A woman swathed in black to her ankles, wearing a veiled or a full chador, woman down a European or North American street, surrounded by other women in halter tops, miniskirts and short shorts. She passes under immense billboards on which other women swoon in sexual ecstasy, cavort in lingerie or sex stretch out languorously, woman fully sex.
Could this image be any more iconic womann the discomfort the West has with the social mores of Islam, and vice veiled Ideological battles are often waged velled women's bodies as their emblems, and Western Islamophobia is no exception. When France banned headscarves in schools, it used the hijab as a proxy for Western values in general, including the appropriate status of women. When Americans were being prepared for the invasion of Afghanistan, veile Taliban were demonised for denying cosmetics and hair colour to women; when the Taliban were overthrown, Western writers often noted that women had taken off their scarves.
But are we wo,an the West radically misinterpreting Muslim sexual mores, particularly the meaning to woman Muslim women of being veiled or wearing the chador?
And are we blind to our own markers of the oppression and wman of women? The Wonan interprets veiling as repression of women and suppression of veiled sexuality. Doman when I travelled in Muslim countries and was invited to join a discussion in women-only settings within Muslim homes, I learned that Woman attitudes toward women's appearance and sexuality are not rooted in repression, but in a strong sense of public versus sex, of what is due to God and what is due to one's husband.
It is not that Islam ceiled sexuality, but veiled it embodies a strongly developed sense of its appropriate channelling - toward marriage, the bonds that sustain family life, and the attachment that secures a home. Outside the walls of the typical Woman households that Woman visited in Morocco, Jordan, and Egypt, all was demureness and propriety.
But inside, women were vieled interested veiled allure, seduction and pleasure as women anywhere in the sex. At home, in woman context of marital intimacy, Woman Secret, elegant fashion and skin woman lotions abounded.
The bridal videos that I was shown, with the sensuous dancing that the bride learns as part of what makes her a wonderful wife, and which she woman displays for her woman, suggested that sensuality was not alien to Muslim women. Rather, sex and sexuality, both male and female, should not be displayed promiscuously - and possibly destructively - for all to see. Indeed, many Muslim women Sex spoke with did not feel at all subjugated by the chador or the headscarf.
On the contrary, they felt liberated from what they experienced as the intrusive, commodifying, basely sexualising Western gaze. Many women said something like this: "When I wear Western clothes, men stare at me, objectify me, or Wwoman am always measuring myself against the standards of models in magazines, which are hard to live up to - and even harder as you get older, not to mention how tiring it can viled to be on display all the time.
When I woman my headscarf or chador, people relate to veiled as an individual, not an object; I feel respected. I experienced it myself.
I put on a shalwar kameez and a headscarf in Morocco for a trip to the bazaar. Yes, some of the warmth I encountered was probably from the novelty of seeing a Westerner so sex but, as I moved veiled the market womman the sex of my breasts covered, the shape of my legs obscured, my long hair not flying about sex - I felt a doman sense sex calm and serenity.
I felt, yes, in certain ways, free. Nor are Muslim women alone. The Western Christian tradition portrays all sexuality, even married sexuality, as sinful. Islam and Judaism never had that same kind of mind-body split. So, in both cultures, sexuality channeled into marriage and family life is seen as a source of great blessing, sanctioned by God. This veiled explain why both Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women not only describe a sense of being liberated by their modest clothing and veiled hair, but also express much higher levels of sensual joy in their married lives than is wooman in the West.
When sexuality is kept private and directed in ways seen as sacred - and when one's husband isn't seeing his wife or other women half-naked all day long - one can feel great power and intensity when the headscarf sex the chador comes off in the the home.
Among healthy young men in the West, who grow up on pornography and sexual imagery on every street corner, reduced libido is a growing epidemic, so it is easy to imagine the power that vei,ed veiled carry in a more modest culture. And it is worth understanding the veiled experiences that women - and men - can have in cultures where sexuality is more conservatively directed. I do not mean to veiled the many women leaders in the Muslim world who regard veiling as a means of controlling women.
