What Islam can teach us
Another day at the bus stop and another array of scantily clad women, and questionable choices in make-up and hair-dos. I shake my head.
I walk further down the street and notice a cluster of Moslem women in Hijab (scarf) and I smile. I smile because not only are they dressed in a way that honors their faith, they are dressing in a way that honors them. Now I will probably get my share of naysayers in the crowd but I see this as refreshing and a pleasant departure of the flagrant slide into semi whoredom of some women. Let me preface this by saying how you dress is a choice and it says something about "you". There should be some freedom in selection of course. However the line must be drawn somewhere and who is drawing it?...
Black women are beautiful. Their bodies, skin, and attributes are by far some of the most beautiful if not the most beautiful in the world. However we haven't made concious decisions about what we are about. I remember living in Chicago and the Black Muslims would always come by selling Mohammed speaks, and fish. I would read the Newspapers and they always had very nice cartoons. They had one that depicted how a shameless woman dressed; short skirt, etc. and one that showed how a woman of class/modesty dressed. It always impressed me, but at that young age I was unsure of what it was saying to me personally. I never took it in or explored it in more depth.
Now that I am older and have experienced life, I realize that how we dress means a great deal. How we deport ourselves in public also reveals a great deal whether we want it to or not. I am invested personally in seeing black women do better and have better representations of themselves. Do we really need to dress with our midriffs showing? Do we really need two pounds of make-up to go to the drugstore? Do we need to wear pants so tight it reveals all of the parts of us that only our husbands should know about? And, how do we act in public? Do we act in a way that honors ourselves and families and children? Do we talk too loud? The answer here is yes. I have done a personal observational on this and it is sadly true. I can walk down the street, go into a store, any store and anywhere there is a group of black women they are talking louder than necessary to carry on a conversation with the person next to them. Not only that why do we laugh like hyenas? A pleasant smile is enough, a nod of the head.
Cell phones have become our nemesis. If we talk loud in groups, we talk even louder if we are on the cell phone. I say give it a break, speak softly. Someone once told me that people listen better when you speak softly. I agree. Nothing is more pleasant than a woman who can contain her tongue, and deport herself with elegance and poise. I started this discussion with a reference to Islam and the veil.
I think that for me it is a representation of what femininty should strive for. That our great power is not to be displayed like groceries, and that our personal internal recognition of our power and femininty should be enough. For myself I do not get involved in the klatches of hee hawing females in the workplace. They don't realize how they embarrass themselves and other blacks. Black men most likely realize that they seek something softer and contained. And perhaps when they seek out caucasian or even asian females they are really trying to find what they desire not so much racially but emotionally. There is a stereotype that these females are softer. They know the trick of a soothing soft voice, and how to be "pleasing". The movie; Memoirs of a Geisha is mostly about enhancing one's self to the optimum in the feminine.
In my travels I have found that the reputation of black women preceeds them. And it is not always positive, and it does not serve us all as females trying to have "good lives." There is always compromise and perhaps we need to back down a little in being "strong" and try harder to be "soft". The sword we carry needs to be sheathed. If we value ourselves and our bodies our sexuality will not be so readily compromised at the drop of a hat. As I told a gentleman recently, who declared he was "attracted" to me; "I will not go to my husband dirty."
He understood this and he backed down. The reality being, he was not prepared to "honor" me with marriage, but he wanted the sex. I refused to do this. I have to honor "me" and not allow myself to tricked, and conjoled into sexual trysts that are only satisfying for the moment and devalue and degrade me as a female. The interesting thing is, he said to me; "I respect you more for your refusal." There it is. Perhaps the veil in reality is a far stretch unless you are muslim, but we should veil ourselves conceptually because we do have value and worth. Tap into it everyday.