The covering of certain portions of  woman's body, or the entire woman's body, is required by some religious practices.  Certainly, the practice of and adherence to religious mandates can bring a sense of unification and dedication to one's life.  However, if our purpose is to seek awareness and greater consciousness during our lives, we must be willing to look at the shadowed aspects of our actions.

I have always wondered about the projections and expectations placed upon the female body by others.  One power innate within the female body (and the male body, as well) is the power to see and envision.  But for women, the power to see is often lost and transformed into "being seen". 

When a woman SEES, she is the active principal. When a woman is SEEN, she become the passive object.  In the active state, a woman's subjective experiences are incorporated.  In the passive state, a woman is not the subject of her visions, but rather is objectified by the vision of others.

In some ways, the coverings of a woman's body may be viewed as an act of modesty, a way to remove her from objectification.  But for those who require full covering of a woman, except for a narrow slit for her eyes, what does this do to a woman's ability TO SEE and experience her own subjective vision?  It is not only that the woman is hidden but she can no longer SEE. 

The true, inherent power in the female body is very frightening for some, and manifests as one of the drives to keep the body hidden.  But by removing a woman's ability to see broadly, a portion of her power is removed.  She can be seen (in her covered state), yet she can not SEE completely the world around her.  The woman, and we, lose the gift of her subjective vision.

The removal of power from another has never been the goal of any true religion.

Published by kimberly harding