The Women Rights movement has always been a fragile thing with male dominated governments, work forces, and media. It is obvious to say that we are still very far from being equal in the eyes of society.
I recently read an interesting article in a Danish Newspaper, saying that the Quran in many ways is the perfect solution to equal rights between men and women. But what about in reality?
Muslim women are often taken hostage in the public debate regarding equal rights in Islam, and it can be hard to differ between the cultural and religious aspect for most. What stands out the most in the debate on hijabs and burqas is that most of the voices come from men.
The debate today is overheated, and with a huge diversity of people on my Facebook, I don’t have to scroll much on my newsfeed before something regarding Muslim women shows up. Almost every time it is a man posting regarding women’s clothing and bodies, where they compare western women and Muslim women with each other, and obviously advocate for their own culture.
So what about those places where women are considered to have equal rights to men? Scandinavia is known to be the most equal society for women. However, details are missing on that perception. In a recent study of behavior towards women in the European countries, it showed that Denmark had the most hateful approach from men to women in public. While the government are guarding the rights of women, they are often verbally abused in public, and have to stand strong with public groping and unwanted approaches from men.
The sexual liberation in the West and the globalization
I do believe that the issue regarding how Muslim women dress lies within the sexual liberation of women in the 60’s and 70’s. It is worth to note it was a completely different wish those women had, compared to the society we have today. When you speak with western women who were a part of the liberation, their message was that you should be able to love and make love to whomever you wanted to, without practical restrictions. The message was to spread love through physical contact between all humans. Today the sexual liberations have been rebranded and remarketed, and the women’s body today is something which belongs to the glossy magazines and is often highlighted partially rather than a whole with a soul and mind behind the image.
The message from the liberators to the liberated have somehow gotten lost in translation between the generation, and with the growing globalization, it is even worse. Somehow sexual expression and liberation has for some become the highlight of the Women’s Rights Movement, but across cultures and generations a lot of battles and messages have been lost. Instead it is being highlighted that sexual attractiveness is the way to go, if you want to be free and successful, but with that as the only choice of freedom, is that really freeing, liberating and equal to the male gender?
It is still a man’s world
Without sounding like another angry feminist, I think it is important to understand that whatever any women choose to wear, it is her OWN choice and her OWN responsibility. I think the global message of sexual liberation for women has a huge grey zone, because it is spreading in the world with mixed messages and is coming into cultures which are not ready for it. As in the West, there have already been several generations, who have shaped the ideas since they first started and with a sudden immersion in Islamic cultures, people are reacting. Men should be taught to react to any woman, as if she could have been his sister, and respect her as an equal voice in society regardless of what she is wearing. However, it is important to understand that the sudden longing for sexual liberations is struggling in cultures, where sexuality is suppressed and as a woman you have to be aware of the reactions it might have.
On hijabis and non-hijabis: it is important to understand that no matter what gender, you are an equal part of society, and the responsibility is as much on the women’s side as on the men’s. There might be places and situations where you have to adjust, but ONLY in a manner where you feel safe and comfortable.
This article is written by Simone Donvang