Recently, state TV in Egypt has lifted a ban which prohibited female journalists from wearing a hijab while presenting the news.
According to this article, a majority of Egyptian women wear a hijab, and this move has received a lot of support. However, some are concerned that the change represents a switch to more radical policies.
Interestingly enough, it was a man, Hosni Mubarak, who implemented the practice of not allowing veiled women to present the news. It seems like he wanted to prevent the custom from spreading by having unveiled women serve as “role models” for “rural” women.
Some think lifting the ban is a move in the right direction.
One thing I have found interesting in both Islam and Judaism is that both religions (the more strictly observant Jews anyway) observe strict separations of men and women. Very religious Jews have separate areas of worship for men and women. Very religious Jewish women also wear wigs and have most of their bodies completely covered, not unlike their female Muslim counterparts.
In both religions, the separation of men and women, and the requirement that women cover up so much, stems from the same concern: that men cannot control their sexual urges when women are around. Just recently, glasses that deliberately cause blurry vision became popular in highly religious Jewish communities so men could not look at attractive women and feel temptation.
So the question of the day is whether women are really “protecting” themselves from men by covering up, or are they just being repressed.
Personally, I think that it is a control issue that stems from a deep-seated fear. Fear of what, I’m not sure. But I can’t help but feel like when people want to control another group to this extent, it’s driven by fear.