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Gwen Stefani Submits to Malaysia's Islamic Rules

Hollaback Girl appeared to be quite appropriate for Gwen as she submitted to the Islamists in Malaysia who protested that her clothing could corrupt Malaysia's youth.

Gwen Stefani was a good girl, just like she promised.

The American pop singer wowed fans in Muslim-majority Malaysia on Tuesday, dressed demurely to show virtually no skin after Islamic critics claimed that her revealing clothes could corrupt the country's youth.

"I am very inspired tonight. ... It is great to be here again," Stefani, 37, told some 7,000 cheering, screaming fans at an indoor stadium on the latest leg of her Sweet Escape world tour.

"The Sweet Escape" was her first song after she burst onto the stage, wearing a black leotard under a white short-sleeved shirt and black-and-white striped hot pants suit, with black gloves up to her elbows.

She changed costumes for every song -- putting on a cape once and tying a cloth around her waist like a skirt -- but made sure she was fully covered while she belted out "Rich Girl," "Wind it Up," and "Hollaback Girl" among others.

The question that's being asked is would she have submitted to a Christian group here in the US if it had demanded that she cover up. No way. Most likely she would have told them to pound sand and then continued on with her show as she saw fit. In Malaysia, however, she submitted and performed her concert in the manner the Islamists saw fit. The Sophistry chimes in and analyzes the question: is it dhimmitude if it's their country:

So the issue really is... is it dhimmitude for Stefani to choose to go to Malaysia in the first place once confronted with demands that are against her customs and values?

My answer is a qualified yes. To compromise one's own principles is in fact submission. If Stefani's artistic expression is intricately tied to exposing her bellybutton for some philosophical or principled reason, then for her to cover up is in fact submission. This is different, I think, than obeying the laws and customs of another country -- this is acknowledging the superiority or dominance of another's philosophy or principle over one's own. For a feminist deeply committed to the cause of gender equality, for example, to submit to shari'a restrictions would be dhimmitude. His or her choice then is simply not to go to nations where gender inequality is enshrined in the laws and customs.


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Comments (24)

A lot of what's important h... (Below threshold)
Eric:

A lot of what's important here is the customary dress for that country. Of course she'd tell the Christains to pound sand - in the US it's normal for people in that business to dress the way she does.I don't think that's true in Malaysia.

Besides, she's a businesswoman - she's not going to make any money if the government shuts down the show.

As an aside... 7,000 fans? That's, uh, not very many.

Horsecrap.I've bee... (Below threshold)
marc:

Horsecrap.

I've been to Malaysia numerous times. And many times had the opportunity to visit their beaches.

Funny, I see more than the "islamic alotted" female skin (excluding the children) in this image. And this one.

And don't even try to tell me a resort or beach is different than the concert venue she performed at. My personal experience instructs me there is just as much drinking, sex, drugs and prostitution as most other countries.

She should have stuck to her normal show and accept the consequences whatever they were or told them to pack sand and canceled.

It's not like she was suffer any great financial hardship.

"is it dhimmitude if it'... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"is it dhimmitude if it's their country"

My first instinct was to say "no", but thinking further then I realized I don't know enough about their culture to really say one way or the other.

So my answer now is "it depends".

I think a more interesting question is, if Muslims HERE demanded she do that, would she?

MarcThat's a very go... (Below threshold)

Marc
That's a very good point. Are we dealing with a closet capitalist or a principled socialist with a foreign bank account(aka a dictator's "possession" and I'm putting that politely).
How many of the "smart set" are willing to sell out for the Caliphate? Who negotiated her performance contract?

Let's check www.opensecrets.org

As opposed to the corruptio... (Below threshold)
Joe:

As opposed to the corruption of your neighborhood mullah who believes that chopping of the heads of innocent reporters is the height of Islamic civility???

wearing a black le... (Below threshold)
wearing a black leotard under a white short-sleeved shirt and black-and-white striped hot pants suit, with black gloves up to her elbows
Umm, the picture that I'm getting from that description suggests a following of the letter of the law while thumbing the nose at the spirit of the law. A leotard and hot pants? When was the last time you saw a getup like that at the mosque?
"Umm, the picture that I'm ... (Below threshold)
JB:

"Umm, the picture that I'm getting from that description suggests a following of the letter of the law while thumbing the nose at the spirit of the law. A leotard and hot pants? When was the last time you saw a getup like that at the mosque?"

The "law" doesn't require conversion, merely dhimmitude; and she fully complied. A distinction that should be abundantly clear.

Artists make the big money ... (Below threshold)

Artists make the big money from concerts. They get a substantial portion of the ticket price, as opposed to smaller royalties from sales and downloads and even smaller from airplay.

Gwen was probably faced with these choices: 1) Cancel the show and lose the money, plus possibly even a payment for canceling at short notice; 2) Tell 'em to stuff it and do her normal show, risking trouble either at the concert or her hotel; 3) Make a wardrobe adjustment and do the show without a hitch, collecting her full fee. She chose "3."

It's real easy to demand she cancel the show or stick to her normal performance. After all, it isn't YOUR money being risked, or YOUR life - or your fans' lives - being risked. As the old saying goes, "Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it."

she fully complied... (Below threshold)
she fully complied
You think a leotard and hot pants are in compliance with typical Islamic ideas about female modesty?
No, merely in compliance wi... (Below threshold)
JB:

No, merely in compliance with Islamic ideas on the behavior of non-Muslim women in Muslim societies.

