Opinion

Fuck modesty for International Women’s Day on March 8!

Fuck modesty for International Women’s Day on March 8!

Wherever Islamism gains power and influence, it comes for women first. And it’s always a sign of worse to come, hence the saying: ‘the freedom of society is measured by the freedom of women.’

Islamism but also the Christian-Right, Buddhist-RightJewish-RightHindu-Right, Sikh-Right … have turned misogyny into an art form. They police women’s behaviour and sexuality to make certain it doesn’t challenge male “honour”.

To ensure compliance, modesty rules are enforced by any means necessary – whether by threatening and shaming a Muslim woman twerking in public in Birmingham, spitting at an “immodest” 8 year old girl in Israel, disappearing the babies of unwed mothers in Ireland, barring women from straddling motorcycles and dancing in public places in Indonesia’s Aceh province and even stoning women to death in Iran in the 21st century.

“Immodesty” – anything from singing in public, laughing out loud, gender mixing, to the refusal to veil or conform – are deemed dangerous for the family, community, nation and society and in need of suppression and control.

In this “communally-based politics … women are seen not as individuals with rights but as bearers of their community’s honour, to be protected or raped, depending who they are”. ISIS’ Yazidi sex slaves are the most heinous case in point.

Modesty is big business, with profits made at the expense of innumerable dissenters.  Having bought into the narrative of the religious-Right, Bloomberg calls it a “modest revolution” despite the fact that there is nothing revolutionary about modesty or religion’s control over women and their bodies.

From witch-burnings, chastity belts, diagnoses of hysteria for women who had a “tendency to cause trouble” to the Iranian regime’s morality police and ISIS’ use of metal clippers to tear the flesh off any woman who might have forgotten to wear her gloves, religion and the religious-Right have always played a counter-revolutionary role in the service of patriarchy and profit and in favour of the status quo and women’s subservient status.

The veil, for example, whilst often sanitised and fetishised here in the west, has more often than not been imposed through brute force – from acid-attacks to assassinations – with unveiled or improperly veiled women blamed for every calamity under the sun. Immodest women are the source of chaos and fitnah in society.

Add to this, multiculturalism and identity politics, which legitimise and normalise religion’s “morality” that sees a woman’s “place” in the home, behind closed doors, erased and disappeared from the public space.  The far-Right, too, which juxtaposes its Christianity against a “foreign” Islam, spends much of its time defending “its” white women from the “other”, preventing mixing, and encouraging “our womenfolk to regard home and family-making as the highest vocation for their sex“.

In all religions and every religious-Right movement, the perfect “modest” and “moral” woman is the one who cannot be seen or heard.

That women refuse to comply is not thanks to religion or the religious-Right but despite all their efforts at terrorising women into submission.

That is why being a free and “immoral” woman is the greatest of “crimes” and the most potent form of resistance.

On 8 March, International Women’s Day, it would do us good to commemorate the many who refuse and resist against all odds: the mothers of Khavaran, Kurdish women fighters bringing gender equality to Rojava, the unveiling movement in Iran, the fight against male guardianship rules in Saudi Arabia, those battling Sharia courts in Algeria and Britain, the women challenging Modi and the Hindu-Right in India, those fighting for secularism in Pakistan, and against gender segregation in Israel …

Rather than veiling in “solidarity” or standing with one set of fascists against another, we should be celebrating and honouring the “bad” women, “immodest” women, “immoral” women who have refused to submit. Not just on 8 March but every day.

One of the best ways to show this solidarity, is to reiterate the wise words of women dissenters:

#FuckYourMorals (Tunisian topless activist Amina Sboui)

#StruggleNotSubmission (Southall Black Sisters and Gita Sahgal)

And #FuckModesty.

17 responses to “Fuck modesty for International Women’s Day on March 8!”

  1. Broga says:

    Brilliant. If there is enough of this kind of vigorous, angry resistance the male modesty enforcers will crumble, the damn will break. A woman’s body is her own. The biggest constraint to using it as she chooses by a woman is religion.

  2. Kirsten says:

    I really like when women show of som balls?

  3. GeminiDream says:

    Yes! This is how I am bringing up my four sons and two daughters, whom I all had by my own choice. Their fathers were both sexist, abusive and terrible fathers, as was mine. The next generation can make the world a better place. I give up on the USA. Too many ultra right wing Christians and women who choose to be oppressed.

