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Dec 10 2005

Fashion Week: Bangladesh

Fashion week is particularly hardcore in Bangladesh, where an outlaw militant Islamist group has vowed to murder any woman not wearing a veil. These unpleasant godbags–who are also implicated in some of those bombings you always hear about on NPR while you’re getting your coffee and never think about again–are the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen. The Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, afllicted by vulgar delusion as are all godbags, are some ugly, mean-spirited fucks. They’ve bombed 21 people to death in the last two weeks, and, pleased with the success of this marketing strategy in promoting their deity’s brand, now prepare to take it on home by imprisoning the females.

“Women," announced the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, "will be killed if they are found to move around without wearing burqa from the first day of Zilhaj. Women, including non-Muslims, are hereby advised not to go out of home without burqa. Seclusion has been made compulsory for you."

Note how similar the sentiment of this threat is to those warnings that we little ladies here in the free world are always getting from helpful male authority figures on how to avoid getting raped. "Just do what us dudes say, and nobody gets hurt, except when we decide to kick your ass anyway."

99 comments

1 ping

  1. emjay

    Here, wear this ugly, hot, uncomfortable sack and no one will want to rape you. Unless, of course, someone just wants to rape a woman. In which case, it’s your fault for being out in public. Or just being a woman. Or something.

  2. wordgirl

    Confucius say: Men with tiny genitals mostly threatened by women with big brain.

  3. Josef K

    I’ve just come back from Christmas shopping, where I saw a woman in full burqa, only her eyes and hands showing, shopping for teensy-tiny girly underwear. There’s something about seeing a woman in burqa picking up a sequinned G-string with “Eat Me” written on it. Something that makes me go “WTF? WTF?” and knock over yet another display rail.

  4. joolya

    These people are sick fuckers. Maybe we should send every woman in Pakistan a handgun . . . Oh wait, I’m in favor of gun control . . . No, in this case I make an exception. you could hide an uzi in a burqa.

  5. BC

    > I saw a woman in full burqa, only her eyes and hands showing

    A friend of mine works with some Saudi women. He says that they spend enormous amounts of money on lingere (more than most Western women). He seemed to think that their taste for sexy clothing is a result of their constant wearing of drab external clothing, and said that they’re usually wearing some of it under all that clothing.

    And let’s not forget about the acid attacks:
    http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/1908/context/archive

  6. Arun

    WordGirl, A woman wearing a burqa of her own choice you should see as an expression of freedom. It is the other case that you should worry about.

  7. Steph

    WordGirl, A woman wearing a burqa of her own choice you should see as an expression of freedom. It is the other case that you should worry about.

    Why is it that women’s expressions of freedom seem to be originally designed by men?

    I shave my legs=my freedom to choose=my freedom to choose to participate in a practice devised by the patriarchy to make me more sexually attractive and to spend more time worrying about my appearance so that I won’t be using my brain to let’s say devise a smite-o-matic 3000 to assist women in Bangladesh get rid of godbags.

    I get that women have only so many choices, but I’m for widening what constitutes free choice.

  8. Adrian Griffis

    WordGirl, A woman wearing a burqa of her own choice you should see as an expression of freedom. It is the other case that you should worry about.

    Actually, I think it’s much more reasonable to see such things as manifestations of Stockholm Syndrome. While in theory, such a free choice is conceivable, in practice, I think it just doesn’t make sense. Frankly I doubt that it is ever a truely free choice at all (outside of misguided make believe and dramatic efforts), even in those cases where the women say it is a free choice.

    Adrian

  9. CafeSiren

    Regarding the burqua —

    My work occasionally calls for me to spend large amounts of time in a major Mediterranean city. I learned pretty quickly never to go out wearing a short skirt, and to always wear dark glasses, no matter what else I donned that day. It’s hard to explain the dark glasses, except to say that they make it impossible for the local agents of patriarchy to know if they’re making that proprietary “you’re-mine-to-ogle” eye contact with you. And that was where my revalation came: they weren’t interested in ogling me unless they could see that they were getting a visible reaction out of me.

    All in all, it would be better if I didn’t have to deal with these jerks at all. And I do have a good enough command of the local language to give them a serious harangue, but such things only garner me patronizing smirks, which are even more infuriating. So, dark glasses: my optical burqua.

  10. Xavier Harkonnen

    “I shave my legs=my freedom to choose=my freedom to choose to participate in a practice devised by the patriarchy to make me more sexually attractive and to spend more time worrying about my appearance”

    It is very true that we men choose what women do to look more attractive. In fact, long before leg shaving we have been selecting for relative hairlessness for perhaps millions of years. We like “skinniness” because a 0.6-0.8 waist-to hip ratio was the norm of our less reliably fed ancestors, and lipstick and blush (some of us; I’m not a fan of makeup) because reddening of the cheeks and lips is a sign of sexual receptiveness. I could apologize for our ancestors, but it would be inaccurate to blame the patriarchy because that’s much more recent.

  11. Arun

    Someone might think that a woman who feels she must always look sexy is a victim, if not of Stockholm Syndrome, then of something else, perhaps not yet named. I’ll also bet bulemia and anorexia are not problems of the burqa-wearing class, and to me, it seems these disorders arise because of one’s excessive worry about one’s image – which is what other people see and thus a form of social pressure.

    Freedom is about individual choice, and not about some norm – whether it be “wear burqas” or “don’t wear burqas”.

  12. Hot for XH

    “We like “skinniness” because a 0.6-0.8 waist-to hip ratio was the norm of our less reliably fed ancestors, and lipstick and blush (some of us; I’m not a fan of makeup) because reddening of the cheeks and lips is a sign of sexual receptiveness. I could apologize for our ancestors, but it would be inaccurate to blame the patriarchy because that’s much more recent.”

    Judging from your own rather heightened color and full lips, as well as your relative hairlessness, I think you’re ready to be fucked too! Nice butt, by the way.

  13. Xavier Harkonnen

    Thanks!

  14. xavier Harkonnen

    That’s great. Now I don’t have to worry about doing all the stuff men do to attract women, like working out and buying a hott car I can’t afford.

  15. zuzu

    We like “skinniness” because a 0.6-0.8 waist-to hip ratio was the norm of our less reliably fed ancestors

    Nope. Waist-to-hip ratio is not a factor of weight. I’m a rather large woman, and I have the “ideal” waist-to-hip ratio.

    The theory is that the .6-.8 w-t-h ratio signaled that the woman had never had children before.

    Skinniness is valued in this culture, but not in others. In cultures where food is scarce, fat is a sign of good health as well as an indicator of wealth. In cultures such as ours where food is plentiful, thinness is prized because it means that you have adequate leisure time to spend maintaining your body.

    Same thing happened with suntans. At one point, white folks considered suntans a sign of coarseness, since only farmhands got tan. Once labor-saving devices gave middle-class people leisure time, a tan was a sign that you had enough wealth to spend time lolling on a beach.

