Out of the Mouth of Babes

…comes outstanding wisdom!

This young lady rants about something we’ve all had enough of: comparing women to precious objects or food or in order to convince us to wear hijab. We’ve written about this before, but it’s refreshing to see it put together in another way.

Preach, sister!

  • http://thisisnotclever.blogspot.com Anne

    Masha’Allah, Masha’Allah! I couldn’t have said it better myself; I cringe whenever I see those ads.

  • http://sumayyahsaidso.com Sumayyah

    Masha’Allah! This young lady is going places, insha’Allah. I agree with her that we need new language that includes our individuality as women.

  • http://www.yasmin-raoufi.blogspot.com Yasmin

    Mashallah, she is definitely very cute! I agree with most of what she says. However, in my humble opinion a woman’s lack of modesty may contribute to her getting raped and vice versa.

  • http://www.muslimahmediawatch.org Krista

    @ Yasmin: Blaming the victim is never okay. People can get raped and assaulted regardless of what they wear. See this article for more on why it’s problematic to put the blame on people’s clothing: http://www.altmuslimah.com/a/b/gva/4395/.

  • aliya

    what an AWESOME girl! So well-spoken, and she looks so young! (seriously. How old is this kid? I agree, the pearl analogy gets on my last nerve…it’s like we’re saying “So, to demonstrate that women have value, let’s compare them to something with no intrinsic value whatsoever. But they’re pretty!”

  • http://www.muslimahmediawatch.org Krista

    I totally LOVE this clip, and especially love the ending about how the analogy doesn’t really make any sense anyway.

    I’m not sure how I feel about the focus on her age, though. (This is a general comment related to this post and to other places I’ve seen this video shared, not intending to single out any one person.) I know that the original post and the comments here are well-intentioned and complimentary, but it feels a bit patronising at the same time.

    I was really active in a lot of human rights issues when I was pretty young, and it always really annoyed me when people said “wow, you’ve done so much (or you’re so well-spoken, or whatever) for someone so young!” It felt like I was just being patted on the head like a little kid, and the focus on my age took a lot away from what I was actually doing. If what I was doing impressed them, my age had very little to do with it. Same thing with this clip – her arguments are awesome and bang on, and I’d still love the rant if she were a couple decades older. It’s impressive mostly because of what she says, not because of how old she appears to be (which, for that matter, can sometimes be hard to judge over youtube.)

  • Lara A

    Salaam Alaikum,

    Brilliant. She covers all the crap hijab analogies and demolishes them in 3 minutes. I wear hijab myself and I’m not a piece of jewellery either ;)

  • Babalooba

    Have any of your read the book by Irshad Manji “The trouble with Islam Today” What are your thoughts?

  • Babalooba

    I was talking to an Indian Muslam man that I know, happily married to a woman that wears the hijab, and he told me that the reason that muslam woman who wear the hijab, always have designer glasses/sunglasses is because it is the ONLY way that they are allowed to express their feminism (sexuality) . I have noted that they almost always “fancy” glasses … Is he right?

  • http://www.muslimahmediawatch.org Krista

    @ Babalooba: That’s all pretty off-topic, and I’ll ask for later comments in this thread to reflect the post specifically. As for quick answers to your questions:

    1. Most Muslim women I know are deeply critical of Irshad Manji. Although many identify as feminist and have their own critiques of religious institutions, and some even share some of her opinions, most still do not feel that her writing represents them.

    2. That observation about sunglasses might be true for some hijab-wearing women, but remember that there are literally millions of women around the world who wear hijab, who have a wide range of reasons for wearing it and for wearing whatever accessories they might wear along with it. Sunglasses are definitely not the only possible expression of feminism, femininity, or sexuality for hijab-wearing women.

  • Anneke

    Well said, and often had similar thoughts… Am no lollipop either!

    @Krista, I hear you!!! They say that children/young people are among the most ignored groups in society… Something to keep in mind!

  • Eren Arruna Cervantes

    Mashallah sister! Completely agree with you. Hopefully this time people will get it straight!

  • Anne

    To be honest, listening carefully to some of the things she has said, I find her argument to be a bit irrational, for example:

    “A piece of cloth over your head is not going to protect you from men objectifying you or getting raped, or anything like that”- then why does Allah say: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused/molested. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” [Q 33:59]

    She says: “it doesnt matter what you’re wearing, women are sexually assaulted and everything. There are women who wear burka’s and get sexually assaulted”. Number one, saying “it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing” and then following it up with “there are women who wear burka’s and get assaulted” does not mean they correlate in any way to form a logical argument. A more reasoned argument would have informed us of the number of women who wear the burka and get sexually assaulted as compared with the number of women who wear miniskirts who have been sexually assaulted. But even then you would have to consider many other factors, such as country, culture etc. She seems to be treading on thin ice with what she is saying, and may be unhealthily influencing naive and vulnerable listeners.

