Bikini vs. Burqa: from my Facebook wall

Bikinis Make Men See Women as Objects, Scans Confirm

Sexy women in bikinis really do inspire some men to see them as objects, according to a new study of male behavior.

Brain scans revealed that when men are shown pictures of scantily clad women, the region of the brain associated with tool use lights up.

Men were also more likely to associate images of sexualized women with first-person action verbs such as “I push, I grasp, I handle,” said lead researcher Susan Fiske, a psychologist at Princeton University.

And in a “shocking” finding, Fiske noted, some of the men studied showed no activity in the part of the brain that usually responds when a person ponders another’s intentions.  (Read more here.)

bikini vs. burka
COLUMBIA ROOMMATE  The text is true but the picture is misguided. Women are nor forced to where bikinis in the US, whereas women are forced to cover their skin in certain Arabic countries. It’s a choice / human rights question.
FELLOW HIGH SCHOOL ALUM  And bikinis are awesome.
ACTIVIST  Women who wish to cover their faces are forced not to in certain ‘western’ countries. That’s an equally unfair restriction on personal freedom. The picture says everybody’s an idiot, which is pretty fair.
COLUMBIA ROOMMATE  Yeah, not in the US. I somehow doubt that al-Qãhırıï is making an anti-France point here.
ACTIVIST  That’s true, but he didn’t actually name the US so I’m looking at things in a more global sense since most of the world isn’t America. The point remains the same though – personal freedom does include the choice to be modest, and there are more countries than France restricting that now. It’s all childish anyway – how another human being dresses doesn’t change my life.
COLUMBIA ROOMMATE  I’m all for absolute freedom in how people dress. Including going naked.
ACTIVIST I’d like to limit being naked, mostly because a great majority of people are not people I’d want to see naked 🙂
RED CROSS  i feel sorry about you activist.
al-Qãhırıï  ‎@COLUMBIA ROOMMATE it’s complicated:  Sociology of Gender:  the Hijab
COLUMBIA ROOMMATE  Thanks for posting that paper, al-Qãhırıï. I agree that a snap judgment that women wear a hijab due to patriarchal oppression is not the most educated view. In fact, let’s say it is 100% incorrect and damaging.
If we agree on that point, I think it boils down to one’s view on the role of religion in a political state. If one believes that religion and state are inseparable, then the mandate to wear a hijab is practically consistent and appropriate – a law that encourages alignment with the religious text on which the government’s policies are based. Makes sense.
If one, on the other hand, believes that religion and state should be separated, then it is wrong to force a woman to wear a hijab.
Of course, things are never this simple. There are gray areas and questions much more difficult to answer, depending on one’s beliefs. For example, if one believes in a human being’s intrinsic right to free expression, then even a government based on religion, despite its innate drive to align law and faith, is alienating a right. It’s very structure, its very essence, alienates that right.
And then there are some purely theoretical angles to this question. For example, imagine Culture X which only allows its people to wear green hats. The people of Culture X only grow up wearing green hats and the idea of wearing any hat but a green one seems ridiculous, even alien. Now imagine Culture Y, which allows its people to wear any color hat. Certain colors may be more popular, but people grow up to pick the color they like best on their own. While a member of Culture X may not understand why anyone would want to wear a non-green hat, that same member may have potentially chosen a different color had he been born into Culture Y. This opens up another can of worms – whether the “purpose” of the individual should be the flexing of his individualism or the attempt to maintain harmony of the group.
I am not saying I believe or do not believe in any of these views. Just laying the groundwork for any kind of discussion that is to be had on this topic.
al-Qãhırıï  ‎@COLUMBIA ROOMMATE that’s an amazing comment!
Now here’s a pickle: I don’t believe that Islam and law are separable, meaning that Islam is the basis for what’s right, permissible, inadvisable and wrong in a Muslim’s life.
This is different than “church & state” in that there does not need to be an Islamic state for a Muslim to choose the Islamic legal framework.
NOW, whether or not there is a state, there is no legal basis for forcing a woman to cover herself. The wording of the Qur-an, as I showed in the paper you read, lists two reasons for covering: to be recognized and to not be molested. That’s usually said to mean to be recognized as a believer and to discourage unwanted advances.
There is no legal punishment for a woman to reveal her body in the shari’ah. There are numerous recorded instances when Muhammad saw a woman without her head or face covered and did not force her to cover them. These narrations are also a source of Islamic law. Since there is no legal precedent for punishing/enforcing the Islamic dress code, in my eyes this leaves the situation at the verse “There is no compulsion in the religion” (Qur-an 2.256). So if a woman is not a believer or doesn’t want to be recognized as one, and/or does not fear/mind advances, she is free.
So IF and, since we know, WHEN a government forces a woman to adopt the Islamic dress code, they have stepped beyond the bounds of their authority and onto her right of choice. You may as well know that the only government I know of which enforces the head-covering is Iran. I am in Saudi Arabia and I can see women with their heads and faces uncovered every day outside. There is a requirement to wear a cloak (abaya). I think this goes to your very relevant point about grey areas, in this instance the grey area between cultural norms and religious requirements. In Oman, for example, where the laws are much more lax, no one tells a woman what to wear, but she knows she would stick out like a sore thumb without long, loose clothing. It is a sort of peer pressure, and I believe this is the only valid way to expect people to change: by presenting so many examples that they either agree with or start to respect the point. No one should be forced to do what they don’t believe in, or prevented from doing what they believe, unless there is an established harm in it.
COLUMBIA ROOMMATE Awesome post. Thanks for writing it. I think we see eye to eye on this.
al-Qãhırıï  we been seein’ eye-to-eye a lot lately…
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9 comments on “Bikini vs. Burqa: from my Facebook wall

