Saturday, February 20, 2010

Burqa Barbie: News Anchor

Thank you, Elisabeth, for this link from TIME Videos.


  1. I'll say this...It would be perfect for those times the reporters have to get up at 4 am and don't want to pull themselves together. LOL!

  2. What will they come up with next?

  3. I bought an Abaya this week at the "Friday market" here in Kuwait. I am determined to wear it this summer with little to nothing underneath. Why not, it is hot here! I went to the door with it on and my water/diet pepsi delivery guys near laughed out loud. I guess they realize I have not converted, just trying to cover up my upper arms so as not to scandilize my neighbors : )

  4. Saudi lady totally cover herself up and seek freedom at the same time .To my humble knowledge , the two actions contradict each other .Hi Susie..

  5. A Free Spirit-

    I don't get why they contradict one another.

    I believe that if the person chooses to cover (or not cover) they have sought freedom from others. Judging a women for covering or not covering is taking away from her freedom as well. Trying to enforce your own beliefs on them is in my eyes taking away from their freedom to live as they see fit.

  6. Susie, thank you for sharing this!
    What else can I say? Today nothing. I have nothing to say...You know how I feel...
    Happy Sunday from Cairo!


  7. Very interesting. Well I have to give it to Mattel for trying.

  8. I don't see what is wrong in this, they have different models of hijabs not only the burqa.

  9. To: Om Lujain
    With respect to you & Susie ,I want to explain why total cover up plays in the negative to a woman .First the woman identity is hidden .If she is hidden ,she can be treated like non existence ( non existence has no freedom attached to it).Peace to all.

  10. Hi Oby - Yes - good for a bad hair day...

    Hi Gaelyn - You're not going to believe this, but here in KSA there are religious scholars who want women to veil, and instead of leaving both eyes showing, to cover one eye and only have one eye showing!

    Hi Crystal - I have gone out before wearing just shorty PJs underneath, and no one had a clue.

  11. Hi Free Spirit - I agree. Are you available for lessons to teach your views on women to my husband? LOL!

    Hi OmLujain - As long as it truly is the woman's choice to cover, then I believe it is her right. I think people should be allowed to dress the way they feel comfortable, as long as it's within the boundaries of good taste and decency. But covering should not be forced upon them. To me, a woman in burqa or niqab is saying "Leave me alone!" and I will not look at her or start a conversation. If this is how she wants to live her life, that is her choice, but there's not much freedom involved - just freedom to cut herself off from everyone else, if that is her choice.

  12. Hi BlogItse - What a surprise that you don't have much to say!!! LOL

    Hi Angel & Marie - There are plenty of Muslim women in the world who don't dress like this, and that this was chosen to represent Muslim women was an interesting choice...

    Hi FreeSpirit - I totally agree with you! You are always welcome - Thanks for your input.

  13. If you could accept a barbie doll wearing a kimono, why can't you people accept a barbie doll wearing a burqu or a abaya?
    This is all part of the cultural diversity and the melting pot that the West has taught us, so why can't the West learn the lesson they have been teaching us for years?
    It's true that the burqu that barbi is wearing doesn't exist in Saudi Arabia in the same way, but it used to be the only thing women wore for ages, so why belittle this cultural heritage? Is it just because it's DIFFERENT from your own culture?
    Gays and lesbians and all sorts of freaks are accepted in America, so why is it difficult to accept hijab or niqab?
    You people don't understand a thing about hijab and most of u haven't been to Saudi Arabia and haven't known real Saudi women or men, so what gives you the right to judge a whole culture?
    I think mattel made a very clever marketing step toward addressing different customers...
    Come on guys...people are different...will ALWAYS be why can't you accept this simple fact of life? Do we all have to be a copy of each other? That sounds so boring!
    I think the burqu barbie is just a way of acknowledging the power and existence of Muslims...consider it one of the weird African outfits why hasn't anyone complained about that? Why hasn't anyone complained about the half naked barbie with her perfect body that enforces a certain concept of beauty on young girls? Isn't this objectifying women as well? Isn't this another sort of oppression and slavery?
    Freedom is in the mind, not in the looks..what's the use of a naked air-head going around and having no influence and cannot make a decent conversation?
    I thing the meaning of freedom should be re-identified ...probably we, Muslim women, should try to explain Hijab in a better way (from a woman's perspective)...
    I don't expect any American woman to be convinced of hijab, but i expect her to respect other women who have willingly chosen to wear hijab ...and please ladies, for God's sake, stop this superior white lady attitude ...If there should be any reform done in Saudi Arabia, we are well aware of it and we are on our way to make a change in our OWN way.

