It seems like Mrs Obama’s trip to Saudi Arabia to greet the new king bought one main “controversy” which was of course she did not cover. By cover I presume they mean hair right? As her dress attire seemed pretty modest in my opinion. Loose and long. However, people who are getting really upset by the fact the she didn’t cover clearly have no idea about the history of American First Ladies or American female political figures who have never covered they’re hair. It’s hardly fair that Michelle gets the blame now is it.
She was criticised for not respecting Saudi tradition but also praised for making a bold statement by standing up for “women rights”. Now both arguments here are flawed. This perspective is entirely my own opinion, it will not be an Islamic lecture quoted from the Qur’an. Do I find Michelle Obama to be disrespecting Saudi traditions? Not really no. She was dressed conservatively and for a woman who is always seen wearing dresses that reveal some skin and shape I say her dress attire was a sign of respect and acknowledgment. She was not in a Mosque nor was she greeting a scholar or an Imam and let’s face it the royal family are hardly pious saints themselves. Take it or leave, that’s my perspective.
Now the second argument which interests me more is how people particularly in the West were applauding Mrs Obama for not covering her hair as obviously that’s her “fighting for women rights”. By women, these people mean us poor, weak and submissive Muslim women. *Sighs* I’m not sure when people of the West will understand but us covering our hair does not make us oppressed. We can easily reverse this logic that is forcibly pinned on us and say Western Women are oppressed because they have to wear heels and tight clothes in order to attract a man’s attention. Sounds harsh now that it’s from this point of view don’t it? The bottom line is patriarchy exists everywhere, not just in the Middle East. Instead of people having pointless discussions about the “oppression” they think Muslim women suffer, and speaking on our behalf, why can’t they just let us speak for ourselves? And when we do why can’t they just accept what we say?
Western “feminists” need to accept the reality and need to just stop trying to be our knight in shining heels! Many Muslim women wear the ‘Hijab’ as it is they’re choice. Why? Because faith is something that may be close to their hearts and abiding by it brings them a peace of mind and spiritual healing. Now don’t get me wrong yes there are many women who follow a certain faith, come from a certain race that may suffer from violence and abuse from the hands of men. Some of these women may even be Muslim, these women probably despise the men who inflict pain on them but very rarely do they despise their faith. God and people are two separate entities. Many men use religion as tool to abuse and to gain control. Many men use culture to abuse and gain control. Many men use tradition to abuse and gain control. Please don’t for one second think these types of men only exist in the Middle East or Asian countries. Like I said patriarchy exists everywhere. Look at the UK for example; heck women are still getting paid less than men! http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/aug/19/gender-pay-gap-women-bosses-earn-35-percent-less-than-men
So you see it is illogical just to presume women from third world countries are/more oppressed. Oppression exists in many forms; some are more hidden than others. The same way with patriarchy, some forms of patriarchy are just more hidden. Let’s not be ignorant, judge and belittle women from ethnic minorities as clearly the way some White Western feminists behave, the issue is more about one’s class, ethnicity, nationality and religion oppose to one’s gender. In short, this whole post can be summarised as basically please don’t be stuck up 🙂