Friday, October 09, 2009

Aunty Mohja's Modesty Primer

At first I thought it was satire due to it's lighthearted and entertaining style, but apparently this four-part series for American Muslim women is serious, written by Mohna Kahf, a poet, novelist and a faculty member in the University of Arkansas' King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies. A snippet:
Who says Muslims are wrong about veiling? Honey, of course we’re right, Aunty Mohja says. The privacy of the crotch, the sanctity of the small of the back, and just plain physical dignity, those are some of the fruits of body modesty, and part of what sets us apart from species whose knuckles scrape the ground.

The hairy knees of the man beside me on the airplane and the tissue folded into the butt-cleavage of Aunty Mohja’s hometown coffee barista say that this civilized human trait can be drummed out of people. Bit by bit, through neglect, or deliberately, by embrace of the nutty notion that naked means free. Or by fashion and garment industries bizarrely out of touch with our elemental need for clothing that clothes us.

Speckled old thighs, for example, male or female be they, have presumably done some service in the world and are due respect, and sorry, they just don’t get it in Bermuda shorts, a garment invented for young British soldiers suffering the heat of empire at the turn of the twentieth century.

American society is at a loss for modesty, and Muslims are here to help. Aunty Mohja will show you how to take a leaf from our book of bodily modesty. For less tangible forms of modesty, you’re on your own. Aunty Mohja is not the best at working out modesty-of-the-self issues.
Part two is here. I'm at a loss for words, it's total culture shock to me.

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Anonymous said...

If these people want to leave Kabul then they must join the 21st century. This is not about modesty. It is all about controlling women in every aspect of their lives.

Anonymous said...

As you said, there are too many problem in the article to even begin. Some high points:

- It's about controlling women.
- No attempt to justify any of the needs. Is no one critical of authors anymore?
- When undressed she's an ape? That's one way to become unwelcomed at Nudist areas so that they can ignore them.
- She picks on the fashion industry, but her preferences and theirs are equally without justification.
- No attempt to try to understand the other side of the argument. That means this opinion piece blindly states the only side the author was "given".
- Did I mention how well this shows a how crippled one must make a female mindset in order to get them to believe this stuff?