Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hit me with your best shot. Big news for Muslim women...maybe.

Apparently there's a new trend in hijab styling, with blogs and YouTube videos advising pious Muslim women on different means of styling their head scarves. To me, this indicates an emphasis on individualism and self-expression, which is definitely positive. However, Muslim women are still trying to individualize a symbol of patriarchy. Nevertheless, progress is progress.

Except when it's clearly not. Iraqi women are literally exploding through the glass ceiling as the newest recruits in al-Qaeda's army of suicide bombers. There have been 24 female suicide bombers since January, and I'm sure the numbers will continue to rise. Part of the woman bomber's appeal is that it is unacceptable for a man to perform a full-body search on a woman, and traditional robes are bulky enough to hide quite a stash of weaponry.

But perhaps the most insidious detail in this story is the means of recruitment. Al-Qaeda operatives marry and allow the wife to be dishonored in some way, such as allowing another man to rape her. Consequently, she must end her life to end the disgrace she has brought upon her family. I cannot even wrap my head around this one.

In every military conflict, women are cannon fodder. Except in this case, women have become the cannon.

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