Feeling Judgement

I just read an interesting post called The Impact on Our Kids: Internalizing Those Judging Eyes. Even though the situation discussed here was one experienced with Islam, I found it easy to identify with.

I was walking outside with my daughter last week in a neighborhood we used to live in, back when we lived a conservative Muslim life. It was a hot sunny day, and she was wearing a sleeveless t-shirt and tight pants. There was nobody out on the street except a few teenage boys playing basketball. They were down at the other end, and they weren’t looking at us.

“I wonder how many Muslims are looking at me right now, and saying, ‘tif!‘,” my daughter said to me.

I was immediately shocked and dismayed. What on earth had brought that on?—there was nobody near us, even! And why would she be worrying about people peering out at us through their curtains, this early in the morning?? But her intonation of the “tif!” was dead on, unfortunately. She was reproducing an expression that she had heard many times from her father, his friends, and his relatives, especially when they were discussing girls’ behavior that they strongly disapproved of.

It’s funny, because I do this too. I go out in short shorts and a tank top, and when I pass someone dressed like a fundamentalist, I automatically wonder what that person is thinking of me. Because I remember being the one doing the judging, seeing women in short shorts and tank tops and thinking how immodest and worldly they were, how they were encouraging males’ lustful glances and leading men astray. And now I’m that worldly woman.

Of course, I don’t let that affect how I act or how I dress. It’s just something that’s there in my mind, as I feel the silent judgement I remember meting out.

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://phoenixandolivebranch.wordpress.com Sierra

    Me, too!
    It always makes me a little sad, because I want to be able to tell them that I was one of them once.

  • Muzakbox

    I live on a street with a mosque and sometimes I’ll garden in my front yard in a bikini top and shorts. Sometimes the women will walk by in their various levels of veiling and you know that “tif” sound referenced above? I know exactly what it sounds like!

    I have never been a fundamentalist of any kind and I was pretty much raised in the theater because my mother is a costumer designer. I grew up around a lot of co-ed nudity, skimpy costumes, sexualities, and general comfort with ones body. I was shocked the first time I heard someone using the term immodest except in a joking way.

    The world I grew up in was so accepting of so many variety of peoples and their beliefs that I am actually a little afraid of fundamentalist people of any religion. I know that I am in every way unacceptable to them from the way I dress to the way my husband and I conduct our marriage (I am the bread winner, he is the domestic partner). I feel that their judgement of my life choices is not pretty and it actually makes me fearful and anxious sometimes especially living so close to a very conservative mosque. I know that my fears are basically unfounded but sometimes I do see hostility in some of their faces. But not always. I once had a very nice gentleman stop with his young daughter to talk to me about my lily garden.

  • Saraquill

    I think very many thoughts whenever I pass somebody in overly tight or overly revealing clothing. I’m fully aware that this is my problem, not theirs, and that the most negative of these thoughts are due to my personal issues. Most of these can be condensed down into “why?” or “that is not flattering.”

    I also make it a point not to preach at/give disapproving looks/otherwise openly express what’s going on in my head. All it would do is cause unhappiness.