  16. Xavier Harkonnen

    That’s why I put “skinniness” in quotes. We don’t actually go for the unhealthily thin.

  17. wordgirl

    Arlin-

    I was not speaking about women who wear the burqua because they choose to. My comment addressed the threatened male mentality behind all fundamentalist hysterics who seek to repress women through methods such as the mandatory wearing of a dusty canvas bedspread.

    However–given our topic of conversation, how would one go about determining WHICH women were wearing it because they WANTED to? Wouldn’t answering such a question posed by a stranger such as yourself spell certain death for a woman in that culture? Assuming you’re a man, that is.

  18. CafeSiren

    We like “skinniness” because a 0.6-0.8 waist-to hip ratio was the norm of our less reliably fed ancestors

    Ack! Biological determinism!

    I always cringe when I hear people blame current gender politics on something people did sometime in the prehistoric past (10,000 years ago? 20,000? One million? It’s never precisely stated). How do we then explain the fact that, at different times in our own past, and in different cultures and subcultures in our own present, people have set different standards for women?

    Biological determinism has been used to justify male infidelity, rape, keeping women out of the workplace, and any number of other cultural ills. (“Sorry: my Y chromosome made me do it!”) But to buy these arguments, you also have to swallow the considerable proposition that, after hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, we just somehow *stopped* at sometime in the distant-yet-conveniently-vague past. And only in certain strategic areas of our development.

    Sorry, XM, but I ain’t buyin’ it.

  19. Ronald Brak

    Why on earth would my genes want me to mate with someone with a certain waist/hip ratio or someone who has never had a child before? I could understand if the average caveman was interested in large behinds, but why worry about the ratio? Also, why would I want to mate with someone who hasn’t had a child? A woman who has had a child has proven that she is fertile and is less likely to die giving birth in the future. Also, the older a woman is, the more evidence there is that her genes are strong simply because she has managed to survive so long. Then when you consider that the life of a hunter gatherer is hard on your skin and can make you look 20 years older than you are, if biological determinism were true it would probably result in more people frequenting Grannyporn.com.

  20. Xavier Harkonnen

    Our male ancestors didn’t want to mate with people who had been pregnant because once upon a time, women (teenage girls) were often perpetually pregnant once they started their pregnacy “careers.” You can’t impregnate someone who’s already pregnant. And as to the age thing, you can’t get someone pregnant if she’s gone through menopause, and fertility declines before then.

    Actually, Cafesiren, the beauty standards for men and women have been fairly stable across cultures and throughout history, with minor variations. Even in cultures where rich women are fattened up to demonstrate their social status the people rate thinner women as more attractive physically.

    I’m not trying to justify any sort of social treatment. We may not be able to help who we are attracted to, but we should still treat everyone with respect. I expect women to respect me as a human being, but I can’t fault them if when they aren’t attracted to me. Therefore, I will do what I can to be more attractive, just like women do.

  21. Xavier Harkonnen

    To quote myself and cover my bum,

    “Our male ancestors didn’t want to mate with people who had been pregnant because once upon a time, women (teenage girls) were often perpetually pregnant once they started their pregnacy “careers.”"

    I realize that SOMEONE had to be interested in recently pregnant women to impregnate them again if they are going to be pregnant for most of her fertile life. It’s just that they weren’t the first choices.

  22. LMYC

    I was not speaking about women who wear the burqua because they choose to.

    I am so fucking sick and tired about this apologist horseshit about how women who CHOOOOOOOSE to do stupid things or else risk getting beaten with chains are actually doing like, something that’s all feminist and stuff cuz like feminism is about CHOICES!!!!!! Footbinding is, like a CHOICE! And we should CELEBRATE choices! Especially ones that cripple women because if they don’t make them, they wind up starving on the street! Like, let’s all fly our girl powah flag!

    That has got to be the most pathetic example of ideological jerrymandering I’ve ever heard, and I’m fucking sick and tired of it being used to justify everything from footbinding and breast implants to fucking BURQAS. I, like, totaly celebrate a Jew’s right to wear a yellow star in Germany in the 1930s! It’s like, such an expression of freedom!

    CHRIST! When the mutawa in the capital city of Saudi Arabia (Riyadh, y’all) carry fucking electric cattle prods and in all other cities there are mutawa whose stated purpose is the street harassment of women who show a fucking ANKLE when they bend over, then you just go the fuck over there and walk around without a black bag over you and then try to tell me that you CHOOSE to wear it, like you choose to get honey mustard dipping sauce for your chicken mcnuggets as opposed to barbecue. A choice that you make because a bunch of powerful people will make you fucking miserable and hound you clear off the streets if you choose something else is not exactly a free choice.

    Christ, I am SO SICK of that intellectually bankrupt fucking HORSESHIT. Will you please THINK before you say garbage like this? I cannot fucking believe that Twisty links to a story about women who are being threatened with DEATH for not wearing a giant bag over them and we’re fucking being derailed with discussing about how like so totally liberating it is for women who CHOOOOOOSE to wear a giant bag. This is fucking morally bankrupt.

    I realize that SOMEONE had to be interested in recently pregnant women to impregnate them again if they are going to be pregnant for most of her fertile life. It’s just that they weren’t the first choices.

    Horseshit. You’ve realized that you left a big, fat logical hole in your argment and just tried to stick a bandaid on it before you shipped enough water to hit the ocean floor. You failed.

    Okay, I have NO patience with bullshit tonight, evidently.

  23. Xavier Harkonnen

    It’s not a logical hole. Men might have preferences about who we bone, but we’re not that discriminatory.

  24. Ronald Brak

    You know, when I fantsize about being a caveman I always have a wide choice of females to choose from, with a variety of hip/waist ratios, bust sizes, etc to choose from. However, I doubt the average caveman had access to such a sexual smourgasboard.

    Since sperm is cheap and starvation common amoung our ancestors I think the best strategy for a male to pass on genes would be to mate at every opportunity and if you are lucky enough to have a choice, go for whoever has the most meat on their bones and who isn’t your sister.

    Frequent periods of semi starvation made it impossible for our female ancestors to be in a state of perpetual pregnancy. That requires something like an industrial revolution which enabled my great-great aunt to have 23 children. I have no infomation on her waist/hip ratio. Suffice to say, my great-great uncle was probably very successful at spreading his genes despite apparently not having a preference for young women who haven’t had children.

  25. Arun

    Let’s put is this way – X is a Muslim woman observant of her religion; always dresses modestly and wears the hijab (head-scarf). That didn’t keep her from coming alone from her native land to attend an American university and studying climatology and going on a Antarctic expedition. What “Stockholm syndrome” is this?

