veil-burning in somalia May 10, 2007Posted by sindhub in Ayesha Dharkar, bodies, deception, Ethics, fashion police, Female Power, female soldiers, gender, ideology, in the news, International, islam, modesty, morality, nationalism, news stories, politics, Power, somalia, the state, The Terrorist, wartime politics, women and war, women in the military.
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There have been news stories in the past two days about government soliders in Somalia, which is currently in a state of civil war with explosions taking place recently in capital Mogadishu, taking women’s veils (ones where only the eyes are uncovered) and burning them. When I first heard about it, I thought it seemed like what happened in pre-1979 revolution Iran, when women weren’t allowed to dress in religious garb in an avowedly secular state ruled by a monarch, but it turns out that the recent veil-burning wasn’t government-sanctioned. The soliders did it because they wanted to make sure that the women weren’t part of the ‘rebel’ Islamist movement, and hiding bombs or weapons under their veils.
I thought this situation was interesting in its similarity to The Terrorist. Malli is valued within her organization because she’s a woman, which means that she is underestimated and seen in a de-politicized way, which will enable her to get past security checkpoints–while carrying the ammunition she needs in the basket on her head, and not firewood or whatever the soliders may assume it is, showing that it is precisely her femaleness that allows her to get by–and get close enough to the politician to assassinate him. It seems that the Somali soliders were concerned that they were letting Muslim women who might pose a threat get by because of their female religious need/desire to cover themselves modestly, and decided to take action, for their own safety presumably.
Something else that comes to mind is how this fits women into nationalism. (more…)
women’s bodies and national ideology May 4, 2007Posted by sindhub in bodies, Ethics, fashion police, ideology, in the news, iran, islam, modesty, morality, nationalism, new york times, politics, Power, religion, the state.
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There’s an interesting article in the New York Times today about the ‘fashion police,’ quite literally, in Iran. Ever since the 1979 Islamic revolution that made Iran an Islamic state, there have been certain policies about how women should dress in public (modestly, in the chador) that are enforced by the police. I think it’s important to note that before the 1979 revolution, Iran was an avowedly secular state, which meant that women actually weren’t allowed to publicly dress in ‘modest’ Islamic clothes. I think this just goes to show that in a state that has a lot of power over its citizens, women’s bodies are one of the tools used to enforce its ideology, no matter how seemingly ‘repressive’ or ‘liberal’ that ideology is.
Here are some of the bits from the article that I found particularly amusing: (more…)