Saudi Arabia: Just What Does It Feel Like to Wear An Abaya

A question I am commonly asked by Americans is whether I ever wore the abaya while in Saudi Arabia.  The answer is yes.  My answer is usually followed with another question.  What did it feel like?  Now this answer would depend on the season and the occasion!  During the mid-Spring to early-Fall season in Riyadh, it felt HOT!  Even in spite of wearing a light weight abaya which had “breathability” just wearing a long black garment atop my own clothes with the sun bearing down was uncomfortably hot and stifling.  Yet during the cooler times of the year, I found the abaya comfortable, both temperature wise and fashion wise.

However another issue which at times was an impediment for me with the abaya was either its length or its diameter.  I dislike an abaya which trails on the ground collecting dust, dirt and who knows what else!  I also have a long stride when I walk so I need an abaya which could accommodate my long stride.

There are a wide variety of black or nearly black abayas in the shops throughout Saudi.  Women can also have their own abaya custom made to order too.  Whatever option a woman chooses, I suggest she ensure the abaya is a good fit for the length desired, diameter or width of material at the bottom for comfortable walking and a loose fit throughout.  Besides not wishing to appear immodest in a tight fitting abaya, the abaya should be loose enough to accommodate all types of attire underneath ranging from formal dresses to jeans and bulky sweaters.  During the colder months, some Saudi women would wear a coat under the abaya.  If I needed to wear both a coat and an abaya, I chose to wear the bulkier coat atop the abaya.  I was never stopped or challenged by my choice.

The black abaya which most women wear in Saudi Arabia is more of a cultural practice rather than an Islamic practice.  Islam requests that women dress modestly and many other women in Muslim countries have demonstrated modest dress without the requisite of a black abaya.

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41 Responses

  1. abaya is not a cultural attire, it is an islamic one based on Quran and Hadith.. The prophet’s wives wore a black one and they are our example…

    Here we call it abaya, it’s called burka and jilbab too in other societies and we all know the divine order is to cover your beauty. if u google the islamic attire for Iranians, algerians or any Muslim society u would realize they ALL wear a covering material on top of clothes, regardless of color or design. So this does not make it a saudi, nor an iranian or algerian culture. Rather, an ISLAMIC one.

  2. “The black abaya which most women wear in Saudi Arabia is more of a cultural practice…” whose culture?

    This is absolute false. Abaya, face and hair camouflaging are Saudi-Wahhabi improvised rubbish. The overwhelming majority of women in the Arabian peninsula did not use to wear this disfigurement, inhumane and enslaving black garment.

    Western women who wear abaya validate a culture and way of life they despise and condemn while in and long after they leave their beloved Saudi Arabia.

    Most Westerners go to Saudi Arabia to make lots of money, load themselves with gold and live a life style they can never dream of having in the State as wage earners.

    Many of them are ultra conservative and with limited education and exposures.

    I have yet to meet any Western man or woman who have lived in Saudi Arabia for years and took time to study the history of the Saudi-Wahhabi movement, understood its creation, evolution and the means it used to subdued many fierce tribes that used to rule themselves and roam the vast land freely.

    The Saudi-Wahhabi theocratic and autocratic tribes depend on Western expatriates, journalists, diplomats and educational institution like Harvard, Georgetown, Columbia, Berkeley and Stanford to promote Saudi policies, spread their ideology and false information about the true nature of the Saudi states, its institutions and means of total control over every aspects of people’s lives and livelihood.

    Who owns water, electricity, mosques, airlines and educational institutions?

    Western expatriates mostly deal with Saudi elitists who speak English and prefer the Western life style to their own.

  3. The black abaya is an import from the Byzantine Empirie. It is not local to the peninsula. The Wahabis love it. It originated as a status symbol for upper-class women. When Islam came in contact with it they adopted it- as an indication of class- so it was not for the lower class Muslim women. They were not allowed to cover their hair originally.

    And Mr. Ali Alyami, you seem completely out of touch as to what most westerners in Saudi are like. Or even have been like for the last 20 years, at least.

  4. Ali – yes you have!

  5. Ali

    Did you just try to say that Western women who work in the Kingdom are uneducated and ultra conservative?

    Really?

    I think the inevitable chorus of women like myself will disprove that theory very quickly.

    As to us wearing the abaya, well, that’s not a choice we get to make here. We don’t wear it to validate the Saudi culture, we wear it because we aren’t allowed to leave the house without it. The choice to abandon the abaya has to be made by the Saudi women themselves.

