Burqinis and the new Muslim chic

Boing Boing reader Darren says,

Burqinis are the new black! Here's an article from the International Herald Tribune about how Muslim fashion designers are getting more creative: Link.

One of the more interesting designs I read about was the 'burqini'. It's essentially a two-piece, beach-friendly tracksuit which covers the whole body. I gather it's a pragmatic solution to the problem of what observant Muslim women can wear to the beach.

They're apparently sold here (features photos of happy Burqini-clad women frolicking on a beach). And here's a female Muslim lifeguard in Australia, sporting one while watching the waves.

Image above: at left, the cover shot on MSLM, a new fashion magazine for Muslim women in the Netherlands (favorite headline on that cover: "BAD SCARF DAY: we all have days like this!"). At right, a ninja girl in a burqini.


  1. Stylish, yet still highly effective at preventing men from being turned into uncontrollable wild animals by the sight of female hair and flesh…

  2. I read an article in Time about this and apparently there are many non Muslim women who think that the Burqini is a great idea. People don’t realize that there are many Muslim women who CHOOSE to wear head scarves. When someone mentions the idea of covering up, they automatically think that it’s against someone’s will. We need to think about how powerful it really is to choose not to wear revealing clothes.

  3. fck this noise.

    its because of this kind of shit that saudi firefighters were not allowed to rescue 15 muslim girls from a burning building because the gathered crowd would see them without their head scarves.

    pprssn cn nt b md fshnbl. ny cmpny tht ttmpts t d s s cptlzng n sd prssn.

  4. Wow, guys. Is the opposite of “oppression” walking around naked, then? I think not.

    What if some women from cultures other than our own simply prefer to dress in this more modest way, because it’s part of their cultural tradition? Not because the law demands that they do, or because oppressive religious codes forbid them do anything else — but because this is how they choose to present themselves to the world?

    This is complicated stuff, but I don’t think it’s my place to liberate these women from choices they make. I think the metallic tracksuit on the left looks kind of bad ass, actually!


  5. Right, but the magazine in question is in the Netherlands. No laws there banning women from wearing jeans and a t-shirt if they so choose.

  6. It’s really not that complicated, Xeni. When one’s choices are limited by the threat of violence, your choice isn’t all that free.

  7. Somehow i knew boing boing would turn into a situation where boing boing editors would remove comments they disagreed with.

    thanks for the edit xeni.

  8. Look, I get it, but I think we also have to remember that not every single woman in the world who chooses to dress modestly for cultural reasons is doing so because she fears being killed or maimed. There is room for diversity.

    There are conservative Christian folk in the United States who choose to cover their bodies, also, and I don’t begrudge them this choice.

  9. @ all the internet freedom fighters on this thread:

    You are aware that there are a crap-ton of Muslim women not living in oppressive theocracies who choose to continue their traditions, yes?

    You are aware that the world really is more complicated than “Burka, baaaad, thong bikini goood,” yes?

  10. odd. i posted something about how women are free to dress modestly in the U.S, and that yes, it is complicated.

    My post went up, about 4 minutes later the content of the post had been changed, a few minutes later it dissapeared entirely.

    I checked the content on seperate browsers to see if it was a browser issue.

    ah well. sounds like we’ve made our points.

  11. JacobDavis boinging our argument down to that is disengenious.

    I know a lot of gay people raised christian who got married. Cultural programing can be called a choice, but its a stretch. I’m just saying the issue here is religion. Don’t imply i want to see thong bikinis everywhere. Its a horrible tactic to take in a discussion. or as lolcats would say.

    I see what you did there.

  12. I have many friends who are Muslim and female. They’re not “oppressed” and some do choose to wear headscarves.

    Notice how it’s THEIR CHOICE to wear headscarves?

    You don’t even have to be Muslim to appreciate this suit. I have many friends who don’t like going to the beach or the pool because they don’t feel comfortable wearing regular bathing suits.

    Jst bcs y CN drss lk slt dsn’t mn y hv t.

  13. I’m backing Cpt.Tim up on this one… he WAS edited by someone. His first post initially said something about women being beaten, or violence… can’t recall the exact wording.

  14. Hyperbole. Given the ridiculousness of the statement like “Burka, baaaad, thong bikini goood,”, I thought it an obviously silly stretch. No offense meant, man. Cheers. :)

  15. People who are posting opposite ends of the spectrum are missing the point entirely. this isn’t about dressing like a slut versus dressing like a nun.

    its about belonging to a religion that says its wrong to do otherwise. islam is dangerous. So is christianity and judaism, but thats not the current subject of discussion. I could quote fucked up stuff from the koran or the hadith all day.

    Just because there are muslims in countries where its not law that they have to wear this stuff and they still do, does not mean they aren’t opressed.

    Give me an athiest that dresses modestly and i’ll believe that she dresses that way out of choice. And i know a lot. Give me a muslim who chooses to wear the dress mandated by her faith and i’ll have trouble believing that she didn’t arrive at that point by an oppressive upbringing.

    Of course theres exceptions to every rule. but how about get rid of the oppressive rule, and we can see how reality bears the experiment out?

  16. I have to wonder how authentic that lifeguard photo is, given that she appears to be wearing jewelry, not something I associate with working lifeguards.

  17. and to add something positive to the discussion. they DO look cool.

    they’ve got a sci fi aesthetic that probably wouldn’t faze me in a movie, or in the absence of the impetus behind them.

    its just that religion seems to get me riled.

  18. I see a lot of commenters who interpret my and other anti-headscarf comments to mean “BURKHAS FOR NONE, G-STRINGS FOR ALL!,” which is ludicrous. My issue (and I think I speak for many with similar sentiments) is with a religious system that privileges men (with things like autonomy and education) and disadvantages women.

    I despise any a system that says “if you have these genitals, you have to wear these clothes. If you don’t, you face a lifetime of contempt (and possibly violence) from your friends and family in this world, and eternal damnation in the rest.”

  19. I’m reminded of my friend james, a pentecostal christian.

    His wife can’t wear pants. She has all manner of fashionable skirts to wear. And you could argue she chooses to follow her religions mandates.

    but its still lame she can’t wear fashionable pants.

  20. I think I should preface this by saying that I don’t particularly care what my friends wear and I don’t get in too much of a huff over ladies or gents in thongs.

    I love the ideal of a burquini and (provided I had a beach to wear it to) would happily purchase and use one.

  21. It’s questionable how much free choice exists for women raised in a faith that treats then as if their bodies are shameful.

    On the other hand, I’m sort of interested in the burqini for my atheistic lily-white self. One, cuz I have a lardass (I’m ashamed of my body for a *good* reason) and two because there’s a lot of skin cancer running in my family. If those things are cool and comfortable, I think I’d prefer one to having to shove my ass into a nylon-spandex tummy tucking, hip minimizer concoction from Christina.

  22. #11 posted by Cpt. Tim , September 20, 2007 8:58 AM:
    Somehow i knew boing boing would turn into a situation where boing boing editors would remove comments they disagreed with.

    I’m sure the issue was about your freedom of expression and not at all about your freedom to be obnoxious on someone else’s blog. You don’t like it, go start your own boing boing where you can allow everyone to be an ### as much as they like.

    …or are you going to get upset at my freedom of expression?

    @Xeni, if this post is over the line, please feel free to edit it. This is your site with your rules.
    Thanks for the forum.


  23. The lifeguard’s outfit was “Reportedly endorsed by the Australian Islamic Council and Australian muftis, the swimsuit allows female Muslim lifeguards to serve on the sand while conforming to strict religious requirements.”

