Thursday, May 05, 2016

On Meat And Wolves. O How Women Dress!

Via Eschaton, this news about a poster found in the library of an Arizona school:

You can click on the picture to read the text, but it begins like this:
so you think you come to school looking pretty hot
but what the boys see is meat and it's distracting
so they make lousy grades
A senior at the school, Alissa Adams got the poster removed.  It seems that nobody took responsibility for making it, although it was a librarian who put it up.

I love the comparison of girls to meat and the boys to wolves.  But if girls really were meat and boys really were wolves, shouldn't the wolves be kept away from the school?  Instead, the poster then argues that the "meat" gets the "wolves" to fail at school and also in life and ultimately the "meat" will have to support the "wolves."

It's the old story:  Eve did it!  For almost any value of "it" among certain religious fundamentalists.

Note how insulting the above poster is to boys, too.  It assumes they are pulled around by nothing but their penises.  It assumes they have no will power, no self-control, no responsibility for their own grades, even.

The above is a very tiny example of the traditional belief that men cannot (or don't have to) control their libidos, so women must do that controlling for them by, essentially, covering up.

To see the same principle work in a much wider context, spring in Tehran means an increase in the size of the  morality police which patrols the streets looking for women who are not dressed properly:

As the mercury rises in Iran, winter coats are back in the closet, flowers are popping up — and so are the so-called morality police. Despite objections from Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, Tehran's police have announced up to 7,000 undercover officers will be on the lookout for those who don't follow conservative Islamic modes of dress and behavior.
They're called the Gashte Ershad, the "guidance patrol," and they have broad powers to chastise and even arrest people for failing to meet what might be called the modesty test.
Men are occasionally stopped — perhaps if their beards are too long, making them resemble jihadists — but usually, it's women who attract the attention of the Gashte Ershad.
A 2014 campaign by the conservatives in Iran compared improperly clad women not to meat but to
unwrapped candy bars preyed on by flies 
The similarity to the Arizona school library example is clear:  Women and girls are food (meat or candy bars), men and boys are animals (wolves or flies).

But that these two cases resemble each other at all is puzzling from a different angle:

Iranian women are already dressed in ways which would count as extremely modest, even the ones who show a little bit of hair under their head scarves.  So why is that not sufficient?

Is any amount of modesty ever sufficient?   If a woman wears a niqab leaving only her eyes visible, she might still be scolded for immodesty in Saudi Arabia.

Sigh.  It's an impossible task, that getting rid of tempting females.

A post-script:  I'm not opposed to rules concerning appropriate dress in various circumstances (school, work, funerals, swimming pools etc), but such rules should be as gender-neutral as possible, and the rules shouldn't be made up by a few authoritarians but by some sort of a democratic process.

As an aside, it's fun to imagine what would happen if rules were, in fact, made gender-neutral in, say, Saudi Arabia, and men had to wear the abaya, too.  Right now men in Iran and Saudi Arabia can wear the same kind of clothing as men in the West.  But women cannot.  Yet it is presumably the western cultural onslaught that the morality police in Iran try to stop by harassing only women.