  6. Irrespective of if it’s a cultural garmet or religious one it’s not a choice, so no debate there, if you choose to go live in saudi then you wear the abaya – or else plan to stay home . v simple, the saudi govt makes the choice .

    usually you can wear the coat like one, , yes it’s long and hot in summer but otherwise not so bad, i wore it ankle length so as to no go around tripping or collecting germs, sometimes i felt like ripping the hands off :-) but mostly it was ok, you forget about it after a while and just go about your work.. i’ve even gotten away with a long coat like thing..

  7. Dr. Alyami,
    You are absolutely right that the Western women who lead an ultra-conservative lifestyle in KSA are not so well-educated (which is different from “uneducated” as one commentator responds here) and have not been exposed to a good high-level education. I have been shocked to see the level of ignorance of many of these women who write online in different forums.

    There are some exceptions of women who may have gone to the graduate School in the West, but may have rejected the Western democratic lifestyle as a rebellion against the society. I read somewhere that the Western converts to Islam who follow this kind of orthodox lifestyle are more often than not, those who don’t want to fit into the “normal” lifestyle mold of the society they are born in. They convert to Islam because they don’t want to “fit in.” This includes men as well as women.

    You are also right that this is imposed by the Wahhabi-style Islam and was not always like this. Aafke, one of the commentators here, once wrote a post on the dressing style of women in the Arab world and she showed many images which showed women wearing different types of dresses, which really made them look elegant. Besides, we have miniature paintings from the mediaeval period which show women wearing completely different and colourful dresses.

    It is also true that the Prophet’s wives completely screened themselves. It appears that gradually it acquired a symbol of prestige and spread to the society, which the Wahhabis validated as “required uniform” of Muslim women.

    The irony is that many of these Western women who move to Saudi Arabia, live a cocooned life there and hardly move with the common people of the country – many of whom may be questioning the rigid codes imposed on them by the State and who may be willing to change their society. With their disconnected life, these Western women don’t realise that they are reinforcing an imagined “idealistic Islamic” portrayal of the Saudi society by following this kind of lifestyle, which the Saudis don’t want to follow. The “ideal picture” may not exist outside their own imagination.

    We have read the interviews from many Saudi women on this very blog who question this restrictive life imposed on them, some of whom have managed to escape to the West and even others who are there, want to change their country. But the Western women who go there and reinforce the restrictive life imposed by the State make it more difficult for the Saudi people to bring in their changes, because they support the extremist right-wing Islamism because of their imagined picture of how an Islamic Saudi society should be, never mind how the Saudi women want to be.

    It’s also shameful for the elite class of Saudi Arabia that they help the government to impose this restrictive lifestyle on the common people, but they themselves use their money and power to escape these restrictions. They can have mansions where they can live Westernised lives and have another set of mansions abroad where their women can go for vacations when they are tired of being mistreated at home by their men. Their women can also spend much of their lives abroad living a Western lifestyle.

    For the Western women rules are relaxed – they are not expected to cover their hair. They can wear stylish, colourful, cut to fit long gowns in place of Burqa/Abaya, they can live in compounds where the orthodox Saudi rules don’t apply because Islam is merciful on the Western women according to Saudi govt and of course many of them have the luxuries of life which shields them from the harshness of ordinary Saudi life.

    Besides, Western women are also privileged to get a grand hospitality from the Saudis, which no other foreign women have access to, never mind the level of accomplishments of the Western women as compared to that of non-Western ones.

    So, Saudi Arabia does look like a Paradise to these women and during their stay in Saudi Arabia they never really get to feel the life of the common Saudis and the foreigners from the non-Western countries, who are the ones who bear the brunt of the Saudi regulations.

  8. It is a misconception to suggest that the abaya is required wearing for western women in Saudi, or that the government has somehow mandated that we wear it. In fact, there is no law here which even addresses the abaya. I’ve lived here seven years and can count the number of times I have worn an abaya on two hands – and I spend considerable time each week out among the “local population”. Sure, I have had a few runs ins with the PVPV, but the truth is, beyond trying to intimidate me, there is little they can do as long as I am modestly dressed. Again, there is no law, just a strongly held – and defended – belief that the abaya is mandatory.

    I agree, in part, with Ali’s comment that by wearing the abaya western women validate what many of us see as a clear symbol of oppression and marginalization of half the population. Personally I would rather be uncomfortable and uncompromising than appear to buy in to the abaya myth, but many feel differently, and that’s their choice.