    There isn’t much in the way of “choice” involved in donning these clothes. It strikes me as unlikely that unoppressed women would decide that was the ideal ensemble for a day at the beach. If they do, fine, but let’s not pretend that what’s generally happening…whether we’re talking about Saudi Arabia or Australia.

  24. Well, there are definiately other BoingBoing posts with comments that have been “disemvoweled” — someone with the ability to edit comments went along and removed the vowels from every post they didn’t like. Many of the posts weren’t offensive (no foul language, no hate mongering) but simply represented a view that the editor apparently didn’t agree with.

    It’s ironic to see in a place that seems to otherwise talk a big game about freedom of expression. BB has the right to edit comments and delete whatever they wish, but it does seem a bit hypocritical unless the post was blatently offensive or, say, a spam advertisement. (Simply being conservative in nature does not count as “blatently offensive”.)

    As to the topic at hand: meh.

    Demanding that other cultures change their ways is a dangerous game. Let’s just make sure they don’t change ours. When the U.S. government makes it illegal to have exposed skin on a U.S. beach for fear of insulting Islam, that’s when we break out the pitchforks and torches. What Saudi Arabia does is Saudi Arabian business and the only way we can really protest it is to boycott companies who purchase things from Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, that’s like every gas station around here, so good luck with that…

    I recall a story (possibly on BB?) that talked about a small gas station chain that was only buying gas made from non-Middle Eastern sources. I wonder how they’re doing?

  25. @Tim

    I get the whole cultural programming facet. I’ve been involved with what I consider a cult that enforced similar behavior, favoring men’s freedom over women’s. I believed in it and perpetuated it, as did the women I knew.

    A lot of those people were brought up in that religious context, a lot of them were roped in and reprogrammed in their teens (including me). Few of us viewed the restrictions as oppression. We always knew it was our choices that led us there, and our choices that kept us there. A lot of us eventually changed our minds and chose to leave, facing alienation from our friends (who many of us considered family); others faced alienation from actual family.

    Some things stuck as a sense of fashion, such as the women continuing to wear long skirts, long hair in a bun, etc. Men continued dressing modestly, though with less restriction. It was, obviously, a partial result of the enforcement of those niche mores. It was comfortable. But never did any of us think we didn’t have a choice in the matter.

    Cultural programming is a pervasive force, and I would argue with your assertion that atheists are somehow free from capitalistic trends in fashion. Tommy Hilfiger (I don’t care how it’s spelled) has a lot of loyal fans, religious or not. Regardless of the responsible force, one always has a choice in the matter.

    As I see it, you’re characterizing religious folk with dress code as sheep who blindly dress the way they’re told. There’s something inherently hostile in that view, I think you would agree (re: “religion gets me riled up”). People make their choices, and religious folks are well aware of their own. Barring government mandated religious dress code and or religiously intolerant societies, they know they are free to make up their own minds.

  26. @Jacobdavis

    I didn’t say athiests were immune to fashion. but they’re immune to being told that if they don’t dress a certain way, they’re bad people.

    I guess it still happens in various shapes and forms but at least they’re not burdened with the thoughts of supernatural punishment.

    But you post a good and thoughtful argument. This is the kind of discourse i like, without having to worry about having a post “disemvoweled” which is exactly what happened to my post.

    I’m sorry if having an opionion in opposition to an editor is obnoxious.

  27. @ Tim

    “…they’re immune to being told that if they don’t dress a certain way, they’re bad people.”

    Tell that to an impressionable, marginalized teen goth who gets shunned by mainstream dressers over his/her black clothing and piercings. Sure, it doesn’t carry the psychological damage of a grumpy deity, but it sure does leave a lasting mark.

  28. thats why i conceeded it happens in various shapes or forms. but i haven’t read any stories about girls burning in buildings because they weren’t allowed to run out not wearing something by ralph lauren.

  29. @JacobDavis:

    Thanks for the first-person account of this sort of thing, I think it enriches the dialog. Out of curiosity- the dresscode espoused by the cult you discussed sounds a lot like a Mennonite sect in the central PA area- any connection?

    But to disagree- I agree that religious people make choices based on their dress code, and I’m sure they’re aware of the choice. However, I feel that it is a choice made under far greater duress than an atheist’s clothing decision.

    As an atheist, my wardrobe decisions do not carry with them the same weight as someone whose religion mandates their clothing choices. Choosing to wear pants vs. shorts doesn’t carry with it the threat of hellfire, or fear of being ostracized by my family and friends.

    It’s still a choice, and (in America)one that every adult and emancipated minor is free to make- at least legally. However, is the choice really free if the price of that choice includes losing your family, friends, and community?

  30. now my first comment was “disemvoweled”

    come on engadget, this is hardly a flame war. if you want to set rules then set them, but what is this? this seems highly unreasonable.

  31. “pprssn cn nt b md fshnbl. ny cmpny tht ttmpts t d s s cptlzng n sd prssn.”

    oppression can not be made fashionable. any company that does is capitalizing on said oppression.

    whats wrong with that? thats my opinion!

    not cool. not cool at all engadget.

  32. @Cpt. Tim: This is not Engadget. You’re on Boing Boing.

    We do need to post a “guidelines for forum etiquette” kind of thing, but generally the common sense rule is: be civil to one another. Don’t turn a heated argument into personally directed insults.

    I appreciate the dialogue we’re having here, now, and I think this is great. No one is calling anyone else an infidel / jihadist / Hitlerian douchebag.

    (Famous last comments — may have jinxed it)

  33. Thats fine, and i agree. i don’t want boing boing to turn into “AICN talkback” type forum.

    but theres definitely something going on with my comments. could you explain what it is and why? you said my comments were not edited, but its become apparent they have, and multiple times, i even posted a example of a flat out opinion that was edited, could you give me reasoning why on the specific example i provided above?

  34. oppression can not be made fashionable. any company that does is capitalizing on said oppression.

    What’s uncivil or personally insulting about that comment that it had to be edited? Free Tibet!

    Cause I see what he’s saying. It’s like if you have an internet security company that makes a billion dollars from China for writing software that helps them censor the internet. They’re making a perfectly legitimate product and hooray for capitalism and all that, but they’re also making money off of someone else’s oppression.

    So there is a segment of the population which is forced to wear a full body covering and is now being offered a stylish full body covering, so stylish, people who don’t have to wear them might even wear them. Oh, I dunno. I get mixed signals.

  35. @ G. Park

    No connection. :)

    I agree that supernatural punishment is a more stressful factor than general fashion sense.

    re: “… fear of being ostracized by my family and friends”

    Frankly, fashion choices can lead to just that, if your friends/family are jerks. A lot of people infer way too much about a person based on the way they dress themselves. It happens with kids a lot, somewhat less so with adults.

    Now, the choice I speak of departs from your considerations. First, one must choose whether to accept a dress code as being required for their religion (“Will a miniskirt send me to hell or not?”). That’s the crux of this matter. If you accept that as part your religion, that’s your own doing. While someone else may have created the rules, you accept them or reject them as you see fit.

    re: “However, is the choice really free if the price of that choice includes losing your family, friends, and community?”

    My experience of family/friends/community at the time might differ from yours. They were all one and the same. But, having made that choice myself, I will say yes. Once I rejected the things they taught, I chose to leave. So did others. I also knew people who rejected the teaching but consciously chose to stay with the group.

    It is choice under social pressure, or even coercion, for sure. It’s about fitting in a culture with which your comfortable vs. finding a new one. But in large, religiously tolerant societies, it’s still a choice.

