Here’s a little video from the BBC, showing how misogyny can be cute.

Discussion (48)¬

  1. machigai says:


  2. Myself says:

    She’s free to leave the house, but only if accompanied by a male member of her household…

  3. Edward says:

    As I’m sure everyone who comes to this website, knows, this is the BD that that Muslim that led the woman’s march was trying to sell. The niqab as a symbol of women’s freedom. The popular image was of a niqab crafted from an American flag. The New Yorker bought into the march so thoroughly that they put a stylized black woman on their cover as a “Rosie the Riveter” to celebrate the march. What a load of crap!

  4. JDK says:

    Best none “reason”, I’m doing it for my god!. Well no you’re not, cause there isn’t one, yours or anyone else’s s of a delusional nature. Duh!

  5. DocAtheist says:

    Love the dead bird as exclamation point!

  6. HelenaHandbasket says:

    I think we need to dig a little deeper author, rather than label it misogyny per se.
    These are women saying these things, after all, and no-one is forcing them.
    There are countries with genuine theocratic oppression and morality police to enforce these dress codes (Saudi Arabia would be a good example).
    There are countries where immigrants are not assimilated into western culture and see their gender segregation as superior.
    But–it has to be fully and squarely faced that, here in the UK, there are thousands of women per year who look at Islamic oppression of women and go “I’d like to have me some of that please”
    Standard oppression theory has a tough time explaining this, let alone the usual “it’s all a patriarchy” line that second/third wave feminism espoused.
    This stance (that women are essentially slaves in western culture) has a tough uphill struggle explaining why so many women choose this slavery.
    Is this why so many feminists have produced such an unholy alliance of feminism and Islam in the UK/USA of late? I do not have an answer to this by the way–I just haven’t seen anyone squarely face up to its implications.
    (I’ll withdraw this outrageous slander on modern feminsm if anyone can find similar examples of eager slaves–e.g. swathes of black people eager to return to a life of slavery in the plantations)

  7. Matt says:

    HH, isn’t it obvious? Those Muslim women who genuinely wear the veil by choice (and if you include social pressure as a form of coercion, then there must be precious few), are surely doing it as an aggressive political-religious statement of their superiority and otherness. That’s my assumption. I guess there will be a handful who do it because they want to be devout, but since all Muslim scholars appear to agree it is not essential, there are surely few of those.

  8. Anonymous says:

    A niqab makes a women free?
    That would be something to see
    A women by her self in the street
    By islam is classified as meat
    An object for a public sex spree.

  9. cjsm says:

    I think the veil is a form of misandry. It is an insult to men, implying men are like 2 year olds in a candy store. Grabbing everything they think they might like without thought for such social niceties as “don’t touch the merchandise” and proper compensation. And no, we don’t buy our partners – unless you still believe in dowries – but we do negotiate such things as wedding or not, finances, children, etc. I believe men are perfectly capable of behaving with proper politeness and are not the equivalent of a 2 year old. On the other hand, I am willing to admit some men are jerks. But the veil is an insult to all men – especially the polite ones.

  10. HelenaHandbasket says:

    Where are my manners author? I should have also said–many thanks for your reply to my comment on the previous page.

  11. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    My comment, composed cleverly
    Disappeared, where no one can see
    Where did it go?
    Beats me, I don’t know
    Somewhere in the ether, maybe?

  12. HelenaHandbasket says:

    Matt, I’m not being disingenuous (or to use the modern term “JAQing-off” here, I assure you).
    I’m genuinely curious. I have seen two family members (god-daughter and sister in law) take the veil and I had the opportunity to question them closely. They may or may not be representative–but there certainly were some interesting themes
    1) Rejection of an existing patriarchal religion for not being patriarchal enough (one was orthodox jewish and specifically stated to me that she saw her father as weak–if that ain’t patriarchy then I sure don’t know what counts!)
    2) Acceptance of the religion through a charismatic conversion rather than scripture. In both cases when I started asking theological questions they refered me to some Iman and got damned cross when I said “No–I want you to walk me through your path to enlightment please”. (This also happens to me when I answer the door to JWs and say “Why yes, I really would enjoy talking about god. They never return)
    Both women subsequently learned Arabic to be able to read the Q’ran in the original but this came later–the desire to do this had already been inculcated by other means.

