Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Lady Mary Wortly Montagu

       I left Mrs. Hamovit's presentation Tuesday night enveloped with ideas that I had previously not put much thought into.  The general theme of Mrs. Hamovit's presentation was identity and body.  I did not fully connect Lady Mary's letters to the three news articles until the end of our class Tuesday night.  After learning Lady Mary's background, the letters took on a whole new meaning and purpose.  The culture of the 18th Century in England did not suit Lady Mary's personality.  After moving to Turkey, she fell in love with the culture, however I found many of the reasons that Lady Mary loved Turkey to be rhetorical.  In London, Lady Mary seemed to place great emphasis on her clothing, and how she disliked the strict "dress code" accustom to wealthy women.  In Letter XXVII, Lady Mary speaks about her time in the Turkish Baths.  Women would bathe together naked, and Lady Mary found herself in a situation she had never been in.  In England, nudity had been suppressed and frowned upon, and she felt free among this nudity.
      Lady Mary spoke about the burka's that Turkish woman were forced to wear in public, and how she saw a sense of freedom in wearing them.  The idea that one could be free while being forced to wear a burka left me in awe.  I have always been fascinated by Islam, and they way of life its followers take on.  I understand that Lady Mary felt free while wearing a Burka because the was able to hide from the man who had objectified her.  What I do not understand however is how Islamic woman accept this way of life as customary.  People argue that it is their choice and their religion, but I disagree  they are forced to wear these Burka's for fear of the consequences.  To tie this back to Mrs. Hamovit's presentation, I found it fascination that when Turkish women were together they were comfortable and free in the nude, but they found themselves covered in secrecy around men.
      I found the three articles to be a small part of a conversation that has been continued to be suppressed.  The topic regarding Islamic Terrorism throughout Europe and the fear of it in America has been suppressed.  Primarily left of center politicians have tried to disassociate religion and terrorism, when in fact the two are closely intertwined.  The issues in these articles are the product of the elephant in the room.  If we cannot openly discuss religion, terrorism, and differences in our cultures these articles are just the tip of the iceberg.

Till next week,
Harrison Gray

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