been reading an advance copy of Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa's terrific book, Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, and early on, there was a significant passage:

...A recent study shows that women in Iran, where they are generally not exposed to the western media and culture, and thus would not know Jessica Simpson from Roseanne Barr, and where most women wear the traditional Muslim hijab that loosely covers their entire body so as to make it impossible to tell what shape it is, are actually more concerned with their body image, and want to lose more weight, than their American counterparts in the land of Vogue and the Barbie Doll.

More on the Iranian dress code here, from the Iran Press Service, complete with pictures. Here's a thumbnail. Text from their story follows below:


With the arrival of spring, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s police have launched this year its traditional crackdown on women's dress. Such crackdowns have become a regular feature of Iranian women. The crackdown is to force women to respect the strict Islamic dress code.

Under Iran's Islamic laws “Shari’a”, women are obliged to cover their body from head- to- toe with black veil or at least long, loose-fitting clothes to disguise their whole figures. The Islamic dress code is severely imposed this time. Violators can receive lashes, fines or imprisonment.

And, of course, it's pure speculation on my part, but, perhaps the death penalty for the camel toe?

Posted by aalkon at August 22, 2007 2:57 PM


Let's chant!

Go! A-my,
Go! A-my,
Go! A-my...

I'm tired of reading stories about how people in various corners of our planet are so worried about offending Muslims. No one should be excused from criticism for this, but to see it done by women, who think their 'tolerance' makes them forward-thinking and sophisticated, is just heartbreaking. A civilization that naive and suicidal doesn't deserve to thrive.

Link via the Art & Letters Daily webpage, a wonderful resource for people who like to worry about this.

Posted by: Crid at August 22, 2007 7:15 AM

AMy has probably already linked this.

Posted by: Crid at August 22, 2007 7:18 AM

Thanks, Crid -- I was actually looking for a link to one of these sites where lefties moan that we need to be more "tolerant," but I got sidedtracked.

Here's an example of one of those people, from a past post:

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 22, 2007 7:23 AM

I'm all for tolerance, the hospital lunch cart thing has nothing to do with tolerance. The individual wants to have certain practices fine let him/her. Why should I change how I do shit? I don't see any of this as tolerance. Tolerance is respecting others beliefs and practices as in not looking down at or disturbing these practices. This is not altering anything but your interaction with the person who's beliefs you are tolerating. Not making derogatory remarks, intentionally interfering with practices (unless those practices are hindering you), etc. Quietly praying in your cubicle (Muslim prayer time) is fine, constantly banging a gong is not. Making other people pray with you as part of keeping their job is not tolerance in any way. Significantly altering the routines of most of your staff to cater to a small group is not tolerance. Actually from both historical and personal anecdotal experience such things bread intolerance very quickly.

Posted by: vlad at August 22, 2007 7:55 AM

I find that woman's attitude about "women showing themselves off" to be tiresome, tedious, and whiny. But really, she doesn't sound much different than some of our homegrown religious pissers and moaners. The Muslim headscarf isn't any weirder than some the Christian sects who advocate women covering their heads, not allowing buttons on clothing or jewelry, special Mormon underwear, or the way Rick Santorum's homeschooled children dress. In fact, fundies of all stripes sound a lot alike. Let the ding-a-lings wear whatever horrid concoctions they want, and just ignore 'em.

That guy shouldn't have gotten in her face - he is just giving her what she wants. Attention, and the opportunity to bitch about being persecuted. The silly cow actually thinks anyone wants to see what she's got under her headscarf. Yawn.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at August 22, 2007 8:14 AM

I will however point to one part of the story Amy linked to above. The guy singing abusive lyrics and saying she looks like a terrorist for wearing a hijab, it's cause of low bread idiots like this that the rest is happening. None of the hijacker wore traditional Muslim clothing. The enemy nations tend to enforce the burka (which to be honest seeing one of these makes me nervous) which is different then a hijab. Not taunting some for being different is proper and what my understanding of the word tolerance is.

That said I still think that those cultures (different than religion) that force women to wear black panchos in the dessert are fundamentally savage. I'm not against calling someone a savage because something they do is savage. I'm against assuming they are a savage based on cultural background or religion. Preffering your soupse to dress in a burka and she concedes to doing so fine, setting a legal mandate NFG. Calling my friend a slut for not wearing a burka just makes me want to commit hate crimes against the individual personally all the more readily.

Posted by: vlad at August 22, 2007 8:14 AM

The difference is, it's only the weirdo sect Christians who keep their heads covered. In Iran, everybody has to follow the weird, primitive state religion of Islam and do it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 22, 2007 8:32 AM

"The difference is, it's only the weirdo sect Christians who keep their heads covered. In Iran, everybody has to follow the weird, primitive state religion of Islam and do it."

The Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons of the world must be so jealous! It really underlines the importance of keeping church and state separate. Neither banning NOR requiring the wearing of a headscarf is anything the government has any business meddling in. I think religious dress codes are dumb, but I want to be able to wear my Flying Spaghetti Monster T-shirt, too, so I'm willing to let fundies wear whatever they want in exchange for the same freedom.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at August 22, 2007 8:47 AM

I have noticed something that I am very curious about. At the pricey section of the mall I always see Muslim women shopping for the expensive designer stuff. All the time. My question is why? They are covered with their head scarfy thingys (some just the head, others the body). So why buy clothing I'm not going to see? From their body language I sense that they go just as crazy for the typical stuff that western women go crazy for.

Posted by: PurplePen at August 22, 2007 8:55 AM

Amy, did you see this?

Whenever I see a woman veiled or dressed in hijab on the street here, I have a strong urge to go up to her and say, "Honey, don't you realize you don't have to put up with this shit in America?"

Posted by: Rebecca at August 22, 2007 8:58 AM

Purple Pen I'm glad you went that direction. I have heard that, at home, some of these women are expected to wear skimply lingerie or prom style dresses. This would explain why women of cover might be feeling more body anxiety than we westerners might expect. I remember reading an article by a woman who married a middle eastern man and ignored the warnings from the U.S. State department. She barely escaped with her life and she wanted to warn other women what daily life was like for a woman in a traditional muslim household.

Here is a link to the state dept. warning, I will try to find the article about the woman's experiences.

Posted by: martn at August 22, 2007 9:03 AM

How exactly do other people see this 'inner beauty', if they can't find the packaging, or external casing, or however these sick people think of their own bodies?

These religious types want to pretend that physical reality doesn't exist, and that somehow they are nebulous spirits floating in the air.

Posted by: Chrissy at August 22, 2007 10:08 AM

I should have known better than to click the camel toe link with the images. Gee whiz, Amy!

Posted by: André-Tascha at August 22, 2007 10:11 AM

Heh heh...sorry...uh, sort of!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 22, 2007 10:45 AM

Maybe we should not be so quick to judge. As we grow older, our tastes and values change. For instance, now that I’m more mature I actually prefer ladies with no teeth.

Posted by: Roger at August 22, 2007 11:07 AM

The camel toe is one example of the downside of Enlightenment values. Why doesn't someone design a mini-burkha to shield us from its sight?

Posted by: Lena at August 22, 2007 11:22 AM

I believe it's called a miniskirt. Or any skirt. More women should wear them instead of farmer pants.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 22, 2007 11:55 AM

Track pants are the worst offenders, and display the most camel toes, especially if they are too small, which is usually the case.

Posted by: Chrissy at August 22, 2007 12:00 PM

Amy, have you seen this?

Apparently veils aren't enough for those Clairol temptresses.

Posted by: Rebecca at August 22, 2007 1:05 PM

I love the Camel Toe Annie motto:
"If there's someone you want to get to know, show 'em the toe."

Posted by: Shawn at August 22, 2007 3:55 PM

wow! this conversation degenerated rather quickly

Posted by: André-Tascha at August 22, 2007 6:26 PM

Degeneration X, at your service!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 22, 2007 7:25 PM

I am not convinced by any of your arguments. Tomorrow, we're going to have to try this again, with some more pics please.

Posted by: jerry at August 22, 2007 8:07 PM

If you think veiling an actual woman is barbaric, consider those who want to shield Islamic society from the temptation of a box:

I tried posting this link (and that great picture) earlier, but for whatever reason I got a "screw you" error message from your site, Amy.

Posted by: Rebecca at August 22, 2007 8:55 PM

Amy, please ignore Jerry's request (grin)...

Posted by: André-Tascha at August 22, 2007 10:04 PM

Heh heh...

And as for Rebecca's link, click on the photo, and note that the one photograph that's permitted is the face of a man.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 23, 2007 1:51 AM

Oh those Clairol temptresses, undermining a Muslim male's morality!

Posted by: Rebecca at August 23, 2007 7:20 AM

I've always been curious about the amount of homosexual activity that goes on in these countries. Perhaps Joe could enlighten us, seeing as how he has visited there quite frequently.

Also, how prevalent is prostitution, and what form does it take?

When you ban something, it just goes underground, and changes into something strange.

Posted by: Chrissy at August 23, 2007 11:38 AM

Lena is reading a book now about how the Taliban use boys. Forget the name, but I'll ask.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 23, 2007 2:38 PM

Just took at look at the picture on the Boy and His Computer blog... Wow, if they can't handle faces -- yikes -- I wonder how they're handling the American female troops with breast implants! Apparently, the demand for cosmetic surgery is on the rise in the military, which includes women getting fake boobs!

Check it out here:

Posted by: WrdFreak at August 24, 2007 10:03 AM

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