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Intense Hatred/Fear of Hijab?

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posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 11:21 AM
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Hello all!

I've been noticing something for a while now, and first I thought it was just a couple of individuals, but then slowly I started noticing more and more of the same behaviour. It seems pretty widespread to me, so when I read a certain article today, I thought I might bring it to you all's attention.

People seem to have an intensely negative reaction towards the hijab, to a level that somewhat scares me. It seems people see someone in a hijab, and automatically think of "Oppression" "Evil" "Misogyny", etc. Now I agree that in some cases, the husband/father has forced the person to be wearing the hijab, and in such cases this pressure must be fought against, but in many cases, the woman herself chooses to wear it, and feels all the better for it! Who are we to think less of them?

A couple months back, this thread popped up, and while it slowly became pretty obvious it was all a hilarious lie, the reactions of some of the posters freaked me out. Admittedly, that was the burka, and not the hijab, but you get my point.

Several times I've had discussions on the burqa/hijab on these forums, and the responses are always the same. The very mention of the items of clothing bring up automatic responses of "oppression" and "evil" and "misogyny" and so on. In most cases, the posters themselves tell me explicitly that it is totally out of their comprehension why a woman would want to wear a hijab. THEY CANNOT COMPREHEND that a woman would not want the first thoughts of someone meeting them to be "Nice ass" or (less crassly) "what pretty eyes" or "what a nice face".

Let me tell you a secret. Something that shouldn't be a secret at all. ALL the women (and I say women here, as in adults- It is true that there are some parents who force their teenage daughters to wear hijab, and such actions are useless, if you ask me, and will most definitely have the exact opposite effect once the girl is out of the authority of the parents) I know who wear a hijab, wear it as their own personal choice, and consider it a symbol of their independence, of their modesty, to have the chance of being thought of a PERSON first, instead of a sexualised piece of meat. It is only through some bizarre and insidious indoctrination that it has come to be associated with oppression and tyranny against women. One of my friends laughingly tells me that her parents beg her not to wear it, because then "You'll never get married, and we'll never have grandchildren"



So anyhow, here is the article:

Bikini or headscarf
On the way to the store, I stole glances at her in my rearview mirror. She stared out the window in silence, appearing as aloof and unconcerned as a Muslim dignitary visiting our small Southern town -- I, merely her chauffeur. I bit my lip. I wanted to ask her to remove her head covering before she got out of the car, but I couldn't think of a single logical reason why, except that the sight of it made my blood pressure rise. I'd always encouraged her to express her individuality and to resist peer pressure, but now I felt as self-conscious and claustrophobic as if I were wearing that headscarf myself.
...


Now I know it is from Oprah, but try ignore that, and see what the actual content is
. The article speaks of a 10 year old girl, and while I know that that is not the age that anyone is going to be making life-changing decisions, what I want to draw your attention to is her non-muslim mother's reaction, and the reaction of people around her.

So where did feminism take a wrong turn? When did it go from "Freedom to express ourselves equally on balanced terms with men" to "Freedom to wear fancy clothes and obsess over our bodies"? Now, obviously, I'm talking about people with the freedom to choose such things, not someone who has it forced on them. But why does there seem to be a programmed response instilled in us since birth to have such an aversion to such small a piece of cloth? Are people threatened?

Could the next wave of feminism come from someone who dons this?

[edit on 16-8-2010 by babloyi]




posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 11:54 AM
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First of all, I think it's a bit like comparing apples and oranges to compare the hijab and the burka. Speaking only for myself, I have no issue with the hijab. To me it is no different than a Jewish yarmulke for men, a habit for nuns, or a bridal veil during a traditional Christian ceremony. Actually, foregoing head coverings is a relatively modern evolution in even Christian western societies. Just centuries ago women wore head coverings. No big deal to me.

On the other hand, the burka is absurd and repulsive to me, I will admit. And that is not an ignorant conclusion I came to stemming from culture shock. I can actually even understand the 'romanticized' explanation of the burka.