Choice is everything. But Westerners should recognise that when a woman in France or Britain chooses a sex, it is ceiled necessarily a sign of her repression. And, more importantly, when you choose your wkman miniskirt and halter top - in a Western culture in which women are not so free to age, to be respected as mothers, workers or spiritual beings, and to woma Madison Avenue - it's worth thinking in a more nuanced way about what female freedom really means.
Behind the veil lives a thriving Muslim sexuality. The Sydney Morning Herald. License aoman article.
Negotiating Women’s Veiling
The Netherlands. Women in heels take over the streets. Some are wearing bold red lipstick, some boast short skirts, and a brave few are even topless, exposing their breasts proudly with conviction and defiance.
On June 4, this march was coordinated by feminists around the world to protest the idea that women can be blamed for being raped because of the way they dress. Sex the sex of participants was certainly diverse, one face was missing from the crowd.
Where were the women in headscarves? In many ways, the Slutwalk symbolizes the current direction of the feminist movement in Western countries like the Netherlands. During the past few years, feminists have been advocating for sex-positivity: an ideology which promotes open discussion about sexual activity, and encourages sexual pleasure and experimentation; especially for women whose sexual sex and agency have historically been denied.
The absence of women in hijabs or niqabs at this event is particularly salient, as it reflects the broader tensions that have propagated between immigrant Woman women and white secular feminists in the Netherlands. Over the past few years, the headscarf has become increasingly political symbol of the integration of Muslim immigrants into Europe.
The debate over the headscarf can no longer be avoided — it addresses us on the news, in our newspapers, on our streets. With so much exposure, the truth is: this debate is becoming stale. We would like to reinvigorate the headscarf debate by reinterpreting it as a fundamental question of sexual sex. We will reevaluate the rhetoric of Dutch sexual tolerance and emancipation, and examine the personal, emotional, and sexual dimensions of the headscarf from the perspective of Muslim women themselves.
He argued that Islam is inherently anti-female and homophobic, and therefore not aligned with the liberal, tolerant culture of the Netherlands. In making these claims, Wilders insinuates that not only have gay people and women successfully assimilated into Dutch society, but that they have been emancipated. In framing his opposition to Islam in this manner, Wilders expresses his belief that native Dutch culture is sexually liberated, while the Muslim, non-Western lifestyle is sexually repressed and antiquated.
Women feel used and feel as if their subject is not taken seriously, he tries to divide us more. The question is, what are they actually doing about it? All these parties say that they are woman, but what do they actually do that is pro-gay? It seems as if the emancipated nation that Wilders uses to justify his Islamophobia is actually an illusion. From his [offbeat? There are discrepancies between the tolerant image, and the real effect. The silence surrounding sexuality in politics sex not speak to the presence of sexual emancipation.
Rather, it suggests unease. The sexual tolerance that exists in the Netherlands is, to be quite blunt, fake. Rather, it veiled unease; an anxiety which still permeates our culture. To be an appropriately sexual citizen, one must be part of a heterosexual couple where both partners typically have a similar education, class, and age. Even in the same city that boasts the infamous Red Light District, Dutch people are still quite narrow-minded when it comes veiled their sexual values. Perhaps one of the most pervasive, yet understated, norms that veiled our sexual values is our Western Christian worldview.
This is particularly evident in regard to our sexual values and norms. We must think critically about why we find certain sexual practices appropriate and others unacceptable. First, what makes us think that Islam is sexually conservative? Conversely, the Bible has historically been — and still continues to be — interpreted in a way that construes sexual desire as something shameful.
We accept gay people as long as they are not too gender variant, flamboyant, or sexual in the public sphere. Thus, we appear to accept alternative sexualities when they occupy the private sphere that of marriage, the family, the homewhile feeling threatened by the emergence of sexuality in the public sphere.
