Category Archives: Answer me this

Answer me this #15

How do you tell the difference between acculturated and brainwashed?

Consider your answer before you read my reason for the question.

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I usually don’t editorialize on AnswerMeThis posts, but I’ll explain where I’m coming from on this one.

While on a college campus the other day, I noticed a woman covered in full hijab — hair and face, with only a slit for her eyes.

My first thought was, “How sad for her, that her culture requires her to hide herself. I’m glad I’M not indoctrinated like that.”

My next thought was a conversation I had with an Muslim friend during the time I lived in Syria, where covering is not mandatory.

“Why did I choose to cover?” Mouna replied as I broached the subject. “First, you must know that it was my choice to cover my hair. Not my father’s and not my husband’s. I cover because I realize my value. My body is a treasure, given by Allah, so special that I prefer to share my full self with only women and with the men in my family.”

“YOUR ways seem strange to US. You western women have lost sight of your own value,” Mouna continued. “You devalue yourselves by overexposure. You have been brainwashed into sharing yourselves for the gratification of others — even strangers. Of course, I’m not just talking about covering one’s head, but about exposing so much of your body that nothing is special anymore. Look at what goes on in movies, on TV, on magazine covers. You think you’re more free, but you’re not.”

So I ask: how do you tell the difference between acculturated and brainwashed? Not necessarily with the hijab, but with whatever the question brings to mind for you.