For instance, I see it as a comparison to virginity in a way. The concept of saving oneself for marriage is very 'sexy' to me. The thought of giving your personal body to one man for life is very appealing to me in that it carries with it an air of commitment and exclusivity. But on the other hand, once too much emphasis is placed on virginity, it can have a negative side effect such as labeling a woman a 'whore' if she has had sex or she can be disgraced for life and deemed 'unmarriageable' if she is the victim of rape.

To tie that into the burka, I think the concept is very sexy in theory in that the woman is only to be viewed by her husband. I think of it like a Christian bridal veil and how the groom lifts the veil at the wedding ceremony. Additionally, veils are nothing new. Even the Bible makes references to the 'veiled virgins.' The veiling of women is an ancient custom. But, like virginity, the burqa also has negative side effects to where it becomes more of a burden for the woman than something pleasurable. Like virginity, TOO much emphasis is placed on modesty to the point the burden becomes too great.

So again, no harm no foul. But it is the abuse of it which concerns me.

For instance, I see a frequent theme of your thread is for modesty and for the men to not see the woman as a piece of meat or sex object. Which don't get me wrong- I agree it should not be that way.

However, that seems like the responsibility would be on the men and not the woman. If a man looks at me and thinks 'Nice Ass' then it is his responsibility to curb those impure thoughts and to hopefully be a gentleman without expressing those thoughts. It's not my responsibility to cover up my impure body in a sheet so I don't invoke his lust.

See what I mean? So please don't think me some culturally unaware bigot. I understand the original intention. However, I sill see it as heavily oppressive. As if it is the woman's responsibility to cover herself from the lusts of man.

All things in moderation. I am against 100% extremes when it comes to a woman's modesty and immodesty. The modest extreme is the wearing of a burka. The immodest extreme is something to the effect of Lady Gaga. Both are repulsive to me.

Just my take on it. I don't 'hate/fear' the burka and you'll never see me throwing eggs at a woman wearing one or trying to rip it off of her. You won't even see me giving her nasty looks. But I can assure you I will be shaking my head on the inside.



posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 12:23 PM
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Personally, I myself feel that in many modern settings, a burqa would be...troublesome to say the least. For someone like a school teacher for young kids (who would have to see how the mouth works with pronunciation, etc), or a doctor at a hosptial (where old people who might be hard of hearing go), it is my personal opinion that it is better not to be wearing a burqa.

However, that is my personal opinion, and besides the point. Everyone has freedom of expression and all, and that extends to clothing.

Of course there is a responsibility on the man also. It says as much according to Islamic scripture. But that was not the point I was getting at. What the girl in the article is doing isn't "following islamic scripture". She's finding an identity for herself. Heck, according to Islam, in the company of people you know, there is no need for hijab or burqa. At it's most stringent application, the scripture enjoins the wives and daughters of the Prophet Muhammad (and people wanting to emulate them, I guess) to "cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad)".

What I was speaking about was, how in the article, the mother speaks about comparing her "expression of her freedom and individuality" with that of her child's. How she wore her bikini in her childhood and her daughter wears her hijab (I tried quoting the relevant bits in the OP, but was running into some problems).

As the woman in the article says:

I'd spent countless hours studying my reflection in the mirror -- admiring it, hating it, wondering what others thought of it -- and it sometimes seemed to me that if I had applied the same relentless scrutiny to another subject I could have become enlightened, written a novel, or at least figured out how to grow an organic vegetable garden.

Looks needn't be a top priority. They needn't be anywhere near the top! There is so much more to being a woman, or a human being, than just the way one looks. Why should it be so much of an issue if a woman decides to display her freedom by covering up instead of stripping down?

And I'm not saying to be dressed all shaggy and bedraggled (because once again, such an appearance will be indicative of a sloppy lifestyle), but a person wearing a nice neat hijab (or even a burqa), with some choice patterns or whatever, what does it matter?



I don't 'hate/fear' the burka and you'll never see me throwing eggs at a woman wearing one or trying to rip it off of her. You won't even see me giving her nasty looks. But I can assure you I will be shaking my head on the inside.

