I've had the chance to watch some interesting clips the last few days. Both suggested by the two anak-anak Zainols (my housemates). One was about the revolution of swimsuit. And the other was actually a movie that Pika had wanted us to watch months back, about human trafficking. So if you guys have the time, do watch them. (Though i wont suggest those who are less than 20 to watch it). But anyway, what was interesting was how much both of them were interrelated, directing my thoughts to this one word.
Think we've heard of this term associated with women countless times. An object of desire, so they say. And I've never really put much thought in it. But one of the clips mentioned about this study done on male brains. It used pictures of females with a very minimal amount of clothes on; and two results came out. Quoting some part of her talk;
One group showed that a part of the brain that usually associate with tools, lights up upon seeing the pictures. And another group showed a more shocking result, when some part of the brain (the medial pre-frontal lobe) actually showed zero brain activity. And interestingly enough, it's the part of the brain that usually lights up when one is pondering another person's thoughts, feelings, and intentions. The results somewhat concluded that the minimally-covered images provoked these male-brains to associate these women to nothing other than just an object.
Phew. *peluh kecil*
And then i watched the human trafficking video, which highlights the fact that this 'sex industry' wouldn't even exist, if the humans didn't stoop down so low to fulfill their desires. It was a very dark and deep movie, depicting what is still happening around the world, where innocent vulnerable young girls and even kids, are being kidnapped and forced into prostitution. But what gets to me the most was the fact that there are 'customers' for these kinds of filthy things; but i guess it goes back to that one-word answer again, in their eyes, women are just objects, so why would they even care?
Is this a too big of a topic to talk about? Not really. I'd be lying to say Malaysia is a Muslim-filled country free from all these filth. It's all over the news isn't it? where houses a.k.a brothels are barged into by police officers now and then. And even if this industry is not blooming in Malaysia, the concept remains. Little girls are being raped, some are tormented to death, some are victims of their own families. Astaghfirullah wa naudzubillah. But this is the state that we're living in at the moment. When these lurking devils in the form of humans are preying for their objects.
But the question is,
why or even how did we become an object?
And while many point fingers to one another, i've always thought males and females both have roles in this 'objectifying' process. And let's face it: the Internet, tv shows, movies, youtube, facebook, instagram, K-Pop and songs; are definitely not helping. And somehow it felt like a new understanding for me, now that I'm thinking back to some verses in the Quran that described clearly what both men and women should do:
قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ذَٰلِكَ أَزْكَىٰ لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ
Katakanlah kepada orang laki-laki yang beriman:
"Hendaklah mereka menahan pandangannya, dan memelihara kemaluannya; yang demikian itu adalah lebih suci bagi mereka, sesungguhnya Allah Maha Mengetahui apa yang mereka perbuat".[24:30]
For men, to lower down his gaze. Come to think of it, they were not asked to think of different things, but an action was needed instead. To lower the gaze, to turn away. After seeing the clip, and to my little understanding, it seems like men have this automatic brain reaction if they were to see things that they shouldn't, and the only way to fight it off is to lower down their gaze. Which is waayyy different than women's reaction for all i know; when we can look at something without having much thought about it, just beautiful birds chirping inside the brain-cage. Heh. It will always be just a theoretical thing for us, for we don't know exactly what kind of things are going on in their brain and the kind of fights that they have to put up. but in my opinion, it wont be easy, cause it's one of the test of faith. But that's them boys' fights. And in the end, iman is the only thing that will push their gaze down.
And as for women; the next verse that followed was directed to us;
وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَىٰ عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاءِ وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
Katakanlah kepada wanita yang beriman: "Hendaklah mereka menahan pandangannya, dan kemaluannya, dan janganlah mereka menampakkan perhiasannya, kecuali yang (biasa) nampak dari padanya. Dan hendaklah mereka menutupkan kain kedadanya, dan janganlah menampakkan perhiasannya kecuali kepada suami mereka, atau ayah mereka....Dan janganlah mereka memukulkan kakinya agar diketahui perhiasan yang mereka sembunyikan. Dan bertaubatlah kamu sekalian kepada Allah, hai orang-orang yang beriman supaya kamu beruntung.
Ironically enough, our test is to avoid the attention. the verse says it all doesn't it? "menampakkan perhiasannya". and like guys, we have this genetically-engineered urge to show off. And with a weak iman, it pretty much leads to whatever that's happening nowadays. when all that we care about is matching clothes, the latest handbags, the flowery hijab-styles, the twirling skirts, the new sweet fragrances, the never ending selfies and portraiture of oneself. Well, it's a never-ending list really. But little did we realize that the more we have on us; the make-up, the scents, the colours, the flamboyant clothes; the more of an object we become. Because more attention are given to what's on us, rather than what's in us; not our emotions, not our perceptions, not our thoughts, let alone our personality. And this is too, a test of faith for us females. It's not easy to fight the urge and temptations, to avoid the attention. But it all goes back to the basics, that we can fight them off with iman.
And so i guess it's a hand-in-hand relationship between us (of course not in the literal sense); Where both men and women have to fight off our genetically-engineered reactions (a.k.a fitrah). And perhaps only then we can start seeing some changes in this huge scary world that we are living in. Hence it's enough to understand why Allah s.w.t set those rules for us in surah An-Nur. It's a fight, within ourselves first and foremost. Cause once and if we stop fighting, we would end up feeding our desires (hawa and nafs) off instead;
ultimately turning men into beasts, and women into objects.
reminding others to remind myself. *sobs*
May Allah forever Guides us to and in His Path.
Aamiin ya Rabb.