Brief Comments on Burqas, Hijabs, Niqabs and Nudity in General

MuslimHeadgearBut before I begin, tomorrow, Saturday April 6, 2013 at 10 am we will have our usual Saturday zazen thing at 237 Hill St., Santa Monica, CA 90405. It’s open to everyone, beginners are encouraged. Please come!

Then on Sunday April 7, 2013 at 10 am come to Against The Stream 4300 Melrose Avenue. Los Angeles CA 90029 for our Sunday morning Zen service with chanting and bowing and stuff. This will be the second one of these.

Stick around afterward because at 11 am at the very same venue I will lead meditation and give a talk.

Also, there are still spaces available for our 3-day zazen retreat at Mt. Baldy April 26-28, 2013. Click here for further info and to register.

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Yesterday and today I received several interesting links regarding burqas, hijabs and niqabs (and seetars too). For those who don’t know, here are the definitions pulled right off one of the links I received:

  • Niqab is a veil that covers a woman’s hair and face, leaving only eyes clearly visible.
  • Hijab is the Arabic word for curtain or cover. It is a piece of cloth worn by observant Muslim women to cover the hair, ears, and neck, leaving the face uncovered.
  • Seetar, sitar, a similar garment to the burqa/burkha, includes a niqab with a second tier screening the eyes with mesh. It covers the woman’s whole body and is usually black in color. In other words, the burqa essentially refers to a face and head covering that begins at the top of the head and drapes as long as the body. The burqa is generally associated to Aghanistan, the seetar to Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

The first link I got was to Femen’s “Topless Jihad Day.” Femen is a group of women in Europe who protest naked for various feminist causes. I like them. Sometimes maybe they go too far. But sometimes maybe one has to go “too far” to make a point.

Right after that, someone posted a link to a group of Muslim women who are protesting Femen’s protest. They assert their right to wear whatever coverings they want. I also like them. Say it loud! Be Muslim and proud!

Finally, someone sent me an article called Arab Feminist Perspective on Burqa, Niqab and Hijab. This was also very interesting and eye-opening.

Before I go on, I need to mention that I’m running late today and I don’t have the time to give this article the real attention and polish the subject deserves. But I wanted to get into this while the news was still hot. So I’m writing this quickly and hoping for the best.

I find all of this stuff really fascinating. I have no qualms with women who wear hijab because they want to. But I do have a very big problem with societies and governments who require them to be worn. I also have very serious doubts concerning the burqa and the niqab. I find it very difficult (not impossible, just very difficult) to believe anyone really wears those by choice, especially the burqa. Maybe it happens. But it’s still hard for me to believe.

Human beings, religions, clothing, sexual impropriety… it’s all very complex stuff.

Human beings are really weird. All of the other great apes are hairy and do not need clothing. Why are humans virtually hairless? I’ve read a lot on the subject and it really seems like nobody knows. One old and largely discounted theory has it that at one point in our evolution humans were aquatic apes. The only other hairless mammals — dolphins, whales, seals and so on — live in the sea. So maybe that’s why we lost our hair. But it doesn’t seem likely.

I got a dong way longer than King Kong!

I got a dong way longer than King Kong!

And there are other weird things about us. Our genitals are huge! I am hung far more impressively than even the biggest gorilla in the mountains of the Congo. All human males are. Human females have outrageously large boobs compared to the other great apes. And don’t get me started on our shapely butts. Plus we are always in heat. Most other mammals have a mating season. But not us. It’s mating season all year long for humans!

How did all that come to be? It doesn’t seem to fit very well with the current ideas about natural selection. And I, for one, strongly believe in the concept of natural selection. So there must be some reason. Could it be that we are sex crazy apes and have selectively bred ourselves for these traits? I really think that may be the case.

Almost all human societies require members to wear clothing that hides our genitalia. Why is that? I’ve often wondered. The best theories I’ve heard involve the idea that, in other great apes, exposure of the genitals signals only two things; that one is ready to mate or that one is ready to fight. Since our genitals are always exposed when we’re naked, we are constantly sending out these signals whether we want to or not. So somewhere in our distant past we realized we needed to cover up that stuff if we wanted to have anything like a stable civilization.

