Thursday, October 26, 2006

hunka, hunka uncovered meat

In Australia, a Muslim cleric -Sheikh Taj el-Din al-Hilali- has caused a furore by comparing uncovered women out of the house to uncovered meat. And implying that these slutty women have only themselves to blame if they're sexually assaulted.

"If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside... and the cats come and eat it... whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat?" he asked.
Well, I blame neither the cat nor the uncovered meat. Meat is just meat and a cat is a cat. But humans can make choices. And choosing what you wear is a more benign choice (generally) than choosing to sexually assault another human being. I don't think these choices are on the same level. I think implying that they are is dangerous to women and degrading to men.

But it's not as if this isn't an argument that we haven't had to rehearse in Western society and recently, too. Here's a paragraph from 19 April post of Tiny Cat Pants:

I don't think men get this, but we women constantly hear about sexual violence against women. Which makes sense, if you think about it, because rape is not just what one bad man does to one unlucky woman. The way we talk about rape makes it clear that we understand rape as punishment. If you don't want to get raped, don't walk alone in bad neighborhoods, don't dress 'provocatively,' don't get drunk, don't be alone with a man you don't know, don't be in a crowd of men, don't work in shitty jobs, don't stand out, but don't make yourself seem like an easy target. Don't, don't, don't. With the underlying message being "Because, if you do, you will get what's coming to you." You might be raped.

So it's not just non-Westerners or Muslims that have this problem, it's just that sometimes their limits of "modest" dress are so much more limiting. And the punishment for breaching the dress code is that much more likely (whether through "gentle admonishment" or something worse).

Of course, the Sheikh Hilali doesn't think just women are to blame. No there are others who don't understand as well.

"Then you get a judge without mercy... and gives you 65 years," he added.

UPDATE: After some calls for the Egyptian born cleric's deportation from Australia, he has backtracked... a little. He says he was talking about scantily clad women who lure men into infidelity. Yes, I too disapprove of infidelity - but I'm not buying it. Last time I checked Australian judges were handing down heavy sentences for rape not for coveting your neighbour's wife's ass.

No comments: