For the second year in a row, London has held a “Modest Fashion Week” runway event. Famous faces such as Lindsay Lohan, complete with a rather confused leather mini-skirt/hijab combo were present.
This event comes right on the heels of at least 29 women in Iran being violently arrested and thrown into prison for peacefully protesting the hijab, which further begs the question of just whose side these feminists are on, anyway.
Of the two most recent, were Hamraz Sadeghi, who had her forearm broken during her arrest.
And Maryam Shariatmadari. She suffered a broken leg, before then being taken to hospital only to be transported to prison and further beaten and abused there. One of the protesters is facing 10 years in prison for the same kind of protest, so who knows what will become of these women?
Maryam Shariatmadari, being violently snatched from a utility box she’d stood upon to wave her hijab in protest.
As all of this madness unfolds in Iran, and women risk their freedom, their safety and their very lives to protest compulsory hijab, fashion models in London walk down a runway garbed in the very same symbols of female oppression. The usual argument or talking point is that for some this is a ‘choice’ and they should be supported in that. Another might be that because Muslim women do in fact exist in the west, the fashion world should of course be inclusive and cater to their needs.
Were the first statement true, I might be more on board with the second.
For those who were brought up in a Muslim family where hijab was the rule (No, it is not for ‘all’ Muslims), is there free choice when opting out of it could bring anything from shame to an utter shunning by the community? For those who stick tightly to this part of culture or religion, it makes little difference what country they call home.
So, if there is pressure from family, community or culture, it is not a free choice, or one a woman can necessarily make without a lot of backlash and negative impacts on her life.
These fashion shows, on the surface, look like a celebration of Muslim women. They seem to be saying “See? We’re like you, and we enjoy fashion just as much as you do.”
I don’t doubt that this much is true. I know that women the world over enjoy clothing that they find attractive. The issue is that when you are so limited in your choices, this is not a fashion statement as much as it is a set of strict, prescribed guidelines you must follow.
That is not freedom of choice, and thus it is not fashion. It is nothing more than a slightly prettier cage that women are locked in and oppressed by.
Would golden chains have made slavery more bearable? Rather than free them, should we have instead celebrated their condition and condescendingly assured them that they were just like us when they lacked even the most basic rights and freedoms? It’s precisely what we’re doing when we normalize the hijab.
My argument is not that we should ban the hijab in the west, or even that we should call off these fashion shows. Women who wear religious coverings are not the problem with all of this.
The problem lies with what looks a whole lot more like glamorizing the hijab, a clothing bondage meant only to diminish women in Islamic society, while transferring all responsibility to the women, and not the men who assault them.
The same feminists who rail against ‘rape culture’ are applauding the hijab, when its sole purpose was and has always been to avoid tempting men-lest they rape you because they can’t control themselves in the presence of a woman who is not hidden from head to toe.
Is this not rape culture, victim blaming and male supremacy at its very extreme?
Brock Turner sexually assaulted an intoxicated girl on a college campus and barely got a slap on his privileged wrist. Feminists were, (justifiably) outraged, as were we all. Why then, would you applaud and promote the very same thing under the flimsy guise of inclusiveness or fashion?
In countries under sharia law, a woman is required to produce four male witnesses should she accuse a man of rape. The rapist then has an option to simply marry the victim, escaping all criminal accountability. Should this fail, the victim can be charged with ‘adultery’, and imprisoned or even executed. To the surprise of absolutely no one, it cannot be known how many rapes occur in the middle east if this what a victim faces.
Where is the #MeToo or #BelieveHer crowd on that one?
Sharia law has not been written into legislation in the west, I am aware, but when one of its loudest supporters, Linda Sarsour, is leading the feminist movement in America, you cannot help but wonder how much longer we can honestly say that these ideologies are not beginning to find traction even here in the free world. Certainly, it is taking hold in the minds of those who would be led to accept and defend these ideas under the impression that to do otherwise would be in some way bigoted.
We have actually entered a time when to object to the oppression and silencing of women is now one of the most controversial things you can do, but insisting that we are in some way the victims of oppression in America is a thing not to be questioned, even though it is objectively false to any rational human being.
This modesty culture push is not designed to gain acceptance or tolerance of Muslim people, but to normalize, legitimize and otherwise sugarcoat the sexist, misogynistic ideas that Islam promotes, and feminists are falling for it in droves.
Is this a compatible ideology in the modern western world?
I maintain that it is not, and that this exploitation of our pink sheep feminist flocks by those who seek to impose it is something that all freedom-loving people, and actual women’s rights advocates should be concerned about.
We obviously cannot (and should not) pass any laws that would ban an ideology or infringe on a person’s freedom of speech. We were built on the foundation of religious freedom, (and also quite thankfully passed laws to separate church and state.)
What we can do is reject the notion outright and refuse to humor or coddle it. We can speak up against the fake feminists like Sarsour, and instead listen to the true human rights advocates such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Anni Cyrus when they tell us what sharia law is, and what it means for women who experience it firsthand.
They come from Somalia and Iran respectively, and both lived under the oppression. Sarsour was born in Brooklyn and is the only one in her family to even wear the hijab, she says.
(She was radicalized by an Islamic group (ICNA) in NY which has “training camps” and should be on some kind of federal watch list if it is not already.)
She leads our feminists and our feminists are silent on the oppression of women worldwide, too busy applauding and celebrating the hijab to question a thing.
All of this is why anyone with the ability to think critically should be hesitant in celebrating the hijab while those forced into it are risking their lives to rid themselves of what is to them, a hated symbol of their status as a second class citizen.