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Nude Awakening

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Perhaps it is the apathy of people like me, who have the ability to speak out, that just makes it easier for idiots to randomly pronounce and proclaim so authoritatively about a community. And is it any wonder that over time, reiteration of skewed views by the media, slowly becomes the defacto opinion of the larger society?

The newspaper reported about Sila Sahin today. She’s a Turkish-German who posed nude for playboy. Good for her. But the report went on to state that she is “a glowing example of how a modern Muslim girl should behave in a multicultural society.

I can’t even begin to list all the things that are wrong with that sentence. 

Perhaps it’s just irresponsible journalism, but underlying it is the collective understanding of a society. Some of you see it. Some of you don’t. But here's what I think it suggests. Somehow ‘progressive’ and ‘modern’ are  directly proportionate to the amount of skin shown. So, people emerging from clothes-friendly societies are probably still on their way to ‘modernism’. And girls from such communities (particularly Muslim) could do well by laying themselves bare to millions of ogling men and set a 'glowing example' of how to adjust in multi-cultural societies. Men who have so far driven themselves crazy wondering what’s behind that veil. If not it’s likely that such girls just have to accept the random questions about the harems they have graced and the terrorists they are hiding underneath their burqas.

I often don’t bother commenting or reacting to such obvious ignorance and idiocy on part of the random public. Because well - it seems like pointless intellectual hullabaloo (like on news channels). But perhaps it is the apathy of people like me, who have the ability to speak out, that just makes it easier for the idiots to randomly pronounce and proclaim so authoritatively about a community. And is it any wonder that over time, reiteration of skewed views by the media, slowly becomes the defacto opinion of the larger society?

In a lighter vein, let’s backtrack a little. Ok let’s backtrack a lot. To when God dropped human beings on this earth or when they sprung from the water (whatever you believe). I understand that the point of clothing yourself was to protect yourself from the elements of the earth?

cavewomanExcept the melanin granted to equatorial people to prevent getting toasted, our creator chose to not give the humans any other form of protection. He probably said, dear sons and daughters of Adam, I am giving you brains, and I am giving you opposable thumbs. Now put them to good use. Let me see what you come up with. So sons and daughters of Adam, first came up with Tools, then they came up with ideas to use the tools to make themselves some clothes. And so man being man, he troubled Vanity to rear her head and give a glorious birth to Fashion.

Going by the afore-recounted statement, in a few decades or centuries, as the ‘multi-cultural’ society ‘progresses’, clothes will be done away with altogether. If God-willing I live to see my great-grandchildren, like all grand-mothers I shall tell them tales of how in my times there existed something called ‘clothes’ and something called ‘fashion’.  And oh what glorious times they were. Fabrics, and colours, and cuts, and shapes, and embroideries, and prints, and sequins and crystals, and God-sent lycra and denim. Probably a decade earlier the garment industry would have collapsed, and I can recount those troubled times as well to them. The Great Garment Suppression.  The largest economic collapse the world had ever witnessed. Millions left jobless and hungry.  Or so I think :).

Hey, I am not an anti-nudist per se. I have always believed in the adage of to each his own. As long as your actions don’t harm others they are your actions. I don’t have to believe or agree with them, but I respect your right to have them. And just as long as you don’t slink over and start impressing yourself upon my guy, I am fine with your nudity. But I can’t be the only one who is bothered by this obsessively retarded belief that many people in the world, and particularly in India seem to hold. Tighter, shorter, clothes make you ‘modern’.  So if a girl’s wardrobe largely comprises salwar-kameezes, by and large she’s a ‘behenji’. And until she happily dons a cocktail dress or shows off assets in corsets, she’s probably ‘old-fashioned’ and ‘conservative’. ‘Cool’, ‘hot’, ‘modern’ are not terms you will find associated with salwar-kameez girls. And really, does a salwar-kameez girl fit into your image of a ‘babe’? Kinda hard for a lot of you right? There are always exceptions, but I am talking about the rule here. An unfortunate rule. That’s just the way it goes and it’s not something I am going to damage my tonsils over.

But perhaps I should stretch my tonsils a little. If baring skin is a social response to repression and seen as a freedom of expression, then it should find its own podium. Trampling over someone else’s expressive right to cover themselves can’t be the way to liberation.

But isn’t that the tone of the world events? To liberate one, another is oppressed. Yet another form of dictatorship. Why is it that people think that for them to be right, someone else has to be wrong? It’s not always mutually exclusive. I wonder if anyone will dare report an Orthodox Jewish or Catholic girl on a playboy cover as a ‘glowing example of modern behavior’. Or for that matter any girl from any background. It simply appears that the words ‘muslim’ ‘naked’ and ‘girl’ just jumped out at the reporter and he reacted in glee. Such knee-jerk reactions are nothing new. I suppose any Muslim breaking away from a Muslim norm must be glorified as a hero because of course all the billions of Muslims are crazed fanatic idiots who don’t know nothing about living a progressive life. I am not exaggerating. Just read the raging discussions and debates on online articles related to Muslims and Muslim practices and you will see that's pretty much what the majority believes.

But then such people perhaps don’t notice what really excites them about a Muslim girl gone nude. It’s the fact that suddenly she becomes one of them. The fact that beneath all those clothes you and I. We are all the same. Sons and daughters of Adam or cellular organisms of the waterworld (whatever you believe).

Perhaps that - should be the nude awakening of a multi-cultural society.


GreenLava said...

Well put Rabia!

Rabia Fathima said...

Thank you GreenLava!

caycanh said...

Thanks a lot

Genevieve Farah said...

There are situations like this where one would think that doing something extreme, really outrageous, is what would set one free, be it from pain or from oppression. (ok, never mind the greens she earned)
For her family though, on the passive, barely consulted, end of the drama, the feeling of betrayal and humiliation was surely very much real.
Whether she's merely made a crack for an alternate view to be visible, or really opened a door, the resultant alienation was the heavy price to pay I think.

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