Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Mother & daughters

Rue des sources, Avignon
I'm sure you know what caught my eye here. My heart shrinks every time I see a woman trapped in a thick cloack in the summer heat. I hope these two energetic little girls don't grow up to be dressed like their mother. In France women are free to dress any way they like including this way, but I still have a problem with it. With all due respect to faiths and religions, my feeling is that such 'modest' attire is not a sign of obedience to God but a sign of subservience to men. And I will believe otherwise the day I see women discuss authoritatively the way respectable husbands should dress. France is a country where men and women are free and equal in rights. In the name of the struggle it was to reach this point, I am shocked by anything I perceive as sending women back under men's control.

Je suis sûre que vous aurez compris pourquoi j'ai pris cette photo. Mon coeur se serre à chaque fois que je vois une femme enfermée sous un tel amas d'habits dans la grosse chaleur de l'été. J'espère que ces deux petites filles libres et légères n'auront pas à s'habiller comme leur mère quand elles seront grandes. En France les femmes ont le droit de s'habiller comme elles le veulent, y compris comme ça, mais moi ça me pose un problème. Avec tout le respect que je dois aux croyances et aux religions, je ressens une tenue 'modeste' de ce genre non comme le signe d'une obéissance à Dieu mais comme celui d'un asservissement aux hommes. Et je croirai le contraire le jour où j'entendrai des femmes discuter avec autorité de la tenue qu'un mari respectable doit porter. Dans la société française, hommes et femmes sont libres et égaux en droit. Au nom des luttes qu'il a fallu pour en arriver là, je vis mal tout ce que je perçois comme renvoyant les femmes sous la houlette des hommes.

43 comments:

Avignon said...

Oui, mais elles disent que ce sont elles qui le veulent...

Cacahuète la femme à Rachid said...

Qu'est-ce qui nous dit qu'il s'agit bien de leur mère ?

Tilia said...

Ce genre de tenue est compréhensible pour les religieuses qui ont choisi librement de prendre le voile, mais tellement incongru pour des mères de famille !

Même les "bonnes sœurs" ne sont pas aussi emmitouflées.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Well said Nathalie!!

Bob Crowe said...

This is a tough question. I agree with you completely but I have seen enough of the world to know that people's attitudes, convictions, beliefs - call it what you will - vary wildly and all of think we are right. We see a woman here wearing a hajab once in a while but never the full figure-concealing cloak or trench coat. I have a strong memory of seeing a van-load of (I presume) Saudi tourist women in Istanbul wearing the full burqa. It can't have any purpose but suppression.

Olivier said...

c'est pas la burqa, peut être parce que je vis en Banlieue, mais cette scène ne me choque pas, la burqa intégrale oui cela me choque, mais heureusement il y en a de moins en moins. Et puis souvent (et bizarrement) c'est le choix des femmes, j'ai un voisin marocain, sa femme est parti en vacances au pays, elle est revenu voilé, lui il était pas d'accord du tout, au point qu'ils se sont séparés, mais sa femme n'a jamais voulu revenir en arrière.....

Bruce Bayliss said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mirae said...

Bonjour chère Nathalie, oui je suis d'accord avec toi -si c'est la suppression c'est terrible, mais quand c'est le choix de la femme bien c'est son droit.L'avantage c'est que elle ne va pas recevoir la radioactivité.haha.

Je lu les articles qui disent que les femme aiment la libeté, de n'être pas juger par ce que elle porte.

mais encore je suis d'accord avec toi si elle est forcée c'est terrible.mais comme Olivier dit il y en a qui ne sont pas forcées.combien de femme aiment cela je n'ai aucune idée, mais il y en a.

Et quand Sarkozy a dit de régler contre la burqa - bien ca c'est tragique. Ici il pourrait être tuer pour agir comme cela.
mais je suis d'une ville qui a le plus grand nombre de meurtre du pays hahahaha.

bises Nathalie, j'adore ton esprit de protestation.

mirae said...

Non je ne viens pas de Iran je viens de Edmonton Canada out tout le monde prétend de parler francais. haha.

lewi14 said...

Catch me if you can! Wonderful lively shot!

Dina said...

Wearing long black and not drinking during the hot days of Ramadan has to be hard.

Nathalie said...

Yes of course many women claim it's their choice - but I'd love to do an in-depth study on the reasons behind this choice. I don't think there are more Muslim women in France than there were before. Why are they wearing the veil now when they weren't wearing it 10 or 15 years ago?

I'd love to stand at a street corner and ask a few questions to these women:
- when did you start wearing the veil?
- what or who prompted you to do it?
- who else in your female environment (mother, sisters, cousins, neighbors, friends) is wearing it?
- when did they start?
- were they instrumental in your choice?
- what does your female environment say about you wearing the veil?
- what does your male environment say about it? (father, brothers, cousins, neighbors)
- were they instrumental in your choice?
- have you had any negative comments about you wearing the veil?
- what impact does it have on you? (is it irritating, does it strengthen your determination?)

Obviously these questions would need to be refined to be as neutral and precise as possible. My purpose is not to ask biased questions but to truly try and understand their views and motives.

mirae said...

ah je voulais dire qu'elle ne va pas être exposée à la radiation -un point pour le burqa.

