Thursday, 29 October 2009

Warped priorities

Somalia is a country in the grip of famine and administrative chaos. So what is the powerful Islamic al Shabaab movement concerned about? Whether women are wearing bras, naturally.

According to them, women shouldn't wear such heretical garments as they are instruments of fraud and deception. They are tricking men by altering the natural shape and mobility of their breasts. Anyone found in one is therefore severely punished.

So sorry, ladies, if you thought your underwear and visible contours were a matter of personal choice, then think again. Religious purity demands that such issues are vetted and approved by those who are privy to the divine vision.

Several bra-wearing women in Mogadishu were recently arrested and publicly whipped for their disobedience. Though how exactly their bras were discovered is not entirely clear.

Of course you might think, but hang on, at one time all those radical feminists in the West were throwing out their bras too, so what's the difference? The difference is that the feminists chose to chuck them out, and they did so as a protest against male ideas of attractiveness. There was no coercion involved and no divine intervention.

When Somalia is in a state of virtual anarchy, with almost half the population malnourished, the government in disarray and hundreds of thousands relying on international aid, you would think religious leaders would have higher priorities than confiscating bras. But you would think wrong.

PS: And do the bra suppliers also get flogged?

22 comments:

kylie said...

well, i have heard of men being disappointed when they see their new squeeze sans push up but this is extreme!

Nick said...

Kylie - Very extreme. It has to be said that religion has spawned not only some very inspiring ideas but also some of the craziest ones imaginable.

Rummuser said...

That is not all Nick, these low lives also object to their women wearing trousers, even under their cloaks! It has not been reported yet from Somalia, but certainly from Sudan and Indonesia! http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/284592,sudanese-women-spared-lashes-but-fined-for-wearing-trousers.html

Nick said...

Ramana - Yes, I've heard of the trouser-banning. I applaud the Sudanese woman Lubna Hussein who defied the authorities by wearing trousers and was jailed for a month. Even the possibility of flogging didn't deter her.

Brighid said...

All in the name of religion, which was started by men, for men...

Nick said...

Brighid - Well said! Hard to imagine a female religion that banned men's underpants....

Leah said...

Good lord, that is horrifying, yet, alas, not surprising. Radical extremism is frightening in the way it oversteps boundaries, and women are so often the target. Yet, you would think that free-boobing it would be even more offensive than being reined in, wouldn't you? It's funny because the Western women's movement saw bras as tools of the patriarchy...

In the end, that doesn't matter, though. It's all about having freedom of choice.

Yikes.

Nick said...

Leah - I love your description of the two options! As you say, some feminists see bras as oppressive rather than liberating, but the point is having the choice of wearing or not wearing (and ironically, Western women are now effectively denied the not-wearing choice).

Quickroute said...

I reckon one of the high up clerics has a bra fetish and this is all a ploy so he can get his jollies off with a regular supply.

On a more serious note I may be donning a bra soon myself as my man boobs are out of control

Nick said...

Quicky - That could be it. But it would be easier to nick them off washing lines like everyone else. Don't forget to post a pic of your first ever man bra!

Baino said...

So what's gonna stop my boobs bouncing off my knees if I live in Somalia! See . .I hate religious mysogeny. Actually I'm not fond of religion full stop. Actually I'm not fond of bras . . .but they do keep the girls contained!

Nick said...

Baino - Like many men, they obviously don't appreciate the very practical reasons why women wear bras. They're stupid and unobservant as well as fanatical.

Cinnamon said...

Well I knew Somalia had an extreme regime- but didn't know it went this far. 'Though how exactly their bras were discovered is not entirely clear'- good grief, I bet a job in the 'Bra Police' is well sought after!

Nick said...

Cinnamon - You do wonder how much private titillation is involved in the business of seeking out unauthorised bras. Which raises another question - how are the rogue bras obtained, and are the suppliers flogged as well?

Grannymar said...

Test comment for Nick\\\1

Nick said...

Grannymar - I've finally got access to my blog again, after being thrown out of Blogger all day! There must have been a server problem somewhere.

Megan said...

Sometimes I forget that women have had the vote here for less than a hundred years. That's not that long when you consider the scope of history.

We've got a long way to go, baby.

Nick said...

Megan - Very true. We forget that not so long ago Western women weren't allowed to wear "male" clothes, own property, start a business or have their own bank account. Things have changed very rapidly.

Wisewebwoman said...

this is so regressive Nick and it's nearly always about women and their naughty bits being owned by the men in these cultures.
I think this is just symptomatic of the entire culture, if you can't even call your underwear your own, to wear or not to wear, what chance has a woman?
XO
WWW

Nick said...

www - Absolutely, it's all about controlling women, right down to the underwear they've got on. It reminds me of Victorian Britain where female "decency" required voluminous and horribly uncomfortable underwear.

Suburbia said...

That's what I hate about religion at it's fundamentalist worst. Makes my blood boil.

Nick said...

Suburbia - Fundamentalist is the word. Total fanaticism utterly devoid of common sense and humanity.