    Thanks Susie for inspiring me...I am going to write something to explain hijab so stay tuned ...
    peace ...

  14. I read Maha article .It is interesting and I understand her point of view and I am sure many Saudi women if not majority share her view to the point they are convinced that hiding behind veils is the right thing to do . Maha is not to worry ,she will find millions of Saudi men willing to back this up , however ,those same men are willing to go further in neglecting women needs in the contest women are hiding and can't have say .Saudi women have no real access to freedom to choose from .Dress code is already forced either by the law or by the traditions of the tribe .ladies who have chosen to go with the flow will insure that the law will remain as is ,and victorious men will rise and prevail.As simple as that, and by the way I am not white westerner , I am Saudi like Maha !Thank you Maha and Susie for putting up with me , Peace to all.

  15. Dear all,
    this is the first time I visit this blog and I found it very interesting to understand better a so different culture from mine. (I'm Italian). I just want to make a question to Maha. I don't think you can compare a kimono with a hjiab. Nobody forces Japan women to wear a kimono, but since my understanding, in your country we must wear the hjiab. Is it correct? I respect any culture and I don't think mine is better then yours, but I think that Saudi women (and all Muslim women, of course)should be able to choose what they really want for their future.

  16. why is it that the majority of women complaining about hijab are non muslim???
    Will you leave us alone??

    We are educated, free women who choose to wear hijab to please Allah.
    The style we choose is cultural or a simple preference.
    Just stop trying to "save us" we are not idiots!!!!!!!!


  17. I received a not very nice post signed "anonimous".I don't think muslim women are idiot. How you can attribuite it to me? you don't know me at all. You just write it just because I'm not Muslin. Sorry, but I think you are just racist. If, like you write, "all of you are educated, free women who choose to wear hijab to please Allah", why so many Saudi women discuss so much about their own dressing and own rights? May be YOU are so happy, but not all the Saudi women!

  18. Hi Maha - Maybe I'm missing some hidden meanings in the comments prior that you are addressing, but I really didn't get that anyone was putting down the hijab or niqab. I did think it was interesting when you said "Do we all have to be a copy of each other?" It struck me because I think that people in the West probably see Saudi women as trying to be carbon copies of each other because they all wear black abayas and hijab and niqab and basically all look the same. I think they may see this society as black and white, with no middle ground, and to some that sounds very boring as well.
    I just didn't understand which comments you were addressing as "superior white lady attitude" -maybe I'm just naive but I didn't feel that anyone portrayed that.
    I also found it interesting that UmLujain said "I believe that if the person chooses to cover (or not cover) they have sought freedom from others." I think many people in the West see the Saudi women's dress as almost a self-imposed exile from others, so that can be considered as "freeing" themselves from contact with other people.
    I have always felt that a piece of cloth on my head does not make me a better person and that a person's actions are what really counts in God's eyes.
    Thanks, Maha, for your interesting commentary and I look forward to your post explaining hijab!

  19. Hi FreeSpirit - Putting up with you is a pleasure!

    Hi Mrs.Fermat - It all boils down to the fact that it should be the woman's choice whether to wear hijab or not, and here in Saudi, it may not always be so.

    Hi Anon/Sofia - I don't think anybody is complaining here, and no one said Saudi women are idiots.

    Hi MrsF - I don't know that the remark was addressed to you - I'm not really sure who it was addressed to though...

  20. Re a number of comments above, I really get angry when ladies wearing the hijab defend the burqa - is there no difference at all between the two? Let them wear the burqa then? !!!

    There's a world of difference between a Muslim lady wearing the hijab and engaging fully in all aspects of life (driving, walking freely in the streets, studying, working) and a lady wearing the burqa who isn't allowed to drive or work.

    Why aren't these girls able to see and recognise the difference? When they take criticism of the burqa for a criticism of Islam they are doing themselves a disservice : by mixing it all they force US westerners to mix it all !