    In any case, there are freedoms very much more important than what one wears – can one go to school? see a doctor? travel alone unmolested? choose a profession? take a job or run a business? Have equal right of custody of children as the spouse? Notice that if all these things exist and persist, the dress code will also settle itself. Instead, the manifestation of freedom of you all is – clothing!

  26. Arun

    “The veil came to symbolize in the resistance narrative, not the inferiority of culture and the need to cast aside its customs in favor of those of the West, but, on the contrary, the dignity and validity of all native customs, and in particular those customs coming under fiercest colonial attack – the customs relating to women – and the need to tenaciously affirm them as a means of resistance to Western domination. As Frantz Fanon was to say of a later battle of the veil, between the French and the Algerians, the Algerians affirmed the veil because “tradition demanded the rigid separation of the sexes” and because “the occupier was bend on unveiling Algeria” (emphasis in original)…ironically, it is Western discourse that in the first place determined the new meanings of the veil and gave rise to its emergence as a symbol of resistance”

    (from Women and Gender in Islam, Yale University Press, by Leila Ahmed, Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Mass., Amherst).

  27. Twisty

    All I’m sayin is, that when a bunch of dudes say “wear this or we’ll kill you”, it’s not a choice, you’re not a fully realized human, and the dudes are murdering fucktards. Ratios of hips to waists are irrelevant to this discussion. Shouldn’t you be posting this crap on the Maxim board?

  28. ciccio

    Unlike many of your posters, I have spent a large part of my life living in Muslim countries and I can confirm that most of the
    women wearing burqas do so because they want to. On the downside,those not wearing burqas
    are likely to be harrassed, insulted, beaten
    by their husbands,fathers, brothers or any
    male in the family. A bit of good news has just come from that part of the world recently. The woman who killed the man who tried to rape her and was promptly sentenced to death for it has received a reprieve. A
    local rich woman has paid the millions of blood money the rapists family demanded. That
    is life under the likes of Pat Robertson and
    all his ilk.

  29. zuzu

    That requires something like an industrial revolution which enabled my great-great aunt to have 23 children

    My uterus attempted to make a break for it and hide behind the sofa when I read that.

  30. delphyne

    How come all these people who are trumpeting that women who wear the burqua do it because of “choice” are ignoring the the most glaring fact – MEN DON’T DO IT. If it’s all just about choice, as if they were choosing whether to have coffee or tea for breakfast or a sandwich or hamburger for lunch, why don’t men *ever* make this choice?

  31. delphyne

    “In any case, there are freedoms very much more important than what one wears”

    If you really believe this, I suggest you try wearing a burqa for a week and take some time think about physical freedom and what it means for women forced into that outfit. You could wear high heels at the same time just for the full patriarchal effect.

    I also suggest that you Google burqa, vitamin D definiciency and osteoporosis.

  32. Anonymous

    Actually, I have heard that anorexia and bulemia are prevalent in the Orthodox Jewish community and I venture to say you would find them in places like Saudi Arabia, where women have very little control over their lives and are, in fact, judged on their looks at least by other women. So there.

  33. Joolya

    I can see “choosing” to wear hijab or (god-forbid) a burqa in America, for example, where there is no compelling reason (i.e. men with cattle prods) to do so. When there are men with cattle prods, wearing the burqa can not be considered to be a “choice” – seeing as the repurcussions for not doing it are so profound and unpleasant.

    However, I would ammend that statement about Muslims in America, because a woman who was raised in a conservative religious community would be shunned or ostracized for making the choice not to cover herself. So while the repurcussions are less immediate, they are pretty serious for someone who is involved with her religious community.

    As for the woman who does choose to wear hijab, burqa, whatever, in a place where this is not mandated or in a family where it is not mandated, I would agree that that is a “choice” she has made.

    But is it a feminist choice? I am not so sure. Wearing a burqa is not the same as wearing a yarmulke or a gold cross. The burqa is designed to completely shield a woman from view – her body, her hair, are deemed to be impure (or “sacred”, but that’s not so much better!) or incite lust in men, etc. So the covering is about men’s responses to women, men’s guarding and ownership of women, and the fundamental Othering of the female body. The woman in the burqa is walled-off from the public life – and that is the point of it! That is definitely NOT feminist.

    (A nun in a cloister might be in a similar state, but most religious Muslims are not in the same position as nuns.)

    In any case, there are freedoms very much more important than what one wears – can one go to school? see a doctor? travel alone unmolested? choose a profession? take a job or run a business? Have equal right of custody of children as the spouse? Notice that if all these things exist and persist, the dress code will also settle itself. Instead, the manifestation of freedom of you all is – clothing!

    Finally, I don’t even see the logic in this argument. Are you saying that women in burqas have all these freedoms? Because they don’t. The burqa is symptomatic of all of these kinds of oppression.

    How can you advocate for your cause if you are swathed in a bedspread and no one can hear you, or see your face or your hands? If your society is telling you that you are not worth looking at? That your body – your self – is something that needs to be hidden?

    Arun, I call bullshit on your posts.

  34. Arun

    Joolya,

    Typically in traditional societies, women’s situation improves first through literacy, followed by education, followed by it being acceptable for her to work at various non-traditional jobs (including, btw, even Prime Minister, which the United States is not ready for, but Bangladesh has had) and only finally are the traditional clothes deprecated if not discarded.

  35. Arun

    http://www.mwlusa.org/publications/opinion/veil.html

  36. Joolya

    Arun,
    Okay – I agree with you that literacy and education are the most important, and that the traditional clothes are secondary. But I still think that as a symbol (as well as a physical impediment), the burqa is an important indicator of the role/value/freedom of women in a society.

  37. Joolya

    Freedom is about individual choice, and not about some norm – whether it be “wear burqas” or “don’t wear burqas”.

    I think what Twisty et al are saying is that if you can’t make the opposite choice from the norm without something really bad happening, it’s not actually a freely chosen “choice”.

    Touche about the Prime Minister, though. Our American sexism is less overt but not as much as we’d like to think.

  38. Joolya

    Also, very interesting article re veils and the obverse ruling of secular governments. Again with there not being a valid arena for choice.

  39. Chris Clarke

    My uterus attempted to make a break for it and hide behind the sofa when I read that.

    Be sure to dust off the dog hair before you reattach it.

    It was interesting to read this in the same weekend in which Lauren posted her rather beautiful and controversial post about one of her students and burka wearing.

    Here’s the handy rule of thumb I’m using for the time being. Your mileage may vary.

    If asshole male godbags threaten to kill you for not wearing a burka, wearing it is probably not a feminist act – though it is likely a wise one.

    If asshole male godbags threaten to kill you for wearing a burka, wearing one anyway may well be a libertory act, though not necessarily a feminist one.

  40. Kyra

    “Seclusion has been made compulsory for you.”

    By what authority, precisely, hmm? Certainly not by you, who don’t have any authority over me, and—

    Ah, hell, I really don’t care what authority you’re claiming. I’ll just inform you that your “compulsory seclusion” bullshit has been overturned by a higher authority: me.

  41. anon

    xh, I’d like to know your sources for what prehistoric men’s fantasy objects.

    This (or a variation) is the only thing I’ve seen:

    http://www.tween-the-shadows.com/p/gods/venus_goddess_link_gh59.jpg

    That’s what I understood prehistoric guys liked. I haven’t seen any paleolithic art that featured sylph-like girls…

  42. liz

    I woke up this morning to the news of racial riots against people of middle eastern appearance in my own country.

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/racist-furore-as-mobs-riot/2005/12/11/1134235948497.html

    As I shook the sleep out of my eyes, a young male voice on the radio patiently explained why he was rioting: “they come over here, they disrespect our women …”.

    OUR women? OUR women? You mean, all that bikini wearing has not made me free? I walk around as though autonomous, but in fact I belong to some ugly kid with a australian flag t-shirt, chip on his shoulder and a stubby of beer/weapon in his hand?

    I haven’t quite come to grips with where the racism ends and the sexism begins.

  43. Kyra

    “I can see “choosing” to wear hijab or (god-forbid) a burqa in America, for example, where there is no compelling reason (i.e. men with cattle prods) to do so. When there are men with cattle prods, wearing the burqa can not be considered to be a “choice” – seeing as the repurcussions for not doing it are so profound and unpleasant.”

    I think it’s still a choice IF (and only if) that’s what she would choose to wear anyway. If that’s what some women want to wear, then they in particular are less oppressed by the enforcement of the dress code than other women. It works in the same way that if America made all non-medically-necessary abortions illegal, women who want babies and like being pregnant would be less oppressed than the rest of us. Or if the wingnuts made America a Christian nation, Christians would be less oppressed than Atheists, Muslims, Pagans, etc.

    With every enforced way of behaving, there are some who would choose the enforced way even if it were not enforced. That is, in my opinion, free choice. (Up to a point, since a) the ability to change one’s mind is an important aspect of freedom, and b) their right to free choice is being done a disservice by the fact that enforcing a choice tends to brand that choice as a symbol of oppression.)

  44. Kyra

    Seeing this article kind of makes me want to obtain a Catwoman mask (leaves much of the face visible), an AK-47, and a naginata (short sword on the end of a long stick), and head to Bangladesh to out-vigilante these creeps into the ground.

    Only question is, motorcycle or Batmobile?

  45. D-V-ants

    As we live in a society in which we deem freedom as being able to wear a bikini and wearing a “bag” as oppression it makes me wonder WHY we believe being able to show our skin freedom from the patriarchy, as oppsed to it being the patriarchy that deems it okay for us to show our skin.
    Do we not see here our own patriarchy deeming ours better than theirs because we can at least show our skin, if we choose to. (but what kind of choice is that?) Recognize your colonization typical American view of our way is best.
    I feel that we should put this banter aside of whose skin revealing is less patriarchal and think of our sisters living in worlds unlike those of ours. Sisters who are unsafe in their own homes, on their own streets and in their own minds. These sisters are not just there, some place else, they are here as well.
    The bullshit of clothing and identity are ridiculous arguments. Women are suffering by the hands of oppression everywhere we look, and THAT is all that matters. Well, that and stopping it.

  46. delphyne

    I’m still waiting for one of the people who are proclaiming that the clothes women are forced to wear don’t matter to take me up on the burka/high heels ensemble for a week.

    Anyone?

  47. wordgirl

    Delphyne-
    The loud silence in response to your question regarding men wearing burka/high heels is actually a coded message. The silence, roughly translated, goes as follows: “Thems what make the rules don’t gotta follow ‘em.”

    Too bad…I would love to see some of these guys walk their talk.

  48. Christopher

    How come men don’t also have to wear Burqas?

    I mean, it would cut down on flirting since you’d have trouble noticing if the flirtee was the right gender, and women wouldn’t be inflamed with lust at the sight of men.

    Is there any good reason for men not to wear them?

  49. Nancy


    We like “skinniness” because a 0.6-0.8 waist-to hip ratio was the norm of our less reliably fed ancestors, and lipstick and blush (some of us; I’m not a fan of makeup) because reddening of the cheeks and lips is a sign of sexual receptiveness.

    Ooh, it’s a real live evolutionary psychologist with a just-so story about our ancient ancestors!

    So let’s hear your explanation for homosexuality, since men’s ancient sexual proclivities are responsible all modern gender practices.

    And while you’re at it, please provide an evolutionary psychology explanation for the white powdered wigs of the 18th century European aristocracy. Because clearly NO fashion preference is the result of society, and all are the direct result of Man’s mighty woody for shaved legs.

    And please explain what happened to you, since unlike a normal male, you have shucked off the ancestral preference for reddened cheeks? Do you have a genetic defect that would make your savannah dwelling forefathers laugh in your face if you showed up in their hut, asking to bone their hairless daughters?

    And BTW – exactly how light-skinned were our ancestors in your opinion? Clearly light enough that reddened cheeks would be discernible enough to be a mating advantage.

  50. Xavier Harkonnen

    Evolutionary psychology can’t tell us much. However, mate selection is something very closely tied to evolution and is therefore something that is more likely than other things to be something EP can tell us about.

    Fashion IS largely guided by culture. Beauty less so.

    When gay men have sisters, those women are often more fertile than average. And gay men are often among the youngest of many brothers. So whether they have mostly male or female siblings, many of their genes are getting passed on by others. I’m not sure about lesbians.

    As to the flushing thing, I dunno. Humanity’s expansion from Africa was recent. I don’t know if blushing in dark-skinned people is noticable or not.

    As for my not having a preference for strikingly red lips, chalk it up to inexcusable aberrance, or plain old evil, whatever you want. Evolution is morally neutral. Just because most people have a biologically-influenced tendency doesn’t mean that that trait should be held sacred. Parents are more likely to kill their adopted children than their biological ones, for example, but it is just as wrong.

  51. Nancy


    How come men don’t also have to wear Burqas?

    I mean, it would cut down on flirting since you’d have trouble noticing if the flirtee was the right gender, and women wouldn’t be inflamed with lust at the sight of men.

    Is there any good reason for men not to wear them?

    Exactly! The reasoning behind women’s having to wear the burka is the same as when Randy Thornhill, the king of the evolutionary psychologists, suggested that since men have a natural desire to rape, young women needed to avoid wearing clothing that would provoke rape. Thornhill did not provide any evidence that there was a connection between rape and clothing.

    Because if men have the desire to transgress against social rules – it’s women’s fault. That’s how the minds of religions fundamentalists and evolutionary psychologists work.

  52. Xavier Harkonnen

    “Because if men have the desire to transgress against social rules – it’s women’s fault. That’s how the minds of religions fundamentalists and evolutionary psychologists work.”