  36. @TheCynic, @Cpt. Tim, I’m not sure what happened there — maybe a moderator goof, not my doing. Please chill, though, and note that the phrase in question has now been posted here not once but several times with vowels intact — so nobody’s “censoring” you. Let’s move back to the discussion at hand, which is more interesting, no?

  37. i’m not really willing to.

    My first post was “disemvoweled” left that way for several minutes, and then was deleted.

    Someone else chimed in that it has happened to several other people who posted things that an editor has disagreed with. i didn’t even say what editing had been done to my post when i first mentioned it, someone independantly confirmed it was vowel sabotage.

    on my second post it was selective, a specific line was edited.

    This is not a goof. All i want is an honest mistake. I don’t doubt that it wasn’t edited subsequent times because it was posted in the context of complaining about the edit. going in and doing it again would look suspicious. but this is not a goof or some magical happening, and logic bears that out. All i want is honesty.

  38. CPT (11), once in a while the Boing Boing editors remove or disemvowel comments they disagree with, but usually I’m the one doing it. I’m more than willing to discuss the issue with you.

    Problems with comments are less often a matter of what’s said than the way it’s said.

    Davex (18), I don’t edit content. If I don’t like some of your words, I remove their vowels (except for “y”). They’re still readable, with a little work.

    If Xeni zapped a comment, hey, it’s her weblog.

    Cpt. Tim (20):

    Of course theres exceptions to every rule. but how about get rid of the oppressive rule, and we can see how reality bears the experiment out?

    “–And after that, it’s just a matter of engineering.”

    Any suggestions on how to do it? Aside from the way we’ve been doing that all along, by pushing back where we can when we can?

    A while back, on my own weblog, I blogged some Muslim swimsuits. They were bulkier and less attractive than the ones Xeni blogged today. Haul out the family photo album and take a look at your own grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s swimsuits — assuming they had the chutzpah to wear them.

    G. Park (23), I don’t think any of us have much use for systems that say that.

    TheCynic (30):

    Well, there are definiately other BoingBoing posts with comments that have been “disemvoweled” — someone with the ability to edit comments went along and removed the vowels from every post they didn’t like. Many of the posts weren’t offensive (no foul language, no hate mongering) but simply represented a view that the editor apparently didn’t agree with.

    Don’t blame the editors. That was me. There were two occasions when in my own opinion I lost my temper and overdid it, but Boing Boing and I (and the software) are still getting to know each other.

    I’ll tolerate foul language if it’s pertinent or witty. Hatemongering’s right out. But you know, that doesn’t come close to exhausting the list of unattractive behaviors.

    A nowhere-near-exhaustive list:

    1. I don’t have a lot of patience with people whose repertoire of comments consists of complaining about how some entry is boring or uncool. For one thing, it never seems to cross their minds that they’re being boring. For another, they’re just attitudinizing. What I’d say to them if I bothered responding: “You’re bored? This is the internet. Go somewhere else and read something you like better. If you can think of lots of things that aren’t boring, start a weblog and see who else agrees with you.”

    2. Gratuitously snide comments about the editors are right out. You don’t like the editor? Take it up with the editor in e-mail. If you’re going to comment on an entry, talk about the entry.

    3. Using unnecessarily exciting language. Making an argument is fine. I’m passionately fond of good arguments. Making your argument in language that’s guaranteed to make the people you’re talking to see red? Bad idea. It guarantees you’re not going to have an interesting argument. And if you’re not going to be interesting, I don’t see the point.

    4. Jeering. Sneering. Telling people they’re naive idiots for caring about whatever-it-is. Like the “I’m bored” pose, it’s empty attitudinizing, and it’s remarkably unpleasant.

    5. Failing to notice that there are other people in the conversation. This one will get me every time. Why comment, unless you expect to be read? And if you expect to be read, you know you’re part of a conversation, so act like it. Engage with what the other commenters are saying. Read the thread before you add to it. If you’re posting the fifth iteration of an identical comment that’s been painstakingly refuted two or three or four times already, you’re likely to lose your vowels or get deleted altogether. For the record, that was what ticked me off the first time I lost my temper here.

    6. If you’re going to post anonymously, (a.) it had better be innocuous; or (b.) there should be some obvious reason why you’re posting it anonymously; or (c.) you should mention that you’re having problems with registration. If not, I may still release your comment from the moderation queue, but nothing’s guaranteed.

    It’s ironic to see in a place that seems to otherwise talk a big game about freedom of expression.

    There’s nothing ironic about it. “Freedom of expression” means you have the right to start your own damned weblog. It also means the Boingers have the right to do what they want with theirs.

    In my experience, one of the single biggest impediments to freedom of expression of the internet is the presence of jerks, trolls, spammers, and other blights upon the discourse. Uncountable interesting remarks have never been made, and promising arguments have never developed in full, because a handful of self-centered idiots were making it impossible to have a civil conversation.

    There’s no such thing as perfect freedom of expression in an open forum. You’re either going to lose the high end or the low end of the discourse. I know which one I choose. The ideas that people exchange online can be radical, challenging, amusing, informative, even dangerous. But there’s damned little freedom, and no entertainment value at all, in letting idiots come along and post “U R GAY ASSHOLE.”

    BB has the right to edit comments and delete whatever they wish,

    Yup, sure do.

    but it does seem a bit hypocritical unless the post was blatently offensive or, say, a spam advertisement.

    Wrong. It would be hypocritical if I’d posted a strict and precise set of rules for what’s allowed, and then zapped a comment that fell within the rules.

    (Simply being conservative in nature does not count as “blatently offensive”.)

    I swear, it never fails: commenters I disemvowel for being rude, inconsiderate blowhards inevitably think it’s because I can’t cope with their deathless “conservative” opinions. I used to argue with them. Now I recognize it as a form of denial, and remind myself that the reason they’re rude, inconsiderate blowhards is because they credit the reactions they get to their political beliefs, not their manners.

    This is a fast-moving thread. I’ll post this now, and deal with the rest of the thread in a later message.

  39. i don’t think any of us are novice interweb users.

    but if

    “pprssn cn nt b md fshnbl. ny cmpny tht ttmpts t d s s cptlzng n sd prssn.”

    fits your criteria of something that deserves to get nuked, then the boing boing comment section is too touchy of a place for me to comment.

    Outside of the edits and people contesting them i think this was a great conversation. i think great points were made on both sides, and i think boing boing needs to get a new moderator because this one obviously puts that in danger.

  40. “I swear, it never fails: commenters I disemvowel for being rude, inconsiderate blowhards inevitably think it’s because I can’t cope with their deathless “conservative” opinions.”

    and i hardly count as a conservative with my opinions. in other forums where i express views about womens rights or issues with religion i get called a libtard.

  41. Agreed about the editing. This conversation got derailed because of it. I was looking forward to the Cap’n’s further participation, and didn’t find anything inflammatory about his remarks.

    Any chance we can just continue with the discourse?

  42. thats cool. i like boing boing, but i’ll keep my posts confined to commenting on how something is cool, or anecdotal stories that can’t be taken one way or another, cause in the end i’d rather have a comment deleted than fucked with.

    Changing what someone said is worse than removing a comment. its not cool, so i’ll just keep in mind who’s pushing the buttons. someone to admits to overstepping their bounds when they don’t like something. everyone else reading this can make up their own mind.