    So yes if Islam = hijab or burqa indistinctly, I am against Islam as a whole and I become stupidly radical in my views.

    If we can divide between moderate Islam which enables women to engage actively in society and radical Islam which pressures them into a status of inferior beings, then we can start talking.

    For god's sake girls, if you're wearing the hijab DON'T DEFEND THE BURQA!

  21. And Maha when you write "Why hasn't anyone complained about the half naked barbie with her perfect body that enforces a certain concept of beauty on young girls?" hellooooo, wake up!
    It's been done a million times!!!
    My daughters and their friends know what to think of that stupid barbie image!

  22. Clearly, Mattel has finally realized that they've lost a huge chunk of the Middle East and Muslim World market to "Fulla".

    I imagine it's been quite a blow because Fulla is EVERYWHERE Barbie used to be.

    Also, Natalie, I think you are mixing issues. Many women who wear Hijab, aspire to one day wearing Niqab. Wearing Niqab does not stop women from studying or working, any more than Hijab does. The point is whether the woman is choosing it for herself.

    Maha, many Hijabi's are western so it isn't right to set them as opposites. And I hope that EVERYONE will protest the enforcement of hijab on Women in Saudi. No one has a problem if they choose to wear it. But we all know many of them are forced to. And just as you are tired of some attitudes, we non-Hijabi sisters get tired of the attitudes displayed by some who wear it.

  23. Nathalie,
    the problem is that it's not your business, I wear niqab by choice,I lead a very active life and love the anonymity that niqab,burqa brings me.
    I am not judge for my looks etc.
    I don't need the attention the shape of body would bring to valorize myself

    Leave us alone, not every women is "forced" to cover,it's our choice.. we don't need the voice of western women who parade their naked bodies and flirt with any men then don't realize that they are the ones being used...

    Stop your saviors attitude or go save an endangered species.


  24. I was forgetting to mention, Nathalie before you get all upset by the term "hijab" used when refering to any covering, know what it does mean, hijab is not the term for head scarf.
    In Islam, it has a broader meaning. It is the principle of modesty and includes behaviour as well as dress for both males and females.
    So it describes any modest covering including the scarve, the niqab or the burqa


  25. Thank you very much Sofia for clarifying this very important piece of vocabulary for me.

    I thought hijab and scarf where the same thing. I most appreciate you taking the time to explain to me that I was wrong. Then a lot of what is said above makes more sense.

    As a girl who turned 13 when Women's Lib was born, I know all the things that we in the western world could not do when I was a child and became available to us in the 1970's.

    When I was a child my mother wouldn't have been able to open a bank account without her husband's consent. She had no right to manage her own money. That changed when I was a teenager.

    When I was a teenager I also got to see the first women who became pilots or engineers. I saw that often they could be better at their jobs than men.

    I saw women accessing contraception and being able to decide how many children they would have and when. I doesn't make them sluts, it only means that the children that are born to them are wanted and welcome.

    I am proud of what we have achieved for women in our countries. I see it at the way to the future. I can't imagine having to accept the rule of men over what I should wear, whom I should see, where I should go and when.
    It is absolutely intolerable to me.

    I want to be treated just like men, no more, no less. If men are allowed to do something, I want to be allowed to do it too. It's equal, it's fair. Men and women are the two halves of the universe, one half should not rule over the other half.

    I am distressed when I hear you repeating the words that men make you believe that we are "women who parade their naked bodies and flirt with any men" as you say.

    I have been married for 30 years and have never been unfaithful to my husband. I never wear make-up and dress modestly. I don't feel "judged on my looks" as you say, I feel accepted for who I am, body and soul united.

  26. And when you say "leave us alone, it's none of your business", the thing is I'm seeing more and more girls in MY COUNTRY (France) wearing the scarf. And I'd like to understand why.


    I guess my reason for coming here is to try and understand. Just like I appreciate your presence here in accepting to discuss these issues with us westerners.

    But the freedom that my generation and my mother's generation fought to get, I will not let go away. Not in my country. If I need to fight for it, I will.

    May peace be with you.
    We are sisters.