But what would you call that, then? Pity? Isn't that even worse? Unless the woman is being FORCED to wear such things, why should it be an issue?



posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 12:26 PM
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As long as they are not forcefully made to wear either the hijab or burqa then muslim woman can wear what they want, i don't see either as a sign of oppression in the slightest, it is usually the extremist feminist that are completely irrational when it comes to this topic. There is a problem of communities and families forcing woman, that should be addressed..not the clothing itself.

[edit on 16-8-2010 by Solomons]



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 01:52 PM
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I think similarly that anyone can where whatever they, as long as they have not been coerced or otherwise forced to do so... as for a fear of hatred, i dont think the common man on the street has any great fear, other than the intimidation of not knowing what is behind a mask, a "fear" that has played a part throughout human society for many millenia. The old chestnut "if they have nothing to hide"...



posted on Feb, 27 2012 @ 01:09 AM
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What if my Daughter is Afraid?
She assured me that her daycare didn't teach religion. Cool.

But then she told me that when she's in public, she covers her face.

She said the last time she didn't warn a family over the phone that she wears the niqab, they walked into the meeting and then walked straight out.
....
My daughter isn't afraid of any of the women who take care of her, whether they have their faces covered or not. On the contrary, she reaches out to them for a hug every morning. To my daughter, the women who work at the daycare are simply the women who hold her when she's sad, wipe blueberries off her face, clean her snotty nose and change her cloth diapers.

My daughter isn't growing up with the same ideas about Muslim women that I did.

I'm glad she's learning something in daycare.

So am I.


Just felt like posting this here. There is hope for our future after all!



posted on Feb, 27 2012 @ 03:31 PM
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Nobody is saying that modesty is a terrible thing; to the contrary. However, there are a few problems that I see regarding hijab that I'd like to share.

1. When it is imposed on women instead of being a personal choice. This happens all the time.

2. When the women who are wearing hijab get prideful about it, legalistic, and condemn all other women in their hearts, minds, words to each other, etc. who don't wear hijab. We all really know that not wearing hijab does not always equal being immodest. What some women wear under their abayas would make a western woman blush (and these women are considered righteous muslimahs). Also, when Muslims in the West make statements to non-Muslims that they should wear hijab and 'cover up' in a nasty way (actually happened to me, and I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt that was hardly revealing) then they can stick it where the sun don't shine. I'm not conforming to someone else's culture in my own country. I don't make comments regarding how Muslims dress to them, and they can get off their moral high horse and leave me alone.

3. Wearing hijab or not has zero effect on how women are perceived and treated in primarily Muslim countries. It is pretty apparent that the more oppressive cultures are to their women, the more harassed the women are going to be despite the way they dress to be invisible and not attract attention. If the status of women is low IT DOES NOT MATTER. When you have a segment of the population that is supposed to remain invisible, anonymous, who is considered worth half a man legally, and take whatever is dished out to them, then it stands to reason that they will be just as objectified as if they were on the cover of Maxim magazine- chattel.

4. Niqab creeps people out because they can't see a person's face. It is next to impossible to interact with someone when you can't see their face. You can't connect with a person on any comfortable level when confronted with that.

news.bbc.co.uk... Note on the article I linked here: It is very interesting that wearing Hijab or not has no effect on sexual harassment of women in Egypt (on a large scale). Apparently, wearing Hijab has no bearing on how men view women and their bodies in this primarily Muslim society. This is very sad.

In Iran, police stop women and berate them for not dressing 'modestly' enough. They look modest to me.

edit on 27-2-2012 by LeSigh because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 27 2012 @ 04:06 PM
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reply to post by LeSigh
 



LeSigh, that was an excellent thoughtful reply and pretty much summed up everything I wanted to say as well.
I have no problem with seeing women in the hijab, in fact i think they are quite pretty. I DO have a problem with it being used as a form of control and harassment against women around the world. That may happen much less often in the US but in predominately Muslim countries that is not the case and those women who are feeling oppressed by it are also not free to complain about it.



posted on Feb, 27 2012 @ 11:46 PM
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reply to post by LeSigh
 


Originally posted by LeSigh
Wearing hijab or not has zero effect on how women are perceived and treated in primarily Muslim countries.