    Obviously I, like many others, take exception his suggestion that many of us are “ultra conservative with limited education or exposure”.

  9. It really depends on where one is in Saudi as to whether one can truly get away by going out without an abaya. In conservative Riyadh and much of Nej’d, a woman (foreign or otherwise) should wear an abaya. However that being said, since Saudi is full of contrasts and contradictions, I managed to go out more and more without an abaya. In the hotter months, I’d wear my white lab coat which came down to my knees. In the cooler months, I’d wear a coat which fell around the knees. I would wear the abaya when I felt it was more appropriate to do so. I have been fortunate to never have had any kind of an encounter with the muttawa.

    I also take umbrage to the term about conservative western women with limited education or exposure. I’ve met a number of western women who have chosen conservatism like many Saudi women and I consider these women friends. They have been widely exposed and the majority of these women have Master degrees and some PhD’s. They are gainfully employed and active in their communities with both Saudis and expatriates. I don’t care about what their life was or had been in the West since they are now settled in the Kingdom. I’m happy that they are content and satisfied with the life they have in Saudi. None of these women that I know are the types who would try and persuade anyone to follow their choices. They are happy and confident in their own skin under that abaya.

  10. “Just what does it feel like to wear an abaya?”

    Sometimes uncomfortable when it comes to stairs, escalators and heat.
    Sometimes a blessing when it comes to needing to go out and not having to worry about the clothing underneath.
    Sometimes confining and restrictive.
    Sometimes a reminder that women are objects and not people.
    Sometimes relief in knowing that I won’t have to wear one forever.
    Sometimes even sexy because I look rather good all in black with the hijab flowing around my neck (not head). :)

  11. I love wearing abaya! I particularly love the extra long type, the one that sweeps the floor and brings home all the germs ;)) I love flip flops and don’t really want to wear socks or stockings, so extra long abaya covers my feet nicely, even when I’m sitting. From my experience, if flowy shin-length cotton skirt is paired with thin soft cotton t-shirt underneath an abaya, killer summer heat and humidity is easy breezy. One day I was in a hurry and threw on my abaya over jeans and shirt that I was wearing at home and headed out…big mistake! I was about to die and crawled back home asap. One of the plus points of wearing loose abaya is that when you gain extra few lbs, no worries, you can always have some room to grow into ;)

  12. I just arrived in Saudi Arabia one week ago and I have yet to wear an abaya. My secret is that I actually wear ankle length, black, light weight cotton dresses. I couldn’t abide by the thought of wearing double layers of clothing in this weather. I think of my dresses as transporting me to the era of Jane Eyre ;-).

  13. I have to agree with Bedu that there is obviously stark differences depending on one’s locality in Saudi Arabia. I live in Riyadh and have not yet had the opportunity to travel to the coastal cities of Jeddah/Dammam but I get the impression that there’s a little more leniency in dress codes than there is Riyadh.

    I wear a lab coat when I am at work and sometimes in the taxi travelling to and from work but I would not wear it downtown. However, I do cover my hair when I am in the main hospital building. I’ve been there with my hair uncovered before but it causes far too much disturbance for my liking. I get enough lewd stares from the foreign workers as it is.

    To be honest, I have enough challenges in my life here being a western woman who is not married. Its a big enough hassle getting to the shops than to have to also survive the staring, nasty comments and angry muttawa that not being appropriately dressed would attract.

    No thanks, I get much more respect from those around me when I cover. So I’ll leave that battle to those braver than I am. I’ll listen to those criticising my actions when they themselves are out on the streets of Riyadh practicing what they preach.

  14. I have to agree with Bedu and disagree with Daisy.
    Many of the the women living in KSA are educated (but, I think, their degree is not in technical subjects) and majority are liberal not conservative.

  15. add. to the above
    I mean, of course, western women living in KSA.

  16. Stacy, I was living Khobar and I didn’t notice the dress code any more lenient than in Riyadh.

  17. @Stacy,

    Do you work at NGHA? Your reference to the ‘main hospital’ made me wonder.

  18. No I work at KAUH, part of KSU downtown. My hospital is nowhere near that size :). In fact as far as I can tell I’m the only Western woman here.

  19. Abaya: For some it is a custom to be followed so they do it without much thought, for others it is a sign of being Islamic.