    Like I said, evolution is morally neutral. Rape is wrong, whether we have a biological tendency to do it or not (I haven’t heard anything about that, actually.)

  53. Alex

    So many non sequitors and rubbish in this thread!

    Anyway, I love how you make a comparison between the misogynistic rhetoric in Bangladesh and the rhetoric we hear in the West regarding rape and rape “prevention” (as if it can be prevented by following specific codes of conduct). The East and the West aren’t fundamentally different in terms of how each region views women; the same misogynistic ideology that always constructs women as inferior and at fault informs many different practices worlwide, from the burqua to rape “prevention” to Chinese footbinding.

  54. Nancy


    Evolutionary psychology can’t tell us much. However, mate selection is something very closely tied to evolution and is therefore something that is more likely than other things to be something EP can tell us about.

    EP CLAIMS to tell us something about mate selection, but none of it is testable.


    When gay men have sisters, those women are often more fertile than average. And gay men are often among the youngest of many brothers. So whether they have mostly male or female siblings, many of their genes are getting passed on by others. I’m not sure about lesbians.

    Ah yes, once again the ant colony theory of human culture appears on this web site.

    Where did you get your information about the fertility of sisters of gay men?


    As for my not having a preference for strikingly red lips, chalk it up to inexcusable aberrance, or plain old evil, whatever you want. Evolution is morally neutral. Just because most people have a biologically-influenced tendency doesn’t mean that that trait should be held sacred.

    But YOU are the one who claims to have an explanation. YOU claimed that men have a preference for red cheeks and lips. Now if you are a man, and you DON’T have this manly proclivity what is the reason for it? Morality has nothing to do with this – it’s about there being a huge hole in your argument.

    If science says gravity makes everything fall to earth, there has to be a scientific reason for why birds are able to fly. Same with your claims about universal male sexual preferences that you say are the results of natural selection. Give a logical explanation for why you are an exception, which you admit you are.

    Parents are more likely to kill their adopted children than their biological ones, for example, but it is just as wrong.

    Wrong or right, there is no proof that this is due to evolutionarily-endowed tendencies.

    And in fact, those claims by Martin Daly and Margo Wilson have been refuted here
    http://philosophy.wisc.edu/sullivan/CinderellaPaper.pdf
    and here
    http://www.skeptic.com/the_magazine/featured_articles/v12n01_sex_jealousy.html

    - and that’s just after a quick Google around the block.

    No wonder evoluitionary psychology is so popular, it’s so fucking easy. Here’s how it works: Observe a modern phenomenon. Claim it’s the result of evolution. Make up a story about how our ancestors behaved that supports your claim. Now publish an article about it. Sit back and wait for the gullible to spread your ideas around.

    Yes, why rely on hard work and empiricism when it’s easy and fun to make up anything you want and suckers will fall for it.

  55. Alex

    Thanks, Nancy. Myths of origin do nothing but naturalise and legitimise present social arrangements. They’re not grounded in any empirical evidence, and they certainly don’t enable knowledge.

  56. Nancy


    Like I said, evolution is morally neutral. Rape is wrong, whether we have a biological tendency to do it or not (I haven’t heard anything about that, actually.)

    Well if you’re going to argue in favor of evolutionary psychology you should know about some of its major players, like Randy Thornhill, who published “The Natural History of Rape” to great fanfare.

    Steven Pinker is a big fan of Thornhill. Have you heard of Pinker?

    What about Lawrence Summers? He and Pinker are good buddies at Harvard. Last January there was a big brouhaha when Lawrence Summers claimed that the reason women were underrepresented in university level math and science programs was primarly because women have an evolutionarily-endowed inferiority in math and science.

    Evolutionary psychology is a weapon of choice for Patriarchy defenders, whether it’s to use to claim, like Summers, that women have only themselves to blame for their poor careers, to Thornhill who claims that women are responsible for provoking men into raping, to the obnoxious Helena Cronin, who wrote a policy paper saying that there should be two career paths in Great Britian – one for men and one for women, so women would have more time to stay home with the kids.

    Of course while at the same time EPs are proposing all kinds of regressive social policies and explanations, they claim that they’re only being scientific, and anybody who objects to what they’re saying are just being political, while they are offering pure, morality-neutral Science.

    They almost never mention that there are plenty of scientists who object to the conclusions, methods and theories of EP.

    Yes, the Patriarchy hearts evolutionary psychology.

  57. M

    I was going to post the Skeptic article, but Nancy got there first. Dang.

    This is a good article too:
    http://www.sciammind.com/article.cfm?articleID=0001D320-E41C-1329-A41C83414B7F0000
    If you look at babies/toddlers, who have been least accultured to their gender roles you find no difference between the genders. Nada.

  58. weeza

    ‘I’m not sure about lesbians.’

    I laughed so hard I fell off the sofa. Great work Twisty, I hope you’re feeling better.

  59. Dim Undercellar

    “I could apologize for our ancestors, but it would be inaccurate to blame the patriarchy because that’s much more recent.”

    It’s really convenient that it’s required that society members overcome their “natural” “biological” proclivity to murder each other over food and teritory, and murder your new wife’s kids from a previous male, and, like, wear clothes and cook food… but when it comes to “natural”, “biological” proclivities that fuck over womena and require them to remain in a submissive, less-than-fully-human state, well, those we don’t have to worry about.

    THAT little bit of bullshit behind your “logic” is 100% Patriarchy, because our ancestors didn’t decide which “natural”, “biological” proclivities were to be ignored and which were to be revoked – Patriarchy did.

    So even if your line of bullshit is in any way TRUE, you’re STILL fucked because who was it that decided we should get over our desire to tear our neighbor’s throat out if we thought he might steal our prime rib, but not get over our desire to fuck and dominate any woman who shows flesh?

  60. Dim Undercellar

    Also, if you bristle when women say stuff like “Men are animals”, it would really behoove you to stop defending men’s actions as a-ok, or at least understandable, because they’re what men did back when they were animals.

    If their animal-like behavior is “understandable”, then a woman calling men animals and being terrified of each and every one of them should be “understandable” too, and you should be helping give her tips on how to board her door shut.

    I suspect, however, you’d be trying to coax her out into the wild jungle again with “Just learn to trust us!”

  61. Kelley Bell

    Let’s Get to the Core of it all, Shall we?
    What we are discussing here is much bigger than a burka.
    This is a theology debate, rooted in the principles of the patriarchial God of the Hebrews, Muslims and Christians.

    Adam and Eve is the story of The Divine Couple. They were jointly called “The Adama.” Adam, meaning “of the earth” and Eve meaning “bringer of life” The Adama are the symbolic couple, and the “life of the earth.” There are hundreds of versions of this myth stemming from a host of religions all over the globe.

