wow look at how dutiful and loyal to her faith she is, she must have chosen what she felt was right for her and her devotion
oh my god look at this poor oppressed woman why would anyone ever wear their hair covered like that on their own free will it’s our duty to point out how wrong this is
The second point here is spot on. That’s the first thing I want to say. The West just loves to try to “save” Muslim women from any kind of head or hair covering.
But I’ve seen this post a few times and I can no longer let it go without pointing out that the woman in the top photo is Megan Fox. To my knowledge, Megan Fox has not become a real nun.
As well as that, very few nuns wear the full wimple anymore. For example, in the 1980s the Presentation Sisters who taught me in school no longer even had to wear the simple veil. The photos at that link give you a general idea of how most nuns dress today, in Ireland at least. I think in the US, too, from things I’ve seen on the Daily Show. And I’m sure elsewhere.
I am adding this comment because I feel that far from representing religious devotion and free choice, the nun today is a site of anxiety in Western culture. That anxiety is usually dealt with either through mockery or in the reproduction of an image of the nun as a naive woman who lacks the common sense of the real world. In most media today there is a ridiculous image of nuns as still being wimpled and possessing a naive kind of faith. An episode of House in which the patient of the week was a nun really drove that point home to me - the nuns in the episode easily believed one of the sisters had the stigmata and looked for no alternative explanation for the woman’s hand wounds. Only someone who had never known any nuns could write them like that. Among the nuns who taught me were some very smart, strong women who would absolutely insist on every medical check possible in a scenario like that. They are far from the mindlessly devoted nuns you mostly see on television today who insist on Catholic dogma without a shred of reflection or pragmatism.
And this image of Megan Fox dressed up as a nun reproduces this kind of otherworldly, demure, wimpled image of nuns, with the subversive element that this is Megan Fox. Nuns are so often characterised as dried up, unsexed old women, and this photo works ironically by saying “tee hee, this is Megan Fox, she’s young, she’s sexy, and here she is as a nun, and we all know they never have sex. Look, she’s so covered up!”
That’s the joke. Sexy Megan Fox is dressed up like a nun. Ha ha ha.
So in the lower picture, you have a woman the West wants to save, and on the upper picture, you have a woman who would figure as a site of anxiety in Western culture—anxiety managed by mockery and othering—were it not for the fact that it’s a picture of Megan Fox. In fact, I would argue that this picture functions to mock and Other nuns.
So yes, the West definitely has a patronising, belittling and oppressive attitude towards the wearing of any kind of headscarf by Muslim women. But I don’t think the nun is the Western counterpoint to that attitude. Nuns are also patronised and belittled in the West. In the end, they are both groups of women who reject Western patriarchal ideas of sex and sexuality, and as such they they are both Othered.