Kucing Gatal Speaks

Friday, December 02, 2005

Tudung/Burqa: Women should have a choice

Arabian women are beautiful. Arguably the most beautiful in the world, except for Aishwarya Rai of course.

They have flawless skin, beautiful big expressive eyes and sharp features, and are just a joy to look at. So it's a real pity that most of them hide behind veils.

If Arab women were allowed to participate in beauty contests, the rest of the world needn't bother sending in their contestants.

If only women made the rules in the world, not men ...

I wonder why the men have imprisoned women behind those thick black burqas. Who are they trying to protect the women from? Lecherous men? If that was the case, why are incidents of rape and adultery still occurring? It's men that are the perpetrators, these men are the ones who should be punished. Those who can't get a woman will rape young boys instead. So why aren't young boys put in burqas for their own protection as well?

You say that the Quran has stipulated that women's aurat should be covered. Well, that doesn't include the face and hands. Why cover them up entirely and reduce them to the status of objects?

Some cover up to protect themselves from dust and sand. OK, well and good. What about in good weather? What about when they are visiting a foreign country?

Women should be given the choice to clothe themselves as they see fit. They should be able to run their lives as they choose to, answering to nobody but the Almighty for their behaviour. Men are given that choice, and not all choose to live a noble life. Why take that choice away from women?

Yes, men are supposed to protect women. But do not imprison the women under the guise of providing that protection.

I get really frustrated when I hear about people forcing women to wear the tudung or the burqa. I hear that in public universities in Malaysia, girls are ostracised if they do not don the headscarf. Peer pressure is such that girls will succumb to it and cover up, but that doesn't mean they live a pious life.

On the contrary, some start to rebel. And at nights, off comes the tudung, on come the skimpy clothes, and off they go to the most happening nightclub to dance and drink the night away. Come morning, they are once again demure and modestly clad.

Compare this to a woman who doesn't wear a tudung, but prays five times a day and fulfills her duties and obligations. She doesn't have any vices and is a wonderful daughter, sister, wife and mother. Is she less of a Muslim just because she doesn't cover her hair?

My opinion is that no man, being a mortal, should pronounce judgment on a woman for living her life the way she wants to (criminal activities being an exception of course).

Only God has that right.

If Muslim women did not want to wear the burqa/tudung, fine. Let them be (like this woman). Conversely, if they wanted to wear it, let them wear it. Do not take away that right from them as has happened in this case and this case.

Till next time, this is Kucing Gatal signing out with a stand-up-for-women's-rights Meow.


  • Aishwarya Rai is South Indian.

    By Anonymous Jon, at December 02, 2005 8:01 AM  

  • Yes Jon, I know that. That's why I said with the exception of her.

    By Blogger Kucing Gatal, at December 02, 2005 8:07 AM  

  • "Yes, men are supposed to protect women."

    Are we? I know a number of women who would disagree with that statement as much as I.

    I believe in chivalry, but not all women should be allowed its benefits. Because you can't have the cake and eat it too.

    By Blogger xaph, at December 02, 2005 8:37 AM  

  • spoken passionately. ultimately, it comes down to free will, so i share your sentiments.

    By Blogger Jeremy C, at December 02, 2005 8:40 AM  

  • Xaph: Well, men are the ones in power much as I hate to say it. And in many Islamic countries, men do see themselves as the protector of women, the so-called weaker sex.

    Chivalry is something totally different. I'm talking about men giving women the right to live as they see fit - instead of shoving their rules and regulations down the women's throats.

    Jeremy C: Exactly, free will should be a right, not a privilege.

    By Blogger Kucing Gatal, at December 02, 2005 8:46 AM  

  • The wearing of the burqa has more to do with Arab culture than anything else and it doesn't make the Arab men (or women, from my experience) any less gatal.Dressing modestly and true modesty are two different things.

    Re: The UIA tudung requirement, I would say it is better to let it stand as the requirement is concurrent with their values. Those who are uncomfortable with the idea should have the courage of their principles to join other colleges. At the end of the day, what truly matters is that you graduate with a decent degree.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 02, 2005 9:19 AM  

  • I dont think it's man that created that rule of Muslim women having to wear tudung. It's the Al-Quran. Having said that, Al-Quran is the God's words.

    And I dont think that you should worried about the Arab women. Maybe they do it willingly out of obedience and respect to God's rule. Maybe they didn't share the same sentiment as you.

    Talking about choice and freewill, who are we to have choices over things (which is ourselves) that belongs to Him?

    Just a different point of view :-)

    By Anonymous slightly_disturbed, at December 02, 2005 9:32 AM  

  • Anonymous: I wasn't actually specifying UIA - in fact I respect that the university has incorporated the tudung requirement into their rules and regulations, so students know what's required of them. I'm talking about peer pressure in local universities - where girls who do not wear the tudung are pressured into doing so by their fellow students.