    CJSM. I agree. The veil effectively says that all men are like Mike Pence. Viz: Rapacious sexually incontinent monsters with all the self-control of magpies on acid. But author already has some fine T-shirts bearing the legend “Thank you for not provoking my uncontrollable lust”

  13. There are impenetrable mysteries to some human behavior. I have never understood the desire some people have to be the submissive in a S&M relationship. One might speculate that a deep feeling of guilt and self loathing could demand recognition, but I understand there’s also a power dynamic at work in which the submissive is actually seeking control over the dom. And maybe I’m just projecting the guilt and self loathing. Maybe there’s something else entirely at play.
    I can see a woman adopting the burka or the niqab as a way of asserting independence, individuality, or some deep dissatisfaction with society as it is. Rather like a skin head wearing a prominent swastika tattoo. I can see a woman wearing such a socially loaded garment as a way of saying fuck you, you can’t push me around or tell me what to wear. Whatever the truth may be, they send me a clear signal. Do not engage with this person.
    I’m reminded of the Playboy bunny who converted to Islam, and gave a pitch for the culture being very liberating. That I can understand. If a woman has been treated as a sex object, target of lust, appreciated only for physical attributes, it could be very refreshing to shut that crap down. Islam does a good job of selling the idea that the segregation of women is really respect.
    “The main thing I like about Islam is the respect for women.” There you have it.

  14. jveeds says:

    FYI – women in the Muslim countries I’ve been to are allowed to leave the house unaccompanied by a male guardian. Of course they’re still under the authority (protection, if you will) of their guardian or mahram…and that includes one of the strictest regimes–Saudi Arabia.

  15. hotrats says:

    I had to happen eventually; today’s ‘random Oldie’ is… ‘fan’, from way back in August 2017. Those were the days…

  16. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Hotrats, of course you had to happen eventually, at least if the multiverse theory is correct.

  17. FreeFox says:

    Hey Darwin, I might shed some light on your question about BDSM. This is by no means the only cause, of course, but in my (if I may humbly say myself, not inconsiderable experience) a major cause for attraction to the submissive side is this:

    If for some reason you feel deep down that you are worthless (too weak, not good enough, not manly enough, sinful, disgusting, etc.), usually due to neglectful, emotionally abusive, or overly demanding parenting, anyone who says s/he loves you must ergo either be a liar or mistaken and not know the real you. Either you end up trying to hide your shameful side and feel unseen and lonely even inside a relationship (your partner obviously only loves your mask, not the real you), or you begin to try to prove them that you are actually not worthy of their affection and act self-destructive or provocative until you’ve driven your partner away – and again end up lonely.

    But if you find someone who will acknowledge your worthlessness or sinfulness, and “punishes” you for it (thus proving they truly and actually see the “real” you), but is palpably delighted about it and shows they love you for that very dynamic all the more – then you have found a way out of the apparent dilemma. You can be your “true” weak/pathetic/sinful/worthless self and still actually believe yourself seen and loved.

    It seems a bit weird, but until someone finds a dependable cure for low self-esteem, it’s probably one of the most fun and practical ways to deal with such feelings, if you think about it.

  18. FreeFox says:

    Apologies for the many spelling and grammar mistakes, but the edit function seems to be on the blink.

  19. Son of Glenner says:

    I am reminded of an incident in Birmingham a few years ago. In the heart of the city, near the “Bullring”, I saw about 8 or 9 people in long dresses, hijabs and full niqabs, presumably female. They were mostly adult women (?), but there were 2 or 3 young girls, one of them without a niqab. They were not all in black, in fact their outfits, including the niqabs, were quite colourful. There was no man with them.

    I don’t know whether they were foreign tourists or Brummie residents (there is a large Muslim population in Birmingham), but they were obviously sightseeing and having a good time. So far, nothing worth reporting!

    But then all but one of them lined up in front of a statue, while the other one produced a camera and took a group photo – their niqabs were still in place, so only their eyes were visible! I found this hilarious! I can just imagine them later on passing the photo round their friends and saying something like “The one in the green niqab is Fatima.”

  20. Son of Glenner says:

    FreeFox; Re mistakes, do as I do – compose and edit in the comment box and do not submit until you are sure your message is OK.

  21. PrimalVirtue says:

    This emancipated muslim has something to say on the subject……

  22. enfanta says:

    If I take these women at their collective word and they’re freely choosing to cover most of themselves, why should I interact with them? We’re primates. We communicate with our faces and bodies. By covering themselves, they’re saying they don’t want to be “heard.” They can do whatever they want, but so can I. They’re invisible to me.