  43. Jacobdavis,

    I blame my recent fervor on the subject of islam and its fruits to sam harris and his book “The end of Faith.” Its a good read. He also wrote “Letter to a christian nation.”

    his insights into the danger of religion is astounding. Its not exactly the open discussion you hoped, but it’d give you insight to one source that helped form my opionions. and i agree wholeheartedly with some of your parelells and ways that it happens here. Growing up punk rock in a Michigan school in the middle of a cornfield gave me some insight there.

    thankfully like all fruits and nuts, i rolled west.

  44. It’s commendable to be upset about oppression.

    I’d just like to point out that for a woman who might like to go to the beach, but does dress according to certain standards (by whole-hearted choice or under pressure), a modest swim-costume could be a great help.

    When I felt the need to follow those standards, I occasionally went to a beach wearing a swimsuit covered by a long dressing-robe. Needless to say, it is too heavy when wet to actually swim in. Something made out of more suitable material would be really nice.

  45. One alternative way of looking at this design story is — the religious codes and cultural mores are what they are. You could say that this designer (or these designers) are finding creative ways to provide observant conservative Muslim women with more experience mobility.

    Swimming in public in a conventional bathing suit isn’t something they’d do; these suits make it possible for them to comfortably enjoy that experience.

    Without getting into a debate over whether or not those cultural or religious boundaries are just, or fair, or a form of gender oppression — I think this is a very interesting example of how design can change our experience of the world.

  46. Yeah, I find the editing disturbing too- after I finally worked out what he was saying, it didn’t seem the least bit poffensive. What gives?

  47. Tim (53), I disemvowel precisely because I’m not willing to change what someone’s said. Your words were still there. You could still read them, and so could everyone else. You’d just lost the vowels out of some of them.

    Why did I disemvowel that line of yours? Not because it was so staggeringly wrong, though it was; if oppression cannot be made fashionable, then fashion doesn’t exist, because there’s always some oppression (frequently, quite a lot) built into it.

    Really, it was because that kind of PC “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” rhetoric always gets right up my nose. Did you not mean to imply that anyone who disagreed with you is in favor of gender-based social repression? Or that Xeni is either deluded, or a cheerleader for evil, because she perceived those burqinis as fashionable garments?

    All it would take would be for you to say “I didn’t mean it that way,” and tell us what you did mean, and this argument would vanish into thin air. Then we could go back to talking about modesty, religious backgrounds, personal choice, the history of bathing dress, and all those other interesting bits. I might even find out whether Jacob Davis is CofC.

  48. @ Xeni

    Yeah, I think it will be interesting to see a reaction from more restrictive governments or cultures. If something like this actually allows for more freedom of activities like swimming, would that tiny bit of added freedom be considered a threat to the larger collective?

    Or worse still, would some object over the potential for these bathing suits to be more attractive than the alternative Galcie pointed out in #55?

    I don’t doubt that there would be some nuts that would object on both points, but I wonder how widespread it could be.

  49. Jennifer (57), the phrasing wasn’t offensive in its own right. I zapped it for implying that anyone who discussed those suits as fashion was condoning evil oppression.

    I’m happy to believe Tim didn’t mean it, but he certainly implied it, and that’s what I was reacting to.

  50. I understand that some women choose the burka freely, out of modesty, but unfortunately it is part of and a symbol of the oppression of so many Muslim women that it’s hard not to make that association. If Catholic priests started saying that the Bible supports wife-beating and that women should not be allowed to drive a car, I would have a much different attitude when I saw a nun wearing a habit, even if that particular nun didn’t believe those things.

    btw, a true hardcore-Islamic burquini would also have the mouth covered, with only an eyeslot — maybe it would have a built-in snorkel? Anyway, the burka is not supposed to show the shape of any part of the woman’s body, so the burquini is probably haraam according to the clerics.

  51. @ Teresa

    “..whether Jacob Davis is CofC.”

    You could ask. :)

    Yes, I’m a proud, card-carrying, infidel-bashing, remote-island-ritual-attending, tentacle-wigglin member of the Cult of Cthulhu.

    No, I don’t know what “CofC” is.

  52. @Teresa,

    Your explanation of why you zapped Tim’s comment was far more insightful than the zapping.

    Personally, I appreciated his statement after he reposted it and I could actually read it, I thought it had a lot of validity – and I think your criticism of it makes a lot of sense too.

    I think it’s a shame that if he hadn’t been so insistent, I wouldn’t have gotten the benefit of either thought.

    I can see why you’re frustrated by that point of view, but I think boingboing is better if the point is presented and rebutted rather than defaced.

  53. “Really, it was because that kind of PC “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” rhetoric always gets right up my nose.”

    Thats not what i was saying at all, and the fact you just zapped it rather than discussing what i meant is exactly why someone like you shouldn’t be a moderator.

  54. @Jacob Davis

    The choice issue is a troubling one, because I think the degree of “choice” in a situation is relative to the degree of repercussion.

    I’ll use an example from America- the Amish of central PA. Amish boys, when they reach a certain age, are allowed to spend a year in the modern world. During that year, they can decide to return to the Amish community, or join “the English” in modernity- but they can never return to their family.

    Girls, however, are not given this choice. Even if an Amish woman manages to leave the community, what chance would she stand on “the outside?” With only a basic education, no economic or emotional support from her family, and virtually no understanding of post-1800’s technology?

    Everyone in America is free to reject their religious upbringing, and the rules it brings with it. But again, this is only a legal freedom. Often, the repercussions of the choice can be socially crippling.

    I agree that we often ostracize others based on fashion choices, and bearing the brunt of that assault can be emotionally scarring. But I think that being shunned from your religious community and your family can be much more damaging. One gets over one’s high school alienation. Recovering from religious and familial alienation, I would presume, is far more difficult.

  55. “All it would take would be for you to say “I didn’t mean it that way,” and tell us what you did mean, and this argument would vanish into thin air”

    no. all it would take would be for a moderator to engage in a discussion if they felt strongly about it, rather than edit posts they misinterpreted, or ones that “got up their nose.” (i do like relating my opinions to a snortable drug though.)

    my comment about oppressive not being fashion was directed at the social reasons behind the whole thing. It is my opinion. You can’t automatically assume that because i state an opinion, i hate you because yours is different.

  56. PS.

    “All it would take would be for you to say “I didn’t mean it that way,” and tell us what you did mean, and this argument would vanish into thin air”

    how is this logical. i didn’t even know you had misinterpreted my statement because i didn’t know what had been misinterpreted. It was at that point even being denied my post was being edited. it was being tagged as a “goof” or it hadn’t happened at all.

    this whole thing is a massive failure of your system of comment moderation.

  57. Theresa, I still think that went over the line into pointless censorship. If you didn’t like what the poster had to say, then why not simply tell him why you disagreed? The idea that one might get censored over an idealogical pov here of all places is just mind-boggling. I think that electing to mangle a perfectly valid opinion rather than rebut it showed a great deal of disrespect to the poster and to the readers.

  58. Jacob (59), as I mentioned earlier, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen Muslim swimwear. Judging from all the specimens I’ve seen, the requirements seem to be that your legs, arms, and head be covered, and your torso be covered and its shape obscured. The crotch of your trousers is never visible — it’s always screened by another garment. Basically, it’s like going swimming in a set of mechanics’ coveralls, plus a balaclava and sneakers.

    This is roughly equivalent to Western European bathing dress in the third quarter of the Nineteenth Century. European women’s bathing costumes were a bit more daring in that they had nipped-in waists, and left the neck bare. On the other hand, Muslim women don’t have to wear petticoats with theirs.

