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The Contender
Con (against)

Hijab is Sexist

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/22/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 weeks ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 175 times Debate No: 95579
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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First round is introductory. Say your name and your stance with any type of possible information that helps in the debate.
Please cite all information you say, unless you write them yourself. Do not use circular proof or try to justify religious actions by saying religion says so, so this proof is inacceptable.
My name is Jace, I'm an ex-Muslim from Lebanon, used to belong to the Shiatte sect.
I'll be glad to discuss this subject with you in an open mind.
Do not start the debate. Just say "I accept" and identify yourself.
Thank you.


I'm an American and will debate that it is not sexist.
Debate Round No. 1


Hijab came in a time when female infanticide was widely accepted and practiced. In fact, even the Quran points that out, saying "And when the girl [who was] buried alive is asked, for what sin she was killed" (1). They used to do that for that only because women might grow up to be raped, which would be disgraceful for the family. Of course, Islam didn’t condone this kind of action and prohibited it. So, Islam came and changed things to the better.

Jahiliyya was a very dreadful time indeed. Not only did it condone infanticide, but also was very sexist to women in general. A woman wasn’t allowed to work outside the house, and anything she did would hurt man’s valuable pride. One of the things women had to do back then was hijab, better known as veiling.

You know how hot shorts are in right now? How it’s cool to wear Converse and not wearing Converse would make you uncool? That was the thing with Hijab. In fact, some people weren’t allowed to be veiled, like prostitutes or slaves (2), so show their disgrace. When Islam came, and it had to expand among other non-Arab countries, the thought of non-veiled women couldn’t be bared; it was sort of like seeing nude woman on the street in modern-day countries. The pillars of Islam like Prophet Mohammad thought that “What if my daughter grows up to not wear veil if we live in one of those non-Arab countries? How can a man even accept that his daughter would be exposed to everyone?” Subsequently, veiling was obligatory.

After discussing more than one scholar, the justification they gave to veiling was that it “protects” the woman from the filthiness of a man. Let me start by saying how ridiculous this is. Not only that, but it’s also both an objectification of women and an animalization of men. This simple sentence claims that men only think about women as a sexual object, and that all that men care about in a woman is sex.

The thing is, we have been in situations where Islam finds what’s wrong and fixes it. An example could be drinking wine. Arabs used to excessively drink wine in the past, as we can find many poems explicitly stating that (See Abu Nuwwas poetry). However, Islam didn’t adopt drinking wine. It stood there and banned it, because it was inherently wrong in its opinion, even though everyone in the society drank. So, Islam isn’t afraid to stand in the face of what it thinks is wrong, even if the whole society is with it.

This doesn’t happen with Hijab, though. Islam seems to adopt male animalization and female objectification. Instead of asking men to stop viewing women as a sexual object as they did in Jahiliyya (and are still doing nowadays), it asks women to dress themselves from the ankle up, covering every inch of their bodies just so men wouldn’t do the effort of not sexualizing the opposite gender.

Islam didn’t hesitate when standing in the way of drinking wine, because it knew it was wrong. When it came to how men see women, Islam adopted that view, saying “Okay, I understand how men see women as sexual objects. It’s wrong but I understand it and I’ll build around it. Women, males think in a really bad way, so it’s your responsibility to wear Hijab to prevent that.” This, of course, emphasizes sexism, because it claims that women are responsible for the way men look at them.

Another scholar said that men aren’t allowed to look lustfully at women, Hijab or not. Why isn’t that law enough to protect women? Why should Islam force women into wearing veils when there already is a law against men looking lustfully at women? Some might say that it’s because men might break that law. Well, mightn’t women break the law of Hijab as well?

On the other hand, the same scholar pointed out that women looking lustfully at men was haram as well. Yet, men don’t wear Hijab. So, woman have to cover their body to prevent men from lusting over them, but men have to do nothing to stop women from that? Why? A short reading of history reveals to you that this is because long ago, due to the sexist surroundings of Islam (if not to say Islam itself), women were largely incapable of defending themselves from rapists. So, they had to cover their whole body. However, men were capable of defending themselves, so they didn’t need veiling. You can see how that doesn’t apply nowadays, especially with the growing female strength and confidence. Women are becoming physically equal to men with every passing day, as to break the stereotype of strong men and weak women. So, women don’t need a veil today. It’s outdated, and stands as a statement to laugh at women in the face as to being inferior to men.


(2) Ahmed, Leila (1992). “Women and Gender in Islam”. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. pp. 12–16.



