Oppression, Continued

When I ventured the idea that I am “Oppressed and Loving It!”, I did so with this intention in mind: to speak to the Feminist misconception that a Western woman who chooses to wear a religiously observant dress and care for her family is not being subjugated as other women in the world. There is no comparison.

I acknowledge January, who pointed out that many women are forced to wear certain things and marry young as a quasi-religious/cultural practice. She speaks the painful truth. There is oppression cloaked in modesty and the appearance of honoring God.

I will faithfully uphold the idea of freedom of conscience. As we have seen in Europe through out the centuries, and now in other parts of the world, legislating relgious practices only bring rebellion. Iran might be a good modern example of this. I recently saw a news clip about how popular nosejobs are among the young ladies, because they can only show their faces and it must be “perfect.” How twisted is that?

Serving God is a matter of humility. If we are forced to do something in the name of honoring Him, how is it honorable? How is it beautiful? How is it loving? The intentions of the heart eventually shine through.

Perhaps I am a little overly sensitive to the Feminist elitist critique because I was surrounded by it for a few years in college. The mantra and practice was that showing off your body is a sign of liberation. If you didn’t exhibit how proud you were of your body through nakedness, you were labelled a prude or a fundamentalist (!) I was called insane during a lecture for believing in the Resurrection. Ouch. So, I carry that kind of baggage into the discussion.

[Yeah, I chose my University and dealt with the side effects. All in all, I believe I gained a greater sense of my faith and grounding in First Princicples than if I had chosen a Christian college. That can be a discussion for later.]

What those types of Feminists miss is an altogether different form of Liberation. There is a liberation through submission to God. Look at the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa’s foundation. They have two habits, one to wash and one to wear. They do not have to “toil and spin.” That choice was made, done, and let’s get on with the more important works of Mercy.

My freedom is greater, my circle of choices even widened though some have shrunken. In wearing my headscarf and choosing modest clothing, I proclaim my liberation from the tyranny of Fashion, Body Image standards, and the desire to please others with every changing season.

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8 Responses to “Oppression, Continued”


  1. 1 January September 27, 2007 at 9:45 am

    Thank you for acknowledging my comment regarding your article. I totally believe in modesty and an appropriate dress sense. Sometimes, I have made the mistake of buying a dress that I thoguht was beautiful only to discover that it was a bit too suggestive. these dresses have had to be redesigned just to suit my personality cos I don’t believe in baring it all.

    Recently, about two months ago, police officers in my country were arresting young women for wearing suggestive clothes. there was a huge outcry by a large section of our women denouncing such open violations of human rights till the police commisiioner had to issue a press conference that he never instructed hs men to carry out such acts that will incite public outcry.

    He basically said that the issue of indecent dressing should be left to the churches and mosques within our society to address. That also, there were more important societal ills to deal with than indecent dressing. I also agree with you that sometimes, people are forced to wear what they would not normally wear out of religious conventions.

  2. 2 Gemaecca September 27, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    I still think your concept of feminism is woefully shallow.

  3. 3 cbrunette September 27, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    I do not claim to belong to any branch of feminism. I already got enough “isms” in my purse. πŸ™‚

    ~Anna

  4. 4 MInTheGap September 27, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    I find it interesting that feminists spend a lot of time saying that they are making it so that women can do whatever they want, and they follow that by telling them exactly what they should want.

    It’s simply another set of taskmasters rather than the former.

  5. 5 Emily September 27, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    I actually was kind of offended by the post this is in reference to, as I thought it came off in a presumptuous way. I am non-religious and wear skirts that show my knees, but that doesn’t mean that I judge or assume things about people that wear religious headcoverings or dress more modestly than I.

    I strive to live my life with dignity and class. The only assumption I make about anybody having not spoken to them and knowing nothing about them is that they deserve to do the same. I think that a lot of dealing with other peoples assumptions is not always immediately assuming that they are being made.

  6. 6 cara michele September 27, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    “The mantra and practice was that showing off your body is a sign of liberation.”

    The devil is a liar, isn’t he? He’s got women all over this country believing that by disrespecting themselves, they are somehow being “free.” What a lie. What a shame. That isn’t freedom, that’s bondage. It’s so messed up.

    “All in all, I believe I gained a greater sense of my faith and grounding in First Principles than if I had chosen a Christian college.”

    Me, too. I attended a left-leaning, public university where my faith was constantly challenged. This caused me to study the Word more, depend on the Holy Spirit more, and become a more vocal defender of Christianity. In retrospect, I’m glad I attended a secular school. Jesus used it to grow me. πŸ™‚

    Re: Feminism.

    Not an “ism” I aspire to. (But I do like optimism, activism and Baptism, among others. *grin*)

  7. 7 Naomi September 29, 2007 at 9:13 am

    Interesting discussion. As an Amish/Menno-turned-feminist (among plenty of other labels–then and now), I have to say that I’ve yet to hear a feminist-in-the-flesh advocate for sexually provacative clothing. Indeed, those I know are outraged by marketing efforts that foist these images on young girls/women/men as normal or desireable.

    The difference between such feminists and many conservative voices is that feminists do not support mandating dress codes. Instead, they recognize the personal benefits of dressing appropriately for the occasion.

    There are plenty of Amish/Menno women who fully embrace their traditional garb. However, I find it interesting that their “personal convictions” usually coincide precisely with the border of what their particular community approves. Also, that many church leaders make an indirect link between salvation and upholding the standards. In those communities, it is far more convenient to “discover” your personal convictions are exactly what is prescribed than to voice dissent.

    I’m NOT suggesting that all such women are stupid or oppressed–or that my characterization applies to everyone. They’re merely exhibiting normal human behavior in an insular environment. I had the unfortunate realization that I didn’t conform ideologically–the feminism and short(er) hair came years later.

    Sorry to run so long…and please overlook any misspellings. πŸ™‚

  8. 8 January October 2, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    I totally agree with Naomi. Interesting perspective


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