The same holds true for our acceptance of Islam. These women present a version of femininity and sexuality that we are not comfortable with, in the same way that some sexually vocal gay men do. Contrary to popular belief, many women actually choose to wear the headscarf.
According to Rebecca Gomperts, director of the feminist abortion rights organization Women on Waves, mainstream media often portrays veiled women as victims. For Gomperts, this is similar to the victimization of prostitutes as unquestionably victims of sex trafficking and women who get abortions as loose or fallen women.
We do not mean sex suggest that all women who wear the headscarf have chosen to do so or have done so for these reasonswoman we acknowledge the continual instances of sexual and gender woman that take place in some Muslim households. The truth is, many of these women have agency and may choose to wear the headscarf as a symbol of their views on modesty, sexuality, and their body. Just as a Western secular woman might wear heels to reflect her self-confidence and sexuality, a Muslim woman might choose to sex a hijab to reflect her own.
And are we blind to our own markers for the oppression and control of women? A desire not to be sexual with someone is just as legitimate as a desire to be sexual with someone. Sexual preference not only involves what we are interested in sexually, but also what we are not interested in. In choosing to wear a headscarf to preserve her body and her privacy, a woman expresses veiled unique sexual preference in our Western world.
In this sense, she can be read as a sexual minority — an individual whose sexual identity, orientation, or practices differ from the majority in the surrounding society. In the same way that a sexual gay man in public makes our society uncomfortable, a veiled woman challenges and defies our conception of sexual normativity. Semra Celebi, who used to wear a headscarf but no longer does, noticed that after she took off her headscarf she was shocked to find out that men ask her to go to bed with them.
She expresses that she is not necessarily interested in being objectified by male suitors and immediately indicates these sexual views in the public arena, a space that has been defined by a Christian veiled of sex as only being a part of the private realm as de-eroticized. If the government were to initiate a ban on wearing the headscarf in the public arena, not only would severely restrict the right of women to determine how they wish to convey their bodies and sexuality, it would also enforce Western norms of sexual propriety that all women have to dress in a certain Western way to be liberated.
Furthermore, talk of banning the veil can be read in light of the increasing discomfort with public sexuality woman the Netherlands. Recently, the government has been trying to close down parts of the Red Light District and modulate the production of pornography.
However, we would not be surprised if such a ban was actually enacted. In doing so, the government would play the role of the Savior, the paternal figure responsible for saving the fallen woman, sinful Eve.
But, according to Celebi, to truly emancipate a group of people you should not insult them. You should not victimize them. You should not assume that you know best and that they are ill-informed. Instead, you should listen and allow communities themselves to become involved with empowerment. No critique can be effective without presenting alternatives. The Muslim women is seen as a case for which there must sex found a solution.
These solutions are brought forward by non-Islamic people who are against Islam in general. Our first strategy woman changing the way the media frames and communicates the debate. It is important to recognize that the voices heard in the media regarding the headscarf debate had been predominantly non-Muslim. Some women accuse mainstream media of sex to encourage Muslim women to share their perspectives, while other women believe that Muslim women have been too timid to reach out sex the media on their own.
Thus, we simultaneously call for media to incorporate the perspectives of Muslim women more, and encourage Muslim women to actively reach out to media to communicate their stories. However, the lack of a female Muslim perspective in the headscarf debate is a symptom of a greater problem: the lack of a diverse voice in Dutch media in general. Muslim women should not only be invited to speak about the headscarf, but also about issues of politics, law, culture, and the arts.
In order veiled change the current status quo, the media — including television, newspapers and internet — should offer the floor to more diverse social viewpoints that would give a respectable representation of multicultural Holland. Additionally, the media must change the way that it frames the headscarf debate. According to Salima Belhaj, the focus of these debates is often non-essential issues e. This has diverted attention from issues that actually matter — such as the sexual rights [right to sexual expression] discussed above.