  4. John says:

    Superb

  5. […] "On 8 March, International Women’s Day, it would do us good to commemorate the many who refuse and resist against all odds: the mothers of Khavaran, Kurdish women fighters bringing gender equality to Rojava, the unveiling movement in Iran, the fight against male guardianship rules in Saudi Arabia, those battling Sharia courts in Algeria and Britain, the women challenging Modi and the Hindu-Right in India, those fighting for secularism in Pakistan, and against gender segregation in Israel … Rather than veiling in “solidarity” or standing with one set of fascists against another, we should be celebrating and honouring the “bad” women, “immodest” women, “immoral” women who have refused to submit. Not just on 8 March but every day." The Freethinker – The voice of atheism since 1881 » Fuck modesty for International Women&rsquo… […]

  6. Kirandeep Kaur says:

    Nice article, just one factual point, Modi isn’t suppressing any women in India. In fact many of his policies are pro-women (financial assistance for pregnant women, loan waivers etc). You can do your own research for the purpose of clarity.

  7. T says:

    Can’t argue with that.

  8. […] Source: The Freethinker – The voice of atheism since 1881 » Fuck modesty for International Women’s … […]

  9. Suzanne Moran says:

    Fabulous. Be free. Be you.

  10. julie hoyle says:

    Thank you!
    On behalf of all womankind I thank you for bravely saying what we should all feel. Thank you. X

  11. Jan Johansen says:

    I love seeing women fighting for rights. Now it`s time for the women in muslim countries increase their fights and battling the sharia laws.

  12. E. keskin says:

    This article is a perfect example of what happens when you give women the freedom to do what they want. Baseless ranting and profanity. Men as a species are generally better than women. Women should stick to what they’re good at like raising children and home making. We live in a time where gender roles have been reversed and this consequently has caused much harm to marriages and society as a whole.

  13. OhLookTits says:

    It’s lovely that they want to bare their chests and protest at the same time.
    But all they are saying is that they don’t like how things are structured.
    They do not seek actual reform of the underlying problems but rather a more shallow set of goals appears to be their aim over the years.
    Call me a hard-nosed feminist if you like, but the problem is crazy people not just one type of gender or what is done to one type of gender.
    They protest but never say the problem is actually crazy nasty sociopaths because that would mean having to face the fact that mental illness is actually a medical issue, one of health and safety concerns for the general population, and that is why no one talks about it or makes a serious effort to actually remove crazy people from their positions in society which they use to great effect in harming others, including women, children, and even animals and our common biosphere.

    Why not finally do something about crazy nasty people and stop refusing to hold anyone accountable for anything anymore.
    I would address my suggestions to the PM, but anyone can try to keep focused on the biggest problem humanity faces at every moment.

    Where is the accountability? When will we remove crazy people from being able to harm others?
    When?
    Soon would be good. Yes.

  14. R Dissa says:

    Buddhist right? Burmese women had the upper hand over men long before the West.

  15. L.Long says:

    According to the books o’BS we were cast out and saw our nakid bodies as shameful! WHY??? Gawd is perfect, it created us this way, we must be perfect!! Their BS falls apart all on its own!!! The only reason males loose control is because they force it to be hidden away so is exotic when exposed and they get excited!! So more exposure mean less exotic, less arousal. So you go ladies and put it in their faces!!!

  16. Edwin Salter says:

    Jumping on (from OLT) we usually see religion as deforming people, but it can be reversed to people finding the identity that matches their problems. (Reversal is a useful cognitive device, as in therapy – and ‘the wand chooses the wizard’ comes to mind.) So psychopaths enter big business, those with sexual hang-ups adopt religion etc. – and by feedback it all gets worse.
    Re exposure (LL), there have been some lovely mass nudities of ordinary folk (a bit brave) in art ‘happenings’ – true antidotes to titillation.

  17. Infidel753 says:

    Kirandeep Kaur: Religio-thugs affiliated with India’s ruling party have been harassing and terrorizing university students who speak out against traditional repression. News stories about this aren’t difficult to find. Here’s an example:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/14/gurmehar-kauer-delhi-university-student-death-threats-right-wing

    It’s not essentially different from the behavior of religionists in other countries against women who challenge stifling traditions and quasi-theocratic regimes.

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