    Slighly_disturbed: Maybe some Arab women do, I'm not saying they are all totally against wearing the burqa. I'm saying they should have the choice to decide. Just like you have the choice of living in a house or an apartment or a cave, or of wearing a red coloured tudung, or a blue one, or none at all. These women do not have that choice.

    And it's not written in the Quran that women have to cover every inch of their bodies, is it?

    By Blogger Kucing Gatal, at December 02, 2005 9:53 AM  

  • Well, dun you think some men are just plain selfish? They don't let other men look at their woman but they can look at other men's woman. I'm speaking in general...not focusing on burqa-wearing-women.

    I love being protected but not overly protected. You wanna know what their real culture is? If one man befriends a woman, that woman is not allowed to even talk or be friends with the other guy or he'd get into trouble. They're not to be seen together AT ALL or it would seen as a challenge to the man who befriended her earlier. What is that all about? Women are not properties of men. We're all human beings with a mind of our own and we're capable of making our own decisions.

    The reason why it became a culture and why the women there submit to this kinda culture is because men made it that way and women there are the inferior party. Those (some) dominating men are not only overprotective but abusive as well. And it is not written in the Quran that women have to cover every inch of their bodies. Menutup aurat is to protect yourselves by concealing parts of your body that might attract any unwanted attention (or danger).

    By Anonymous S-Kay, at December 02, 2005 11:04 AM  

  • Its a well know fact that Arabs are the biggest spenders on lingerie in London and even KL.

    When one is bound by laws to behave or dress accordingly against one's own moral judgement, that person is likely to behave in the other extreme when opportunity arises. I just think its unhealthy and unnatural.

    By Blogger sic6sense, at December 02, 2005 2:30 PM  

  • hi kucing, yes. the Quran says that all adult women (that had reached puberty) need to cover their whole body parts leaving only the palm and face.

    but it does not specify that they MUST use the burqa. it is also not a MUST to use black. so there you have it. you can choose whatever color that suites you as long as you cover the necessary.

    even if you cover everything, it must not be tight and showing the women's 'asset'. :-)

    it's quite strict, really but if you look at it from a positive way, you can wear anything/everything in this world, as long as it does not cross the line :-)

    * as for the lingerie, i think they are wise enough on WHERE to use it. in the bedroom, pleasing their husbands :-)

    I mean, why is there the necessity to show your beauty to the world? whether people acknowledges it or not, if you are beautiful than you are beatiful...

    By Anonymous slightly_disturbed, at December 02, 2005 4:20 PM  

  • i've seen on the beach, an arab women covered from head to toe while the husband is topless and clad only in shorts..


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 02, 2005 5:36 PM  

  • Hey Kucing, I came here through the comment you left on my blog. Ive spent the last two hours reading most of your archvies. And I have to say you write very well and I really enjoyed reading it. I especially connected with the De Bastard Series.

    By Blogger Rat, at December 02, 2005 5:46 PM  

  • Slightly disturbed: That's exactly my point - it doesn't say that women MUST cover their face and hands, so why are they forced to do so in certain countries?

    S-kay: I think a lot of it stems from insecurity.

    Sic6sense: We will always find ways to rebel against unjust or oppressive laws, it's human nature ;)

    Rat: Thanks! The De Bastard series is one of my personal favourites so far :) Out of curiosity, which part/character did you connect with?

    By Blogger Kucing Gatal, at December 02, 2005 6:54 PM  

  • the quran did not spesifically mention that a woman should wear tudung. in that case there are no versus that say women should wear tudung.

    what the quran does say that women should cover their aurah, means not only by wearing tudung but also other parts which in certain ways would be considered aurah.

    may be we should leave it to the scholars to debate on it because if we do, we resort to logic and laws revealed in the quran are not to be discuss by logic. there are certain limits that human mind can comprehend.

    By Anonymous memphis_belle, at December 05, 2005 3:30 PM  

  • Kucing,

    I agree with you about the peer pressure thing.

    Peer pressure is bad, bceause it is an individual choice whether you want to don the tudung or not; if official rules and regulations decree that you should wear one, then I am all for it. But if it's peer pressure that is forcing you to do so, hell no.

    I know many female friends who are given scathing looks because they choose not to wear tudungs. But these friends of mine, I can tell you, are better in personality and mind (by miles) than those who look at them with contempt.

    It's just a matter of these bastards acting holier-than-thou against those who they perceive to be less pious than them. Idiots.

    I shall refrain from commenting on males-shoving-rules-down-female- throats. Lest I start becoming misogynistic again.

    (Though I am hoping to cut back down on that. Please help me, won't you, Kucing?)

    By Blogger xaph, at December 08, 2005 12:09 PM  

  • Stumbled upon another similar post at Adam's site.

    There is a less traditional way of covering up, most Middle Eastern students studying in our country dress like that. Modern, fashionable. *Thumbs up!*

    The burqa/veil donned by most Arab women is more of a cultural thingy, imho.

    By Blogger narrowband, at December 13, 2005 4:25 PM  

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