Let me preface this with, I am not an expert on religion or Islam. I will do further research for my next round but my internet was down all weekend as I just moved so I'm solely arguing off of what my opponent stated and refuting arguments with logic in argument not research for this round as I see this as a best option, considering there are multiple flaws in the logic.

Let's start at the beginning of your argument. As you mention, Hijab started when there was a high level of female infanticide, however, this is something that is practiced even today in other countries. China as a prime example with their one child policies and many families wanting sons. Even in Western countries, there are instances of abortions happening simply because the parents don't want a son or daughter. So, though the reasoning may be different, that still happens, with or without the Hijab. I'm not really sure how that correlates to your argument of the hijab being sexist.

As you mention in paragraph #3, hijab was initially a fashion statement, something that women of class seemingly wanted to wear to not be seen as prostitutes. So if that's the case, then that implies women were the ones who were part of it starting as a tradition. It became obligatory but from your explanation it did not start off as such.

The main issue in this entire discussion is that hijab is not a sexist practice but a religious law. Similar to that of Judaism and mixing meat and cheese. The law comes from the fact that according to Jewish scripture you cannot "boil the meat of the kid in the milk of the mother." As such they created excess rules and laws that ensure there is no chance of that happening. The fact that Islam is actually a system of government not just a religion and there is no separation of church and state in these nations that make Hijab law, contributes to the fact that it appears sexist when in reality it is simply a religious norm. To alter it would be to alter the entire religion.

Many religious practices may fall under sexist, homophobic, racist, or other terms. But the fact is we as people are free to decide for ourselves what we choose to believe. As such, a woman has free will to believe and follow Islam and thus makes a choice to follow that rule. To say otherwise would be like a Jew saying "I want to be a Jew but I don't want to wear a Kippah, cause it's sexist that men have to wear them," or a Christian saying, "I am going to be a Christian but I'm going to be gay as well cause the Christian religion saying that homosexuality is a sin is homophobic." They may seem that way, sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. But the fact that one chooses to follow a religion means they accept it's tenets and as such have to abide by them.

Now, we get into a bigger issue, the freedom to choose to follow these laws or choose your religion. That's the big issue. The hijab is not sexist in and of itself, it's part of a religion and people can choose to follow the religion. The issue in lies that a nation(s) force said religion and religious laws on it's populace. That's the issue that should be debated but that is not the purpose of this debate. Ultimately, however, the hijab is simply a part of a religion and a belief system and we have freedom to choose our religion.

Muslim women in the US, France, UK, Germany, or any other nation with separation of church and state have the freedom to choose what religion they want to follow, what rules they wish to follow within that religion and thus, if they choose to be Muslim they are choosing to wear the hijab and obey that law and if they are making that choice it nullifies the sexist argument.

If they want to believe the tenets of Islam without the Hijab, there are plenty of instances in history in which reforms of religions happened due to changing of times. Nothing is stopping that from happening so until someone starts that up, I conclude that sexism in the form of the hijab is not a thing.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for your very clear and intelligible arguement.
You mentioned the Jewish law of not mixing meat and cheese as a bridge to a sort of refutation of what I had stated. I would like to comment on that saying that the Jewish law in itself is scientifically wrong and very senseless. Hence, it should be re-viewed and re-thought. Similarly, you discussed that a woman chooses to wear Hijab and it isn't impossed on her in secular countries like the US. Let me argue by analogy here: if I were to tell you that the other room doesnt have oxygen, and you have to wear this protective suit in order to stay alive and stay breathing, and considering you trust me, you will not dare to take the suit off. You see, Muslim women are pressured into wearing Hijab by their religion, because as you said, religion sometimes has doctorines that we do not agree on but have to apply nonetheless.
What I'm arguing here isn't a woman's undebatable right to wear whatever she wants and have freedom of expression. What I'm arguing here is the ideology of Hijab itself. In other words: I know Islam forces women into Hijab, and she's free to wear it or not, but I'm arguing that it shouldn't be in the doctorines after all.
Major religions like Christianity and Judaism have gone through several reforms across the years. Many Christian churches accept homosexuality nowadays, for example. Islam, however, is still the way it was 1400 years ago. Being the "direct word of God", it has not been reformed in any way, claiming that it's true for all times. Let's discuss the doctorine of Hijab, then, and whether it's right to tell a woman to veil her head just to protect her and men from sin (in concept).
As I mentioned earlier, it's not about us telling women what to do. It's more about religion telling them what to do and them doing it blindly, thinking it's for the best.
I think that hijab is sexist, then, not because it's forced onto a female by her state, but because it's forced onto her by her religion, unrightfully. Millions of women go out every day dressed from the toes up, hiding every inch of skin in the greatest of heat, just so men won't be sexually aroused by the females and thus fall into sin. I mentioned a point before that you didn't address: the notion of Hijab - just by saying Hijab is a must - is claiming that men are animals who get aroused by everything and that women are sexual objects. The notion of female Hijab (which is the only type out there) is a broad statement saying that women should cover up for the better good of men and women. Women should make the sacrifice so that men and women don't go to hell. So, women are fighting men's battles, I see. That is, not to re-state the fact that Islam is building its laws around manly lust instead of destroying that ideology. Islam, as I said above, is saying that "Men are wrong for lusting over women so women should wear hijab because we can do nothing about the lust itself" instead of strictly prohibiting the lust, applying the laws of hijab to both genders or asking men to control themselves and their desires, as many non-Muslim people do. I'd like to re-point that Islam didn't mind stepping in the face of wine-drinking - a very wide-spread phenomenon in that day - when it claimed it was wrong. So, by not standing in the way of manly lust and opposing it, pr demanding men to have more self-control and discipline (instead, they took the easy way out and covered the women), Islam is making a statement that they condone this kind of behavior which is covering women up instead of asking men for more control, and they accept it, even though they are capable of denying it just like they denied wine back then.
I appreciate your refutation, but I hope you address my points in your next one.