  23. Freefox, thanks for that explanation. I figured it had to be something like that.

    I imagine that a girl forced to wear a burka or jiqab through childhood might absorb it into her identity. It could become a secure place to hide. I can see how it could be very difficult to give it up. Similarly, a woman such as our Hollywood bunny might find Islam a nice escape from the constant sexual attention and male expectations. It’s a hateful and disgusting garment, but if a woman wants to wear it, who am I to have an opinion on it? She should just know that she is being offensive to a huge number of people in our culture.

  24. Trevor H says:

    DH – do they actually manage to say black is white?

  25. Reid says:

    Here’s a slightly different viewpoint: before we met my (English) wife spent 6 years in Bahrain, the 1st one working and the last 5 in a form of house arrest – enforced indentured servitude if you will (too long & complicated to go into detail). Her perspective of women in Islam, and the realities of life concealed within an Islamic majority country is at once fascinating and truly chilling.

    She survived financially by hairdressing, a service she could provide in private and one that was in heavy demand due to the astonishing degree of hair loss caused by a prolonged lack of vit D. I had no idea how big an industry wigs & hair replacement therapies are in the Gulf; women in particularher find alopecia a major issue as it is invariably cited in divorce – living, as they do, in a profoundly misogynistic and pre-pubescently obsessed culture (she witnessed horror stories concerning the latter!)

    In her experience, the women around her would shed their ‘shrouds’ which many apparently call it, at every possible opportunity. Even more bizarre was the necessity for women wear a full ‘swimming niqab’ every time they went to the beach or pool – she personally new of 3 drownings caused by this!

    The more affluent who could travel, would live in western dress whilst overseas but have to change back in the departure lounge or even in the aircraft.

    Men, on the other hand, would have approved hotels, clubs and venues within the country in which to don their wigs and western dress in order to ‘interface’ with female western flight crews; women they regarded as little more than hookers. Blonde American & British girls were a particular sought after as they were prone to cash blindness and the prospect of a supposed liberally orientated Arab millionaire – a role Bahraini and Saudi men perfected in their teens.

    As an aside,my wife managed to escape by befriending a member of their military Special Forces – he was of African origin and, being black, was always regarded as inferior within the Islamic ‘caste’ system (another Arab reality hidden from the West). He & his family facilities her freedom, no thanks to the UK High Commission out there.

    She’d like to write a book but fears that those who tried so hard to do her harm might feel compelled to come looking for her. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Islam is an ever present topic in house.

  26. HelenaHandbasket says:

    Re BDSM and mental illness.
    The evidence is strongly that BDSM practitioners tend to be mentally more healthy than the general population. This is not hugely surprising as those with rich and controlled fantasy lives (that they can distinguish from reality) are, in general, more mentally healthy than the typical population (many of whom who cant tell reality from a game show host who plays a Billionaire on TV)
    A key empirical paper is here
    Pawlowski, W. (2009). BDSM: The ultimate expression of healthy sexuality. In W.J. Taverner & R. W. McKee (Ed.), Taking sides: Clashing views in human sexuality (11th ed., pp. 70–75). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
    And there is a digest of the results here:
    and here

  27. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Reid, that’s a book that needs writing. There’s always the option of changing the names of the people involved and of your wife writing under a pseudonym, as long as something along the lines of “This is a true story, names have been changed for security of the author’ is included at the start.

  28. DC Toronto says:

    Helena – I don’t understand why some women willingly don the burqa. But I also don’t understand why some women marry men in prison. Some of them on death row! I’ve heard that Canada’s own Paul Bernardo, currently serving time for raping teenage girls, has found someone willing to marry him.
    I also don’t understand bdsm or other kinks. There was an interesting section in Norman Doidge’s book “The Brain that Changes Itself” that suggested that brain plasticity was able to rewire the desires of those with criminal level kinks. I suspect brain wiring and learned pleasure triggers account for many kinks …. but it’s not my thing so I’ve never delved too deeply.
    DH – I also don’t understand people (like your example of the bunny) who choose to profit from their sexuality then become holier than though espousing the extreme opposite position. I am certain that there are clothing choices available that are comfortable and modest and will easily allow for the substance to shine through.
    Then again … I could probably fill a book with what I don’t know 🙂

  29. Reid, what Acolyte said. That book needs to be written. I don’t know what we can do about the culture of the UAE, Bahrain, and the like. But calling them our allies makes me throw up in my mouth. Surely the west has some kind of social and economic pressure that can be put on them to be descent. Putting them on human rights tribunals at the U.N. makes a travesty of everything we believe in.
    Of course, no sanctions are possible as long as the dumpster fire of a POTUS is calling himself the leader of the free world.
    DC Toronto, always good to recognize what one doesn’t know. I could fill a library with books about what I don’t know. Come to think of it, most libraries are full of those books, no matter how many of them I read.

