Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Embracing the silent compositions

   I picked that title because I wanted to write an article on the beauty of the feminine and the traditional roles of women. When you think of women as being half of the population and half of the contributors to culture and civilization it is amazing how little credit we are given as a gender. I would say this is mainly because men as a gender can be glory hogs (sorry :) ) but it is also about the fact that we as a gender can be reluctant to embrace and celebrate our talents, values and contributions.
   I think there came a time in my life where I had a certain yearning to embrace more traditional family and moral values. This is a big part of what keeps Islam so close to my heart. Family, work , marriage, charity, compassion, faith, duty, ethics . . . I wanted my life centered on those things. I felt like and still feel like the key to happiness is in striving to embody  those things.
   I think as women we are often conflicted between the traditional roles of women and the more modern roles of women in society. I think we need to embrace both. In striving for our rightful and equal place in the workplace, government, education and society in general I think we need to be careful not to undervalue some of the more traditional contributions and roles of women. Who shapes society more than the mothers raising the next generation, the wives sharing the lives of men, the daughters who inspire us to make this a better and more fair society for them to live in? In my opinion women often shoulder a huge portion of the weight of passing along cultural values, religion and tradition and get little of the credit for it.
  When I think of traditional skills that women nurtured in the home I am amazed at how dismissive of these we have become in modern society.  . . . cooking, sewing, embroidery, making lace, gardening,  making cloth, tapestries, raising children and a million other roles and talents. If we just look through historical artifacts we see tapestries, clothing, rugs, quilts, pottery, beading and any number of beautiful items created by women. We look at those items and they really speak to who we are as a culture and as a people. I think there is a bit of a tendency to reduce items created by women as domestic arts or decorative arts. But they are really absolutely amazing artistic beautiful expressions of women.  Great art created by a man is hailed as art and as uniquely valuable. That man's name is remembered and a legacy is attributed to him. Items of comparable skill and beauty created by women have traditionally not been singled out and attributed by name to anyone but rather valued generically as part of our cultural heritage. The women are nameless and undistinguished, but I understand their value. We should try to value and preserve the traditional values and skills of women as we simultaneously embrace our ability to join the workforce and the academic community as legitimate equals to our male counterparts.

   Our particular love here at Khimar Online is creating beautiful, unique and practical garments. The shape and movement of our garments are all lovingly created with an eye for fashion and  the special needs of women in mind . For instance we consider things like convenience for breast feeding mothers which kind of brings me to another thought about women who stay at home working on creating a harmonious household.

   We should give stay at home moms equal respect to anyone else. It should not be our only choice as women but it should be a valid and important life choice in the eyes of society. We should be careful not to dismiss or undervalue some of the unique and beautiful roles we have as women and mothers. Just think about how much of yourself and your talents and your morals that you owe to your own mother :) .
   I guess my point is we have every right to the same education, jobs, leadership roles, voice in society as men. . .  but some things that are unique to us as women also have value.  We don't always have to be silent composers. We can celebrate the symphony of feminine creation. (Goodness knows men sure celebrate themselves :) )We can sing out our value in society. It is important we never forget that and never let ourselves be pushed backwards or never take steps backwards. We can celebrate our equality and embrace our differences at the same time. We don't need to deny parts of ourselves in order to gain equality. I don't need to be a man or think like a man to be as valuable as a man.  Salaam Ladies. :)

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