Errr....no it doesn't. And whatever the case may be, you are talking like the major reasoning that someone would wear a hijab is to stop being harassed or something, which is really not true.


Originally posted by LeSigh
Niqab creeps people out because they can't see a person's face. It is next to impossible to interact with someone when you can't see their face. You can't connect with a person on any comfortable level when confronted with that.

I am sorry you feel that way. I guess it is the norm now, but who knows, maybe even by the next generation (like in the article I linked above), such prejudices will disappear. We can only hope.

Sexual harassment occurs in hundreds of major cities. It happens in Tokyo, it happens in New York, it happens in New Delhi. And certainly, it is unfair and oppressive when people are forced to wear the hijab or niqab or such coverings. But most of the muslim women I know (and ALL the young adult muslim women I know- i.e. 20s-30s), wear it of their own accord, of their independence, as a symbol of their culture, and why shouldn't they? I see that you live in the US. There is no Iranian morality police there to be judging and reprimanding people on what they should and shouldn't wear. Unless you have proof otherwise, it is more likely than not that if you see someone in a hijab or niqab, they are wearing it out of their own choice. So I am not quite sure you list these as problems you have when you see someone wearing one.

But I guess it all factors in to the topic at hand, where I was talking about certain people's fears and hatreds of the hijab and niqab.



posted on Feb, 28 2012 @ 08:40 AM
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It annoys me that everyone tends to assume that every woman is forced to wear them. Where's the proof? it's pure speculation. I've known a few woman that have worn face veils and many that wear hijabs. None of them were forced to wear it. I've never personally known anyone that wears a full burka, but a friend's mum did, and that friend didn't want to wear one so just wore a hijab instead. Her choice.

The idea of 'saving' women from control and oppression by these horrible men by controlling them and oppressing them in what they choose to wear is completely ridiculous!



posted on Feb, 28 2012 @ 03:24 PM
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Originally posted by babloyi
reply to post by LeSigh
 


Originally posted by LeSigh
Wearing hijab or not has zero effect on how women are perceived and treated in primarily Muslim countries.

Errr....no it doesn't. And whatever the case may be, you are talking like the major reasoning that someone would wear a hijab is to stop being harassed or something, which is really not true.
Well, that's exactly what one of the women in the article I quoted said. She started wearing hijab, loose abayas, no makeup- and she was still sexually harassed. In other words, in the case of Egypt, it doesn't matter how women dress, they are still overwhelmingly sexually harassed every day. What a literal hell it has to be for them. It's worse now. Women are stripped by the military and journalists are sexually assaulted by mobs- and that's what we know about from the news.


Originally posted by LeSigh
Niqab creeps people out because they can't see a person's face. It is next to impossible to interact with someone when you can't see their face. You can't connect with a person on any comfortable level when confronted with that.


You: I am sorry you feel that way. I guess it is the norm now, but who knows, maybe even by the next generation (like in the article I linked above), such prejudices will disappear. We can only hope.
We can only hope that niqab disappears by the next generation. It's a fact of socialization that people have difficulty interacting with people whose faces they can't see- because covering one's face is essentially saying, 'Don't look at me, don't talk to me, I want nothing to do with you, etcetera.' If you (and others) don't like how people perceive niqab, then you're the ones who need to change, not the rest of us. Covering your entire face from the world is a very unhealthy way to go through life.