    The only version that changes the moral comes from the early Hebrew teachings, which eventually spread to Muslim and Christian theology. The Adama myth then evolved into a tale quite different from the original. Woman was no longer honored as “The Life Bringer,” instead Man Gave Birth to Woman from his rib! Man was now the life bringer, and Eve lost all her worth because of her apple eating crime. It is fascinating to note how this story reflects itself on modern society:

    When Eve is bears the weight of original sin, women are expected to be obedient and submissive.

    Where Eve is viewed as Adams plaything, she becomes a sex symbol.

    When The Muslim Quran tells the story of Adam, God and Satan, Eve is omitted from the tale altogether, and hidden like a woman in a burka.

    The effect of these stories on modern society and is clear:

    The position of women in society directly correlates to the mythology of the culture in which she lives!

    Historian Joseph Campbell put it quite succinctly when he noted that agricultural societies tend to be peaceful and engage in matriarchal worship models, honoring both men and women, in a model that reflects on nature, birth, and the cycle of seasons.

    In contrast, he revealed that powerful, industrialized nations, are war like and oppressive, engaging in patriarchal worship honoring Gods with masculine qualities.

    Our cultural mythology is outdated. It must evolve if we are to move forward.

    If we fail to embrace a cultural mythology that operates in balance with nature, one that values diversity and the exploration of new ideas, our civilizations will crumble as our ecosystem is slowly destroyed.

    The dawn of a new age is upon us. We must return to the proverbial garden and plant the seeds of science and quantum physics, of diversity and equality, of tolerance and peace; and hope for the harvest of a new and enlightened form of spirituality that will put an end to this archaic insane idea that conquest, power, control, and jealousy are somehow connected to the concept of God.

    As for the apple, It is a symbol of Knowlege, and EVE was the one smart enough and independant enough to go for it.

    When it comes to the patriarchial bullshit of womens oppression, I grab the apple and say
    “BITE ME!”

  62. Chris Clarke

    EP CLAIMS to tell us something about mate selection, but none of it is testable.

    Au contraire, Nancy.

    For instance, it is a proven fact of evolution that the reason so many of my ex-girlfriends were Kate Bush fans is that in the Pliocene, Kate’s desultory screeching effectively warded off large predators, thus freeing me to spend my energy drinking beer. Look it up!

  63. sam

    Historian Joseph Campbell put it quite succinctly when he noted that agricultural societies tend to be peaceful and engage in matriarchal worship models, honoring both men and women, in a model that reflects on nature, birth, and the cycle of seasons.

    An anthropologist I used to know says the opposite, and I’m inclined to believe her. As I understand it, nomadic people are the most egalitarian, like many Native Americans or the Kazakh in Russia who didn’t rely on agriculture as a primary source of food. With nomads it is more likely that everyone has to work together to sustain their way of life and it’s assumed women are accorded more freedom because the harsh necessity of their chosen lifestyle commands cooperation, hence female shamans are rare but known.

    The rise of agricultural societies brought about the gendered division of labor that many posit is a major source for inequality. The most sexist societies in observation are agricultural ones, for kingdoms and republics make people live more closely together creating opportunities for women to work outside their husband’s home and farm, the isolation of which appears to exacerbate sexism and men’s sense of ownership of their wives (husbandry is owning animals.)

    I’m no expert and I’m not saying this is definitely true, but it was what I learned and as I was learning it the examples and rationale given made sense so I believed it.

  64. Xavier Harkonnen

    “THAT little bit of bullshit behind your “logic” is 100% Patriarchy, because our ancestors didn’t decide which “natural”, “biological” proclivities were to be ignored and which were to be revoked – Patriarchy did”

    “Evolutionary psychology is a weapon of choice for Patriarchy defenders”

    That may be so, but that’s not how I’m using it. I’m not advocating societal enforcement of norms. I’m just saying what people tend to be attracted to. How we treat others is a choice, attraction less so. Men and women can do things to be more attractive or not, but they should be treated with respect either way.

    “If science says gravity makes everything fall to earth, there has to be a scientific reason for why birds are able to fly. Same with your claims about universal male sexual preferences that you say are the results of natural selection. Give a logical explanation for why you are an exception, which you admit you are.”

    I didn’t say the tendencies were universal, just prevalent.

    “EP CLAIMS to tell us something about mate selection, but none of it is testable”

    We can’t test anything THROUGH EP, but it can lead to predictions that we can test today with modern psychological experiments.
    Here’s one: females in primate species prefer males with dominace chararacteristics, like height. Psychologists have found that far more human couples follow the male-taller norm than would be expected by chance.

    Another prediction: Fertility=hot. As I said before, the figure-figure preferences are very similar in the many cultures tested.

    Studies of other species have shown that they prefer mates that are genetically familiar but not too much so. The Japanese quail, for example, prefers cousins over the general population but is much more hesitant to mate with its siblings. A preference for faces that look similar to ours, but not too much, has been found in humans. It’s a neat trick. They use a computer to feminize/masculinize your face (depending on which gender you prefer) and blend it with other faces to see which you like more.

  65. Xavier Harkonnen

    “Well if you’re going to argue in favor of evolutionary psychology you should know about some of its major players, like Randy Thornhill, who published “The Natural History of Rape” to great fanfare.

    Steven Pinker is a big fan of Thornhill. Have you heard of Pinker?

    What about Lawrence Summers? He and Pinker are good buddies at Harvard.”

    Triple guilt by association. Nice. This is just as illogical as attacking Twisty because Andrea “all sex is rape” Dworkin is also a feminist.

  66. Xavier Harkonnen

    Was, I mean.

  67. BitingBeaver

    XH,

    Before you spout the same old tired myth about Andrea Dworkin, at least check out your sources. She never said that, though it makes it very easy for everyone to disregard her message if they believe she did.

    You’re full of shit and your ‘logic’ is full of holes.

  68. Aaron

    Um, Dworkin never said that.

    As for the burqua issue, I largely agree with the view that it’s not really much of a choice and largely comes from male domination of women. That said, I know one woman who is quite feminist, but she also wears a hijab. She explains it as being more a form of cultural expression than anything else. In addition to that, she also wears comfortable clothes along with it (ie, jeans and t-shirts).

  69. Xavier Harkonnen

    Andrea Dworkin is NOT part of my argument. That’s the point. I was talking about guilt by association and referencing something Twisty said to not do on her blog, which is complain to her about other feminists. I think she mentioned Dworkin specifically.

  70. Dim Undercellar

    “That may be so, but that’s not how I’m using it. I’m not advocating societal enforcement of norms.”

    Then why are you “apologizing for your ancestors” rather than the Patriarchy?

  71. CafeSiren

    “Then why are you “apologizing for your ancestors” rather than the Patriarchy?”

