Modesty Comes to the Olympics

July 29 2021

At this year’s Olympics, the German women’s gymnastics team chose the sort of uniforms usually worn by athletes from religiously conservative nations, rather than more typical, and more revealing, attire. The Norwegian women’s handball team, meanwhile, has incurred fines for disregarding the regulations in order to wear something more modest while competing. Bethany Mandel comments:

The International Handball Federation requires women to wear bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg,” per the New York Times. The sides of the bikini bottoms must be no more than four inches wide. However, men can wear shorts as long as four inches above the knee so long as the shorts are “not too baggy.”

The fact that it’s harder to find modest clothing choices as a female is no secret to women and mothers of girls everywhere. What’s encouraging about this moment is that the concept of modesty isn’t just becoming more mainstream outside of religious and conservative circles, but that women fighting for the right to dress as they please aren’t just battling for the right to dress provocatively anymore.

No, we’re finally acknowledging that it’s just as empowering to cover up as it is to flaunt our bodies. And that cultural encouragement girls feel to show more, not less? We’re finally acknowledging that it’s not about empowerment, it’s about sexualization.

These young ladies’ push for more control over their uniforms cuts to the heart of why they’re opting for more modest choices: they want to control how sexualized their bodies are by those who are profiting off of them.

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Read more at Deseret News

More about: Modesty, olympics, Sexuality, Sports, Women

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter