I was at the park the other day with the kids, sweating in the 90 degree heat of the afternoon
(can they not leave even ONE tree when they create these new neighborhoods????), when another family joined us. They were a Muslim family. I know this because of the woman's attire: black head covering, long sleeve shirt with a vest over the top, and jeans. Her husband was wearing a t-shirt and soccer shorts. The kids were also wearing summer clothing. At first, the "I am woman, hear me roar!" side of me got pretty annoyed at seeing a fellow mother dressed in those suffocating clothes, chasing her two young toddlers around the park while her husband went over to a soccer field and kicked a ball around. (The Dad not helping out with the kids part would have annoyed me no matter what the race/religion.)
But then I remembered that they don't share my cultural and religious beliefs, and that I shouldn't judge them. I actually think people of Muslim faith are probably onto something regarding modesty. I wouldn't go as far as they do to cover up, but I understand the intent. As I see women in public places like the grocery store, I am often ASTONISHED at the things they will wear. (Or, more to the point, fail to wear.) Do we really need to see all that cleavage, or upper thigh cellulite, super-tightness that reveals all, or just general skin? And more often than not, these women are already married with kids, so it's not like they're trying to snag a man. I say, "Save it for the bedroom, sister!"
Anyway, off the soapbox and back to the playground.
I made an effort to talk with the Muslim mom. She seemed shy and nervous around me, but was nice and smiled a lot. Her English wasn't great, but we talked a bit and compared our kids' ages and such. Her little boy looked to be about Brother's age and they shared a soccer ball for a little while quite sweetly. And I remembered an old movie where a woman says something to the effect that if all the mothers of the world could just get together and talk, there would be no war. In the movie, the guests at the dinner party meet this statement with derision, but I think it's true. Standing there in my shorts and t-shirt, I am sure I looked as ridiculously dressed to her as she did to me. But we found some common ground there at the park, smiling at each other over the tops of our children's heads.
I did have to secretly laugh at the patch on her jeans, though. In large letters it said, "TOO SEXY." It seems to me that such a message stamped on the rear of your jeans kinds of defeats the purpose of all the oppresive layers of clothing. But just maybe my fellow mom isn't quite as oppressed as she seemed.