Religious fashion blends the worst of both worlds

Models walk the runway for the Anniesa Hasibuan show during New York Fashion Week in New York City on Feb. 14. (Angela Weiss / AFP/Getty Images)

Some recent letters to the editor of the LA Times expressed the opinion that having to wear headscarves should offend women, even if ‘pious fashion’ is going mainstream.

[…] “Pious fashion” is just another example of misogyny. (“Islamic style is showing up on catwalks, in mainstream stores and on non-Muslim women,” Opinion, Oct. 1)

Fashion is generally sexist, not to mention the epitome of superficiality. Religion is almost always misogynist, so it is not surprising that “religious fashion” blends the worst of both worlds. Elizabeth Bucar’s article takes for granted that women who make clothing choices based on the “modesty” obligations of their patriarchal religion are abdicating any notion of feminism, and it seems to find the mainstreaming of this trend desirable because it’s also “modern.”

So what if headscarves and burkas are colorful or “fashionable”? These garments hurt all of us, proclaiming to the world: “Yes, I’m voluntarily covering myself by choice, so it’s OK. I’m advertising my subservience to men and to the religion that serves them.”

It’s not OK. It’s self-destructive and denigrates our entire gender by reinforcing this offensive idea that women must accommodate men’s inability to handle women’s sexuality. Women should criticize this blind obedience and not be encouraged to keep looking like pieces of male property.

Pamela Koslyn, Los Angeles

Photo-Pinterest hijab+woman+beauty+muslim+modest+fashion+show+indonesia

[…] Ever since thongs arrived on our beaches, I have been waiting for the modesty pendulum to swing. But donning headscarves is outlandish.

Women of any culture, Islamic or otherwise, having to wear a piece of cloth to cover their heads is an act of suppression. They say it’s to suppress men’s desire. But if men cannot control their desires, they should be the ones covering their eyes.

Of course, this idea is ridiculous — just as having to wear a headscarf to be “modest” is ridiculous.

Have fun with fashion, but leave my head alone. It’s where I think. It’s where I pray. It’s where I ponder all those new fashion arrivals and their beautiful hairdos that I want to see and admire, without needing a pair of sunglasses to cover my eyes while I watch the show.

Sarah Turitto, Cardiff

I occasionally watch fashion shows on Youtube and the really expensive ones are often held in wealthy Islamic countries. If you look closely at the audience you will see women in hijabs beside men in Arab robes and headgear staring at scantily clad models who often wear quite transparent materials. It is a bizarre situation as I imagine it is all the wealthy Arabs with their oil money buying up these overpriced garments for their wives and mistresses.




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