May 16, 2006

"One must think, do they want their daughter, their sister, or their wife to appear in this way. Of course, no one would accept this."

This, meaning pictures of (fully clothed) women in the newspaper. Spoken by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. "The youth are driven by emotion ... and sometimes they can be lead astray. So, please, try to cut down on this."

(Surely, he was speaking in Arabic, so don't blame him for the misspelling of "lead," only for his leaden remarks.)


Bruce Hayden said...

This meaning any pictures of women whatsoever.

I am in the midst of reading a book on Islam right now, and the author tries to make the point that it is not anti-woman itslef, or, indeed, needs to be stuck in the 7th or 8th centuries, CE, but that is just a result of male interpretations of the Quaran.

But, regardless, the idea that they shouldn't publish pictures of fully dressed women, complete with headscarves, because that might incite the men, is ludicrous. Not only does the religion have a low opinion of women, it has, I think, an even lower one of men.

Ann Althouse said...

You know, part of me wants to say that these men are just bragging about their intense masculinity. Like they're so so so sexy that even the sight of a woman's face drives them wild. And this old, sick king is saying that? I'm calling bullshit on the geezer for bragging.

amba said...

At the risk of being convicted of vanity:

Ali Eteraz is one of the best writers and thinkers in the blogosphere -- a "Muslim reformist" and postmodern troublemaker, poetic, informed, and irreverent. If you haven't read him yet you have a treat ahead of you. He can take your breath away or make you roll on the floor.

He has concocted an alter ego, or rather alter id, named Ali Eshtehar who is a parody of the punitive Muslim prude who is driven by thinly disguised prurience.

Here this comic character takes on -- me!

It's fun, but it's also a case in point. And of course he's brave -- it's dangerous to be funny about this stuff. And that's ridiculous.

downtownlad said...

And exactly why should I have respect for religion?

This is just silly. The only way this religion thrives is through threats of violence.

Ann Althouse said...

Downtownlad: Some of what passes for religion is just political manipulation and domination -- and also sexual manipulation and domination.

Dave said...

"Some of what passes for religion is just political manipulation and domination -- and also sexual manipulation and domination."

And no where is this more obvious than in the show Big Love.

Bruce Hayden said...

Reiterating some of what I said above, at first glance, this sounds anti-female. But it also seems to be based on a philosphy that males are too weak to resist females, and that is why I almost think it is anti-male too.

Almost, but not completely. The problem is that they are addressing a very real problem of being male, and that is that from the ages of 15 through maybe 50, males are to some extent highly vulnerable to female sexuality. Males have a hard time saying no to attractive young fertile females. As males, we are wired that way - to want to breed with these young, fertile looking, healthy women. The men know it, and some of them hate it. The women know it, and that is why, I suspect, so many fear aging so much more than men seem to, because aging translates into a loss of this power.

The philosphy that we have evolved is that we men should just deal with it, and, by and large we do. Those who don't usually end up in jail. In other words, a philosophy of restraint and that humans are well capable of overcoming this temptation and distraction.

But viewed from this vantage point, the more fundamentalist Muslims seem to have taken the opposite approach - that it is better for society to minimize the temptation than for all those vulnerable to it to have to strive to overcome it. Of course, you can see very quickly that that is a philosphy invented by men for their own advantage, regardless of cost to the women involved.

DTL - I am obviously talking generalizations here, and don't intend to imply that this applies to all men. It doesn't. It just arguably applies to enough of them that it became embedded in public policy.

A. Eteraz said...

hi ann,

discovered ur blog via amba.

very legal, but i like it.

richard cohen is ur ex-husband? he's a cool guy. he's a great fan of me =)

isn't he on blog hiatus?

Ann Althouse said...

Hi, Ali. Amba was just recommending your blog to me. I'll check it out. Richard is traveling, but posting from the trip (to Greece), so check it out.

(This blog isn't all that legal. 20%, I think.)