Nathalie said...

Bruce Bayliss I deleted your comment not because of the views you expressed but because the link behind your name leads to a commercial site. I see it as disguised advertising and therefore as spam.

Nathalie said...

Bien sûr la question centrale est que beaucoup de femmes disent que c'est leur choix. Mais à ma connaissance il n'y a pas beaucoup plus de femmes musulmanes (ou d'origine musulmane) en France aujourd'hui qu'il y a dix ou quinze ans. Alors pourquoi le voile aujourd'hui ?

Ca fait longtemps que l'idée de faire une enquête me turlupine. J'aimerais m'installer à un coin de rue et poser à toutes ces femmes les mêmes questions:
- depuis quand portez-vous le voile?
- qu'est-ce qui a influencé ou déterminé votre choix : un ou plusieurs événements ? une ou plusieurs personnes ?
- les femmes de votre entourage (mère, soeurs, cousines, voisines, amies) portent-elles le voile ?
- depuis quand ?
- ont-elles influencé votre choix ?
- les hommes de votre entourage (père, frères, maris, cousins, voisins, amis) approuvent-ils votre choix ?
- l'ont-ils encouragé ?
- vous approuvent-ils ?
- quelles réactions le port du voile suscite-t-il ? (dans la rue, à l'école, au travail, dans le quartier, dans les transports publics)
- avez-vous déja eu des réactions négatives ?
- comment les avez-vous reçues (est-ce irritant? peu important? est-ce que ça renforce votre détermination ? pourquoi ?)

Evidemment mes questions sont à retravailler, j'aimerais qu'elles soient formulées pour que l'enquête soit aussi précise et juste que possible. Le but n'est pas de poser des questions biaisées qui expriment mon opinion de façon déguisée mais de me permettre de vraiment comprendre ce qui se passe. Je n'ai jamais lu d'enquête de ce type (autre que journalistique destinée à faire vendre du papier !)et le sujet m'intéresse.

Leon and Sue Sims said...

It reminds me of the song by John Mayer "Daughters growup to become lovers - or is it Mothers" either way its a nice song and the way of life.

fardoise said...

Je suis entièrement d'accord avec toi et mon cœur se serre aussi à chaque fois. Je ne parviens pas à croire non plus qu'elles soient pleinement libres de leur choix, quoi qu'elles en disent.

jeandler said...

Nos bonne-soeurs étaient ainsi voilées, il y a quoi ? 50 ans peut-être. Mais elles n'étaient pas mères seulement filles de Dieu !

Ces jeunes vont d'un bon pas et, espérons-le, dans la bonne direction.

nathalie, avignon said...

Oui jeandler, nos religieuses prenaient l'uniforme pour signifier un engagement religieux fort mais les prêtres et les moines aussi prenaient l'uniforme, et aujourd'hui la grande cornette n'existe plus. L'engagement religieux demeure mais ses signes extérieurs ont évolué.

Ce qui me choque ici c'est que les obligations vestimentaires ne concernent que les femmes. Quelles obligations pour les hommes ?

Thérèse said...

Ce sont des questions très légitimes. Nous commençons à voir ces femmes portant "l'uniforme" de plus en plus ici aussi. Personellement j'ai une réponse bien simplette: c'est une solution de facilité pour ne pas avoir à se poser de questions comme la religion qui l'accompagne. Bien sur une réponse à développer pendant des heures...

Michael Rowland said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful blog,,,Michael from Canada

susan jenkins said...

Wonderfully expressed. Shedding light and asking questions of a troubeling subject.

Susan

Anneliese said...

I am fully with you on this one. I see girls every day who within a day turn up veiled, but I have never picked up the courage to ask them whether they did it because they wanted to or because they were told to.

jeandler said...

Ce ne sont pas des hommes. Ce sont des maîtres. Ils n'ont pas besoin d'uniforme. La barbe en tient lieu. Maîtres après Dieu.

Owen said...

Entirely in agreement with you... it is a form of uniform which speaks of strict conformance to rules and regulations defined by men, a form of thinking that dates back to well before the dark and middle ages... The notion that women must hide their bodies in public (because they could provoke impure thoughts?) is horrifying to me.

Sandy K. said...

I absolutely understand what you are saying, but also find that some women are content with their role, and with their history. It's a tough one...and all we can do is model and offer options, don't you think? I personally love the storytelling aspect of this photograph...what a great study.

mirae said...

Hi again.

In my mind american men and their european counterparts are in uniform that speak of strict performance of rules and regulations. Yes the suit and the jackets are like uniforms and the tie is the noose.hahahahahahahahahahahyes suit and jacket.Do they have a choice of what to wear when they are going to work?hahahahahaha ok you can spend a lot of bugs and buy expensive textiles for the suits but then you can buy expensive burqas.

I think people usually naturally like to wear what their native country wears because they have been brought up that way.

It has been criticized that our teenage fashion models are engaged in pornography.