    I lived in a place (35 years back) where muslim women wore no abaya or any other garment other than their normal dress, some conservative families made their women to put a screen (white chador) on rickshaw (3 wheel buggy pulled manually); they were quite active in education and were in touch with times.
    However this has changed now (in last 15 years) the Tableeghi jamaats have campaigned successfully to ensure that Black abaya is worn and accepted as a practice by all and 98% muslim women follow the same.And unfortunately muslims in my place seem to have less education and hence are more poorer than their previous generation.
    I got married to a woman who had Arab roots, wearing Abaya was a must, not because of their being strictly religious but because it is not accepted in the society we lived in (this place was 500 KM away from my native place). I tried to advise my wife that it is not really necessary to wear a Burkha; but she was not comfortable in annoying her family and also be subjected to ridicule- I could get her point and let her wear (reluctantly) what she wanted to.
    However I felt pity for my old Mom when she had to start wearing abaya in my place where it is extremely hot and humid and basic facilities like A/C car is out of reach.
    Later I found that my wife and other relatives were giving less importance to Abaya and wearing to complete the formality; then I advised them that it is actually their real dress as it is in this dress that they are found mostly and has to be good, comfortable, breatheable, well maintained, ironed and washed, free from loose hanging laces/accessories etc.
    They got the point and moved to wear costlier Abaya’s, but still I do not find Abaya’s in pure cotton which can be excellent in hot weather.
    I do not like it in heat absorbing and easily dust mark staining black colour, but it is what is in vogue unfortunately. The most approporiate colour could be that of sand (beige) coloured Abaya which does not absorb heat and does not collect dust stains easily. Ofcourse has to be upto ankles only to maintain hygiene and appropriate fitting, neither loose nor figure hugging.
    Further a word of advise due to current colour restrictions would be to wear very thin white cotton clothing within abaya in summers.
    Before I conclude Abaya is really an later day invention by some over zealous scholors and not truly Islamic requirement, mostly started from Saudi which may not be completely bad but why impose on Non-muslims?
    Further there are many muslims will reject my statement of Abaya as cultural dress as false, but no point in arguing as in any case security/modesty of woman is not guaranteed by wearing Abaya, just walk along a street and see how many will try to grope even when you are wearing Abaya.
    Conclusion: 1.Wear abaya where it is needed based on ‘while in Rome do as romans do’
    2. Abaya is the apparent dress people see you in so choose good one and maintain it very neat and clean, crease/stain free.
    3.If possible prefer a breathable cloth for summers, or choose to be in A/C environments.
    4. There is nothing wrong or backward in wearing abaya as long as a woman carries out her day to day life and activities normally, pursues education and does a job if needed.
    5. For those who assume that a woman wearing abaya is suppressed etc open your eyes that is not at all the case, in fact they may like the independance in wearing the same, think out of the box dude.
    6.Finally it does not matter wether it is a cultural attire of Islamic, those who wear it know it and have their own opinions and let them have it, why are you bothered and why bring laws against (or for) it.
    7. Development of charector/personality should be more relevant than what you wear.
    8. Colour of abaya should be left to be chosen by the person to wear or atleast have a multiple choice of atleast 3 colours sanctioned by all scholors (As without their sanction it is not possible to change it for the common man out there).

  20. That must be quite an experience each day, Stacy, being the only westerner at work!

  21. Welcome Mohiuddin and thank you for the background info and perspectives on the abaya!

  22. I disagree with anyone says that western women who are working in Saudi are “uneducated”. I would say that ALL western women who are working in Saudi are very well educated and holders of Master degree or PhDs in different fields especially in medicine. They are actually the best expats we have in the kingdom. I read Saudi newspapers everyday and I have never read or heard that a western woman committed a crime in Saudi or violated the law and I really appreciate that a lot. Most of them love living the Saudi culture and enjoy the experience and the majority of them who compromise with the Saudi law are doing that because they are civilised and they do not violate the law or the cultural taboos. If there is any cultural change that should occur in Saudi, it must come from within the Saudi people only. It is not the responsibility of western women. Western women should not be blamed by any means and it is really a shame to point a finger to western women and blame them, it is selfish and rude to accuse falsely innocent women who come to work and live in Saudi and to call them uneducated. If anyone has any problem with the Saudi culture, he should never involve these respected women in his problems. Just leave them alone, they are happy doing their work and their incomes are none business of anyone. They gain it because they deserve it.

