Tag Archives: Muslim WOmen

The Hijab, the New Olympic Sport !

Hijab Vs. Bikini

Ahmed Tharwat

New Olympic sport: judging athletes in hijabs

The Egyptian women’s beach volleyball team changed the conversation about women’s dress and feminism.

By AHMED THARWAT

 

AUGUST 18, 2016 — 6:40PM

Since Athens 1896, there have been many changes to the sports on the summer Olympic program. at Rio 2016 golf and rugby-7s join the program to reach 28. Aquatics, canoe/kayak, cycling, gymnastics, equestrian, volleyball and wrestling have multiple disciplines, but the new sport that was recently added and everyone was talking about is judging athletes in hijab.

The contrasting images last week of the fully clothed Egyptian women’s beach volleyball team playing the skimpily clad German team swept across media coverage and the internet during the 2016 Rio Olympics. Sports uniforms, which are big business mainly dominated by corporate sponsorship, were suddenly transformed into a cultural hot button on the beach of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Watching women with oily bodies in bikinis playing beach volleyball has become a global spectacle, attracting millions of viewers. Sexism has always been a part of women sports. But only recently, in 2012 to be exact, the FIVB (International Volleyball Federation) announced that it would no longer enforce its bikini requirement on women’s beach volleyball players.

That decision was driven not by cultural or feminist pressure, but by the global appeal of volleyball in non-Western countries and by fear of losing the market and players in places where people have different ideas about how women should dress. FIVB spokesman Richard Baker said, “We don’t think we will see much change [in attire] on the world tour.”

However, the Egyptian team not only delivered change at the Rio Olympics, but changed the conversation about women’s dress and feminism. Muslim women, body and soul, were once again in the international forefront. The West has been fixated on Muslim women’s dress for a long time. France has banned hijab wearing in public schools and government facilities, and the “burqini” — the long swimwear that some Muslim women wear — has been banned at some beaches.

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Trump maybe a Closet Muslim Women Lover!!

 

Trum Trophy wifeAhmed Tharwat

The media’s extensive coverage of Donald Trump’s bizarre insulting of the parents of a Muslim American soldier who was killed in Iraq is overblown. Most of them focused on Trump’s dismissive attitude toward Mr. Khan’s wife who stood quietly while her husband delivered his passionate speech at the Democratic National Convention. He was the choice of the must have Muslim guy, since the Republican convention had one before them.

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Selling Lingerie on the Egyptian Street

2014 04 24 13.36.28

Selling Lingerie on the Egyptian Street
Cairo’s Tahrir Square is the global symbol of the January 25th Revolution, where millions of Egyptians, including women, went to demand the toppling of the regime. Lately, Tahrir Square has witnessed the courting of the Egyptian population by General Al Sisi and his propaganda machine as well as a “Million Woman March” demanding the toppling of the hijab.
The history of progressive women and their struggle for independence and social freedom is an old one, starting with the Egyptian feminist and activist, Huda El Sha’arwi, founder of the Egyptian Feminist Union in 1923. Two events stand out in the history of women’s struggle in Egypt. In the Egyptian Revolution of 1919, women demonstrated side by side with men and used their hijab as a symbol of resistance to the British occupation, and again in the 1940’s and early 50’s, when small groups of radical women leftists embraced the topics of inequality and nationalism with a strong anti-imperialist bent. Here is pamphlet published by the group that announced, “. . . struggle to realize democratic freedom for women in Egypt–that is the freedom which cannot arrive under the shadow of the imperialist and imperialism nor under the shadow of enslavement and exploitation.”
Egyptian women, who are again trying to gain the freedom to remove their hijab, need to “burn their bras” first, as their western counterparts did in the sexual revolution of the 60’s. Back in Tahrir Square, Egyptian women may not be exactly burning their bras anytime soon, but you can see them buying bras, lingerie and undergarments on the street. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see bras and lingerie displayed on every street corner and in the windows of shops, even on sidewalks in the slums of Cairo.

