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Ladies...A Hat Please!!!!

By Trish Patrick in All Sorts

thinking about the importance of fighting oppression of women in all cultures

Ladies...A Hat Please!!!!
Ladies, remember when it was unthinkable to attend
church without wearing a hat..? Not to mention gloves, handbag and bible! Even when attending church whilst on holiday? (yes... that was also obligatory. At least it was so in the Baptist world). As kids, we had to
wear a beret or straw breton sort of arrangement, depending on the season. I invariably lost mine, not intentionally .of course! On asking about the need for a hat, the reply was 'because the bible says that females should pray with their head/hair covered. It was disrespectful to God to have one’s head uncovered.' But it was ok for men not to cover their head because they were made in God's image for the glory of God. Females on the other hand were created for the glory of the man. On researching this passage in 1 Cor.Chap 11, a VERY confused Paul is trying to have his cake and eat it too, but cutting to the chase, women were the problem. Not the men.
More about that later.
The other night while watching 'Portrait Artist of the Year', one of the 'sitters' had a gorgeous tumble of long curling auburn hair. The artists assigned to paint her commented with delight at the prospect of capturing this beauty. The sitter responded saying with a smile 'Ahh..my spirit is in my hair!' This comment grabbed my attention having just heard about the young Iranian woman who had died while in the custody of the 'Morality police' for not wearing her head scarf in an acceptable manner. Apparently, some of Mahsa Amini's hair was showing. (This could inflame male passions). The growing numbers of spirited young women protesting against such oppression, have served to demonstrate that their spirit will not be quashed. Several of these courageous young women have died in the process. The situation is similar for women in Afghanistan, India, and many other countries as well. Their oppression is profound with appalling consequences.
The notion of hair being a source of strength is spoken of in the Book of Judges in Samson and Delilah's story. Samson's hair, we are told, was the source of his manly strength. Even today, for some men their hair is a symbol of virility, for some not so much. A woman's hair is described in the bible as her 'crowning glory' and should never be cut. To be fair, having a 'bad hair day,' for women is often not a good day! Hair is a big part of our identity.
Most women in NZ enjoy the freedom to dress as we wish and, within the bounds of societal norms, have agency over our lives and our bodies. Having said that, misogyny is alive and well in subtle ways.-.let's not pretend otherwise. We need to be aware of that.
For women of Iran, Afghanistan and other countries, women remain the property of men and the state, oppressed in the cruellest of ways, deprived of education and the right of self-determination. Misogyny simply means 'hatred of women'. We see this expressed most openly in cultures where men are in control of every aspect of life, religious and secular. It seems to have its origins in the Genesis creation story. It's been all downhill for women ever since. Women are to be feared as temptresses etc.
At the root of hate is fear.
What is it that these rulers fear so desperately about women? Hate frequently masquerades as religious belief, claiming to be about protecting women from themselves. Women are portrayed as the weaker vessel enticing men into bad situations.
Frighteningly, we are witnessing this expression of misogyny with the overturning of Roe v Wade by the Supreme Court in the USA, masquerading as 'Pro Life' movement. This has little to do with preserving life and everything to do with controlling women's destiny and their sexuality. It firmly places all responsibility for aberrant male behaviour on women, especially if availability of contraception is severely restricted which will possibly be the next step.
However, reduction in availability of guns is definitely off the table. The perversity of this ruling seems to escape them.
The young woman who claimed her spirit was in her hair made a powerful statement. Her hair could not be ignored. She would not be ignored. She was expressing her delight and strength in being woman...uncompromisingly, and she rejoiced in that.
The young women of Iran, Afghanistan and other such countries will not be ignored. They will not be forced to hide their femininity behind the berkah. Yes, they will suffer in their search for justice. The Ayatollah and the Taliban will see to that. For some it could cost them their lives and personal freedom but they will persevere until they can proclaim with Helen Reddy;
Oh yes I am wise
But its wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I've gained... I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman
Allelujah sisters !!!! Trish Patrick