my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?

11.20.2005

Cultures Gently Colliding

I'm sitting in the atrium of the building where most of my classes are held, and small groups of a class are meeting over their projects ...

I overhear the discussion at one table but can only pick up the main topic: What Is Femininity? Sitting at the table are perhaps five 18 to 21 year olds ...

... of the five, two are wearing low-cut jeans with tattoos visible above the back of their jeans and below their midriff-baring tops as they perch forward on their seats. They are typical American girls, heavy on the MAC and very assertive in their speech

In stark contrast, one of the other three is wearing the traditional Muslim headscarf and is artfully dressed to cover every inch of her body except her hands and the portion of her face not obscured by the scarf.

But her face -- totally un-made up -- is just as animated, if not more so, than the other girls. She gestures wildly, her face is so engaging, she's every bit the participant in this discussion of what it is to be a woman.

Although I couldn't make out everything being said, I didn't sense any arguments being put forth. The young women were simply enumerating things as one of them took the project notes.

What an oddly inspiring sight.

7 Comments:

Blogger Ariella said...

Makes me believe there is hope, how invaluable is that?

12:00 AM

 
Blogger Urban Chick said...

it reminds me of a documentary that was aired over here about two years ago

it was about some (white) kids living in bradford (a town in the north of england with high levels of povety/deprivation but also high numbers of non-white brits, many of whom are muslim)

the film followed two white families and the response of the young girls in the family, two of whom (at the tender age of 10 or so) had decided to becme muslims

they wore headscarves to school and went to mosque for classes EVERY DAY and prayed at home to the utter incomprehension of their parents who tried to ban them from pursuing islam

their brothers on the other hand were bordering on the racist and taunted the muslim kids at school

the programme was cited by the right wing press as 'what's going wrong with our multi-cultural society' but i found it very touching

these littles girls for the most part just wanted to be like their muslim friends and wear scarves and get along with them (although they were most definitely taking it further and becoming very thoughtful after their study of the koran)

rather beautiful, i thought

anyway, just thought i'd share that with you!

UC
x

12:49 AM

 
Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

Sweet! How wonderful that it happened, and that you were there to appreciate it.

9:00 AM

 
Anonymous janey said...

I think it is a hopeful sight. The little group showed the future of our country going beyond the surface, actually ignoring the surface to find the value beneath. And you do find the best pictures to post.

9:01 AM

 
Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

You are correct: an oddly inspiring sight. I only hope that each culture will influence the others. American girls can be too brassy and Muslim women can be too retiring.

11:14 AM

 
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

I wonder where they'll be on this issue in 25 years? (just pondering, as I think about my own 'feminine' journey).
UC, I liked your story. Must have been very touching. Its amazing what kind of courageous convictions young kids can get.

12:34 PM

 
Blogger actonbell said...

This sounds like an interesting place to be!

2:49 PM

 

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