Dhimmitude doesn't mean becoming a Muslim; merely taking a bite of the Muzzie sh*t sandwich reserved for non-Muslims. And she did take that bite, now being spun as cultural "respect".

The key part of that articl... (Below threshold)
RB:

The key part of that article stated that the law in Malaysia states that female performers need to be covered from the shoulders to the knees and can't do any provocative or suggestive stage acts.

So the comparison to what Stefani would do if an American Christian (or Muslim, for that matter) group had demanded that she tone down her outfits is irrelevant. There is no such law in America. She was merely obeying the law of the country that she was in. No more, no less. This is a non-story.

Besides, how awful to "comp... (Below threshold)

Besides, how awful to "compromise your principles" by wearing skin-tight leotards over shoulder and knee, eh?

And no exposed belly-button? Scandalous! Where ARE her principles?

[/rolleyes]

The question is always aske... (Below threshold)

The question is always asked, "What would they do if a Christian group demanded...", when the true analogy is, "Would Ms. Stefani have traveled to nazi Germany in 1943 to perform for those 'differently cultered' herms ?" If you think that's nuts, the truth is the only thing stopping Malaysia, or any other muslim country, from marching jews into large brick ovens is a lack of the main commodity required for that activity. Specifically, jews.
I'm sure you can expect Hanoi janes' next big "hit" to be filmed somewhere in the land of the perpetually outraged. Islamic Rage Boy, I mean, "sources" assured me of this.

Oh, please. Aren't there en... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Oh, please. Aren't there enough real things for you people to get upset about? You insist that Muslims need to westernize when they come here, but a rock star goes over there and covers up for one night, and you get all bent out of shape.

Besides, aren't you forgetting something?

We insist that muslims "nee... (Below threshold)

We insist that muslims "need to westernize" ?
Are you freaking tweeking !?! Oh, it's just bryan. Apparently the acculturation of his assimilation has not included a tour of the local "QuickyMart", gas station, motel, liquor store (someone stop me, getting dizzy here.)

Except. An artist's perfor... (Below threshold)
kim:

Except. An artist's performance is an interaction with the audience. I have trouble faulting her for this.
================

Brian:Oh, plea... (Below threshold)
marc:

Brian:

Oh, please. Aren't there enough real things for you people to get upset about? You insist that Muslims need to westernize when they come here, but a rock star goes over there and covers up for one night, and you get all bent out of shape.

Ah... no.

Except for a few xenophobes no one wants them to "westernize." All reasonable people have asked is for them to not force their beliefs or customs on others. Like demanding public money for foot baths and other similar requests.

Or accepting jobs as supermarket checkout workers and after, long after, being hired whine and stomp their feet about having to handle pork.

RB has it right. This is m... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

RB has it right. This is much ado about nothing. Like he says, this story doesn't warrent a blog post.

Except for a few xenopho... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Except for a few xenophobes no one wants them to "westernize." All reasonable people have asked is for them to not force their beliefs or customs on others.

So I assume then that you approve of schoolgirls in France wearing head scarves. After all, that practice doesn't force anything on anyone.

Brian:So I ass... (Below threshold)
marc:

Brian:

So I assume then that you approve of schoolgirls in France wearing head scarves. After all, that practice doesn't force anything on anyone.

First of all the discussion is about apples, (Muslims in the U.S) and you bring up and orange tree.

However, on it's face I wouldn't oppose it.

But if it's the case I'm familar with yes I would be opposed, because they based their case on the scarfs being part and parcel, in other words a requirement of their religion.

They lost because Muslim scholars weighed in and said it wasn't, end of story.

Nice try at changing the subject BTW, or an attempt at playing some sorta gotcha game or whatever the hell you were attempting.

First of all the discuss... (Below threshold)
Brian:

First of all the discussion is about apples, (Muslims in the U.S) and you bring up and orange tree.

The "discussion" you're referring to is simply my comment, which was about Muslims being expected to westernize. As France is a western country, it's entirely on topic. Nice attempt at weaseling, though.

But if it's the case I'm familar with yes I would be opposed, because they based their case on the scarfs being part and parcel, in other words a requirement of their religion.

Wow, talk about changing the subject! I didn't ask for your legal interpretation of the merits of their challenge to the law. You said, "no one wants them to 'westernize.' All reasonable people have asked is for them to not force their beliefs or customs on others."

Since wearing the scarves does not "force beliefs or customs on others", and being banned from wearing them is an attempt to make them conform to western culture, then you should be in favor of the girls continuing to wear them. I didn't ask if you think the law has good a good legal foundation. Do you think it's good to ban the head scarves, yes or no?

Nice try at changing the subject BTW, or an attempt at playing some sorta gotcha game or whatever the hell you were attempting.

Typical righty. Accuse others of the deception that you yourself practice.

Actually, the French view t... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Actually, the French view the headscarves of muslim girls as introducing religion into their school system which was secularized as part of their previous revolutions. So in the view of the French it is a matter of forcing beliefs on them.

Further, muslim youth gangs are intimidating and assaulting women in their neighborhoods who do not wear veils.

Brian wears his dhimmitude ... (Below threshold)
kim:

Brian wears his dhimmitude as cheerfully as a young woman might a bright kerchief.
=====================

No, actually I wear marc... (Below threshold)
Brian:

No, actually I wear marc's dhimmitude that cheerfully. He's the one who said "no one wants them to 'westernize.' All reasonable people have asked is for them to not force their beliefs or customs on others." I just challenged him to reconcile that with reality. So far he's failed.




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