Recently, NPR reported that a Muslim cleric in Semnan, Iran complained he was knocked down and kicked by a woman whom he’d chastised because of her appearance. “I don’t know what happened,” he said. “All I could feel was the kicks of this woman who was insulting me and attacking me.” (“The Two-Way,” www.NPR.org.) The cleric spent three days in the hospital and the case is being investigated as a public beating.
The comments that followed the article varied. Several sided with the cleric and condemned the woman for criminal assault. A few women responded that they’d been whipped by dress code patrols while living in Iran. “I understand the frustration that woman in Semnan must have felt and why she lashed out at the cleric,” one wrote. (Ibid)
Setting aside the fact that women have been targeted for abuse in patriarchal societies for centuries, I question the premise upon which these dress codes are based. Presumably, women in Muslim societies are required to dress modestly so that men will be protected from impure thoughts. But sex is a basic drive and mummifying a woman does nothing to curb the male’s imagination. Even men isolated in a prison cells have their fantasies. Why should a woman be held hostage to another person’s thoughts and made vulnerable to the aggression from any male who chooses to be a fashion critic? If men are cable of being political leaders, if they can be captains of commerce and industry, if they are the anointed heads of families, then surely they can be masters of their thoughts.
(Courtesy of pinkturtle2.wordpress.com)