Wearing hijab provides protection, liberation?
Setting aside all the arguments about whether the Hijab is Fard, Sunna etc....how does it actually protect?Protect from what?From the male gaze?
I hear some women talk about how being hijabed forces people to judge her for her personality instead of physical appearance & I always wonder how she knows that.
In an 'idealized' Islamic society where all women are hijabed, do we expect that men will stop looking at women?Isn't this an instinct that God created in us?That men look at women & women look at men?Can anything really stop it?And does it matter if it stops?Surely what matters is whether or not we act on our feelings/impulses/attractions?A Saudi friend told me once that there is no place in the world where women get more male attention & sexual harrassment than Saudi Arabia & all women are covered in Saudi Arabia.
What makes hijabed women think men don't look at them?I see a hijabed girl walk by & men will check her out just like all the girls who walked by before her. And at work I hear male colleagues talk about the attractiveness or lack thereof of ALL girls hijabed or not. Infact one colleague told me once that a girl we work with was even more beautiful with hijab. He was arguing for hijab at the time & I remember thinking well if it makes her even more beautiful i.e. noticeable then isn't that defeating the purpose?
Infact here in UAE, it's quite usual to see guys standing there while a girl from Eastern Europe walks past in a miniskirt & not paying too much attention but let an Arab girl wearing a headcover & 3abaya walk by & they get up & start following her.My friend's husband told her that when something is covered it arouses your curiosity. You get to use your imagination. And that no woman is ever as beautiful as you can imagine her.
I can understand that some Muslim men will respect a hijabed woman because she looks more religious & in our culture we respect religious people. But if she thinks that means they don't look at her as a woman then I've seen no evidence of that.
I always think to the Qura'anic verse that states that faithful Muslim women should cover up so that they maybe known & not harrassed. In America, I saw so many girls wear it & put up with a lot of harrasment because of it. Again if it singles you out & draws attention to you then isn't that defeating the purpose?