Today’s Ideal Woman

12

As much as we value activism and causes, and fresh ideas and creativity – do we sometimes forget that the end does not justify the means?

I was having lunch with friends the other day when talk of the new facebook status trend came up. Since I don’t have FB, I didn’t know what they were talking about, but apparently there is this new thing going around where women put a single colour in their FB status to indicate what the colour of their undergarment is. It’s supposed to raise awareness for Breast Cancer research.

How exactly it does that – I do not know. I mean, tell me a sad story about a woman struggling with breast cancer, and I will be more likely to donate to the cause than to know what colour bra the most random girl is wearing. In fact, that might just turn me away.

In fact, it did.

It was after hearing this that I realized how everything is becoming so overtly sexual lately. Need to sell a product? Put a woman on the cover. Need to raise money? Put a woman on the cover. Need to market a SALAD?? YES, BY ALL MEANS, SHOW A WOMAN ROLLING AROUND IN BED.

And it seems that coinciding with all this, women everywhere are declaring even more, We are free! We are not objects! You know, saying something over and over again doesn’t make it true, ladies. It sounds more like an oxymoron to me, no?

It seems that nowadays, women have to completely bare themselves in order to be accepted. If they are not half-falling out out of their clothes, then they are not attractive. If they are not caked with make-up, then they are not pretty. If they do not have enough of a swagger when they walk, how will any man pay attention to them? What more could better explain this than the example of stores who do not hire people unless they look the part? Because of course, if they are too ugly, then products won’t sell. Simple math. Even products that have absolutely nothing to do with women, like Gillette razors or microwaveable food commercials, will often show a woman in next-to-nothing to pique the consumers’ interest.

When my family moved to a new area when I was in Grade 7, I had a really hard time adjusting at my new school. I was so used to being well-liked by both friends and teachers at my old one, that it was difficult to get accustomed to a school where the majority of the students were one race and the teachers were downright pathetic. In recess, the guys and girls used to play a game at the back of the class where the girls would have to move their hand slowly across the guys’ body, while the guy had to compose himself and not -get “excited.” They asked me to join, and while on the outside I politely declined, on the inside I was all H-E-L-L TO THE NO. Even though I wasn’t a hijabi then, nor was I really practicing, I knew I would never stoop to something so demeaning.

Then there was this other thing they used to do, where the names of all the girls in the class was written down on a piece of paper, and in a column at the top, the headings face, hair, boobs, and butt were written across. All the guys would then rate each girl between a 1-10 in each of the categories, sort of like, you know, how you rate OBJECTS on a LIST? Remember this is GRADE 7, people, when you are JUST TURNING 13. The reality is that sex is introduced from such a young age through the media and from pressure in schools that by the time children become teenagers, it is so ingrained into their heads that a guy must be a certain way to be attractive, and especially, a girl should be like this. My cousin was just telling me that the girls in her class were making fun of her because she wasn’t wearing skinny jeans like how Hannah Montana does. She is in Grade 2.

Even when I began wearing the hijab in the end of my high school years, I was no longer leered at, talked to inappropriately, or touched inappropriately; all of which happened before. And while it was still a hard process to go through, I felt calm on the inside knowing that I no longer had to worry about how tight and low-cut my shirt had to be, or how un-frizzed my hair were, because I would not need to impress anyone anymore. I would not have to live up to impossible-to-reach standards of today’s ideal woman.

On the topic of women covering up and dressing modestly in Islam, I’ve heard both non-Muslims and Muslims alike use the excuse that “men are not animals”, and that it’s not like they are going to attack the woman who is not covered properly. Yet to me, the man who needs a picture of a half-naked woman advertised to him in order to buy a product, is the real animal.

_______________

This post originally appeared on Diary of a Muslim Girl.

FacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendlyShare
  • Hajra

    I love your last sentence. Great article! =)

  • Nikhat

    Amazing article Ma ahAllah..Allah (S.W.T) knows his creation very well indeed that's why he has set standards for women ..which gives them inner solace and tranquility….i love your article..MAY Allah (S.W.T) reward you abundantly ..and keep making you write more articles

  • http://diaryofamuslimgirl.blogspot.com/ Muslim Girl

    Hajra, Jazak'Allah!