    She appears very passionate, but we must remember that passion can override reason, and so we should analyse EXACTLY what she is saying before we agree and applaud.

    As for her saying “a woman’s clothing has nothing to do with it”, well take a look at this please: http://stylishmuslimah.blogspot.com/2009/04/hijab-science-and-instincts-look-at.html

    She also goes on to say, “I must admit, there are some guys who can be perverts, but a piece of cloth is not going to stop a pervert”.. stop a pervert from what? from doing what? :S.

    While she is right, that a “piece of cloth” may not stop a guy from being a “pervert”, at least it gives them nothing to look at when they do perve.

    But I feel the need to correct her on another issue: Hijab is not just a “piece of cloth” on a woman’s head. It includes her whole outer garment, which must be long and loose and not attention-grabbing.

    And conversely, I DO feel protected when I wear my hijab, so she can speak as loud as you like, but it does not mean she is right.

    Please develop a clear and coherent argument and then maybe people of reasonable intelligence will be able to listen without picking out all the things that don’t make sense.

    While I do agree with her point about the analogies objectifying women, she must realise that the analogies were not made to deter objectification in the first place.

    This comment has been edited according to MMW‘s Comment Moderation Policy.

  • Kawthar
  • Ijtihad

    Also, the pearl analogy as well as all other jewelry-related analogies, are very tricky ones, for it appears to me as a way not only to objectify women – as is rightly stated by our sister here – but also to put them on a pedestal, which is a subtle but nevertheless dangerous way of taking our agency away from us.

    First, we become some kind of a myth and, as such, we are expected to be a permanent example of whatever Islam means to those who define it for us. Besides – and on a more spiritual level – myth is, by nature, impossible to live up to, and the search for perfection tends to take us away from the One, I believe, even more so if we are not acting fully in “engaged surrender” (as A. Wadud translates/defines “islam”), but more being on display.

    Second, this pedestal works as a golden cage, for it allows some of our agency to be limited, supposedly for our own good. I.E. we must be protected, that’s why we should not go to some places, avoid being out at certain hours, and so on…

    And third, this is another underlying strategy to silence any critique regarding the way Muslim women actually are being treated within their own communities. A. Wadud has written extensively on this topic, pointing out that the improvement the Revelation did bring to us is too often presented as being one with our current condition. This type of discourse is then used by both men and women to make us all quiet, or at least, not air our dirty laundry publicly. Furthermore, some women eventually come to consider that we ARE being treated as precious jewelry, and become the fiercest guardians of patriarcal traditions.

    One might think I’ve gone off-topic, but it really seems to me that these jewelry analogies reveal some key issues pertaining to women’s full agency within Islam. Would be very interested to get your input on these thoughts!

    May the Peace of Allah be on us all.

  • Babalooba

    Krista…with all respect to yourself and the women wearing the hijab, could you please clarify your statement..”Sunglasses are definitely not the only possible expression of feminism, femininity, or sexuality for hijab-wearing women.” I caanot even begin to imagine what else can express their feminism, femininity, sexuality….please enlighten me..I only see the designer sunglasses…….Please explain your statement! thank you…

    • Fatemeh

      @ Babalooba: Women who wear hijab express themselves however they want. Including jewelry, sunglasses, scarf styles, etc. To answer your question, your friend is wrong.

      @ Anne: The facts are there. Hijab does not protect women from harassment, assault, or rape. The problem with assuming it does lies in assuming that harassment, rape, etc., are sexually-based actions. They are not. These actions are about power over women.

      Many women who wear hijab have experienced harassment, and some have even experienced assault and rape. Egypt is a prime example of the idea that hijab is not protection: 83% of Egyptian women have reported harassment. Do you think 100% of the women who have been harassed don’t wear hijab or niqab? You’d be wrong.

  • Babalooba

    My friend is wrong? Excuse me, but that is his opinion, and he is happily married to a woman that wears the hijab. Just because you do not agree with him does not make him” wrong”. His explanation makes sense to me, because seeing a Muslim (Muslam here in Quebec) wearing a hijab with designer sunglasses does not “jive” i.e. the total look is to not allow men to in any way see the woman as a sexual object. I agree, because there is nothing sensual about a Muslim woman wearing the layers that she does. But then , all of a sudden , there are these expensive, and somewhat feminine sunglasses. His opinion makes total sense to me, so please do not say that he is wrong. Who are you to judge him wrong?

  • http://www.muslimahmediawatch.org Krista

    @ Babalooba: Your friend is entitled to his opinion, and it is likely true for some women. However, to assert as you did in your earlier post, that “the reason that muslam woman who wear the hijab, always have designer glasses/sunglasses is because it is the ONLY way that they are allowed to express their feminism (sexuality)” is a ridiculous generalisation, and definitely not true for all hijab-wearing women. That said, this discussion is getting way off track. Let’s stick to the original post.


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