One-eyed modesty

A Saudi cleric calls for Muslim women to cover all but one eye.


Tracy Clark-Flory
October 6, 2008 8:30PM (UTC)

A woman can hide her tantalizingly touchable hair, conceal every inch of supple skin and drape her feminine curves with the loose-hanging black fabric of a niqab. But, as Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan has found, it isn't a satisfactory way to battle fleshly temptation, as it leaves her eyes visible to men -- and eyes are incredibly seductive, especially when they are the only part of a woman's body that is revealed. His solution: one-eyed veils.

Last week, the cleric made the call for Muslim women in Saudi Arabia to adopt a veil that covers all but one eye. Habadan believes that "showing both eyes encouraged women to use eye makeup to look seductive," the BBC reports.

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OK, so there is plenty -- too much, really -- that could be said in response. But I'll concern myself with practicalities for now: When it comes to veiling, it seems to me that there is a positive relationship between the amount of coverage and the erotic charge of what's left uncovered. If two dramatically framed eyes are enticing, maybe a single window to a woman's soul is even more inviting. Also, if the veil drives women to seductively paint their eyes, won't the one-eyed veil only heighten that effort?

Finally, I wonder whether Sheikh Habadan has considered that this also allows for a new pickup line: Was that a seductive wink or are you just blinking?


Tracy Clark-Flory

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