    I think this is the main point that people are trying to make to XH — that determinist arguments are a cheat, a way of excusing behaviors that, by this point in history, serve no purpose (if they ever did — a point I’m not willing to concede, as I’ve seen no convincing evidence). The problem that we are dealing with in the here and now is that we are a part of a culture that enforces standards on women that make no sense at all in our current context. As someone pointed out in an earlier post, human beings do not systemically endorse caveman impulses on the grounds that it’s a carryover from biological impulses from millennia ago. The fact that its still considered acceptable to do so when it comes to relations between men and women is testimony to a patriarchal society that grasps at any excuse to justify oppression of women.

    I applaud each and every individual effort to reject patriarchal assumptions in our individual lives. But until we, as a society, utterly reject the premise that half of the population is run by some impulse that cannot be proven to ever have existed, we provide an easy rationalization for patriarchy.

  72. laughingmuse

    Right on, Nancy.

    Xavier Harkonnen, Pinker is great at mass-selling pop press books, but his science is either ficticious, or weak at best. Even folks with Harvard positions can live off of the fertile field of crappy “science”.

    Evolutionary psych has more to do with out modern assumptions about ourselves, than anything “evolutionary”. Cross-cultural studies, as well as multi-generational studies are absolutely vital to make any (ANY) statement with any sort of scientific authenticity.

    The pressing desire for some folks to make an “evolutionary” argument is really mind-boggling to me. Why indeed would anyone make such an argument, based most often on tentative or bad data, if not to sweep aside contemporary morals or social structures?

  73. laughingmuse

    Quote:
    “We can’t test anything THROUGH EP, but it can lead to predictions that we can test today with modern psychological experiments.
    Here’s one: females in primate species prefer males with dominace chararacteristics, like height. Psychologists have found that far more human couples follow the male-taller norm than would be expected by chance.”

    Assuming these data are valid, wouldn’t this then suggest to the cautious observer that there might be contemporary culturally-based social pressures or expectations on height of mates?

  74. Dim Undercellar

    I would also like to add that it boggles my mind how nobody but me makes the connection between Evolutionary Psychology and old-school Panglossianism.

    “Eyeglasses fit because our noses evolved for them!”

  75. larkspur

    Burqas, high heels, pencil skirts, stacks of polished brass ankle-rings…I’m against the mandatory wearing of anything that keeps me from a fast getaway, or a right hook. I prefer being out of control.

  76. Tuomas

    Excellent post. I’m going to repeat what others have said, and say that wearing a burqa isn’t much of a choice if the opposite choice gets you killed.

  77. dd

    Isn’t Pinker a linguist? What the hell does he have to do with The Patriarchy (or, more to the point, with murdering women in Bangladesh)?

    It seems like bringing other people into the discussion (people who aren’t germane to the discussion..) is a great way to get off-topic and ignore the issue at hand. Having a peeve with certain people is fine, but air it where it matters.

  78. Xavier Harkonnen

    Ok. I’ll try to be clear. One more time:

    How we should treat each other as individuals, races, sexes, classes, and so on cannot be informed by biology. Basing one’s morals on what is “natural” is called the naturalistic fallacy and it makes no sense.

    However, what we are attracted to is not a moral issue. Attraction is largely unconscious and is not accountable the same way morality is.

    There are some inherited tendencies to be attracted to certain characteristics. Not everyone has these tendencies. However, it is strategic for a person to exhibit characteristics that are attractive to a lot of people, thereby increasing his or her odds of success.

    People who don’t do these things should not be shunned or marginalized by society. But they shouldn’t find it surprising if they have a more difficult time finding a mate.

  79. Anonymous

    Actually, Cafesiren, the beauty standards for men and women have been fairly stable across cultures and throughout history, with minor variations. Even in cultures where rich women are fattened up to demonstrate their social status the people rate thinner women as more attractive physically.

    XH please show me the study where this was demonstrated, because I’ve never heard of it. My own observation of African American, Hispanic, and many lower income Caucasian males here in the U.S. is that they prefer women who are plumper than what Madison Avenue and Hollywood tout as “hot”. In other words, most guys.

    It’s the trendy social-climbers and rich mid-life crisis guys who prefer the model-y gals, mostly as status objects. I once heard Howard Stern tell a woman caller who said she weighed 130 lbs. that she was a cow. That tells you how thin they expect their women to be. And for what evolutionary purpose would that be? How healthy and fertile is a woman who refuses to eat?

    But that’s not what this thread is about so back to the Burqa subject. I’m wondering about how candid women would be regarding their attitudes toward Muslim attire in surveys done in places like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. Women who have been cowed their whole lives by a brutally oppressive patriarchy and told that wearing that burqa or veil is just the holiest thing to do and all “good” Muslim women luuurve to wear them. No doubt, just complaining about your clothing might get you a beating there.

    I’m always kind of leery of surveys. People are notoriously dishonest in them, even anonymous ones. And many researchers don’t bother to design them to catch inconsistencies in answers. (Especially EvoPsych researchers)

  80. Donna

    Oops. That was me. Forgot to ID myself.

  81. BritGirlSF

    The idea that women in Bangladesh are wearing the burqua out of “choice” is absurd, given that to do otherwise might well get them killed. I’m a big believer in choice, but it doesn’t have a hell of a lot of meaning in that context, where the only choices avaliable are conformity or grievous bodily harm. And to the dude making the “but I had a girlfriend who chose to wear the veil” argument…in America that is indeed a choice. In Bangladesh, or Saudi, or Pakistan, not so much. The two situations simply are not analagous.
    The part of the article Twisty quoted that I found most chilling seems to have been mostly overlooked in the discussion here, so let me just bring it to the fore.
    “Women, including non-Muslims, are hereby advised not to go out of home without burqa. Seclusion has been made compulsory for you.”
    Note the part about including non-Muslims. This goes beyond the usual godbag crap, it’s also cultural warfare directed at the non-Muslim population of Bangladesh. This is happening in Pakistan too. Can anyone give me a good explanation of why non-Muslim women should be expected to wear the veil that is actually supported by the Koran? No, I didn’t think so.

  82. BritGirlSF

    The idea that women in Bangladesh are wearing the burqua out of “choice” is absurd, given that to do otherwise might well get them killed. I’m a big believer in choice, but it doesn’t have a hell of a lot of meaning in that context, where the only choices avaliable are conformity or grievous bodily harm. And to the dude making the “but I had a girlfriend who chose to wear the veil” argument…in America that is indeed a choice. In Bangladesh, or Saudi, or Pakistan, not so much. The two situations simply are not analagous.
    The part of the article Twisty quoted that I found most chilling seems to have been mostly overlooked in the discussion here, so let me just bring it to the fore.
    “Women, including non-Muslims, are hereby advised not to go out of home without burqa. Seclusion has been made compulsory for you.”
    Note the part about including non-Muslims. This goes beyond the usual godbag crap, it’s also cultural warfare directed at the non-Muslim population of Bangladesh. This is happening in Pakistan too. Can anyone give me a good explanation of why non-Muslim women should be expected to wear the veil that is actually supported by the Koran? No, I didn’t think so.