    @stacy,
    It seems that the world is really becoming a small village. I am a Saudi “temporally aussie” and I am wondering if I met you in Emirate airline flight from Dubai to Sydney around 2007? She told me that she is working in the same hospital you are working in now. is she YOU?!!!!!!!

    anyway, you are very welcome in saudi, stacy and I hope you enjoy work and living in Riyadh.

    Regarding Abaya, once while I was sitting with my sisters and mum, we talked about Abaya and Burqa. My sisters suggested that I wear them to see how I look like in Abaya. I took one of my sisters’ abaya and her Burqa and went to my room. when I came out of my room hehehe, all of them started laughing on me and some of them were about to get fainted from laughing ): they told me that I look very nice in that Abaya and if I go with them, many guys will try to flirt me ): it was the first time to feel that I am not a male hehehe. I went back to my room running and when I took it off, I said to them, I thank God that I am a male and I am still thankful to God hehehe.

  23. @ Mohiuddin – I love your reminder of “when in Rome do as the Romans do” !!!

  24. Thank you Medina for a nice post.

    As for “when in Rome do as the Romans do” I used to be more that way than I am now. I lost a lot of respect for the Saudi culture over the years and since Saudi culture/law respects women so little- I’ve decided that I’ll get away with what I can, if it suits me. So for example I no longer cover my hair. I feel SO MUCH better without a scarf on. And it really should be my choice so I’m taking it back. Respect is a two-way street.

    Just to clarify- there are A LOT of Saudi people I greatly respect. And I have no need to lead a revolution. But I can’t just accept all the nonsense either. Nor can I set that example for my children either.

  25. @ Sandy … I like “when in Rome… ” but I also like this quote –
    ‘Tradition is a guide and not a jailer’ by W. Somerset Maugham (1874 – 1965)

  26. @Wendy,
    Also good. I guess every situation/person has to find the right balance.

  27. My abaya was a shield from prying eyes that wanted to see what they would ordinarily see anyways.

    My abaya was my closet….outside was presentable and smooth…inside was hot, sweaty, and mentally pissed off.

    My abaya was my worst enemy…tripping me up and catching on every ragged edge. It was my best friend…hiding my pounds and unkempt clothing.

    My abaya was my constant reminder that I had a vagina and breasts…it was my burden and my angst.

    My abaya was easy to put on but not easy to wear. It was easy to take off but not easy to keep off.

    My abaya was like my finger or my toe…a part of me….but it was like a tail or snout…completely alien to me.

    My abaya was the beginning and the end of me in the eyes of others…but to me it was end of my ability to feel the sun…to catch a breeze…to change my style…to please myself.

    My abaya was as light any regular bit of clothing…my abaya weighed a ton and the burden of carrying it caused my shoulders to slump and my feet to drag and my heart to ache.

    That is (was) my abaya.

  28. @Coolred – I love what you wrote!

  29. In the US, the abaya covers from the shoulders down. The Head covering is the Hijab, and the face covering is the Niqab. In the US, it is mostly American Women converts who wear the Niqab. Most imigrants to the US are sick of it and take the first chance to get rid of the hideous thing.

    I Hijab all the time, and have not had trouble, yet many Muslimahs from other countries are fearful to wear it, saying that others will attack them.

    This is all very messed up.

  30. I think it has become common to see women in the US who wear hijab. It’s not as common to see the niqab. However, in certain settings, like hospitals which receive a large influx of international patients, you will see Saudis, Kuwaitis and other Arab women who will choose to wear both hijab and niqab.

  31. I was living in Portland, OR, but am now in NE Ohio. I have seen NO Muslimahs here, amd most often locals think I am a Catholic Nun.. LOL

    Interestingly, I have a friend who lives in Riyadh, and over the years, he say that things have begun to change to a more moderate culture. He’s out along the North Ring Road, and he says that if I am careful, I could even get away sans Hijab, because people know I am American and not even the Muttawa usually bother us. Well, for me the Hijab is the minimum and I see it as my pact with Allah SWT, so I love it. Besides, something as ancient as I should be hidden. LOL

    However, I really dislike Black and will do almost anything to avoid wearing it. Here in the US, I have been “gently reminded” that there are times when I must wear Black! YUUUUUK !

  32. @Wendy- thanks for appreciation, Sandy love your assertiveness, Colored I do empathise with your sentiments.Hala even I hate pure black YUUUUUK

  33. Medina:

    Alas, I was not working in KSA in 2007, I’ve only been here for one year. Unless I learn to time travel while I’m here… :).