  30. Deimos says:

    I suppose it had to happen eventually, some intelligent people equating female islamic dress and bdsm. I have a friend who wears her most “strict” gear under a niquab every year as a birthday treat for her hubby, who has to take her shopping in a city they aren’t known to get to “unwrap his gift”.
    What I think makes the comparison invalid is that bdsm gear is only shared in private but Islamic bondage dress is only worn in public. To me that makes it “enforced” not enjoyed.

  31. Deimos, just to clarify: I was not equating female Islamic dress with BDSM. I mentioned BDSM as an example of something I don’t understand. I also don’t understand the psychology of the burka or niqab. But I was not saying there is anything similar about them, other than the fact that I don’t understand either. I cannot equate two things I don’t understand, because I don’t understand them well enough to equate them.

  32. HelenaHandbasket says:

    Reid: I’m sure if such a book were to be written then it would attract the same opprobrium from the left as Ayaan Hirsi Ali does. An excellent reason to write it just for that reason alone one might think.
    But, less facetiously– what you say is in accord with what I’m told from friends who have worked in that region and talked about the de-facto slavery, and things like rickets (yes seriosuly) from vitamin D deficiency among young girls. I hadnt heard about the hair loss before. I’d be surprised if you couldnt pitch this to some documentary film maker?

  33. HaggisForBrains says:

    Wow, lots of interesting comments this week!

    Nasser, it’s clear now that you’ve been hiding recently under a new email address, thus creating your Anonymous tag. Having reverted to your earlier one, you have produced one of the best examples of a limerick you’ve ever done. Allowing for a mild mispronunciation of “cleverly”, the rhyming and scansion are almost perfect – well done. The limerick that was lost and is found, not so good.

    cjsm – totally agree, speaking as one of the good guys.

    FreeFox – many thanks for your enlightening explanation of BDSM, which seems to make sense, and I guess, from some of your posts over many years, may come from a degree of personal experience.

    SoG – 😀 😀 I see hardly any niqabs or burqas in Fife, but had to laugh at the image you portrayed. Do niqab and burqa wearers go around on holiday taking selfies in front of famous buildings etc? Seems like a business opportunity for some with the right gear to sell professional quality standardised “selfies” at each famous tourist spot.

    Reid – thanks for the insight provided by your wife. I’m sorry she suffered, and glad she escaped. The book should be published.

    Diemos – too much information, perhaps. As long as your “friend” and her hubby enjoy, I’m sure it’s fun for them.

    Thanks to Author and you all for making this one of my favourite blogs (the other one isn’t a blog 😉 ).

  34. Anonymous says:

    All this talking about fully covering up!
    It –nearly– spoils the pre-pleasure of preparing to leave for our nudist holiday…

  35. HaggisForBrains says:

    PS I tried to add this to my comment above, but ran out of time on the edit. I’ve seen Helena Handbasket’s gravatar under the similar name of H Handkart, and just wanted to say that I seriously considered that name for myself many years ago, but decided against it due to the misleading gender connotation. I still like it.

    Is that a very old Darwin in the picture, or someone else?

  36. dr John de Wipper says:

    All this talk about full body covering…..
    It –nearly– spoils the pre-pleasure of preparing for our nudist holiday, where we will meet our emigrated daughter!

  37. HelenaHandbasket says:

    HFB The Darwin picture is a detail from one that Banksy did some years back. I have no idea if its still there (it could well have been chiseld off the wall and sold to some hipster by now).
    But given that I study and teach evo bio it seemed appropos

  38. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Helena, as an evo bio teacher could you please tell my why there are still monkeys?
    HA! Checkmate, atheists 🙂

  39. jb says:

    Interestingly, I’ve recently noticed the same Darwin gravatar used along with a slight variation of “HelenaHandbasket” to make a few (reasonable) comments in some science related forums, one of which I read regularly. I won’t publish the variation here, because it can be Googled, and it’s possible someone wants to maintain separate commenting identities. If so, you need to use less distinctive handles — such as, say…, jb!

  40. FreeFox says:

    I would agree that there is a connection between BDSM and the burqa, just as there is between the priesthood and child-abuse, or for that matter between caning fetishism and English public schools, in as far as they are all fuelled by the feeling of worthlessness.

    In English public schools it’s caused by the impossible ideal of stoic manliness, while in the case of judaism, christianity and islam it is caused at its core by equating lust with sin. Since nobody is actually that manly, and since everyone feels lust, children raised in these systems are taught to feel a constant secret shame.

