26 March, 2011

Sheilas in shelas and impressions on oppression

Australian Sheila in dress-ups
In Australia, "Sheila" is a term for a woman. It's fairly archaic now - generally only used by rusty old bogans (tasteless morons) from the outback (countryside), and rarely comes without the obligatory sexist smack on the bottom and a demand for a "frosty one from the icebox" (beer from the fridge). In the Middle East, a sheila is a head covering, pronounced with an "ay" vowel sound rather than "ee", and also spelled shaila, shela and shayla. You will see plenty of "Sheelas" in Australia, but "shaylas" are few and far between.

In countries like Australia, France and the USA, any dress that covers more than what they deem “normal” is seen by some as a form of cruelty or domination. The first thing most Australians would think upon seeing a woman in traditional Arabic dress is "she's from a different world", followed by "that poor thing, her husband/father makes her dress like that" and "she must have a terrible life." And it's little surprise. Australia's Muslim minority only takes up about 1.5% of the total population, and many have assimilated to the point where conservative dress has been abandoned. The only time we see any traditional arabic dress is on TV, when we see Iraqi women wailing with grief over their son's bloodied bodies, or rows of Taliban-governed Afghan women in blue burqas with only a gauze for vision. Of course we associate it with misery and oppression.

Read more here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In other parts of the world, not just Afghanistan, they make little girls wear these hijabs. Sometimes to school, sometimes with the justification that the girls want to doll up in momma's clothes.
Not cute.

Post a Comment

NOTE: By making a post/comment on this blog you agree that you are solely responsible for its content and that you are up to date on the laws of the country you are posting from and that your post/comment abides by them.

To read the rules click here

If you would like to post content on this blog click here