    There are some interesting details in the burqinis. The woman on the left appears to be wearing lightweight laced-up bathing shoes, very much like the ones Western women would have worn to the beach before the 1920s.

    The woman on the right is displaying an inner sleeve that’s tight to the wrist. That’s a conservative Muslim fashion. Wristlets are also sold separately. Some of them have a loop that passes between the fingers, so they can’t get hiked up and inadvertently display an inch of bare wrist.

    Are these garments a relief to the women who wear them? I don’t know. The Middle East is hot in the summer, and I know that in some areas it’s usual for families go to the beach. I suppose it depends on what they were wearing to go swimming before burqinis came along. If they were wearing swimsuits, burquinis aren’t an improvement on anything except not going swimming at all. If before they couldn’t swim in public, and now they can, it’s a fine thing.

  59. Jennifer: Yeah, right, censorship — when every one of you was able to read every word of it.

    Tim, I’m sorry I embarrassed you.

  60. you didn’t embarass me.

    Nice way to take the low road on this one. If you’re going to apologize for something, you can apologize for what you actually did, editing a perfectly legit comment that you misintepreted.

    I’d be interested in a real apology, not a sarcastic one.

    (also, if you want to play semantics, you didn’t censor my comment, you vandalized it.)

  61. @Tim

    I don’t know what you’re so upset about.

    “pprssn cn nt b md fshnbl. ny cmpny tht ttmpts t d s s cptlzng n sd prssn.”

    That’s easy enough to read, though I don’t really get why you would want to summon Azathoth at the conclusion of your argument.

  62. Guys, give it up. As a Muslim woman who covers, I can say that most of us aren’t interested in your (general “your”) misplaced concern. We aren’t covering our bodies for your visual and intellectual consumption, and it’s frankly insulting that you think it’s your place to comment on it at all. Seriously. Worry about the ginormous log in your own eye before you try to pick any splinters out of ours.

  63. @ JacobDavis

    i concede my entire argument to you out of the sheer hilarity of that statement. Jacob wins this thread due to awesome.

    @ epi_mom

    thts bt s vld s my frnd nr syng sh lks bng rstrctd t skrts nd bng hs cnfnd chrstn bby fctry. bt t s, n th nd, yr chc.

  64. I don’t much care to argue about the “oppression” issue, because that’s just pointless.

    Anyway, as far as fashion goes, well, I think it’s pretty cool. Would I wear the metallic pants? I don’t think I “carry” hipness that well, so, I’m going to leave that to the younger, fashionably courageous women.

    Bravo for diversity.

  65. epi_mom, is it your opinion that non-Muslims should not comment on the widespread oppression of Muslim women in many countries?

  66. Davex (18), I don’t edit content. If I don’t like some of your words, I remove their vowels (except for “y”). They’re still readable, with a little work.

    I appreciate your candidness. What you’re doing is very tasteless and yes, removing vowels is “editing content”.

    3. Using unnecessarily exciting language. Making an argument is fine. I’m passionately fond of good arguments. Making your argument in language that’s guaranteed to make the people you’re talking to see red? Bad idea. It guarantees you’re not going to have an interesting argument. And if you’re not going to be interesting, I don’t see the point.

    I’m calling you out on this one. You hack the posts you dislike but leave inflammatory posts that agree with your viewpoint.

    I shall demonstrate:

    The very first comment got de-voweled but doesn’t seem terribly inflammatory, it’s just not completely siding with the student.

    Here’s a line from one of my comments, further down:
    “H ls cld hv ndd th ntr thng t ny tm by syng, ‘Ys sr, ffcr.’ ll thy rgnlly skd hm t d ws t g t th bck f th ln.” which I believe was “He also could have ended the whole thing at any time by saying, ‘Yes sir, officer.’ All they originally asked him to do was to go to the back of the line.”

    What’s inflammatory about that? You just didn’t agree with it. If disagreeing with something makes it inflammatory regardless of wording then we’re all hosed.

    Meanwhile… this comment was left intact. It was his entire message:
    “THECYNIC is absolutely right–this thing was totally staged. I bet Yearwood’s leg was already pre-broken before he instigated the whole thing!”

    Inflammatory saracasm that can do nothing but prevoke a flame (which I skillfully avoided), but you agreed with it so you left it.

    “I consider myself right-wing, but no, disobeying authority does not automatically entitle any jack-booted thug with a badge to go batshit on your ass.”

    So you don’t consider “jack-booted thug … batshit on your ass” to be inflammatory wording? I thought their response was reasonable and associating it with nazism/fascism (which jackboots typically represent) is pure gross exaggeration and flamebait.

    “Welcome to the US, please stand in line to be issued your jackboots. Am I the only one who is physically sickened by watching 6 police attack a minister?”

    Inflamatory. Left intact.

    “Th fnny thng s, rn’t th prtstrs thmslvs nfrngng n th fr spch rghts f thrs? Th gvrnmnt hs pcfl ssmbly, pn t th pblc, t try t scrtn sm fcts bt th sttn n rq, nd ths ppl cm n prly t dsrpt th mtng.” which I translate to, “The funny thing is, aren’t the protesters themselves infringing on the free speech rights of others? The government has a peaceful assembly, open to the public, to try to ascertain some facts about the situation in Iraq, and these people come in purely to disrupt the meeting.”

    Not inflammatory as I see it, but you disagreed so you gutted it.

    Must be nice to have a place where you can squelch anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

    Why, if I were a crass individual, I would point to these edits and use words like jackboot! … Doh!

  67. Add my first comment (#14) here to the list of inflammatory crap that didn’t get turned into bizarre incantation.

    Back on track,

    @ G.Park

    I understand what you’re saying, but my opinion on the degree of choice is very different. Even in the case of someone facing overwhelming factors that tip a decision in one way they may not necessarily like, that someone still is able to make a decision. This is why some people become martyrs for their religions, and why others do not when presented with a choice. It’s why people betray their friends, or maintain loyalty under duress.

    Your example of the Amish girl certainly seems extreme to us. She would have to be very brave or foolish to leave her faith/community. But, could she choose to leave? Of course! Not that I know of an example pertaining to the community you mention, but it would be hard to imagine that a woman has never left it. I guess that’s just an assumption I’m going to make.

    And, as for the fashion parallel: I know they do not carry the same degree of severity in nearly all cases. I was just pointing out a similar scenario that does not have religion as a pretext.

  68. i personally find the vandalized ones very cumbersome to read. I do not have my decoder ring and i don’t think well on days i forget my ovaltine.

    engadget has a nice positive negative rating system for comments. i skip over ones that everyone has voted as bad comments, but if i want to read them i’m free to do so without a rosetta stone.

  69. Well, count me among the disappointed at this “disemvoweling”–I read the remark, and I can’t see how it was even remotely approaching censurable content. I am a longtime Boingboing reader, and, by sheer coincidence, stumbled onto the relatively new comments section today. I wish I hadn’t. I suggest a more professional, less ad hoc moderating style. The snide “reasoning” for your suprising rejection of a very normal, debate-inspiring post by one of your commenters is unwelcoming, and, ironically, motivated me to register. If I find this type of reaction is the norm here at BoingBoing, then you have lost a reader, and can un-register me as quickly. (And unironically.)

  70. On most sites I’m familiar with, the moderator deletes posts containing off-limits content in their entirety, and warns users that they may be banned if they persist. I’ve never seen “editing via selective obfuscation” before. I’d rather have my entire post deleted (preferably with some sort of notice so I know that it got through, and so that others can gauge how many posts are being deleted) than have it partially defaced.

