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Sun Feb 3, 2019, 08:04 AM

Is Modesty Empowerment?

Friday was World Hijab Day. Millions of women across the world chose to wear a scarf on their head in support of Muslim women who choose to dress modestly every day. They say that their choice to wear a Hijab is empowering to them.

Certainly, how you dress reflects your inner self or internal spirit, if you will. In that context could dressing modestly be perceived as a how comfortable you as an individual are with being detached from how society expects you to dress in a sexualised way? If that is the case then dressing modestly shows an inner confidence not evident in those who dress in a more sexualised way, right?

Wrong.

What is modest? Is figure forming jeans modest enough? Can you show any flesh and be modest? I could wear a business suit and feel I am dressed modestly, for some it could be I am dressing immodestly because I am showing a bit of leg? Where is there a modesty line? Whose modesty line counts? And how do you know when you have crossed it?

Could it be as simple as this? Women for centuries have been given the responsibility for menís behaviour. Modesty is not about empowering women rather it is about reducing the excuses men can trot out for THEIR sexualised behaviour. Women need to be able to choose how they dress, be it modestly or not we cannot any longer moderate our behaviours because men seem incapable of moderating their own. Women are measured against man, rather than as individuals in our own right, however we are NOT responsible for how men react to us.

Is modesty empowerment? Maybe. For some women it is. However, it is also a control mechanism used by a patriarchal world to force us to conform.

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply Is Modesty Empowerment? (Original post)
Soph0571 Feb 2019 OP
Sherman A1 Feb 2019 #1
Squinch Feb 2019 #2
enough Feb 2019 #3
Squinch Feb 2019 #4
JayhawkSD Feb 2019 #5
PoindexterOglethorpe Feb 2019 #6

Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2019, 08:08 AM

1. I believe you answered your own question

How you dress reflects your inner self.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2019, 09:23 AM

2. Do we feel that a man in a suit and tie is being modest? Do we feel that a man in shorts

and a sleeveless t-shirt or a man in bathing trunks is being immodest? No to both.

You have to go deeper than your question. The whole concept of modesty is only ever applied to women, and thus takes power away from women. Modesty is not empowering, nor is immodesty. The application of the concept to women is just more patriarchy.

I also believe it is very rare to find anyone who dresses to reflect their internal spirit.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 3, 2019, 09:33 AM

3. You nailed it, Squinch, thanks. NT

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Response to enough (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 3, 2019, 09:35 AM

4. I actually just realized this as I was thinking about Soph's question. So thanks to Soph!

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2019, 11:33 AM

5. Why do we not let them speak for themselves?

 

"They say that their choice to wear a Hijab is empowering to them."

We cite that statement and set out to prove it untrue. If they say it is, then it is. What business is it of ours how other societies live? Who appointed us to determine how people halfway across the world should conduct themselves?

We condemn the "Muslim extremists" because they are judgemental of the way we live, and they believe that they have the right to demand that we live in the manner that they do. They are wrong to be critical of us, we say, and have no right to tell us that our way of life is wrong. And then we are critical of them, tell them that they are living the wrong way and that they should live the way we do.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2019, 12:02 PM

6. Personally,

the entire idea that women are the ones who must dress modestly is the opposite of empowerment. It's defining them and how they must dress, wear their hair, be allowed to drive a car, and all the other things that men make use of to control women.

This Tracey Ullman sketch might shed some light on cultural assumptions.

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