You: Sexual harassment occurs in hundreds of major cities. It happens in Tokyo, it happens in New York, it happens in New Delhi. And certainly, it is unfair and oppressive when people are forced to wear the hijab or niqab or such coverings. But most of the muslim women I know (and ALL the young adult muslim women I know- i.e. 20s-30s), wear it of their own accord, of their independence, as a symbol of their culture, and why shouldn't they? I see that you live in the US. There is no Iranian morality police there to be judging and reprimanding people on what they should and shouldn't wear. Unless you have proof otherwise, it is more likely than not that if you see someone in a hijab or niqab, they are wearing it out of their own choice. So I am not quite sure you list these as problems you have when you see someone wearing one.
Yes, it does happen in those places. And still reality speaks to the fact that sexual harassment is worse in places where women have fewer rights. Did you even bother to check out the article I posted? Culture matters.


You: But I guess it all factors in to the topic at hand, where I was talking about certain people's fears and hatreds of the hijab and niqab.
I don't fear hijab. I don't care. Knock yourself out. I don't fear niqab. I do dislike it. It has no place in this world, imo, and I am always glad to see it banned in different western countries. It's a sign of oppression, whether it is forced or willingly accepted.
edit on 28-2-2012 by LeSigh because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 28 2012 @ 03:48 PM
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Originally posted by Nammu
It annoys me that everyone tends to assume that every woman is forced to wear them. Where's the proof? it's pure speculation. I've known a few woman that have worn face veils and many that wear hijabs. None of them were forced to wear it. I've never personally known anyone that wears a full burka, but a friend's mum did, and that friend didn't want to wear one so just wore a hijab instead. Her choice.

The idea of 'saving' women from control and oppression by these horrible men by controlling them and oppressing them in what they choose to wear is completely ridiculous!


Saying that it happens all the time is not the same as saying that every woman is forced to wear them. However, it does happen. Just because you don't know anyone who isn't forced to wear it, doesn't mean others of us don't. It also doesn't mean that there aren't Muslims out there who don't have a negative view of hijab.

Some real life examples:

A good friend of mine (Afghani) told me she thinks she's going to hell because she doesn't want to wear hijab. She wasn't joking around with me- she was serious.

This same friend also told me (this was a few years back) that I didn't understand the implications of another mutual friend of ours escaping her arranged marriage in Egypt to a much older man by eloping with a Catholic guy (and changing her first and last name and moving as far across the country as she could from her family). The girl's father (a professor at the local university) was enraged and her family was going to attempt to track her down and force her to go to Egypt anyway (where she had never lived). She was expected to begin wearing hijab when she married, and she told me as much.

I had a student a few years ago who was from Africa. Her brother was a model student, whereas she had a lot of mental issues. One day, it came out in her ESL class that she had been threatened at home that if she didn't start wearing hijab and being a model daughter, then they would send her back to live with her father's second wife, and one of her other siblings would be allowed to come to America in her place. This girl was absolutely terrified because her uncle back in Africa molested her- and her family didn't care when she told them. They blamed her. She was afraid of living in the same house with him again.
edit on 28-2-2012 by LeSigh because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 28 2012 @ 05:25 PM
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reply to post by LeSigh
 


Originally posted by LeSigh
Well, that's exactly what one of the women in the article I quoted said. She started wearing hijab, loose abayas, no makeup- and she was still sexually harassed.

Which is what I said...what has dressing in abayas or hijabs and niqabs got to do with being sexually harassed? As I said, it happens in many (all?) countries. Your article speaks about Egypt. It doesn't even mention other countries.

"Culture Matters"
. I find it extremely hilarious that you are actually trying to throw the old "Cultures are different, some are better than others" argument. I suppose you think your culture is better than Egypt's in this specific regard?

You'd be interested to know that at least Indianapolis and California (the statistics don't give any more examples), have more cases of harassment than Egypt:
www.stopstreetharassment.org...
So yeah, sexual harassment occurs, and it is an unfortunate thing, but it has absolutely nothing to do with this topic.

While my point is being validated even further, it is somewhat sad that this sort of animosity towards something as basic as what people wear can still exist....



posted on Feb, 28 2012 @ 07:22 PM
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Originally posted by babloyi
While my point is being validated even further, it is somewhat sad that this sort of animosity towards something as basic as what people wear can still exist....


