Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Saudi Columnist on the Abaya

Interesting article, through MEMRI, by a Saudi columnist about the use of the abaya, the full-body covering showing only the eyes, and how it is used to dominate the muslim woman.

I wish I had advice to the Saudis and other muslims of the world on how to reverse this trend. Unfortunately, I'm better at pointing out social flaws than knowing how to correct them.

An excerpt:
To say the least, Donna was astounded by their remarks and realized that they were not simply talking about a garment to be worn but about their perceptions of what an abaya symbolized. They seemed determined to deny that a normal human being was under the black material. The truth is that those Saudi men articulated something that the Saudi lifestyle and customs have created. The abaya indeed covers a typically weak and frightened character (a woman of course), who views herself as a sexual entity confined in a well-defined space she can never escape from. This is why the whole culture of the abaya imposes so many restraints upon women. One of the restraints is that she must walk as if her feet were hobbled and she was unable to move easily and normally. Nor is she allowed to look around and observe the surrounding world comfortably, as slowly or quickly as she might like. The abaya has also contributed directly to preventing certain basic movements; for example, she can no longer move her hands normally. Aside from that, ordinary free conversation is forbidden and is replaced with low and often unclear speech that makes little sense.

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