Policing women’s bodies in Malaysia — Fifa Rahman & Azrul Mohd Khalib

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY FIFA RAHMAN & AZRUL MOHD KHALIB

SEPTEMBER 5 — Of late, it seems like everyone has been giving their opinion as to whether or not a woman should cover up and to what degree. Some have even gone to the extent of legislating a ban on a specific type of clothing, believing that to wear the latter would be representative of support for terrorism and violent extremism.

We have seen burly armed members of the French police surround a woman on a Nice beach forcing her to take off her burkini, an outfit apparently not “respecting good morals and secularism”. The resulting controversy and outcry against such discriminatory behaviour by a state institution continues to reverberate throughout Europe.

Not since the invention of the bikini has a female garment caused such consternation, distress and public debate.

On this side of the world, those from the religious quarter or those who consider themselves better Muslims and self-anointed “defenders of the faith”, are busy slut-shaming those who decide to not cover up and are also determining for women what is acceptable clothing to wear in public. Therein is marked hypocrisy.

Most of the debates in Malaysia seem to centre around the hijab, skirt length and what constitutes acceptable female attire. Moral policing of women, in particular, seems to be a favourite pastime. Read more