  71. …and then told that nothing of the sort had happened afterward… and then after its admitted that it was edited telling you that all you had to do was elaborate on what you had said, even though you had no context as to why it had been edited.

  72. 1) I like Theresa, and I like her style. It’s actually kind of clever to remove the vowels when she doesn’t like what somebody says – she’s making her opinion known without having to post something about it. It also draws the reader’s attention to the phrase, which is actually the opposite of deleting it. The Boingers hired a known, established, articulate Internet personality to moderate their comments for a reason. Every aspect of Boing Boing reflects the personalities of the people who contribute to it – why should the comment section be any different?

    2) I worry that some people are forced to behave or dress in specific ways because of religious doctrine, but I’m also afraid of well-meaning folks who see oppression in every religious doctrine. Forcing somebody to dress a certain way is the very least of humanity’s inhumanity, and certainly not the worst that religion can do.

  73. Epi Mom, if you feel like saying more, please do. You know more than anyone else here.

    Cpt. Tim (75): you know, I was genuinely starting to wonder whether I’d misjudged you.

    TheCynic (78): You’re calling me out? Don’t kid yourself.

    My job here is to make this a place where interesting conversations can happen. If in my judgement that would best be accomplished by having a fight with you, I’d have no problem doing it. But I don’t think getting into a thrash with you will help. You and I have already tangled a couple of times, and I haven’t seen any changes in your behavior — not even a rise in your general awareness. I’m not going to waste my time trying to make words do what words won’t do.

    Come back in a couple of weeks and we’ll call it a clean slate.

  74. I disagree about drawing atttention – until this thread, I’ve always thought the no-vowell posts were spam that hadn’t been deleted yet or some kind of text messaging shorthand, and I’ve never made any effort to read them because they’re so badly obfuscated.

  75. Thank you, James Foreman. I was starting to wonder whether I was coming across clearly to anyone.

    Jacob Davis, #14 came nowhere near setting off my “inflammatory crap” detectors. Oh, and CofC is Church of Christ, a very buttoned-down denomination.

    Phasor, why would you rather have your posts deleted? You lose your text. We lose your text. And no one can tell why it was deleted, yourself included, which does no one any good at all.

    Tim, Engadget is a fine website. I’m not offended by your recurrent confusion about where you are, though I’ll admit I was a little concerned for you around a quarter to eleven. Still: this is Boing Boing. Honest. Check out the URL.

  76. #87, same here. Maybe there could be a notice stating

    Portions of comments which violate the posting guidelines, and/or which the editor strongly dislikes, may be rendered somewhat difficult to read via deletion of vowels by the editor

    Doesn’t that sound eminently reasonable?

  77. Really, Jitrobug? I’ve never had any trouble reading it, with the occasional exception of words like “outdated” that take a moment to figure out.

  78. Count me as another one who didn’t register until reading the comments on this post. I find the disemvoweling very heavy-handed and, until now, thought it was a glitch with no rhyme or reason. Turns out it was just moderating without any obvious rhyme or reason.

    I think an interesting conversation and debate *was* developing (whether one considers this “just” a fashion issue or not), and a moderator with hidden biases has served to obfuscate a healthy discussion. Teresa says she is “passionately fond of good arguments,” but apparently it has to be an argument on her vague terms and by her rules. Many of her retorts have been snide, condescending, and equally inflammatory. This moderator is on a power trip, and if you want to censor my comment, fine. The comment vandalism has left a sour taste in my mouth, and I’ll probably be following Yosemite out the door.

  79. Teresa, of course my real preference would be for you to post a response debunking or arguing with whatever I posted on a topic (as we’re doing now). Marking up my post by removing the vowels also tells me nothing about why you disliked that part of it — others have already posted some rather puzzling examples of this. To me, free speech means I say something, then someone else responds with their comments, not that they respond by obscuring the parts of what I said that they don’t like.

  80. “Tim, Engadget is a fine website. I’m not offended by your recurrent confusion about where you are, though I’ll admit I was a little concerned for you around a quarter to eleven. Still: this is Boing Boing. Honest. Check out the URL.”

    i made the mistake and corrected it.

    bringing back up.. clever.. but isn’t that the kind of snide thing you remove vowels from.

    I really fail to see how i’ve done anything wrong, if you were starting to think you misjudged me it might be because you have. Perhaps a simple apology (unlike the snide one i got earlier) is in order. which wouldn’t weaken your position in any way.

  81. per my comment (75)

    so post a rebuttal. instead you’re being a prick, you’re fucking with peoples comments has done more to disrupt this board than anything i’ve seen thus far. you’re the person proding people to act out. or to flame.

  82. Actually, Phasor (89), it does seem reasonable, though I’ll probably fiddle with the wording.

    One of the things Boing Boing is teaching me is which of my preferred moderation policies don’t scale up. My readers at Making Light are used to disemvowelling. They read it easily, and use it for jokes (though I see in #85 that Tim has already figured out how to do that). Here, I’m going to have to explain it. I’m also going to have to do a formal list of rules and explanation of policies, which task I’d successfully avoided until now.

  83. “(though I see in #85 that Tim has already figured out how to do that)”

    if you like that you should have seen how fast i stacked the boxes to get the hanging banana. it was like enders game and shit.

  84. Honestly, I can’t read it.

    My brain will not map “pprssn” into “oppression”, especially without the explanation that vowells have been removed. (Since I figured it was a variant of l33t sp33k, I would have translated that a “person”)

    Howabout giving the text a black background?

    if we select it, we’ll see what it says (without Vanna White’s help), and unlike white on white, we’ll actually know that something is there.

  85. Howabout giving the text a black background?

    Then the offending posts would look like a CIA document released under FOIA, with all the verboten parts redacted by the spooks. I love it.

  86. Tim (94), I still think I was right to apologize for embarrassing you.

    Lesnez (91), you think I’m being snide? I promise you, I’m mostly concerned and a little bit bemused. I save snide for special occasions.

    A general comment: Do you guys actually prefer moderators who delete messages or shut down threads? Because I’m not going to do that for anything less than an emergency. It’s just too uninformative.

    Phasor (92), I’d rather argue with you too, but there’s only one of me, and the comments re-launch has had some difficult aspects. For a while there, the most I could do was run around at top speed suppressing really gratuitous unpleasantness, killing spam, and posting an occasional encouraging short message: not my idea of top-notch moderation. Things have been getting better, but we’re still on shakedown cruise.

    Can I promise to argue with you in the future? Would that help?

  87. Tim (96), is there anything I can possibly say to you (short of an abject apology, which — sorry — you’re not getting) that you won’t take badly?

  88. Jitrobug, I’m going to have to think about that problem. It’s no fair for you to be unable to read deprecated text.

    Text blackouts are not going to happen anytime soon. If I put them into the list of software wants and changes right now … come to think of it, I literally have no idea how long it would take for our tech guys to get to it. They’re good, but there’s alreadly a lot of stuff in that queue.

    Also, Phasor’s right: we’d come out looking like a FOIA document.

  89. Xeni,

    I admire your openmindedness, and yes, many women over there may prefer these, but I think the point is that the women who don’t

  90. @Nick, Yeah, I just don’t approach this story thinking about the same things, I guess. And I believe we should generally spend less time as a people bashing or judging the personal and religious traditions of others, and more time reading our own inventory.

    Honestly, I didn’t intend to spark a discussion on whether burkas are good or bad, or the merits of the Muslim faith, or gender inequality — those are all worthy things to consider, but I just thought these clothing designs were an interesting reflection of human innovation within a specific tradition. A tradition I don’t understand all that well.