  83. BritGirlSF

    Sorry for the double post, itchy trigger finger strikes again…

  84. aymayzed

    Can anyone give me a good explanation of why non-Muslim women should be expected to wear the veil that is actually supported by the Koran? No, I didn’t think so. from britgirlsf

    I haven’t quite come to grips with where the racism ends and the sexism begins. from liz

    I agree that the central point of Twisty’s essay is that the violence is directed towards women, not towards race or religion.

    This article in the Australian mainstream media makes that very point clearly, even if not as attractively as Twisty’s prose does:

    “Different places, different cultures, very different sorts of problems. But the same macho mindset, whether white European or Muslim: a mindset that says if you want to belong to the group, then show how powerful you are by abusing someone more vulnerable than you. Or, if you are frustrated, if society shuns you or your world is being changed in ways you can’t control, then express your frustration by abusing someone more vulnerable than you. And that will more often than not be a woman.”

  85. BritGirlSF

    Excuse me, but did you just attempt to imply that my comment was racist?

  86. aymayzed

    Excuse me, but did you just attempt to imply that my comment was racist? from britgirlsf

    No.
    I don’t use blogs as fora for argument and I wouldn’t imply racism in another’s contribution; I would state it plainly if I thought it necessary.

    I added my own musings to your much-needed emphasis on the illogical demand for non-Muslim women to dress up in Muslim weeds.

  87. Twisty

    Holy crap, I take a day off and look what happens! Evolutionary psychology! What makes a female “hot”! Chris Clarke talking about his ex-girlfriends’ record collections! It’s too much!

    Anyway, yeah, these militant fucks–they’re so cute when they’re young–are claiming ownership of non-Muslim women, but I don’t see how that’s any more illogical than claiming ownership of Muslim women.

  88. Dim Undercellar

    “Attraction is largely unconscious and is not accountable the same way morality is.”

    So you’re saying it’s “natural” and “not accountable as morality” to be attracted to 12 year old girls?

    Quit trying to excuse bad behavior with evolution, Pangloss.

  89. Chris Clarke

    Holy crap, I take a day off and look what happens! Evolutionary psychology! What makes a female “hot”! Chris Clarke talking about his ex-girlfriends’ record collections! It’s too much!

    As a blog comment thread lengthens, the likelihood of the thread including Nancy tearing some EP handwaver a new orifice approaches one.

    Slamming Kate Bush, however, is always off-topic.

  90. Cantrixargenta

    Fundamentalist shitbags. Die already.

    For a truly interesting and insightful look at veiling + feminism, read this journal entry:

    But fast forward fourteen hundred years and we are consistently interpreting veiling in the context of modern-day feminism’s relationship to the sexual revolution, where covering one’s body is associated with either moral integrity or shame and repression, depending on who you are. But how far back does that line of thinking go?”

  91. Twisty

    See, this is my point. This has been my point, in fact, since the onset of my patriarchy-blaming blog disease. My point is that both the fundamentalist mandate to cover yourself up and the sexalicious western mandate to wear short shorts (a) apply exclusively to women and (b) are two sides of the same misogynist coin. I don’t care if it’s a burqa or a bikini; women’s dress is all dictated by reaction to patriarchy.

  92. Joolya

    Exactly, Twisty! In both cases, it’s not about what the women in question are feeling/wanting/deciding to wear for their own reasons . . . it’s about what the patriarchy wants or doesn’t want to see.

  93. Dim Undercellar

    I got crucified over at Bitch, Ph.D’s comments a couple days ago when I tried to explain that concept. Among others.

    I think that place is about to come off my “Regular Reads” list.

  94. NancyMc

    As a blog comment thread lengthens, the likelihood of the thread including Nancy tearing some EP handwaver a new orifice approaches one.

    Aw…. shucks. Thanks for noticing.

    I had a few more things to say, but then all these other people jumped on and finished the process cleanly and succinctly, and I just had to stand back and admire their work.

  95. NancyMc

    Yeah, that happened to me on somebody else’s blog – I forgot the name but it was part of a carnival of feminists. I suggested that the Patriarchy is at the root of the fact that young women wear all these things that make them vulnerable – or just look vulnerable, like short skirts, high heels, midriff-baring tops – while it’s accepted that men can cover up from hoodie to workboots and still be considered hot.

    And they freaked on me, screaming that they just happened to like to wear those kinds of clothes, and my suggesting that their clothing choices made the look vulnerable was tantamout to my saying that they deserved to be raped for wearing them.

    It’s just a funny coincidence that they happen to enjoy wearing uncomfortable footwear at the same time the Patriarchy says that no sexbot is truly dressed for duty unless she’s wearing high heels.

  96. Cantrixargenta

    Exactly – while an individual woman with feminist sense and education (and in a country where mode of dress isn’t legislated) might make a decision to wear a muu muu or a miniskirt because she likes it, it’s still done within the patriarchal world of which there is no escaping. Both hajib and shorter skirts/trousers for women originated with ideas of liberating women but were soon, like most ideas, pounced upon by The Man and either ridiculed or turned into something oppressive. Ooh, just like Riot Grrl culture being put through the marketing sausage factory and ending up as some lame “girl power” thing selling Spice Girls records. I so love it when that happens. Women get something nice for themselves and then The Man comes along like an obnoxious kid in the sandbox who steals the toy and breaks it, not because he wants the toy, but to be the center of attention and make the other kids cry.

  97. Ron Sullivan

    a burqa or a bikini;

    Now you know one of the assholes will find a way to invent and mandate the burquini.

  98. Dim Undercellar

    Hell, I’d be willing to bet that NEITHER costume would be worn, with any real frequency, just to vaccuum the carpets or do dishes when no man was around to watch and grant approval.

  99. c.

    How come men don’t also have to wear Burqas?

    I mean, it would cut down on flirting since you’d have trouble noticing if the flirtee was the right gender, and women wouldn’t be inflamed with lust at the sight of men.

    Is there any good reason for men not to wear them?

    because men do not actually want to be controlled, they simply want to be able to place the blame on women for not controlling them when they act badly.

    the “good reason” is that none of their male buddies are gonna beat them or rape them if they don’t.

    why don’t we take the prosecution of rape seriously in the US, and really put the blame on rapists, instead of telling women what they should and should not wear or do to “prevent” it happening to them? because it leaves an easy out for the oppressor class who can somehow almost always find a way to pin the blame on the woman for not taking responsibility for herself.

    so, no. the answer to your question is that there is no good reason.

  1. Pharyngula

    So lets make sure it doesnt get that bad here

    I give American Christianity a fair amount of grief here, but man, Islam can be far, far worse.

    I think that if I had a time machine, I wouldnt do anything as trivial as using it to take out Hitler before he caused all that trouble. …

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