I get some people who read my blog leaving comments sometimes wondering why Muslim men just can't control themselves from looking at women, exhibiting the supposed "restraint" of Western men. If you go read my post about a Grocery Store Ogre you'll see I pretty much disagree.
The issue tends to arise with the matter of covering--something I try to avoid discussing too much because it just seems over-blogged among Muslims. But the recent article about men seeing women in bikinis as objects is just too good fodder to pass up. (Check it out, if you missed it.) Now, obviously, Muslim women do not cover because of National Geographic, or because men's brains go haywire when they see too much skin. The reason Muslim women cover is (or should be) simply because Allah commanded them to.
This little bit of scientific "proof" that covering is by most standards a pretty good thing (especially if you're a woman). But it's hardly shocking (for most people, at least... I hope...)
For instance, I brought up this article when visiting my parents last night. I mentioned it casually while indicating that scientists had basically proven this little nugget--that men see women as objects when they are even near-naked. And then my dad burst out laughing, saying, "Men have known that for years!"
Well yeah. Any girl who has had a dad can tell you this much--daddies don't like their little girls going around without hardly any clothes on. And why? Because they know how men think! Obviously. For instance, I've heard some of my male relatives and coworkers complaining about Hannah Montana, for instance, and the way she dresses. They are concerned because they see their daughters trying to imitate her.
Now of course these men aren't Muslim so they don't see the issue quite the same way I do, or the natural and obvious solution to the problem. Because really, a command from God is even more motivation for proper dress than brain scans. But it seems to really ring true, in at least one way, how Shaykh Hamza Yusuf said at ISNA last year that Muslim women are the last hope for the women of this country.
I recall a few years ago, when taking a World Religions class online, one fellow student who sincerely hoped that Muslim women (whom she viewed undoubtedly as victims of oppression) would soon feel safe enough in America to remove their veils. I replied back to her that I actually hoped headscarves would soon become so ubiquitous they could be bought at Wal-Mart!
Now it's been only 2 years or so, but my hope has come true, hasn't it? These pictures I took at a local Wal-Mart just a few months ago. I've had friends tell me they've been buying scarves at Target as well. So there it is--you can buy headscarves (hijabs--these are not neck scarves though some people wear them that way) at Wal-Mart.