  91. I wear the hijab and I had to fight my brothers and father, who pushed for modernity, just to wear it. I have many other friends like this.

  92. @Xeni,

    Oh yeah; cool burkhas. Didn’t I mention that? :)

    My, the unsuspected depths in an entry about fashion! I think that comes with the territory with a blog that mixes politics, religion, philosophy, science, art, and… SpongeBob Squarepants popsicles.

    But that’s what makes BoingBoing interesting, at least to me.

  93. Great, I can’t wait for your response to this horse-fuckery documentary post I got waiting in the wings. Tally ho!

  94. horse fuckery is fine. Sarah jessica parker has needs like everyone else.

    okay. that was harsh. i won’t care if that gets disemvoweled.

  95. Sadly, I am not surprised by the assumption by many (almost all) of the commenters here that Islam is an oppressive religion.

    It is the so called “leaders” of Islam that have given it a bad rap. The publicized Islam (by radicals) is far from the prescribed Islam.

    All these people who pass fatwas and edicts banning this and that have no standing to do that.

    For e.g. some time back, Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza was asked to wear “modest” dresses while playing tennis by the Indian Muslim clerics – or else.

    Where in Islam does it say that a mere mortal can dictate what another mortal should do?

    Oh, and I say this as a practicing Muslim.


  96. “It is the so called “leaders” of Islam that have given it a bad rap. The publicized Islam (by radicals) is far from the prescribed Islam.”

    Koran 9:73
    Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their Home: an evil fate.

    Koran 9:123

    Believers! Make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Let them find harshness in you.

    I can quote tons and tons of verses. I’m not saying that muslims themselves are evil or violent, but they like christianity, have some violent texts to draw on. the hard line people from both groups can easily find basis for violence and opression if they want. both holy texts were written in a violent period of history, with many competing ‘gods’

    i wouldnt’ say the greek myths are evil, but if you used them as a basis to kill people, they could be. The bible outright condones rape in the OT. Myths are dangerous when we use them to justify how we deal with our neighbors.

  97. I own a “burqini” Although I like referring to it as an “astronaut suit” It is rather comfy to swim in actually. I haven’t always worn the headscarf so I can compare it to swimming in a regular swim suit. The only downside is that it takes a bit longer to dry so it does get uncomfortable to sit in on the beach after swimming.
    It is fascinating to see how many people think that all Muslim women who cover their heads do so because they are forced, or oppressed. Is it so mind boggling to think that a woman out of her own free will choose to follow the rules of her religion? I have plenty of American female friends who are converts and cover themselves.

  98. @ Kelebek

    “Is it so mind boggling to think that a woman out of her own free will choose to follow the rules of her religion? ”

    For some people who have little or no experience as a member of a religion with such codes, yes, it is mind-boggling. :) I think that’s understandable, though. What I find disappointing is the hostility that “mind-boggled-ness” tends to spawn. It’s a perpetual source of frustration to have someone else tell you what you really think as opposed to what you are blatantly saying you think.

  99. @ Kelebek

    “Is it so mind boggling to think that a woman out of her own free will choose to follow the rules of her religion? ”

    For some people who have little or no experience as a member of a religion with such codes, yes, it is mind-boggling. :) I think that’s understandable, though. What I find disappointing is the hostility that “mind-boggled-ness” tends to spawn. It’s a perpetual source of frustration to have someone else tell you what you really think as opposed to what you are blatantly saying you think.

  100. i see no reason to tiptoe around ideas. i feel perfectly comfortable being hostile toward ideas if that means in the future hostility among humans goes down.

    individual beliefs of religions can be seen as noble but only if large sections of their canon are ignored. Why continue to follow a faith, if in order to do so in modern times you have to ignore much of your holy texts or make huge stretches to reinterpret them? Sure you could find an alternative explanation for “make war on unbelievers” but its largely bullshit in the end. We need to do nice things for each other. If people want to be modest it should be a personal deciscion and not one based on a myth.

    I may sound like a radical but this is the kind of thing dawkins has been saying for years and boing boing is always posting his stuff. if you’re hostile my ideas here, you might as well stop posting his stuff. because he’s far less tactful than i.

    1. Cpt. Tim:

      I don’t care whether you’re hostile to people or ideas. It’s the hostility and rudeness that are unacceptable.

      You’ve repeatedly made it clear that you have no idea why millions and millions of your fellow humans are adherents of one or another religion. That doesn’t prove they’re wrong or you’re smart. Even if it did, it wouldn’t give you the right to casually refer to them in slighting or contemptuous terms.

      And this is minor, but I’ll throw it in for the sake of clarity: You don’t sound anything like a radical.

  101. “. That doesn’t prove they’re wrong or you’re smart. Even if it did, it wouldn’t give you the right to casually refer to them in slighting or contemptuous terms.”

    i’ll need you to cite a contemptuous term for that critique to be valid.

    I never said i was smart either. some very smart people believe in magical people in space. and when they start believing magical people in space want them to behave certain ways, especially to the people that don’t believe, or to people who don’t follow the imaginary rules, it gets dangerous. I’d once again cite the 15 girls who died in the fire.

    “its enough to believe that the garden is beautiful without believing there are faries at the bottom of it as well.”

    you can say how wrong i am all you want but it doesn’t change the fact that you haven’t addressed anything i’ve actually said about religion. you’ve just edited my posts, or made jokes about when i accidently typed engadget, or told me what a bad person i am, but never an actual rebuttal. should i start doubting you’re capable? you’re just like bill oreilly interrupting or cutting the mic. Attacking the individual or disrupting their flow of communication are the kind of tactics he uses, you also seem to favor them.

  102. this is off the main page.

    i’m done here, if you want to debate it miss mod lady i’m availible via email.

    but from what i can see, most people here thought your editing methods were out of line. and they presented good reasons for their opinions.

    as for the actual discussion of the post.. it was going along well before you ‘fixed’ it. that was also agreed on.

    good day.

  103. @Jacob
    The word “mind boggling” came to me after I’ve read this comment.

    “i’ll have trouble believing that she didn’t arrive at that point by an oppressive upbringing.”

    It just frustrates me when people think scarf=oppression. That’s why I mentioned my friends who were raised in America, by non-Muslim families who chose to become Muslim’s themselves.

    And I I like the world “boggling.” Say it a few times out loud. It makes me giggle :)

  104. Cpt. Tim: Most people thought my editing methods were out of line? What is this, the latest version of “The lurkers support me in e-mail”?

    I know this is a cliche, but I’ve come to the conclusion that you like to bully and harass women. It’s taken me a while to find out just how noxious your early comments in this thread were, because Xeni deleted them before I got here. I only got to hear her description of them this evening.

    Even without seeing those earlier comments, what I thought, the moment I saw that two-sentence passage of yours that I disemvowelled, was that you were getting ready to light into Xeni “on behalf of the oppressed women of Islam” — in essence, trying to collect on a debt that’s not owed to you.

    I don’t think I was wrong about you. I do think that Epi-Mom had your number the minute she walked in here, which was why you were so rude to her.

    You’ve been contemptuous and condescending to all the Muslim women who’ve showed up here to talk about their experiences. If none of your remarks to the rest of them were quite up to the standards of those early comments to Xeni that I just found out about, or your reply to Epi-Mom, they were still bad enough.

    Also, you haven’t shown yourself very interested in the subject of the entry, unless you thought it afforded you an opportunity to pass unearned judgement.

