Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Lady Mary Wortly Montagu

I did not understand the letters from Lady Mary, but I think Ms. Hamovit's presentation on Lady Mary Wortly Montagu was very interesting and explanatory in terms of what exactly we were reading. She talked about how Lady Mary was very intelligent, she taught herself Latin and wrote two volumes of poetry and an epistolary novel by the time she was sixteen. She, like Edna St. Vincent Millay, though not as profoundly and drastically, defied the social norms of her time by teaching herself Latin, which was only taught to boys at the time, refusing the marriage her father arranged, and writing about things like sex, clothing, birth, and marriage, which was considered "inappropriate" at the time.

The aspect of Ms. Hamovit's presentation and the readings that struck me the most was Lady Mary's idea that the Muslim women were more free because they were covered up. They had anonymity and a sense of security because of their clothing. Nobody knew who they were, so they did not have to worry about being followed or spoken to, and they had more freedom to do things, like meet with lovers, that their husbands would not like because nobody, not even their lovers, knew who they were.

I had never thought of Muslim dress/veiling in that way, but now my viewpoint has been altered. I have always thought that Muslim women should be permitted to wear burqas, hijab, niqab, or whatever their preferred covering is, because I don't think I should have any say in how they worship their god or participate in their religion and I believe in freedom of religion. Before Ms. Hamovit's presentation though, I had never thought about Muslim women veiling because it allowed them to be more free, but I totally get it now. I think that if Muslim women want to veil, they should be allowed to; no government should be able to tell them they can't. I don't think governments should be able to ban burqas or any type of veiling because there are women who want to veil. I know a Muslim girl who didn't veil until her sophomore year of high school. My history teacher had her come into our class and tell us why she decided to wear a hijab and she said it made her feel more connected to Allah and that she was proud of her religion and who she was and that's how she felt she should show it. I think it's important that Muslim women can veil if they choose to, because often times, like my friend Nooran, they feel it's part of their identity and they should be able to express their love and dedication to their god.

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