Our pointed shoes are not good for the feet and now men are wearing them hahahahahahah.

and I also wonder about our dress in the face of radioactivity trapped by the green house gases. Yes we wear sun protection ointment and a lot of people stay out of the sun but there are so many kids that go out there stripped in the summer and that poses a serious danger of skin cancer.

a mother was telling me just the other day that she is so releived that her child is attending a school where uniforms exist. She cringed when she heard her 6 year old son say I want GAP wear.

I haven't changed my stance on the burqa. I still believe that if the women are happy -go for it and if they are forced it is sad.
it is probably sad that americans are forced to wear clothing to conform.

Ah I love Nathalie's debates.
cheerio all!

claude said...

Malheureusement je n'ai pas le temps de lire tous les commentaires, mais je veux dire que je suis complètement d'accord avec toi. On a trop laissé faire ce genre de choses dans ce pays et maintenant il est dur, malgré la loi votée contre la burqa, de les faire évoluer.
C'est un véritable enfermement imposé, soit par la religion, soit par le mari.
Je crains que les petites filles n'aient pas le choix quand elle vont grandir.
Cela vient dans ma ville de campagne aussi. peut-être que bientôt on fera la prière du vendredi dans ses rues.

Peter said...

... and here is one more person who completely agrees with you!

Karen Xavier said...

Oh My God, I think exactly like you when I see little girls with their burqa clad mothers. I think of their innocence and wonder about their future... and I shouldn't be saying this, but I'm also thankful that I am not them. Here they look lovely, the two girls with their matching handbags... hope they enjoy their life like this even when they grow older.

Karen Xavier said...

By the way, thanks for stopping by my blog... I live in India. Nice to meet you.

Chri said...

Je crains malheureusement qu'on puisse être soumise ET porter une mini jupe...

Virginia said...

Absolutley! I'm amazed that in France or any other country away from their own, they must still dress this way.
V

Rocket said...

Yes Nathalie. Covering one's head and wearing long garments to hide the body is certainly submission to the man.

What are your feelings about nuns. The same as Arab women?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1527563/Nuns-prove-God-is-not-figment-of-the-mind.html

Nathalie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathalie said...

Nuns AND MONKS have dedicated their lives to religion and their uniform is there to signal it to other humans. The uniform applies to males and females alike.

Because they often live in a confined environment their dress code changed much more slowly than that of the rest of the population however we've seen many changes in their uniforms in recent times - head covers have become simpler, dresses somewhat shorter etc. Slowly as it is, their dress code moves with the times.

What upsets me is that in the past 10 years we've seen Muslim women in France go from wearing regular Western clothes to full cloacks and/or veils. The change goes in the other direction.

And who said women should dress modestly so as not to attract men's desires? Men! "Protect yourself against my desires because I'm not strong enough to control myself". That's what it says.

Plus we all know that the dress code is only the visible side of a whole system where males dominate the social scene and women are held responsible for all collateral damage (rape is their fault, extra-marital affairs are their fault, etc...)

Linda said...

It's a very powerful shot. I have much the same reaction as you. There are many other ways of dressing modestly.
I am genuinely puzzled by why men must be protected from the inflamatory sight of anything suggesting that a woman has a human body. Why are women not provoked to dangerous levels of arousal by the sight of a man in shorts (thinking here of most British men in shorts, complete with sandals and brown ankle socks - ewwww!), or the outline of a man's body in a suit? Why is it disrespectful of a deity for it to be acknowledged that a woman has a body, but not a man?

Rocket said...

"What upsets me is that in the past 10 years we've seen Muslim women in France go from wearing regular Western clothes to full cloacks and/or veils."

You should have been here in 1977 when I arrived. There were very few veiled women as I remember not only in France but in Europe. The veiled women were the rich wives of Arab businessmen and you would see them in Geneva and London around the big hotels.

Yes, life is changing in Europe.

nathalie said...

Rocket - yes I was there in 1977 and veiled women were unheard of back then. The women's lib flag was flying high and I couldn't imagine a woman wanting to cover herself voluntarily (I'm still having difficulty with that).

Sally said...

In fact I remember quite a famous feminist poster around the mid 1970 s which featured a woman in a burqa as a symbol of confinement.
I support women 's right to wear what they want but also feel that as tensions around inequity have grown, the rise of a more political religious militance has seen some younger women adopt the hijab or niqab as a visible political statement.

I like also your comment about this modest dressing argument. To he'll with that! If I want to wear a pair of shorts and cropped top, I will ( I won't !!!! Not the top bit anyway) and be damned if anyone should say I shouldn't cos "poor unable to control themselves" men might get aroused!!! Supportive men should take this argument on and tell oth men to stop blaming women for their own problems.

I have known quite a lot of girls who wear a hijab - taught them. Some claim they do it entirely of their own fre will, others claim it is just too hard to "buck the system" in their communities. Others are adamant they won't wear them & it's individual choice.

Many discussion points!

Black Beauty said...

Je suis exactement du meme avis...

JM said...

I guess this is, more and more, a common sight everywhere... Of course I couldn't agree more with you. I truly respect every culture beliefs, but certain things are beyond my understanding.

Lautreje said...

tout à fait d'accord !

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