April 27, 2007

The Travails of Womanhood!



As if it weren't enough that the fashion world in the west keeps such a tight scrutiny and an even tighter tape on the body measurements of the female, now we have the Iranians keeping watch on how much an Iranian woman clothes herself! Why won't the world let women decide what they wish to do with their bodies? It is preposterous that even in the most developed nations of the world the woman adheres to what the male deems beautiful and attractive. Why are we then shocked that this week in Tehran, "Thousands of women have been cautioned by police over their dress, some have been obliged to sign statements that they will do better in the future, and some face court cases against them."

For decades the likes of Calvin Klein and Lauren have dictated the standards for female beauty, and that has resulted in various eating disorders among women across the western hemisphere; bolemia and anorexia being the two most rampant. Ailments such as these, have long term impact on the female constitution, and often prevent women from motherhood. In places such as Japan where the growth rate is already negative, trends such as the aforementioned can wreak havoc on the population. Besides the physical damage, these stringent measures for what's beautiful also affects how young women feel about themselves. A teenager who is unable to fit into a size four shuns the mirror and her friends; becomes a recluse confined within the four walls of her room, simply because she believes she's 'fat', and fears rejection by her peer group!

In the light of this scenario, the US, or any other European country for that matter, has no reason to be so condescending about what is happening in Tehran today. People living in glass houses ought not to throw stones! The Iranians are but mandating the female garb; we are tampering with the female body! As for the women themselves…one wonders whether the female of the species has a backbone after all, or else there’s a masochistic gene in her that makes her a suppliant victim.

21 comments:

lash said...

a suppliant victim - well said. It's an issue faced by women and an issue that ought to be resolved by them.... At the core of it the issue is about defining and redefining "conventional". My question has always been the need for such a definition.

The most developed and most modern societies are patriarchal as well. It's a convention that has been followed for centuries and the question now is how long will the women folks take to break it.

They need to, because the worlds first disparity started with gender. What you told abt fat women are perfectly true and to them damage is mostly done by their own fellow folks.

Nasir said...

I think action of Tehran is not wrong...though it should have not been by force.

The womenhood and her freedom as been manuplated.
For West lesser clothes a women puts on more is her freedom...

...for Christians who are best Women? surely NUNS.

See how they dress.

It is way the best women dresses in our religion too...
So...

lash said...

Nasir,

"It is way the best women dresses in our religion too..."

it's sad but then this is how the world is divided. who gives her the tag BEST? you?

and could please explain to me the meaning of a relegion? i am not tryin to get into a furious debate, but i am disappointed that you are generalising a lot. Leave them alone man, they are humans first, why dont you let them live the way they want to? how does it affect you?

Lisa Francisco said...

very true statements you have made on this issue...but i find myself wondering who do we blame for this....who do we look at...is it the women themselves, is it society, is it men...then how do we change it, can we change it...

we have to thank people like jennifer lopez, beyonce, kelly clarkson, jennifer hudson, kate winslet, kathrine heigl, salma hayak etc. who would not be popular over 10 years ago because of their bodies...it is changing..slowly but it is....

i find it also difficult for me to put a finger at women who are born in iran, afghanistan etc. where the mode of dress and their lives are governed by men....what is their choice when they are born and raised in that culture...many women in those countries believe those laws are generally good....but you are right...what a woman does with her body and her life should not be governed by a man with a much stronger physique but a weaker spirit

pRicky said...

I second you completely.
I feel we really dont know what beautiful is...
its an idea created by another person or institution that we live with and discard and accept women by...
Sad... where is the space for original thought?

eshuneutics said...

It is very good point that you make: the West criticises the East for enforcing physical images--the clothes that women must wear to follow male dictated conventions. Yet, the West tyrannises women too, by dictating ideals of beauty that rely upon psychological images. There isn't much difference between the two poles, for they both reflect the constraints and wishes of patriarchy.

Sharique said...

I cannot agree more. I am all for personal freedom.

nandi23 said...

thank you!

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Lisa Francisco said...

Hi Chica!

Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! I hope you are doing good! Have a nice Monday!!

Lisa

bharath said...

