my-precious-heart asked: Selam, I stumbled upon your entry about Muslim events and am confused. You can kindly ignore me if you like, I was just wondering (probably bc of my lack of English vocabulary) what exactly made you so mad about it?
Wa alaikum assalam. I was simply saying that the way we approach many issues comes with this baggage of assumptions. When we discuss hijab, for example, some people talk about it as an obligation for a woman to cover by framing it in terms of covering for men, so as not to tempt them, etc. The reality is that Islam does not specifically teach this reasoning; women who choose to cover do it for a diverse range of reasons: to protest a society that aims to objectify them, to ensure that they will be viewed positively by others because of their character rather than their looks, to represent their idea of a pious Muslim woman, or simply because they think God commands them to. When we talk about women’s issues with assumptions about why Islam teaches certain things, especially by talking about women’s issues in terms of men, we do ourselves a disservice by abandoning critical thinking, and we essentialize the image of a “good” Muslim woman.
(The flip side of this is that by obsessing over the specifics of women’s dress, people often forget Islam’s emphasis on modesty for both genders. There is a reason people obsess over women’s supposed “shortcomings” and gloss over men’s).