    I hope you are enjoying your time in Australia. It truly is a beautiful country and I hope you get to see as much of it as possible.

    Bedu:

    Being the only Westerner is definitely a challenge. Fortunately my colleagues have all spent time working in Western societies so they’re all somewhat understanding of my culture. I don’t work with any Saudis tho so we do all share the same cultural frustrations from time to time!

    Being the ‘token’ Westerner does have its advantages but it also makes me annoyed that some people will listen to me and treat me better than those I work with even when they are far more qualified and experienced than I am, purely because of my birth certificate and the colour of my skin.

  34. Thank you Mohiuddin. After 5 years as an American Muslimah, living in America, perhaps my beliefs are beginning to settle out. At first I was very conservative, trying to out Muslimah even born Muslims. Now, I have sort of settled in to it, and don’t spend much time worried about things, and I have no Masjid or Muslims near me. :( So, it is imposible to be involved in the community. Inshallah, next year when I move I can again be close to other Muslims.

  35. @Stacy,

    I understand and emphasize with your comment as I have shared similar experiences because of nationality.

  36. I like your blog, very informative, Thank you.

  37. [...] Arabia but with a slight twist.  Any women traveling in the Kingdom would be expected to wear an abaya when she is out in public places.  While a woman can wear virtually whatever she pleases [...]

  38. I find all of these comments quite interesting. Such an incredible amount of judgment about something obviously controversial to the “western mind” Say what you will about the individual intentions of these women and whether or not they are wearing this abaya…and of course if you disapprove, your comments will stop at nothing to equate choices to lack of intelligence. As a “western” muslim, I find this offensive. Open your minds and let people do what they wish. If you find it to be such an imposition, do not travel to KSA. If you are from the KSA and you find it so horrid, LEAVE, come over to West, you’ll be free as a bird, as “happy” as can be. This life is temporary, if you want to cloud it with your pseudo intellect and opinions that are very uninformed…I supposed it’s your choice too :)

  39. I’m not a muslim girl, so I’ve never used an abaya before. However, sometimes I feel really annoyed by the prying eyes of men. There seems to be a contradictory judgement when it comes to whether to wear abaya or not. Let me explain myself: some people here say it is oppressing for women to wear it, some say it is not. The fact is that, as a western woman, seeing the objectification of women (just look at the semi-naked women on music video clips) massively portrayed on the media, on magazines, etc. makes me think that we live in a world of contradictions. Even when you are a westerner living in the US, the media objectification of women does exactly the very same thing some women here say abaya does: being oppressed. It is a form of oppression to be objectified in a sexual way. As women, we still haven’t been able to get away from oppression. I am not saying I love the concept of abaya, but many times I really wish I was wearing one. You probably understand why: Men’s prying eyes can be really irritating. The way some men look at you, as if you were a piece of meat. And I am the type of woman who wears normal clothes, not really revealing, but also I don’t dress like a catholic nun. I like comfort and elegance. The real problem here is the way the brain of men are wired. Many of them have way too much testosterone (horny) and still think in their minds that women are just objects, EVEN IN WESTERN SOCIETIES, so as soon as you wear something that reveals your curves for example, or shows half of your leg, they will still look at you as if you were a piece of meat. I think neuroscience should find a way to fix the brains of men, so they stop looking at women as sexual objects. In that manner, we could be wearing really cool and refreshing clothes during summertime without having to worry about the looks that some men give us.

  40. I hope soon enough our human (still kind of animal) brains evolve into a sophisticated mind, and finally women can wear anything they want without being observed or noticed by men, specially in summertime.

  41. Estefania, veiling women is the most extreme form of objectifying women invented. It means that every part of a woman’s body is a sexual organ, it completely negates the fact that a woman is a sentient being with her own mind, it implies that a woman is nothing but a walking vagina, out to corrupt men.
    And it even denigrates men because it implies they all are nothing but mindless sexual predators who have no option but to rape any woman who is not ”properly veiled”. And it puts the blame of any sexual harassment up to rape on the woman. There is so much evil connected to the primitive, misogynist practice of veiling that you could write a book about it.

    And most interestingly, it accomplishes the exact opposite of what it claims to do: in societies where women are all forced to veil, men are totally obsessed with women and sex, and no woman, however completely veiled, gloved, etc. is safe outdoors.
    Compare that to normal countries where women can lay on the beach in a bikini or even topless without being mercilessly harrassed by gangs of sex-obsessed men.

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