  27. You say you don't understand why. why would you, you don't believe in Allah and his word , the Quran.
    I cover wherever I go, because I do it for modesty and to follow Allah's word.
    It's not men who tell me what to do, it's because I believe that it is right.I am proud to be muslim.
    Islam gives women rights, rights given 1400 years ago when there were none anywhere else in the world.
    You have the right to walk around half naked,I have the right to cover,why would you speak in my behalf???
    I am free to do as I wish, don't think that the majority of muslim women are oppressed, we are not and it is offending to us to have people "trying to free us".


  28. I've been following this discussion and I have 2 questions:

    1. Why Saudi women take off all the covers when they come to Egypt?
    They look like any Western woman.

    2. Why Saudi men drink and use prostitute services when outside of SA? Both wrong - or right?

  29. Blogitse,
    All saudi women and men????

    stop generalizing, there's good and bad in any culture, there's people who practice their religion and some who don't.
    So why do you put everyone in the same boat.

    Do I say that all westerners fornicate?

  30. I didn't say ALL.
    Maybe I should have asked
    why SOME...but the questions are still the same.
    If no Saudi women or men do those things I would not ask these questions at all.
    When people do those things they have a need.
    Women need to feel free to be as they would like to be?
    Men need to feel free?
    If they are not free in their own society to do what they do in other countries what does it tell to us?

  31. For Sophia: I don't want to generalize, writing that all the saudi men use prostitutes when they go abroad, but I want to tell you a little episode. Until last year I worked for an American company and every two weeks I went to Istambul. (Wonderful city, btw). I was used to arrive on Wed and came back home on Friday. Every time, at the passport check I tried to avoid the long queues of blond, tall girls just arrived from Moscow. It was named "sex fligh". Can you guess why they arrive just on Wed? Because they want to be ready for Thur and Friday when thousands of men arriving from Gulf countries.... Sorry, but if you think that a few muslim men use this kind of service, it'is not true.

  32. Always for Sofia: I think that you have a strange idea about European women, probably you have watched too many american movies. I don't walk half naked, I don't betrajed my husband and absolutely I don't live my daily life thinking to the men wishes all day long. I don't judge your dressing, why do you judge me and how I live?

    You wrote that you appreciate the anonymity that your covers give you. I don't understand, but that's ok for me, but when women like you come in Western countries and they insist to wear abaya, gloves and soks and niqab, all black, even if it not allowed (like in Italy, where I live) and they are aware that people (men and women) stare them in the streets, children are feared, sometimes traffic is stopped, what kind of anonimity they are looking for?

    All the best,girls

  33. First of all, when women wear hijab/niqab by choice, it is because they believe that is what God wants them to do. You will find most women in the west are uncomfortable exposing their breasts while walking around shoping or visiting with people. So they usually wear a shirt or a dress so they are not topless. That feeling of discomfort and immodesty is the same for women who want to cover their hair. It's just a matter of where someone draws the line. The concept is completely present in the West.

    Women who don't wear hijab by choice are the ones who take it off when they leave. It's different than a woman who wants to wear it. Men from every country and in every country go to prostitutes, so I'd ask men what that's about.

    Mrs. Fermat,
    All those blonde women from the plane are prostitutes according to you. They are also European. So clearly this situation is not merely an Gulf one. As I wrote above, men in and from every country go to prostitutes.

    And if you don't care what people wear, then it shouldn't bother you where they wear it. Shouldn't women be free to choose what they wear? Whatever it is?

  34. For Sandy: about the first point I completely agree with you. It was just to show that this behaviour is very common, even among Gulf men.

    About second point: I don't bother if you decide to cover your face almost completely in your country, but if you do it in my country, where facial espressions are so important, you make me feel unconfortable. For my culture, your face is your personal identity. So it's ok if you cover your hair with a hjiab, but your face must be always recognizable. Additionally, according to the Italian law, nobody (man or woman, whoever) can hidden own face.

    And now, saudi and western girls, I have to say you bye bye because it's six o' clock here and I have to take my son to karate lessons. It is always very interesting "talk" with all of you.


  35. @Lorena,
    Actually I agree with you that a country should be able to say no one can cover their face. Because this is about more than religion, it's about being able to hide ones identity which is also a security issue. Also, very clearly covering the face is NOT an absolute religious requirement. Most Muslims acknowledge that.

  36. @mrs Fermat,
    Weather the hijab or niqab is forced or not, it is still another culture's issue...