    Nikhat, Absolutely true! Allah (SWT) knows us better than we know ourselves, which is why he knows what's best for us BETTER than we know what's best for ourselves!

  • Mahvish

    JazakAllah Khair for this….and it's SO TRUE of how overtly sexual PEOPLE are these days — meaning, sadly, such indecencies and gross behaviors, attires, etc. has spilled over the Muslim Ummah too! Blah!

    May Allah SWT protect us all, Ameen.

    And believe it or not, but the stories you mentioned, as horrible as they were, EVEN WORSE is happening to YOUNGER kids. My friend told me that in her elementary school, kids are having anal sex ….. that kills me.

  • Sona

    Oh my!! Elementary school?! Is this in Toronto?!

  • Mahvish

    Nope – U.S.

    But it's APALLINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!

  • Sona

    Inna lillahi wa inna ilyahir rajeeoon!!

  • http://www.igotitcovered.org/author/sarah/ Sarah

    SubhanAllah, I remember seeing this on FB and thinking 'Seriously?'
    Much needed post – jazakhiAllahu khayrn :)
    There was an awesome video a brother put up on youtube about this same topic too – inshaAllah check it out if you haven't already!

  • http://www.momo17.wordpress.com/ maryam

    LOL MG this was such a cool read…!!

    man the world is going crasy!! Astagfirullah, just recently, when i was in the library , a guy was telling a girl about this status bra thing astagfirullah… i cant go into details cause its gross.

    yes the media is the biggest promoter of sex, the media is obscene, it has no limits, its a secular world out there….. man im not going to have tv in my house when i have kids inshaAllah.. even cartoons arouse such feelings in kids…

    i dont want my kids to become victims of such crap inshaAllah. i pray that nobodys kids do ameen.

    jazakAllah.
    hugs MG <3

  • MH

    With all due respect (and you can see where this is going):

    I do not see the FB status thing as sexual. I participated and did not even once think of it as sexual. My thoughts were mainly with other women who participated and those who responded. It felt like we were in it together. But also, I don't see it as pointless. It seems like a silly thing, but once people found out what it was about, didn't that mean they AT LEAST thought about breast cancer today? What, that's not enough to spur on the right amount of action, activism or donations? No, but nevertheless it was something. Who knows that even if each lady who participated didn't do something straight away, they might have done something more indirect. They might have looked it up on the internet. They might have remembered a charity they once gave a donation to. They might start looking out for news items regarding breast cancer. They might have mentioned it to a friend, who DID go and give a more direct contribution to a breast cancer charity. Not all calls for charity hit the mark.

    Though this doesn't mean the intention wasn't made with some cheekiness in mind. I just want to state my opinion. If you do not agree, please state your stance reasonably and don't flame me please. Thank you.

    I do agree that advertising banks too much on sexuality and that women are still being seen as sexual objects. I also agree that many children are learning about sexuality at inappropriate ages. No dispute there.

    I would like to point out that women are also prone to seeing men as sexual objects. Perhaps not as much as men, but just to set the balance. How many teenage girls collect posters of their dream celebrities? How many ladies swoon over the image of their fave sports celebrity without his shirt on?

    Lastly, we don't have to subscribe to the media's image of “today's ideal woman”. We can make and promote our own ideal woman to our families and our communities. Let's keep looking forward. :)

  • http://diaryofamuslimgirl.blogspot.com/ Muslim Girl

    MH,

    Raising awareness for any social, political, or just cause is perfectly fine, and in fact, encouraged. I am sure that the FB status thing did its part – it attracted the attention of people, endorsed participation, and as you say, maybe even just caused someone to think about it, which is a good thing at the end of the day.

    But was the manner in which it was done, the initial attraction, a “modest” thing? Does pasting the colour of a woman's bra (which no doubt sparks male imagination), conform to Islamic conditions of haya, or just respect or uphold the dignity of women?

    I think not.

    Doing something simpler like stating a fact about breast cancer would have been a more positive and direct approach to raise awareness as opposed to posting something sexual and private, which is what I am trying to say in this article.

    I also agree with you when you say that men are made into sexual objects too, but in comparison to women – it's no where near as close!

    And as for your last statement, I couldn't have said it better myself :-)

  • Mahvish

    I could not have said it better myself Muslim Girl!