    Why am I chewing you out? Is it because you’ve failed to be sufficiently PC? It is not. It’s because you’ve made it hard for the rest of the conversation to proceed, and turned it into a converation about you — and of all the things this thread could be discussing, you’re one of the least interesting.

  105. Kelebek: Boggling. It’s a fine word.

    By the bye, I’m not Muslim, but I was raised in one conservative religion, left it, and many years later converted to a different religion. It wasn’t because I missed the conservatism. It was entirely by my own choice. And I don’t feel at all oppressed in it.

    This remains true whether or not anyone else understands it.

  106. Choice and free will are complicated things. Most women in the western world choose* to take their husband’s surname.# I don’t consider this oppression, but I do feel uneasy about it.

    I know very little about Muslim culture, but, at first blush, the burqa gives me the same feeling of unease. I can see no practical benefits to burqas (unlike clothing in general), and they generally seem onerous. That’s understandable if they hold religious or aesthetic value, but what troubles me is that men do not wear them, only women.**

    Maybe, as epi_mom suggests, I should just mind my own business — I usually do — but that suggestion also makes me uneasy. Should I ignore concerns expressed about western culture by others?##

    * Except in some US states:

    # Roughly 90% of women change their surnames when they marry:

    ** Though this may not always have been the case:

    ## For context, I’m male, atheist/agnostic (or something), catholic up to age of 12.

  107. Chlk n p fr nthr wh sgnd p d t ths thrd. fnd th mdrtr’s vndlsm nd cnsrshp lghbl. t s tr, f smn s phppy wth thr cmmnts bng cnsrd, thy cn “strt thr wn blg.” ssntlly, wht s bng sd s “f y dn’t lk t, LV.” Nt wht lrnd n lf, r wnt t prjct. ddtnlly, ” plgz” sn’t rlly tht hrd t sy. s t th plgy y r ncmfrtbl wth, r d y thnk t nncssy, r d y nt thnk y wr t f ln? ‘m lttl cnfsd. ls fnd t dffclt t rd th dsmvwls. n gd thng tht cm t f ths, s tht nw knw wht thy r. ls thght t ws RdY4LV knd stff. gss yr rdrs t th thr blg r mr hp t ntrnt prtcll. m 40 nd t sn’t smthng cght n t yt. (Bt dd gt mss mlng bt stdy tht cncldd ll w rlly nd t s s th 1st nd lst lttr f wrd n sntnc t rcgnz t. )
    T P-Mm. m nt mslm, bt hv svrl frnds wh r. vr th yrs, mny f thm hv thnkd m fr cllng thm n r nr Spt 11th t s f thy wr k. hd flng t cld gt gly fr rbs n mrc nd wntd t knw thr thghts. Th scrf=pprssn thng t m sn’t s cmplctd. Y dn’t fnd t pprssv – thrs d. prsnlly fnd t pprssv nd d nt wr n. Y crtnly hv th rght t wr t, bt thn hv th rght t fnd t pprsv. Pls crct m f m wrng, bt prt f th whl cvrng blf s tht mn rn’t t b trstd f thy s wmn’s flsh. S th bjctfctn f wmn s ntrly th wmn’s rspnsblty? ‘m gnnly skng. Prps t vrcty. hv nvr bn cmfrtbl wth th nm thng thr. Wh s mr mprtnt-yr fthr r hsbnd?

  108. BEACZAR (126):

    First, that last sentence of yours is amazing: if women didn’t change their names when they married, why would the children have a last name of the father?

    Moving right along, though, isn’t judgment of whether or not a group is oppressed the really the right of members of that group? I’m not saying that others don’t have a right to hold an opinion, rather that they are wisest to also hold their opinions to themselves. Many people find it offensive to be told what is wrong with their nation or culture or their statuses therein by outside parties, even when those parties are careful in expressing themselves. And I don’t think that your words here show much care and thought or insight.

    As a commenter said somewhere upthread, I think that we should work on the beams in our own eyes before tending to the specks in others; there are plenty of cultural obstacles to freedom of choice and behaviour in our own English-speaking, Christian-centered societies to take up all the potential for change that we can find for quite some time.

  109. PINGUIS:

    Yup, read the article in its entirety, and took into consideration that Saudi Arabia, like all nations, is a work in progress.

    The nation’s been around for less than 75 to maybe 100 or so years, depending on how you count it and what you use for milestones of development. It was a Wahhabist-dominated sharia-driven society in 1932, that is, in living memory.

    Powerful clerical factions are still part of Saudi Arabia’s societal structure, and as a result there are laws and provisions and police forces which are steered by narrowly construed religious tenets rather than laws which match the preferences of the majority of the population. Evidence for this in that article is found in the fact that the struggle to rescue the young women was a fight between two separate government agencies, one more secular and one more religious:

    > The religious police reportedly tried to block the entry of
    > Civil Defense officers into the building. “We told them that
    > the situation was dangerous and it was not the time to discussj
    > religious issues, but they refused and started shouting at us,”
    > Arab News quoted Civil Defense officers as saying.

    And in fact the seriousness of the consequences of the fire is, from elsewhere in the article, also related to the fact that (unlike the US these days) the Saudi government finances faith-based initiatives in education to the exclusion of secular provision of services:

    > All aspects of state-financed education for girls in Saudi Arabia,
    > including the renting of buildings for schools, is under the
    > authority of the GPGE, an autonomous government agency
    > long controlled by conservative clerics.

    Elsewhere in the article you will see where the popular press is calling for changes that they believe can be made to start prying open the religious rule of education to let in some healthy and cleansing sunlight. But changes in attitude take time, and the fact that some part of a society or nation is oppressive does not mean that you can infer that the whole kit and kaboodle is oppressive.

    In thinking about the possibility of strongly different attitudes within a society and the difficulty of reconciling them, consider that in 1965 in the USA the state police of Alabama were oppressing the citizenry with beatings, water cannon, and dogs and that this was nothing new. That limbs of the law were routinely implicated in murders and covering up murders. And that the thing that was new in 1965 was not these oppressive actions, but the federal government acting on the assumption that there would be more popular support for federalizing the Alabama National Guard and using them to protect US citizens, Alabama citizens, from agents of another element of their own government, their own nation, their own society.

    Clearly the government of the state of Alabama was oppressive, a part of US society was oppressive, but it would be wrong to infer from this that the US as a whole was oppressive. For that matter, Governor George Wallace and President Lyndon Johnson were both Christians, along with the majority of US citizens. To this day you can find Christians who believe that being a good Christian requires one to support segregation and anti-semitism: see the “Christian Legal Reform Club,” for example.

    It appears that the monarchy wants to indicate that increasing the realization of general human rights and the rights of women and children are the state’s direction:

    > Saudi Arabia is a state party to the United Nations Convention
    > on the Rights of the Child and the U.N. Convention on the
    > Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women.

    But change is difficult, even for an absolute monarch, in the face of an organized religion with its own impulse to power. I can imagine King Abdullah paraphrasing Henry II of England and asking, “Will no one rid me of these turbulent priests?”

  110. bringing back that golden oldie hit:

    “pprssn cn nt b md fshnbl. ny cmpny tht ttmpts t d s s cptlzng n sd prssn.”

    “Oppression can not be made fashionable. Any company that attempts to do so is capitalizing on said oppression.”

    Really. thats my view on Fashionable items that women who have to cover their faces can by. Is it the right view? I think so. but maybe its not.

    Is it horrible trolling? Not in the effing slightest.

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