See, here in lies the biggest flaw in your argument. You are arguing for a religion to change it's doctrine simply because you disagree with it.

You bring up at the beginning of this round that my argument for Jewish Kosher laws is scientifically flawed, yet, it's not a scientific issue. It's a religious issue. If you want to discuss the actual validity of religions that's a whole different debate. Is reincarnation a scientifically proven theory? Is Heaven, Paradise, Purgatory, Nirvana, Valhalla, Gan Eden, Vaikuntha or any other versions of afterlife scientific?

You state that religions have undergone reform over the years but in most cases, there are still fundamentalists that practice the traditional versions. Jewish Orthodox, the many denominations of Christianity, the sects of Islam, they are all still practiced and to state a religion must change a doctrine because of it's appearance to the rest of society is equally discriminatory as sexism. Just as someone that is sexist is discriminatory against people of the opposite sex, by stating a religion change it's belief because you don't agree with it is discriminatory and reliiongist (is that a term?).

Your argument hinges upon the same principle as if I was to say, "Women only being allowed to become nuns and not monks is sexist." It's simply a tradition and doctrine. As I said in my previous round, if people want to create a reform sect or denomination then go for it. But it is not inherently sexist for a religion to have certain beliefs. If someone doesn't want to believe it they are not required to believe it.

That's where my argument regarding the state forcing the religion onto people enters into things and where you misconstrued my argument. A religion is something people should be free to believe and practice and follow however they want. If people are free to accept the religion, all doctrines included, then it cannot be considered sexist if they freely accept the rules and doctrine. States forcing laws onto the people based on religion is an issue, in that sense, you could argue that state imposed Hijab laws are sexist, but from a religions standpoint and as it pertains to the basic tenets of Islam it is not sexist.

Now, I'm sure you're going to bring it around to say that my argument is now going against how you set out this debate as saying that I'm using the "Because the religion says so," defense. However, that is not what I'm doing. I am not saying that it is not sexist because religion says so, I'm saying it's not sexist in the context of the religion because people are free to believe religions for what they are and if they don't agree to the religion then they don't have to follow it.

Let's spin this over to a different area that may seem unrelated but correlates. There are certain lifestyles and sexual predilections that follow a role of Dominance and submission. It's an entire subculture and was popularized recently in the movie 50 Shades. Now, in this subculture people willingly and consensually submit to another, often in demeaning and misogynistic ways. Is this sexist? If it's being willingly entered into by the one being subjugated? It is their choice to accept the role or lifestyle. In the same sense it is a Muslim woman's choice to accept Islam and it's doctrines. It is not sexist if it is her choice.

When those religious doctrines are turned into state laws then it can become oppression and sexist rule, however, in a strictly religious standpoint it is simply their religion and their belief and their choice. It's not "non-sexist" because the religion says so, it's non-sexist because it is their choice to follow a religion that says so.
Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by vi_spex 1 month ago
you what
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