I recently returned from the Middle East where I was transported into a world of visual dichotomies for women.
There were some who wore western garb and had on short dresses and stilettos. They looked very much like young women on any street in the USA, chatting and going to and from work wearing their light, bright summer clothes.
Next were the women with colorful scarves wound around their heads. Many wore bright red lipstick, eye-liner and mascara along with their longer skirts and lower heels.
Next were those whose scarves were more somber and while they smiled, it was from faces without any make-up. They seemed to keep their heads down and not look around as much as the first two groups. Often, they had several children in tow and seemed more determined to get their errands done and get home.
Then there were those dressed in long black burkas, fully covered except for a slit in the fabric at eye level so they can see where they are going. There is no real way to communicate and no real way to guess who are the lovely ladies under this much material.
I so wanted to start a conversation. Yet, there was no possible opening for communication. I could do no more than merely wonder who these women are and what it is like to be wearing what to me looks like a restrictive uniform.
Then I saw on the news that a cartoon will begin on television next month called “The Burka Avenger”. The heroine is a mild-mannered teacher who wields her super weapons – books and pens – against those trying to shut the girls’ school down.
The burka protects her from being punished. In this case, the burka is a symbol of freedom and the message is “to be GUTSY, bold and take risks. Make change happen.” Just what our GUTSY WOMEN WEEKEND RETREATS are about as we tackle issues in our own country to make the world a better place. Come join us.