    Of course, the difference to BDSM (if done right) is that in BDSM people are aware and play with it while acknowledging that outside of the consensual game everyone is actually okay and respected as they are. (Not that it always is done right, “50 Shades of Grey” being a prominent example of how to do it wrong.)

    Religion, on the other hand, stridently inists that enjoying lust really is sinful and despicable. So we continue to get guilt-ridden fanatics fighting contraception, sex education, and family planning, closeted, sadistic perverts flooding priesthoods, and sexually unaware and insecure men (and women) upholding anything from restrictive clothing to genital mutilation.

  41. HelenaHandbasket says:

    JB “reasonable comments”. Nah, that’s not likely to be me. That’s probably my “good twin” going off and trying to ruin my reputation

  42. PrivateFrazer says:

    The niqab is a strange one – someone mentioned ‘taking the veil’, that’s what becoming a nun is called. and they can get pretty covered up. And in theory a woman wears a veil at catholic mass (or used to).
    Also, i once had the pleasure of seeing Sigue Sigue Sputnik having a sandwich at a petrol station on ..the M4?..
    SO i think people should be allowed to wear what they want.
    But i don’t really nuderstand why someone would want to wear niqab (or take the veil) – completely understand Sigue Sigue sputnik though.
    This comment is no help is it. Its my first. Been reading this for years.

  43. PrivateFrazer, welcome to the Cock and Bull. You seem like a nice chap. (There I go, assuming you’re a chap. The default assumption in our culture, or at least in my head. Do let us know your preferred pronoun.) I’ve never heard of Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Now I know who he is and what he does, thanks to Google and Youtube. Thanks. I’m now slightly more in touch with the culture. Have a pint on me, eh.

  44. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Welcome, PrivateFrazer. Are you suggesting that the members of SSS have such horrendous features that it’s probably for the best they covered up? 🙂

    Darwin, not quite there on the culture yet, I’m afraid. Unless I’m horribly mistaken, SSS is the group’s name (don’t feel bad, they’re hardly a household name; some people assume Jethro Tull was just the singer in a band, which makes your mistake easily forgivable by contrast), and their last foray into the British charts was thirty years ago. Not bad for a faux-punk band, though, a bit like Billy Idol on acid.

  45. PrivateFrazer says:

    Ah, sorry i only visit on a wednesday so, a bit late to reply. Billy Idol and the bass player in SSS were together in Generation X…

  46. Choirboy says:

    No-one has mentioned Stockholm Syndrome, which seems to me to be not unconnected with the issue. Apparently perfectly normal and intelligent people, having been captured and abused, find themselves emotionally dependent upon their abusers and even become their champions after being freed.
    The points made about masochism and low self esteem ring true and to my mind include the recent increase in things like tattoos and body piercings, interesting psychological expressions of the need in some way to improve upon an inadequate image to the world. Does the bloke in his sixties sporting an ear ring I saw this morning in the supermarket really feel strangely less attractive if by a tragic oversight he leaves home without it?
    People who would be horrified at the thought of being stuck with the same curtains or wallpaper for the rest of their natural blithely commit to naff designs upon their presumably detested bodies. Celebrities who wouldn’t deign to wear the same outfit morning and afternoon cover their backsides in ill-executed permanent giant roses.
    It’s remarkable what peer pressure and a sense of inadequacy and dependence can do. In my youth I had a job in an office doing a mind boggling repetitive task which I hated but found it increasingly difficult to escape the more it seemed it was all I deserved or was capable of. Walls that imprison also protect.
    The conflation of race, religion and culture in relation to the burka complicate the issue. I was a choirboy as a kid and confirmed into the C of E at fourteen but when I later became an atheist there was no suggestion that I had betrayed my family or community. I did not have to sacrifice family or friends to assert my beliefs. We cannot guess how many ‘muslim’ atheists there are in the communities not too far from from where I live because as things are it would be a ‘coming out’ even worse than the other sort.
    Women who find themselves imprisoned within cultural and ideological walls which also protect are highly susceptible to Stockholm Sydrome and a sense of inadequacy which leads to an acceptance easily rationalised as free will. Are burkas, piercings and tattoos all that different really?

  47. Dysania says:

    After reading the peoples comments here, I’ve come to agree that religion somewhat seems like a really long BDSM play, and therefore I would like it if they kept it from public view. Also, I suspect that the next time I see a preacher on the street or on my doorstep I cannot help but imagine them in a gimp suit.


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