Janet Jackson and hubby Wissam Al Manna were spotted walking through London streets for the first time since announcing that they’re expecting a little bundle of joy.
This is all exciting news, and we’re happy for them. It wasn’t Janet’s pregnancy, however, that drew people’s attention.
It was her clothing, and what she chose to wear.
Mirror.co.uk reported that Jackson was wearing “full Islamic dress,” and has had difficulty adjusting to Qatar because of the “restrictions placed on women” and the fact that she had to “give up designer clothes.”
Janet Jackson, literally a pop star, living her life the way she chooses, is being written about as if she’s been oppressed in some way, and of course the implied culprit is a strict Islamic government.
Jackson was certainly dressed modestly, but she was also dressed comfortably and cozy; not to mention appropriate for the weather, considering it’s pretty cool in London this time of year.
Yes, I said London.
Jackson wasn’t even in Qatar when spotted in her “Islamic dress,” which is literally a hooded poncho, guys.
Qatar doesn’t require “Islamic dress” be worn or have “restrictions on women” as the article says. Qatari culture may express a preference for modest attire, but visitors are not fined or legally penalized for what they wear. Unlike some places we know. (Hey France, hey!)
Other than the modesty aspect, which isn’t a concept exclusive to Muslim women, what about Jackson’s outfit is “full Islamic dress”?
In fact, ETonline.com described Jackson as “bundled up against the cooler weather, wearing a black-hooded poncho over a black skirt and comfy shoes as she walked.”
Jackson and Al Manna, from the photos, look happy, comfy and warm.
Mirror’s article even goes as far as including a picture of Jackson’s 2004 wardrobe malfunction from her performance with Justin Timberlake at a Super Bowl halftime show. What is the purpose of including such a picture — other than to shame her or scandalize her — if you believe she’s now choosing to cover and wearing “full Islamic dress”?
As if the pictures of her modest poncho are so oppressive, one must include a nip slip to liberate her.
Obviously, there is nothing wrong with choosing to wear “full Islamic dress,” and whatever that entails.
But there is something wrong with recklessly writing about Muslim women (or supposedly Muslim women) as if we are all oppressed. Janet Jackson, literally a pop star, living her life the way she chooses, is being written about as if she’s been oppressed in some way, and of course the implied culprit is a strict Islamic government — as if a women cannot make her own decisions about what to wear; as if there is something inherently wrong with women wanting to dress modestly, and the only possible reason for modest dress is force. While there are circumstances in which women are being regulated by governments all over the world, this is not one of them.
At this point, it’s actually not an oppressive government policing her clothing and her body. It’s the media.
I’m just saying: If you’re going to say or imply that Janet Jackson is a Muslim women being forced to dress modestly, you’re going to need something more than adorable pictures of her smiling, wearing a poncho and a baby bump, while taking a stroll with her husband.