I wrote a whole lot more, but I deleted it. I realized that I was going back and forth with you, addressing all of your points, while you were ignoring quite a few of mine. You want an argument. I think my posts stand as is and really do not need any clarification. Your point is not validated.

It's not animosity on my part. I couldn't care less what random Muslims decide to wear, but you started a thread asking for opinions about this topic. Niqab is ridiculous, since you asked. People don't like dealing with other people when they can't see their faces. End of. What's sad is that you're looking to be a victim of people's opinions and natural reactions to blocked faces. It's not a conspiracy against your religion.
edit on 28-2-2012 by LeSigh because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 28 2012 @ 11:45 PM
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reply to post by LeSigh
 

I'm sorry. I realised after I had written my post that I was coming off a bit aggressively towards you. I guess ATS has jaded me a bit
.

Let me go through your points, if you don't mind, since you think I have ignored them.

Your first point was about whether they had been forced to wear the hijab or niqab. I mentioned this in my original post, and clarified that I did not support this, and was talking about situations that did not involve this. You say "this happens all the time", but I'd be curious as to what evidence you can show to say that. You provided some anecdotal evidence about people you met or knew, but unfortunately, that is just anecdotal evidence. I could provide dozens of personal examples showing the exact opposite.
The main thing is...if you see a woman on the street or when you are out and about, and she's wearing a hijab or niqab, you really have no way of knowing whether that person was forced to wear it or not. You have no reason to automatically assume that they were forced.

Then you mention that wearing a hijab has zero effect on how women are treated in Muslim countries. You provide one example of this (one account from one women in an article). My first point is, what has this got to do with anything? Where did I ever suggest anything about "Women should wear hijabs and burqas so they won't be sexually harassed"? My original post (about public perception of people wearing hijab or niqab or burqa as being oppressed), has absolutely nothing to do with this.
It'd be like me saying "People who use diamonds as engagement presents should be aware of the blood on their hands" and someone else responding "Yeah, but muggers usually insist on taking any rings and jewellery you may have on you". It doesn't really follow.
EVEN if you wanted to talk about this specific thing, it's still not true, and one example from one one woman who gives one anecdote doesn't prove otherwise. I could again give you dozens of anecdotal evidences to the contrary.

You say niqab creeps people out. Again, a more accurate statement would be that niqab creeps YOU out. The idea that you cannot connect with someone because their face is hidden is certainly no objective truth, it is a side-effect of your cultural upbringing. The article I had quoted earlier gives a clear counter-example to this. A young girl who is comfortable and loving with her day-carer, whether she is or is not wearing her niqab.

This is again, what I am talking about in my original post. As long as someone is dressed neatly, why should what they wear be of any issue at all? Why have we become so distorted that we ascribe to some ridiculous idea that the less clothes someone wears, the more free they are?

PS: You said yourself that you dislike the niqab, it creeps you out, you would support its banning (woah freedom of expression), you call it "unhealthy", etc.. That certainly counts as animosity towards it.



posted on Feb, 28 2012 @ 11:56 PM
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I just want to point out that I think "forced" is not just physical force. It is a social pressure, an expectation and the assumption in the culture is that you are not modest if you do not wear it. This kind of pressure/force is much more damaging to women in my opinion than would be the physical act of making her wear it because it devalues and erodes her feelings about herself as a woman. If the alternative to wearing the hijab is society making her feel like a slut then yes she is "forced" to wear it in order to maintain any self respect or respect within her own family. It is an illusion of choice.

That being said, I am not for outlawing it either, that would make me just as oppressive.
edit on 29-2-2012 by kokoro because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 1 2012 @ 05:54 AM
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reply to post by LeSigh
 


I'm not saying it doesn't happen. My point is that it's assumed all or most are and we know it's not true.

As long as some women want the choice to wear thes things, then it's their right to have that choice.

Social pressure, sure, that happens more commonly. But then there's a social pressure in this country within some communities for women to be an scantily clad and as fake tanned as possible when entering certain social situations. Extreme opposites




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