I have been following this female singer on Twitter, Yuna, who I greatly admire. She is someone who I wouldn’t mind trading places for a week (or more) – huge musical and singing talent, cool and witty personality, grounded and modest and yet stylish and urban.
Yesterday a blogger apparently wrote on his site (and Twitter page) that he doesn’t “approve” of her latest choice of head covering and prefers her to go back to the normal, average tudung-berlitup clad style. He even uploaded a picture of hers on his site without her permission and wrote a whole post on this particular opinion of his. This made her upset enough to tweet that she has decided to shut her blog down because it is probably too “out there”.
I’m sorry, but I really can’t stand men, and particularly sexist and Paleolithic-aged Malay Muslim men like this. Like, who are you, really, to keep passing on their judgement on which women is covered up well enough and which aren’t? What makes you think you are a better person than anyone else?
And why the fixation on just the women’s part of the equation? The Muslim world is so obsessed with the issue of the hijab and its effects on society. As far as I know, there are two sides to this coin. Just as righteous women are required to dress modestly, cover their hair and chest and be pious, so are righteous men, who are also supposed to dress modestly, be pious and lower their gazings in front of other women. And how many men do that?
Although I rant, i know the answer to my own question. People like to focus on the scarf because it is an easily visible and measurable target (covered girl vs. free-hair girl). Whereas other acts required by Islam such as prayers, charitable acts, fasting and good behaviour are less visible, more subjective and thus a less convenient benchmark.
Men have no idea how it is like growing up as a Muslim woman in the modern world during an era of consumerism, typecast beauty and hedonism that it is now. Just look at anything published in the media or shown on TV. Finding a decent female role model who doesn’t conform to the typical Western standards of sexed-up beauty is hard enough. And when you do have some who are courageous enough to pave the way, you slag her if her standard of covering up is not up to yours? Let’s not even talk about the amazing and original talent that she is helping to put forward against the gargantuan showbiz industry of the West! Why aren’t we supporting her for putting us on the map?
This reminds me of an old Malay saying, of how Malays can be like crabs in a pail – those who are at the bottom keep pulling down the ones who are making some headway to the top. Or something to that effect – but you get my drift.