Through taking this course, sociology, human development, and psychology classes, I have learned that the majority of human beings follow the masses and tend to agree or look up to people in power. In the United States, a large mass of people watch the news, look up to (and believe!) political figures, watch MTV music videos, and dress in sparse clothing. This is part of our culture. These types of behaviors are deemed “acceptable” in America, because they are legal and familiar to us. Afghan women have particular customs and traditions that are different than ours and just as important to them as ours are to us. Illustrating this point in the article, “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?” Abu-Lughod questions, “Might other desires be more meaningful for different groups of people? Living in close families? Living in a godly way? Living without war?” (Abu-Lughod, 2002, p. 788). Since people in the United States tend to listen so closely to deceiving media sources without really looking into other perspectives, those American people of similarities and common backgrounds support each other by pointing out differences of other cultures. They come to believe that veiling, since it is so different than their accustomed attire, is bad. A lot of people form opinions on this controversial topic without even looking further into the issue or considering a perspective different than that of the United States. In the article, “The Thong Vs. The Veil”, the author points out, “Of the two groups of women most prominently featured on American TV these days [Afghan women and women in music videos], who gains more respect for their intellect and spirit- the Afghan woman who is so totally veiled that you can’t even see her eyes or the Black woman in the R&B and Hip-Hop video who dances while wearing a bikini and thong?” (The Thong vs The Veil, 2001). Just because we are familiar with the women in the bikinis does not mean that those women are the smart, respectable, or accepted ones! They are only acceptable to us and our society! Afghan women CHOOSE not do dress in that manner. They do not express envy of American women and tend to view women in the west as individuals who are “strangely disrespectful of God” (Abu-Lughod, 2002, p. 788). Afghan women were brought up in a much different society than most of my fellow Americans were brought up in. Although it may be difficult to fully understand the cultures and differences of other cultures, it is important to realize that “different” does not equal “bad.”
Another example of individuals following the masses without evidence or proper research is displayed in Dayna Evans’ article, “Women Making $70 Feminist Shirts in Factory Paid Under a Dollar an Hour.” Evans points out that women in Mauritius who are working full days, sleeping in dormitories, and only making one dollar per hour are the ones hired to make “This is what a feminist looks like” shirts (Evans, 2014). Western feminists, in particular, love to shop and wear logo T-shirts, even if they do not necessarily agree with the words they are wearing. With that being said, even feminists who self-declare themselves as feminists fell victim to buying these shirts not knowing the behind-the-scenes process of making the shirt they purchased. Since these shirts are targeted for western feminists, the feminists that we need fighting for the rights of the women making the shirts are unknowingly supporting this company and process! I think that if people actually looked into what they were purchasing and standing up for, then these same people would not be buying the shirts.
Abu-Lughod, Lila. “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others.” American Anthropologist 104.3 (2002): 783-90. Web. 26 June 2016.
Evans, Dayna. “Women Making $70 Feminist Shirts in Factory Paid Under a Dollar an Hour.” Gawker. N.p., 02 Feb. 2014. Web. 26 June 2016.
“The Thong vs. The Veil.” BlackElectorate.com. Black Electorate, 2001. Web. 26 June 2016.