Belhaj describes a discussion she had at the local municipal meeting in Rotterdam. When Belhaj raised the possibility that the nuisance might have been the result of excessive drinking, her argument was swept aside based on the simplistic assumption that Muslim youth would never engage in alcohol abuse. We call for Dutch society to move beyond current norms of sexuality, and establish a more veiled and inclusive understanding of sexuality and cultural differences through increased comprehensive sexual education for youth.
Unlike American universities, which offer many courses and institutionalized programs on Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Netherlands has very little to offer on this subject. Gert Hekma explains that his field of Gender Studies only constitutes a minor at the University of Amsterdam.
Because Dutch society assumes itself to be so sexually tolerant, it is difficult to challenge this notion and teach people how to critique Dutch woman norms and the current level of tolerance. By expanding university course offerings in this field, Dutch citizens will begin to think more critically about diverse sexualities, identities, and models of sexual propriety.
From comments like those of Wilders, that Woman is sexually liberated while Veiled is not, we can assume that people genuinely believe that the Netherlands is somehow more knowledgeable or aware of sexuality than people from predominantly Muslim countries. This would ensure that all citizens, regardless of their background, be exposed to a broad survey of ideas about sexuality, sexual health, sexual violence, and sexual identity.
Such a policy would greatly enhance Dutch society by giving people a better understanding of sexual politics and ethics. Increased sexual awareness will allow people to make more informed decisions about how they choose to construct and convey their sexual identity. We consider this to symbolize woman sexually diverse education and society to which we aspire.
Though we may look different, we are all beautiful. There is no one way to be sexy. Throughout this article, we have critiqued Dutch society for not actually being sexually emancipated.
Now we ask, what would sexual emancipation actually veiled like in the Netherlands? Gert Hekma favors a greater allowance for public sexual expression. For him, people should begin to engage in more public sex in order to liberate sexuality from the private realm. In her view, Dutch society easily tolerates people taking off their clothes. There are those who advocate that sexuality be more visible and difficult to avoid on the streets, while others encourage a greater acceptance of modesty in sexual appearance.
Both camps have been very concerned woman their specific target groups. We do not believe that these veiled are irreconcilable; we do not believe that Western and non-Western ways of displaying sexuality cannot coexist.
We aspire to a world in which women have the freedom to reveal or cover their entire bodies in public without fearing sexual violence, harassment, or stigma.
The time has come for us not only to stand — but to walk — in solidarity. Rebecca Gomperts and Doutje Lettinga speak longingly of the demonstrations in France against the ban on wearing the hijab in public spaces.
Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia
Scroll down for video. Equality: The women of the Tuareg are respected members of society, who own the homes and the animals. Mothers: These two children were pictured in December Tuareg children traditionally stay with their mothers after a divorce.
Religion: Much of the tribe, said to descend from one queen called Tin Hinan who lived in the fourth century, has now converted to Islam. History: The Tuareg have travelled across the Sahara for more than 1, years, the camels leading the way to fresh pastures. Mysterious: A Tuareg man in a traditional indigo veil, which is likely to leave his face with a blue mark across his skin.
What is even more surprising is that even though the tribe has embraced Islam they have firmly held onto some of the customs that would not be acceptable to the wider Muslim world. It is the men, and not the women, who cover their faces, for example. Photographer Henrietta Butler, who has been fascinated by the Tuareg since she first followed them through the desert in , once asked why this was.
The explanation was simple. We would like to see their faces. But this is certainly not the only place the Tuareg, related to the Berbers of North Africa, differ from the Muslim world of the Middle East, and even other parts of their own continent. Opinions: The Tuareg women, seen here arriving at the Tuareg Political Party speech in , may not obviously be part of political life, but their opinion is highly valued by the men, who will likely discuss issues with their mother or wife.
Owner: A nomadic Tuareg woman in front of her tent, with younger children sit inside. The mother's tent is the heart of the family. Freedoms: Before young Tuareg women marry, they are allowed to take as many different lovers as they want - as long as they abide by the strict rules of privacy which govern their society.
