Under the Black Blanket


Under The Black Blanket

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For the next couple of months, I'll be going in an out of the Middle East, working on a project about women in the wake of the Arab Spring.
While women participated in the revolts, their rights hang in the balance as Islamic fundamentalists win elections and try to install theocracies.
Under the worst of these already existing regimes, women are barred from education (Taliban), forbidden from driving (Saudi Arabia), and forced into marriages by family decree to which disobedience inspires legally sanctioned honor killings.

I'll be reading texts and traveling, and filing some of my thoughts and findings here, Under the Black Blanket.

The Black Blanket is a Rorschach test about what we think about women in general. If you think mothers don't mind handing off their daughters to marry Uncle Fester in Afghanistan, or if you think they don't feel sick wearing black blankets over their heads in 120 degree desert heat, then you don't think they are very much like you -- that is, human.

What do you see when you look at that picture?
A vampire, a giant bat, a modest woman, a freak? A quaint Oriental cultural phenomenon?    Does she like it under there?
Does she believe she's being modest and that God likes her better for it?
Does she feel subversive?
What's she wearing underneath, anyway?
Is she afraid her husband or dad or brother or the religious police will beat her with sticks if she takes it off?
Is she hiding the bruises?
Is she having a bad hair day?


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