Shake your breasts

In Mogadishu, Somalia, there are Muslim extremists patrolling the streets and whipping people acting “inappropriately.” For men, this means not having a beard. For women, this means wearing a bra.

Someone can look at a man and determine if he has a beard or not. To find out if women “have natural firmness or if there is assistance from a bra,” the extremists are making them shake their breasts and otherwise publicly scrutinize their breasts. The Australian Herald reports this is sometimes being done at gunpoint. The Daily Mail quotes a woman saying,  “

“‘Al Shabaab forced us to wear their type of full veil and now they order us to shake our breasts,’ a resident, Halima, told Reuters, adding that her daughters had been whipped on Thursday. They  are now saying that breasts should be firm naturally, or just flat.'”

While both reasons for whipping people are ridiculous, at least a man who wants to “play by the rules” can grow a beard and everyone will see that he has grown one.  But women who “play by the rules” and don’t wear a bra still risk being publicly humiliated by this invasive scrutiny to determine whether or not they are wearing a bra.

I’ve never heard of someone being made to shake their breasts because the oppressor viewed a bra as bad — have you? Has this happened or does it happen any where else?


2 Responses to Shake your breasts

  1. hippocampa says:

    Was thinking about blogging about this, but glad you did, I will just comment. I read the details to be a bit worse than what you did… women are whipped, ordered to remove their bras and then shake their breasts. I can only imagine that this is in view of the people punishing her for wearing the oppressive garment.
    I was outraged at reading it, it’s revolting, not only because it is demeaning, but because it is vulgarity at its best and the hypocrisy drips off it. What are they going to do next, test every woman with their fingers before they get married to figure out if she’s a virgin? or better yet, “do” her and determine that way whether she must have been a virgin or not? one can only imagine.
    The somewhat funny thing is that Al Shabaab is somehow enforcing on the poor women of their community exactly that what the second wave feminists publicly did in order to show their independence. Ok, so probably those punks don’t burn the bras (although I am sure they are very excited about picking up theoffensive garment in order to dispose of it, I can only imagine).
    I saw this story starting to bloom about 40 hours ago. I first got it via one of the blog tweets, traced it back to fox (meh) to india times (ehm, that’s not close to somalia?) and despite the fact that there are items with quotes from people with actual names, I am somehow a bit wary about the factuality of this. Who are those punks? Have they really made this a policy or was it just one incident where they thought on the spot of a reason to harass and demean a woman?
    I worry about making light of some severe tresspassing on those women but I am also worried about stigmatising the Islam. Those punks sure don’t represent all muslims, and if this is only an incident… Well, since it is oil on the fire of Islam opponents, which doesn’t really help with world peace. I dunno. Thoughts?

  2. Thanks for the further thoughts on it. I just jotted something together before I had to run to a meeting and I am just getting to the internet again now.

    From the stories I read it sounded like there were rumors that this was happening and some reporters found a few women who could confirm it. It sounds like it was a recent occurrence, but yeah, it’s unclear if it’s a new policy or just the thing to do that day(s). That’s partly why I didn’t get into it more than I did (plus I was short on time). It will be interesting to see if there are more stories in the next few days following up to show if this seems more permanent or like a one time (horrific) thing.

    I thought about the irony regarding enforcing the bra-less state and some feminists taking off the bra to show freedom too.

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