I’ve heard a lot that Muslim countries, Muslim governments, are oppressive because they mandate (or; encourage, or want to mandate or encourage) that women wear the hijab. Or; that they wear concealing clothing. And I think that a lot of people believe that this is oppression. (i.e., a lot of people truly believe this).
But…hold on one sec. This claim needs to be analyzed. Because after thinking about it for a little while, I (personally) don’t think it’s that good of a point. ..
The reason why is b/c;
Even Western governments—Western governments which stand for freedom, and freedom of dress—will arrest a person if s/he is naked, in public. Even they* have a standard of modesty and decency.
So, to say that Muslim governments are oppressive because they want women who live in their countries to wear concealing clothing is kind of ridic.
In essence, American laws (for example) have a modesty/decency standard of 2.5 (for example. I actually think this figure is about right), and Muslim governments have a modesty/decency standard of 10 (out of 10). What is wrong with that? i.e., what is wrong with that statistic? #Muslim governments win in this case, actually.
Also; there are many people (e.g., modern-day feminists) who are desiring that women and men be allowed to expose their bodies—i.e., not wear clothing that covers what has traditionally been considered as private parts. (E.g., ‘free the breasts/nipples’ etc. that has been popular, these days). Perhaps one day soon such feminists (not all* feminists want this, I’m pretty sure—there are different subgroups of feminism) will also want the right to not cover their genitals, in public.
But. The law of the land (e.g., America, England, Australia) doesn’t allow that.
So…such people will just have to deal, with it. Or maybe go to a country that does allow that one exposes his/her breasts or genitals, if s/he so chooses. (I think a lot of the feminists’ reasoning on wanting to not wear clothes springs from ‘it’s my choice, after all.’)
So, like I was saying; such people just have to deal with the fact that in the U.S. and Canada, and Europe, etc., the laws don’t allow that. Just like how people living in Muslim lands just have to deal with the clothing laws in those countries.
So, in a nutshell…why the double-standard? Why do some people say that Muslim governments are oppressive because they mandate concealing clothing…and yet they don’t say that Western governments are oppressive because they mandate clothing?
Such people can’t have their cake, and eat it, too.
They have to say; both Western governments and Muslim governments are oppressive to women (and men), because they (both) have laws saying that their residents have to wear clothing, and cover their bodies.
*It is true that the Muslim governments’ laws concerning clothing are stricter/more conservative that Western governments’…but, so what? –if your modesty and decency level is a 2.5, and mine is a 9.5 (or a 10)…what is so wrong, with that? In fact, it sounds to me that the problem is with you (and not me).* Like, the problem is that you need to catch up with my modesty and decency, not that I need to downgrade to your lack of modesty and decency.
*(hypothetically, of course. Like, if you were the supporter of Western government, in terms of clothing laws, and I was a supporter of Muslim governments, in terms of clothing laws).
-All countries have different laws. If you don’t like a few particular laws of particular countries…well, I’m pretty sure they don’t like your laws, either. (Which is why they have different laws, to yours.)
I think a lot of people are ethnocentric, if that’s the right word, for it. They think and believe that America and other Western countries’ laws and rules are the best, in the world (in most aspects, too)…so, any country with laws completely different than Western countries’ laws must (almost by necessity) be wrong, crazy, or bad.
But, no. That is not true, at all. Or fair-minded.
And 2. (this (second) final point is not at all related to the aforementioned first one);
Men and women should wear concealing clothing, in Islamic law. i.e., there is no double-standard, in that respect.
-It is true that men are allowed to expose their arms (not really their legs…Islamically, men are supposed to cover their legs as much as women are. I’m pretty sure. (so, if you see a Muslim man exposing his legs, he’s not really supposed to do that). And; they are also allowed to expose their hair.
Anyways, it is true that in Islam, men are allowed the luxury to expose their arms and their hair, and women are not.
But, this has its roots in the Islamic belief that; men are the ones (the sex) that usually have the more troublesome sexual drive (like; more uncontrollable).
In Islam, everyone (men and women) have to ‘lower their gaze’ (a verse from the Noble Qur’an) if they see someone’s uncovered body.
But, men usually have more troublesome urges. I think even modern-day, secular, Western science acknowledges this (that the male sex is the one that has the more troublesome sex drive, above the females).
So, men and women are not the same, in terms of how their sexual urges manifest…which is why women are not allowed much flexibility in their hijab (which they wear around men), and men are (allowed some flexibility in their hijab, around women).
(*men have a hijab, by the way. (in Islam).
I wrap up this essay with (another) essay that I wrote about how clothing—concealing clothing—is a component of women’s liberation: https://themuslimvibe.com/muslim-lifestyle-matters/women/clothing-a-component-of-womens-liberation
And lastly; I’d like to mention that all of the points that I’ve talked about above are points that have of course been discussed and examined by others. As in; it’s nothing new (of course…I think that many ideas that one may have had been established and analyzed by others, long before him, or her..).
jAk / thank you for reading this! I really appreciate it,
may allah swt bless you and me,
-sr. Ethar 🙂