This morning I opened my social feed to find an article that did something all too similar--championing one woman's choice over the other to send a message. These types of comparisons in the media and social media images that float around have grown for me to be very tiresome and dangerous because it's a destructive mentality for all women and men. Comparing ourselves is something we all do naturally but when we are fed crap like 'look at her, this is why you're better', or 'this is how freedom looks like', this is where it becomes unhealthy. There are two parts to this issue--the comparison and the imposing of beliefs.
What troubled me also about this article was the title and the image used. A covered headscarf young girl, pronouncing innocence and an older white women--asking which one offers more freedom. In some America subcultures, white women are stereotyped as easy women in terms of sexuality and the headscarf wearing girl/women as naive. These stereotypes screamed at me and in turn I'm screaming back with this opinionated script. Among other examples, there are the slut-shaming ones, the covered women right next to the tight-fitting, makeup over-the-top image making a pointing comparison as to who is good and who is bad. How can we not mention the comparison of the headscarf wearing women next to the non-headscarf women. These are all bad concepts which we pray on desperately for our satisfaction and reassurance of our choices which also are quite deceiving and shows the lack of confidence in our own choices. Does this type of conditioned behavior both within faiths and out stem from the patriarchy issue we're having worldwide? It's happening in both worlds as I see.
In my personal opinion in the spiritual aspect, when we trash the way a woman dresses to make a spiritual point, it becomes very controversial because in a spiritual journey our actions and mentality are supposed to progress for the betterment and be more understanding of people's choices. Taking a common example, every spiritual dress journey, per some faiths perspective starts with us not dressing modest, but our natural human characteristic of forgetfulness kicks in too often that we forget where we came from. Without getting too deep into religion, the other night my teacher, a studied woman Scholar in the sciences of Islam, Anse Amina Sayeed said that we're not meant to be all the same. Although her topic was on friendships, the concept can be applied to other areas of life. Anyone who understands the development of spirituality knows very well all acts have a beginning process and know better than to put a person's choices on the spotlight to create a mockery judgemental comparison. Also, there are humane ways to remind someone on the same path with you about certain things, but yet again, spirituality is so individualized and personal that unless you know that person personally, it would be wise on how to go about it. But, mocking someone's choices--how does that make one more spiritual? There's more spirituality in seeing the potential in someone's choices.
Freedom for me may mean something different from someone else's idea of freedom. It's so subjective but all their meanings have a common ground to make that one choice that is right for ourselves without prosecution. Setting-up women to prosecute each other and using their choices as bait just takes away the freedom of choice and dignity of all women--doesn't help ourselves or anyone. The most progressive and healthy comparisons I have learned are the ones we do within ourselves. At the end of the day, we all have choices we will make, what's right for us might not be right for someone else and whether they are in accordance with our own personal choices, it is out of humanity to respect them and it doesn't mean we have to accept them for ourselves, but we do have the freedom and choice to walk away from what doesn't align with ourselves. We have to stop using women and their choices as pawns of mockery for reassurance and covering the lack of confidence in our choices. It's demeaning unhealthy and unfair to the self! It doesn't help us personally and as a whole.