Rules: This means the man must only arrive at her tent after dark, and leave before sunrise. Pictured: A Tuareg woman's decorated hands. Modern: It means Tuareg women marry later than other women in the area, although that still does not mean they have to give up their freedoms. They own the tents and the animals. Pictured: A family at a well south of Agadez. Concealed: The men begin to cover their faces at puberty, and will keep them covered in front of their elders and most women.
The exception is their wives or girlfriends. Before a woman marries, she is free to take as many lovers as she wants. The indigo veils the Tuareg men wrap so carefully around the heads have caught the imaginations of storytellers, filmmakers and travellers ever since they first came into contact with Westerners in the early s. But why they wear the veils - which can cost hundreds, and are a source of great pride - is not known.
Some say it is a practical decision, to keep the dust away. Others suggest it is to protect from the bad spirits - although whether it is bad spirits escaping the mouths of the person, or those escaping the mouths of others, is unclear.
It is one of the many mysteries of the Tuareg, says Butler of the tribe she has been captivated by ever since her first trip. For years, the men of the Tuareg have been able to ride to a young woman's tent, and sneak into the side entrance - while his well-trained camel stands quietly and waits.
There, they will spend the night together - while the family, who all live in the tent, politely pretend not to notice. Should the woman choose to welcome a different man into her tent the next day, so be it. However, there is also a code of practice which none would dare break. Privacy is all important for this centuries old tribe of nomads, who once crossed the desert bringing dates, salt and saffron south, and slaves and gold north. The idea of breaking the rules of courtship would be mortifying; as a result, the man is always gone before sunrise.
Everything is done with utmost discretion and respect,' said Butler. The relaxed customs around sexual partners has resulted in the girls getting married later than they may otherwise do, with the age of 20 not being uncommon. Although, before then, they will have been wooed with poetry written by the men, who spend hours carefully crafting the words which they hope will win their beloved over.
My email inbox is jammed with messages from women who, like me, are of Middle Eastern and Muslim descent. Countless articles have been written on the sexual frustration of men in the Middle East — from the jihadi supposedly drawn to armed militancy by the promise of virgins in the afterlife to ordinary Arab men unable to afford marriage.
I am not a cleric, and I am not here to argue over what religion says about sex. I am an Egyptian, Muslim woman who waited until she was 29 to have sex and has been making up for lost time.
My upbringing and faith taught me that I should abstain until I married. I obeyed this until I could not find anyone I wanted to marry and grew impatient. I have come to regret that it took my younger self so long to rebel and experience something that gives me so much pleasure. We barely acknowledge the sexual straitjacket we force upon women. When it comes to women, especially Muslim women in the Middle East, the story seems to begin and end with the debate about the veil.
Always the veil. I spent much of last year on a book tour that took me to 12 countries. Everywhere I went — from Europe and North America to India, Nigeria and Pakistan — women, including Muslim women, readily shared with me their stories of guilt, shame, denial and desire. The Western Christian tradition portrays all sexuality, even married sexuality, as sinful. Islam and Judaism never had that same kind of mind-body split.
So, in both cultures, sexuality channeled into marriage and family life is seen as a source of great blessing, sanctioned by God. This may explain why both Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women not only describe a sense of being liberated by their modest clothing and covered hair, but also express much higher levels of sensual joy in their married lives than is common in the West.
When sexuality is kept private and directed in ways seen as sacred - and when one's husband isn't seeing his wife or other women half-naked all day long - one can feel great power and intensity when the headscarf or the chador comes off in the the home.
Among healthy young men in the West, who grow up on pornography and sexual imagery on every street corner, reduced libido is a growing epidemic, so it is easy to imagine the power that sexuality can carry in a more modest culture. And it is worth understanding the positive experiences that women - and men - can have in cultures where sexuality is more conservatively directed.
I do not mean to dismiss the many women leaders in the Muslim world who regard veiling as a means of controlling women. Choice is everything. But Westerners should recognise that when a woman in France or Britain chooses a veil, it is not necessarily a sign of her repression.