Is it really so? that women's dress is determined by what men want? I am not quite sure about it. Much of the trends in women's clothing is also an off-shoot of the feminist movement which takes pride in women exploring their own bodies and feeling comfortable. Partially women do choose to wear what they wear as a proud form of self-expression.

maybe not all fault is with men :P

D said...

III...i know the topic is worth a debate but off late I have devloped a cynical attitude towards such issues, for I feel these fatwas/mandates are only for middle class in whichever country they are. Those who have money and power defy these rules or follow them at their own will.
And, then those who try to implement these rules at the ground level are those who are disgruntled with the system, the moment they get an oppurtunity to elevate themselves in the social pedestal, they forego the ideas. A case in point id VHP memebers, a saffron brigade, who try to impose Hindu way of thinking...I'm sure they have no idea of what the 'Hindu' way of thinking is, but they are mostly those who are jobless and once they manage to get a job which steer them away from politics they become insensitive to both 'for' and 'against' the cause.

Prerna said...

Why can't a woman decide what she wants to wear? Nobody other than her family has a right to dictate terms to her. I see men in Western Clothes and they are unrepentant about that. The state has no business to interfere in people's personal lives. In Iran the only Western clothing the men have stopped wearing is the neck tie and they have the right to jail young girls if they show a bit of hair.What justice!!!!!

crumbs said...

id,

i guess this is one issue that ensures a furious debate where ever it goes. why should something as personal as one's choice of cloths be a matter of national and religious debate, pray?
but the sorry state is that it is not limited to the manipulative lords of fashion twisting a woman's perspective and dictating her thought process on one end, and religious fanatics from the middle ages confining her in a garb with the arguement that it "incites" men, there is a modern educated class as well, who think the baton(wrong spelling?) of preserving ones culture falls singularly on women.
see this:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Opinion/Columnists/Shashi_Tharoor/Save_the_sari_from_a_sorry_fate/articleshow/1877334.cms
here's a guy who prides himself in being the global face of India.

Nasir said...

@iditis
Well i am sorry for the comments i made earlier.
Comments were totally out of place...And did not go on with the purpose of post!!
Though i still stand for what i wrote ...

@lash
i shall surely reply...
But u may have to wait...I am busy with my exams.

Id it is said...

nasir,
Your comment "I think action of Tehran is not wrong...though it should have not been by force" was your opinion on the subject; each of us has a right to our opinions, regardless of how it is received, interpreted, or argued by those who read it.
Good luck on the exams.

Id it is said...

crumbs,
Truly said; why is the onus on the woman?
Thanks for the link; could you tell me the name of the columnist who wrote it.

txandi said...

misguided self-infliction vs. choiceless compliance. ignorance vs. acceptance. promotion vs. enforcement.

in the spirit of your last phrase, "As for the women themselves...", i offer this perspective.

to preempt any reference to duplicity or bias, my exploration of abstinence is purely instrospective.

~t~

nandi23 said...

I am really enjoying reading the feedback on this!!!, the most awesome part is that your readers are not all in agreement as to which sex determines female dress

starry nights said...

Interestin post and I have to agree that the woman should decide how she is to be clothed and hopefully makes the right and good decision. I think culture to a certain extent dictates what we should wear and being an Indian mother of a daughter sometimes I find myself telling and showing my daughter what to wear, she sees how I dress and to a certain extent keeps it in mind when choosing clothes. I think you are right about anorexia being rampant.Who says you have to be thin to be beautiful.I think it is the designers and it is just making a whole lot of teens and women unhappy with themselves and lowering their self esteem.Not to forget what it is doing to the health of the individual.I think males have a part to play in this too.

EXSENO said...

It is a terrible situation. In the US, to make things worse, I don't know if you are aware of this. But the clothing size of today is not the same as it used to be. For example what used to be a size ten is now really a much smaller size with a size ten label on it and so even an older person is aware of the fact that they are now having to buy a larger size then what they used to wear. But in fact it is not a larger size but a different number, a larger number. It's crazy. When are women going to snap out of it and stop worrying about what the label says.

As for other places like Iran, I think the women would love to wear what ever they want, but it is fear that keeps them from changing.



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