    I understand many non-Muslim women's refusal to wear hijab when they visit Suadi Arabia, and I don't think they should be forced to wear it at all as long as they dress up decently. As for Muslim women, we are not forced...we do it because it is part of our you think that Muslim men who go the mosque 5 times a day are forced? This is our religion and we try to follow it as much as possible. Both men and women have obligations they have to fulfill, and if they don't they are considered sinners. Many women here in Jeddah wear the abaya without the head scarf because they are not convinced ...others choose to wear abaya and headscarf, and others choose to cover completely...
    Once you are a Muslim, you have to take the whole don't (select) the teachings of Islam..well I like praying and charity but I don't like wearing hijab and not drinking alcohol...It's a package take it or leave it....and all Muslim women who don't wear the hijab know very well that they are not doing the right thing...some actually wish they could have the will and strength to wear it some day...

    For more explanation on Hijab, please read my article (Understanding Hijab - Parts I & II)
    I actually wrote it to answer many of Susie's questions in this blog.

    I hope I have clarified things a bit :)

    nor ms that people from other cultures must respect it. No one out of our culture has the right to interfere in what is being done to us..we do have a lot of problems, but what society doesn't have problems at all? Name one, and you will deserve a Nobel Prize!

  37. Nathalie wrote:
    "And Maha when you write "Why hasn't anyone complained about the half naked barbie with her perfect body that enforces a certain concept of beauty on young girls?" hellooooo, wake up!
    It's been done a million times!!!
    My daughters and their friends know what to think of that stupid barbie image!"

    Yeah I know it's been done a million times, but there is no change my dear. You are still selling products like cars, razor blades, and sandwiches using women's bodies or actually specific parts of it. You are still idolizing women for the size of their breasts...
    And by the way..young Western girls are much worse than their mothers and grandmothers.. I've lived in the States in the 80's and visited it after 2000...the difference is huge in terms of morals and principles and appearance...
    Your campaigns and studies need to be more interactive and effective in order to have a tangible impact.

    Thanks & peace to all :)

  38. Maha,
    While it is true that when you are a Muslim you accept the whole package- not everyone understands that in the same way. I do not wear hijab. I wish never to wear it. Not because, I "don't like it". I have studied the issue extensively and am convinced it is not a religious requirement. I actually feel I am doing the right thing by not wearing it.

    We are not all the same in the way we understand things. And by the way, there are many others who feel as I do. So it is best not to speak for the women who don't wear hijab. We can speak for ourselves.


  39. Sandy you say ": So it is best not to speak for the women who don't wear hijab. We can speak for ourselves."
    it's the same with us Saudi women, women who cover etc...we can speak for ourselves no need for people like the author of this blog and her supporters to come to our country and then judge our culture and /or religion

  40. To Anon@1:28AM - If you are talking about wearing hijab, I have made no secret about the fact that I dislike wearing it, but I have no problem at all with women who CHOOSE to wear it - so how is that considered "judging" this culture? Just because I speak up about things that bother ME doesn't mean that I am speaking for anyone else. Where do you get this from - that I say I am speaking for Saudi women? I think you are reading WAY more into what I write than what is intended. I speak for myself and no one else - and I have never said otherwise. Just because I ask questions about things I don't understand here does not mean I am judging. You are making assumptions that are not true.

  41. It is two completely different things. The owner of this blog, was giving HER opinion about things. ALL people are entitled to their opinions.

    What you did was to speak for others. You gave the opinion of "all women who don't wear hijab." Well, even I as a non-hijabi wouldn't do that. I would speak for myself or say, "some" women.

    Also, you did not in any way address what I said to you, you changed the subject to complain about Susie.

  42. sandy I quoted you, you didn't say some you said :"So it is best not to speak for the women who don't wear hijab. We can speak for ourselves."
    I just rephrase the same for Saudi women, we don't need this kind of spoke person!!

  43. No. You did not rephrase the same. I was speaking as a member of a group TO WHICH I BELONG. You were speaking for women in a group to which you DON'T belong.

    Don't speak for others.

    And Susie- or anyone else has a right to there opinions- about whatever they want. Opinions, is different than speaking of others reasons or motivations- though if you want to offer an opinion on that fine.

    ie. "In my opinion all women who don't wear hijab believe they are wrong"

    There. You are welcome to your opinion- but I'll tell you right now as a non-hijibi you are wrong.