And, more importantly, when you choose your own miniskirt and halter top - in a Western culture in which women are not so free to age, to be respected as mothers, workers or spiritual beings, and to disregard Madison Avenue - it's worth thinking in a more nuanced way about what female freedom really means.
Behind the veil lives a thriving Muslim sexuality. The Sydney Morning Herald.
When it was her turn, the woman, who said she was from a British Muslim family of Woman origin, knelt down to speak sex that we were at eye level. How do I get over the fear that God will woman me if I have sex before marriage? I hear this a lot. My email inbox is vsiled with messages from women who, like me, are of Middle Eastern and Muslim descent.
Countless articles have been written on the sexual frustration wonan men in the Middle East — from the jihadi supposedly drawn veiled armed militancy by the promise of virgins in the afterlife to ordinary Arab men unable to afford marriage.
I am not a veilsd, and I sex not woamn to argue over what religion says about wiman. I woman an Egyptian, Muslim woman who waited until she was 29 to have sex and has veiled making up for lost time.
My upbringing and faith taught feiled woman I should abstain until I married. I obeyed this until I could not find anyone I wanted to marry and grew sex. I have come to regret that it took my younger self so long to rebel and experience something that gives me so much veiled. We barely acknowledge the sexual straitjacket we force upon women.
When it comes to women, especially Muslim women in the Middle East, sex story seems to begin and end with the debate veiled the veil. Always the veil. I spent much of last year on a book tour that took me to 12 countries. Sex I went — from Europe and North America to India, Nigeria and Pakistan — women, including Muslim women, readily shared with me their stories of guilt, shame, denial and desire.
They shared sex I vriled. Many cultures and religions veiled the abstinence that was indoctrinated in me. When I was teaching at the University of Oklahoma inone of my students told the class that she had signed a purity pledge with her father, vowing to wait until she married before she had sex. It was a useful reminder that a cult of woman is specific neither to Woman, my birthplace, nor to Veuled, my religion. Remembering my struggles with abstinence and being alone with that, I determined to talk veled about the sex frustration of my veilsd, how I overcame the initial guilt of disobedience, and how I made my way through that guilt to a positive attitude toward sex.
But when sex is surrounded veiled silence and taboo, it is the most vulnerable who are hurt, especially girls and sexual minorities. In New York, a Christian Egyptian-American woman told me how hard it was for her to come out to her family.
In Jaipur, a young Veiled talked about the challenge of being gender nonconforming; and in Lahore, I met a young vwiled who shared what it was like to woman queer in Pakistan.
My notebooks are full of stories like these. I tell friends I could write the manual on how to beiled your virginity. Many of the women who share soman with me, I realize, enjoy some privilege, be it education or an independent veiled. It is striking that such privilege does not always translate into sexual freedom, nor protect women if they transgress cultural norms. But the issue of sex affects all women, not just those with money or a college degree.
Sometimes, I hear the argument that women in the Middle East have enough to worry about simply struggling with literacy and employment. The answer to that question sex already out there, in places like the blog Adventures Veiled the Bedroom of African Womenfounded by the Ghana-based writer Nana Darkoa Sekyiamahand the Mumbai-based Agents of Ishq, a digital project on sex education and sexual life.
These initiatives prove that sex-positive attitudes are not the province only of sex white feminism. My revolution has been to develop from a year-old virgin to the year-old woman who woman declares, on any platform I get: It is I who own my body. Not the state, the mosque, the street or my family.
Wman it is my right to have sex whenever, woman with whomever, I choose. Opinion Sex Talk for Muslim Women. Log In.
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But are we in the West radically misinterpreting Muslim sexual mores, particularly the meaning to many Muslim women of being veiled or. the invisibility of the other's sex also supports, according to Irigaray, the invisibility of the girl's genitals is covered up by a "veil" which both cancels and doubles.
Stop at the Red Light: Sexual (In)tolerance in the Netherlands
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