  1. Pingback: Da li je orijentalni ples – ples zavođenja? | Umetnost orijentalnog plesa

  2. I really don’t see how you got this from reading my post, as stated on your blog:

    “Burqa (complete Hijab above) originates from Damascus and was originally a way for rich patriarchs to hide their women (who were “bought” on their beauty, or so it seems). Like the people of Argentina who switched to brown bread from white bread because their President did showing them it was cool… the poor copied the rich to show that they could afford to cover their women as well. The way this keyboard I’m typing on became a tradition because the letters were scrambled to slow down types because the machines were too slow and now everyone is used to this keyboard and don’t want to change, so it is with the Arabs who adopted such Hijab … who represent the opposite extreme of the ‘objectification of women’.”

    Nothing written here alludes to that. And it it isn’t true anyway.

  3. Pingback: Da li je orijentalni ples - ples zavođenja? - Umetnost orijentalnog plesa

  4. Pingback: Victim-blaming: Was she “asking for it”? « qãhırıï

  5. i think this boils down to never judging a book by it’s cover. We will never know why the bikini women in the comic wears the bikini, and we will never know why burqa lady is wearing her burqa, but we can infer from their thoughts that both have an opinion of each other without knowing why they wear what they wear. This is the problem our society has, making an opinion of someones decision without knowing the background. The political and legal analysis is nice to talk about, but I don’t think this comic is about any of that.

    • I see your point, but it’s based on the premise of these characters and their comments being real. You generally don’t see women in burqas and bikinis encountering each other on the street, if you know what I mean. I think the political analysis is very relevant, as the comments about “male-dominated” society go right into socio-political norms, and perceptions of them. Don’t you think?..

      • I agree that the political analysis is still relevant, however, politics always has a tendency to “spin” our thoughts, and influence (in my opinion negatively) our thought process.

        My first thought wasn’t the sociopolitical realm, mainly because the thoughts of the women were about “culture”. I couldn’t infer any legal disposition from this. Disclaimer: I didn’t research the artist of this, so maybe the artists’ background would guide me otherwise.

        I do have to disagree however, that a woman that wears a burqa and a woman that wears a bikini generally won’t encounter each other. With this age of technology, I think this possibly occurs on a daily basis, either on television or the internet, etc. Probably more so for the women in the bikini seeing the women in the burqa(probably promoted in a negative light), but I am sure at this day and age it is a regular occurrence.

        Sounds like time for a poll :>)

        How many women that wear burqa have seen/encountered a women in a bikini?

        How many women that wear bikini’s have seen/encountered a women wearing burqa?

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