Wednesday, July 02, 2014


On the evolution of misogyny..., por Simon Cook:

Here is a quotation attributed to a 17th century English sailor:

"The men that are married are given much to jealousy, and will not permit any stranger to come where their wives are, much less to see them, but will keep them out of sight as much as they possibly can...all their women, both married and unmarried, go with a black veil over their heads and reaching down to their legs, all being covered except their eyes."

The sailor wasn't visiting a Muslim country but the very Roman Catholic country of Portugal and the covering of women was cultural rather than religious - the practice was common across all faiths, indeed the quotation was put in the context of how Jewish migrants from Lisbon to Amsterdam were seen by the more 'enlightened' Dutch.

My point in making this observation is to make clear that it is perfectly possible to oppose the practice of requiring women to be fully covered without being 'Islamaphobic' since this practice was widespread in Catholic Europe almost into living memory. Indeed, I remember elderly Spanish and Italian women attending my church wearing a mantissa, the last vestiges of the shrouding of women in Roman Catholicism.

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