Sunday, September 10, 2006

Hazmat or Hysterectomy?

Just when you thought that it couldn't get much sillier than the "Modesty Maillots", in which perfectly normal Muslim women look like perfectly normal Smurfs, we now have the "Inter-Faith Gown" in which perfectly normal Muslim women look like perfectly normal members of a Hazmat team. But you don't wear this cheeky little cocoon to dispose of biohazardous substances but rather to have that boil on your bum lanced during your next hospital visit. And yes, although I did make up the name for the Smurfette swimsuit, the shroud that you see on the left is actually called an Inter-Faith Gown. One glance at it and I'm thinking that not too many Buddhists or Rastafarians will be queuing up at the hospital gift shop for one. So perhaps we can refrain from being ingenuous and call a spade a spade - it's yet another cloaking device for Muslim women.

Developed by a British woman whose name is suspiciously non-Muslim (I shouldn't make generalizations but I know of no "Jacobs" who have performed the Haj), I can't help but think that she should be hermetically sealed inside a thick black burka and made to walk the streets of Tehran for a month in August for her contribution to Crimes Against Women.

Ms Jacob said: "I noticed a gap in the market and thought that it would be great if there was a gown that helped to preserve a patient's modesty."

Now, I don't necessarily fault Ms. Jacobs' desire to become fabulously wealthy (I too share this phantasy) but this takes the cake. Modesty? During surgery? Fortunately, I have had only one operation in my life and I freely admit that once I was blessedly floating away on the waves of my anaesthetic, my teams of surgeons and nurses could have poked and peeked and had a good laugh at whatever Allah has endowed me with - I wouldn't have given a rat's ass. Operating tables aren't really the domain of modesty. Hospital corridors should be populated with bare ass patients.

Trials of the gown have already been carried out at Royal Preston Hospital and the response has been overwhelming.

I bet. Now I ask you, what's worse: the shame of showing your body in front of a professional medical staff or an institutionalised response to justify and perpetuate a negative body image outside of Saudi or Iran? ... I swear that every day I can hear the hands of time reversing another decade.

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