Kindness and Sensitivity

Politics aren’t one of my big interests, and I don’t post about them a lot.

But this is less about politics, and more about watching common manners and decency descend into ridiculous childishness and attempts to show how “strong” we are.

If you’ve been on facebook or anything like that, you’ve probably seen the trending news about the Trump women going without headscarves in Saudi Arabia (by the bye, the link leads to an MSN page. I don’t care what news source you use, it just happens to give the story, and is the first page I clicked on from facebook). Some people are claiming that it is an empowering move, some say that it was rude and inconsiderate.

I think it is an example of humans not giving a crap about what the other person wants, and looking out only for number 1.

For an example a little closer to home, have you ever visited someone who asks that you take your shoes off when you come into the house? Do you do it without really caring, or do you grumble a little internally?

What do you think would happen if you flat out refused to take your shoes off, despite polite requests to do so? You may not lose the friendship completely, but I can bet it would be strained, and you probably wouldn’t be invited over very much after that.

Your friends would feel disrespected, and they likely wouldn’t feel like you were worth the effort. Why put yourself out for someone who can’t respect a simple request in your home?

It’s that way in other countries. When you know that, culturally, certain types of clothing are inappropriate, don’t wear them in that country.

It has always annoyed me to see tourists in India, dressed in butt shorts and tank tops, in little villages. No, I don’t think that is license for men to rape them, but I don’t think it’s ok to wear. Especially after working with survivors of human trafficking, and seeing their responses to girls in that clothing. It really bothered them, and they asked me all day why those girls were dressed like that.

Even in parts of Mexico, if you’re away from the tourist areas, you’re not supposed to just walk around in short shorts or swim suits. They ask that you put on a wrap, or at least longer shorts before going into town.

It isn’t caving, it’s being polite.

And before you start the rant that, “We let them wear their headcoverings in our country, so they shouldn’t make us wear them in their country!”, I already have a response to that (I’ve argued this point a number of times…mostly with my Grama.

There is nothing inappropriate about the headcovering, aside from the connotations that a lot of westerners feel it has. We have laws about indecent exposure, but not about indecent covering up. Personally, I would much rather see a woman in a hijab than in a lot of styles that are currently popular.

There is nothing strong about flaunting the rules or codes of the group whose guest you are. There is nothing empowering (or there shouldn’t be, and if this is what empowers you, you may want to take a good long look at yourself) about insulting your hosts, whether they are your neighbours or the government of another country by ignoring what is appropriate in their space.

You would expect others to be kind to you, and honour your wishes. Maybe do the same to others.

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5 thoughts on “Kindness and Sensitivity

  1. The head covering is, partly, about modesty. I do feel that, other than not covering their heads, the ladies dressed modestly and appropriately. In my view, it was an appropriate accommodation of both cultures. 😉 xoM

    Like

  2. Thank you so much for writing this piece!
    I think commonsense and context should dictate human behaviour, but instead, rhetoric has become the rule of law.
    I hate it when people think other cultures have no premise over their own, especially when they are travelling in those cultures.
    A big reason why i started blogging was to bring back context within human interactions and cultural difference – so thank you for this, because I completely resonate with your intentions!

    Liked by 1 person

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