Cynthia Yockey on Phyllis Chesler, Naomi Wolf, and the Crucial Differences Between Punjabis and Chadors / Burquas

by Little Miss Attila on September 1, 2009

To read this is to want to throw up, right onto those who cannot fathom the distinction between normal modesty and female slavery.

I am actually pro-modesty, but simply not good at it, because—let’s face it—if I try to hide my rack I either have to bundle up in a way that doesn’t work in a desert climate, or I end up losing the game, via all those supposed boob-camouflaging tricks that don’t work: the turtlenecks that make one look even worse/better, so that people start expecting one’s mammary glands five minutes before the rest of one’s body, the button-up blouses that provide beautiful cover for “the girls” until one gains three pounds and experiences those little gaps between the button that make sure everyone knows exactly what color bra one is wearing . . . . the engineering issues become tiresome. I can do buxom-hot and buxom-frumpy, but non-buxom is a bit of a challenge.

The larger point is that modesty is, for those who have not thrown up their hands (or their tatas) in sheer exhaustion, a damned useful tool for girls and women who would prefer to be listened to, and have their ideas taken seriously. Maybe even experience eye contact from heterosexual men on occasion. (Me: I just hang out with leg-men, and ass-men. That works.)

And there is that strange hysteria (if you’ll pardon the expression) on the other side, wherein women who simply cover their heads in general, or in a House of God, are said to be wearing their religious beliefs on their sleeves—or, rather, their skulls. And that’s, somehow, um, bad.

One must strive for modesty in a church, mosque, temple or synogogue. It took some real strategizing for me, for instance, when I was a Eucharistic minister at church, because I had to camouflage the cleavage and cover my arms, and try to find slacks that were flattering without being too body-skimming. But that is the deal. And that is just as important in traditions that require hats or scarves (some forms of Judaism, Islam, very traditional Roman Catholicism, rigorous fundamentalism, a few Orthodox churches, and so forth) as for those that require some form of respectable head covering for a woman (a good wig, or well-styled and longish female hair).

And this is not gender-specific: it’s the same deal for Jewish men who feel the need to wear yarmulkes in temple, and those who wear them every day: the human body is to be respected, and clothed in a way that pays an homage of sorts to one’s faith traditions (and, no: you don’t have to turn the clock backward, but you ought to respect the norms of your local fellowship, and your denomination or faith tradition).

There are critical distinctions between head scarves, hats, and wigs on the one hand, vs. chadors and burquas on the other. And there are even more important distinctions between appropriate casual street dress in a blazing-hot environment and correct modesty for the purpose of worship that does not distract those around you with a lot of skin or whatnot showing.

Here is a hint for you: if “appropriate” attire for half of the population requires them to risk heat stroke any time they leave their homes, you’re over that apparently quite-fine, subtle slavery line. Okay?

Read Cynthia’s article. Do not underdress in church; if the local culture demands it, find a seersucker shirt you can wear as a jacket—and don a lightweight wig, straw hat, or lace scarf if that seems needful. Button that jacket over your boobage so the V-neck isn’t quite so V-ish.

But do not overdress on the street, either; wear what is comfortable and reasonably becoming. Your body is a gift from God, and He’s seen it all.

In short, I cannot define what level of heat-stroke-inducing overdress in a public square indicates slavery rather than healthy piety (which should not be over-the-top, either: you’ll remember what Jesus had to say about placing externalities about real spiritual growth). But I know gender-slavery when I see it.


{ 2 trackbacks }

The Chesler vs. Wolf Feminist Death-Match… | Little Miss Attila
September 3, 2009 at 9:13 am
Jamie Glazov is an intellectual heir of Eric Hoffer — Cynthia Yockey, A Conservative Lesbian
September 4, 2009 at 12:06 am

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

John September 2, 2009 at 3:51 am

Where the Islamists cross the line is not in the mode of dress they expect, or the times an circumstances under which they expect it, but in the manner in which they enforce their wishes. I would be willing to bet a substantial sum that more women are gang-raped in the police stations of Muslim nations for dress code violations than any Muslim apologist is willing to admit.


Cynthia Yockey, A Conservative Lesbian September 2, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Check it out at Pajamas Media — Naomi went nuts over the blowback and demanded Dr. Chesler apologize and make “corrections.” So Dr. Chesler has a follow-up piece since the first punksmacking didn’t take.

I do think it’s odd, though, that Pajamas Media didn’t take my trackbacks or accept my very mild comment.

And I thank you for this post and for linking me.


jc September 3, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Joy, you also have the lovely eyes and cheekbones of an old love of mine.


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