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Why the West is fixated on Muslim women’s wardrobes

Hijab setting

Muslim women living in the West are attacked in the streets, supermarkets, buses, and football games, just for wearing the hijab. In France, Muslim students are denied education for wearing hijabs, last week a 15-year-old Muslim student was banned from school for wearing a long black skirt, “seen as openly religious for the secular France”, reported UK newspaper The Guardian. A Muslim woman was shown in a picture wearing a flag wrapped over her head, it was deemed as blasphemy.

The reactions on Social media were fraught with anger and violence. The Twitter Account @BannedIslam posted the picture of the young Muslim woman with this question: What would you do if you saw this? The reactions show how fanatical Americans think of Muslim women’s dress and sexuality.

One comment made by ‘Onenine’ suggested to people that they ‘burn the bitch’, and another person offered a different strategy by strangling the girl with the scarf. Hijab and Burqa aren’t rejected in the West for their religious inclinations, but of their anti-commercialism inclinations: they aren’t falling victim to the West’s commercial icons such as Liz Claiborne, Calvin Klein, and Victoria’s Secret.

A Western woman spends 287 days refilling her wardrobe, recounted The Telegraph: by choosing outfits for work, nights out, dinner parties, holidays, for the gym, and other activities. The Economist reported that an American woman spends an average of $3,400 to fill her wardrobe each year. The colonial West has been interested in the Muslim woman’s dress for a long a time. Orientalist artists and painters had depicted Muslim women as submissive sexual objects, devoid of any activities, simply sitting waiting for their men.

How do people in Muslim countries prefer women to dress in public? This question was raised by a recent, much-discussed survey from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, as part of a comprehensive study on post-Arab Spring attitudes towards America and democratic values. The survey was conducted in seven countries: Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, which aren’t all Arab or Muslim. Lebanon is not a solely Muslim country, and Turkey and Pakistan are not Arab countries.

The results, as outlined on the Pew Research Center’s FactTank, found that most people in the countries studied prefer that a woman completely covers her hair, but not necessarily her face. Only in Turkey and Lebanon, more than one in four thought it is appropriate for a woman not to cover her head at all in public. The study’s underlying assumption was that practices concerning women’s faces and hair coverings were a measure of women’s liberation and modernity itself. The question of modesty in general wasn’t even considered. Not since Samson, has there been such interest in Middle Eastern hair.

The study randomly selected about 3,000 people from each country, regardless of its size. Each respondent was given a card depicting six styles of women’s headdresses, and asked to choose the woman most appropriately outfitted for a public place. As the study stated, no labels were included on the card. The depicted styles ranged from a fully-hooded burqa (woman No. 1) to the less conservative hijab (women No. 4 and No. 5). There was also the option of a woman wearing no head covering of any type. I won’t get into the main findings, which were confusing, inconsistent, and mostly about preferences – not about how many women actually wear these different styles.

The two questions in the study that concern us are: What style of dress is appropriate for women in public? The concept of “appropriate” is loaded, if we don’t measure it against any norm – social, religious or personal. The West just can’t get its head around the fact that a Muslim woman’s choice of attire can just be a personal one, and not a cultural or religious one. The second key question was: Should women be able to choose their own clothing? I’m a little wary of this type of dichotomy in research questions; where you are given only two options – yes or no – especially when the question concerns a complicated social value, such as Muslim women’s freedom to choose their own dress. The study surveyed both male and female, but didn’t break the answers down by gender.

In a nutshell, the study found that only 14% in Egypt think women should choose their own dress, as opposed to 47% in Saudi Arabia. That means that 86% of respondents in Egypt, where women have relatively more latitude in their fashion selections, want someone else to influence their choices. In Saudi Arabia, where women are forced to consult with only one fashion designer, the Islamic dress code, 47% think they could make a better choice for themselves.

This kind of study doesn’t really measure Muslim’s attitudes towards women’s clothing, so much as it reflects the West’s attitude toward Muslim women and Muslim people. Just imagine, for the sake of argument, someone asking the same two questions in America, where the fashion industry spends as much money trying to control women’s bodies as the military spent invading Iraq. It tells American women how to dress – not necessarily how much hair they should cover in public, but how much skin they should reveal.

How would Americans answer this question: “What style of dress is appropriate for women in public?” Never mind how men would answer. In winter, frigid weather, which in some states reaches 40° below, I’d bet lots of women wouldn’t mind the fully-hooded burqa style that much.

Ahmed Tharwat is a public speaker and hosts the Arab-American show “Belahdan”.

His articles appeared in national and internal publications. He blogs at Notes From America www.ahmediatv.com. You can follow him at Twitter and fBook www.Twitter.com/ahmediatv

www.facebook.com/ahmediatv

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Selling Lingerie on Cairo’s Street …

 

 

According to Random History experts, “lingerie” comes from the Old French linge, meaning “linen,” and it was originally introduced into the English language as a euphemism for scandalous underclothing.

It is not known exactly who started wearing “Lingerie” but if we go by the history of things, and according to Random History experts, the first record of “Lingerie” comes from ancient Egypt around 3000 B.C. which it was wear only by high ranking women. This has changed now in Egypt and Specially after Marshal Sisi toppling of president Morsi and clamming down on Islamists political ambition. Now Egyptian women are trying to restate and ensure their independency and identity; and modern clothe other than traditional ones is used to express their individuality and sexuality. You can see now “lingerie” and women undergarments displayed in every corner and shop window-dressing even in  slumps of Cairo, but the biggest display of “lingerie” and women undergarments can be found on sidewalks carts at open market, something like farmer markets where buyer and sellers directly meet.

Sidewalk in Egypt, has always a striving vibrant life and culture of its own, where millions of Egyptians use as an extension landscape of their own homes, a refugee from their own harsh reality. On Sidewalks Egyptians sit, converse, watch TV, eat, drink and sell and buy everything and anything even women lingerie. Watching Egyptian women with their traditional cloth, hijab buying lingerie in public is confusing  cultural experience for the untrained eyes.

The sidewalk carts are covered with Chinese made fashionable scantily colorful underwear’s and bras, the lingerie sidewalk shop runs usually by men, Egyptian women don’t sell underwear in public, but they exclusively buy them, buying a lingerie in public is a new phenomenon, flirting is a big part of the lingerie buying bargaining process, where is not a social taboo … one sidewalk lingerie shop in a Suburb east of Cairo city, the lingerie carts were everywhere,  surrounded by a few women with their traditional dress, sorting and holding lingerie in their hands, confidently checking sizes and style, oblivion to the piercing public eyes;  no dressing room at sidewalk lingerie shops, the salesman was very cool respectable and helpful conversing with a slightly full figure woman as he casually handed  her a thong as if it was a Kleenex …

_ that is too small… she protested

_ no … not at all .. it is your side… he ensured her

she smiled steered his hand away.. and continues sorting her quest for the right fit.

….

– how do you know the sizes for your customers , I asked the charming salesman!

_ I look at her waist/shoulder … as he demonstrated on his own body

_ what if she was accompanied by a husband or a man

_ it is ok, Im just a salesman trying to help my customers; to chose the right style and size…

Contemporary lingerie can be whatever modern women want it to be. And women have more choices now than at any time in history. Western woman still buy her undergarments in secret from Victoria Secret, in a private moment inside a store in a mall…  but Sidewalk lingerie market in Egypt is striving with confident women buying their lingerie under public eyes which empowers and gives her the freedom to express her sexuality in a such conservative culture, at the sidewalk lingerie market, there was a lingerie for all situations and intentions, including lingerie that is strapless, and backless. Also offered are the sexy thong, teddy, chemise, as well as a plethora of everyday bras and panties. Egypt with all the political turmoil and anxiety, woman escape for a lingerie shopping journey to reward herself and feel good about her own body that has been ignored for a long time, Now in the era of the new prince charm Sisi, the Alpha man, the conquer of the brotherhood invaders, as some Egyptians like to call him, woman not only can dance in the street, but she can also buy her own lingerie!!

 

 

Ahmed Tharwat/ Host of Arab American TV show “BelAhdan”

Minnesota, Public TV

Airs Mondays at 10:30pm

Blogs at www.ahmediatv.com

 

 

 

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