Religions always tend to be the most conservative when it comes to this because religions are supposed to be on the forefront of pro-social, moral behavior. In Buddhism, monks and nuns are generally required to dress modestly. In some sects this means wearing the kashaya or o-kesa, which in some ways is similar to the Muslim forms of modest dress. The head is not covered, but the hair is usually shaved off to achieve something like the same effect. One big difference between Buddhist societies and some (but not all) Muslim ones is that only monks and nuns are required to dress like this.

But all modern societies do require some kind of “modest dress” to one degree or another. Even string bikinis do cover up some of our naughty bits. And there are places in all societies where string bikinis are not allowed, where one must cover up more than that.

I’m not really reaching for any sort of conclusion here. I just think it’s all really fascinating to ponder. Maybe I’ll write more about this over the next few installments if anyone’s interested in continuing.

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68 Responses

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  1. sri_barence
    sri_barence April 5, 2013 at 10:18 am |

    I like being naked (I’m a male, in case anyone cares). When I was a kid on The Farm (still in Summertown, TN last I looked), we went swimming naked in the local stream, took showers outdoors when it rained, etc. Men, women and children all went nude, and it never seemed to cause problems. I became interested in covering up my body when I hit puberty; before that I simply didn’t care. At some point The Farm in general decided that public nudity was uncool; people thought it would “scare the grandparents.” They were probably right.

    I’ve always though religious ideas about “modesty” were pretty weird. Covering up the body just makes it more interesting when you do get a glimpse. Seeing a woman’s ankles was a bit turn-on in the 1800’s, when Western women usually wore long, floor-length dresses and skirts.

    I think Americans in general are way too uptight about sex and nudity. Swimwear should be optional at the beach or pool, and people should be able to wear skimpy clothing if the weather calls for it (or if they just want to dress that way).

    However, all Buddhist monks should be required to wear long, heavy black robes the year round. Hee hee.

    1. intokyo
      intokyo April 5, 2013 at 6:09 pm |

      To piggyback off this, it just seems like societies decide what people’s “naughty bits” are and then throw fits when these aren’t properly covered, like women’s ankles. Living in the United States that means women’s breasts, both sexes genitals and butts. It’s conventional morality.

      The desired effect is to lessen curiosity about these parts, but the opposite happens. People develop more and more curiosity and you get stuff like porn. Like, if you saw exposed breasts every single day of your life, how long would it take for you to get used to them and no longer be sexually aroused by them?

  2. drocloc
    drocloc April 5, 2013 at 10:47 am |

    Why humans cover up??? Really? Does eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden mean anything. . .uhh. . .oh, wait. . .it doesn’t. Never mind.^^

  3. A-Bob
    A-Bob April 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm |

    Why do humans wear clothes? Maybe because they get cold.. People are virtually hairless as you pointed out. Your huge human dong isn’t so big when the sun isn’t shining and there’s a bit of a breeze.. Most tropical people don’t wear many clothes but they do like to cover their genitals. I think it’s more about adornment or exaggerating the size than keeping them hidden away..

  4. Zafu
    Zafu April 5, 2013 at 12:42 pm |

    I think Americans in general are way too uptight about sex and nudity. Swimwear should be optional at the beach or pool, and people should be able to wear skimpy clothing if the weather calls for it (or if they just want to dress that way).

    Are you serious? Americans are typically overweight and out of shape. Laws against public nudity are a public service.

    1. sri_barence
      sri_barence April 6, 2013 at 4:25 am |


  5. boubi
    boubi April 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm |

    One of the main explanation for wearing this kind of stuff is that if not covered women would be sexually assaulted by men.

    I let you decide for yourself which kind of men they are talking about.

    Th same kind of “spiritual authorities” justify sexual assault and rape by the fact that “those women” are just “asking for it” behaving like prostitutes or such.

    I let you decide for yourself which kind of “spiritual leaders” are saying such things.

  6. Mumbles
    Mumbles April 5, 2013 at 4:03 pm |

    Its the mystique, the allure, the illusion, the tantalizing peek, the unknown. If we were subjected to the constant sight of each others naughty bits, boredom would ensue…

  7. King Kong
    King Kong April 5, 2013 at 4:18 pm |


  8. Mumbles
    Mumbles April 5, 2013 at 6:02 pm |

    …Two lovely crossed legs caught in long stockings
    Flaring out in the center of a great white clover
    There is a silken ladder rolled out over the ivy
    There is
    By my leaning over the precipice
    Of your presence and your absence in hopeless fusion
    My finding the secret
    Of loving you
    Always for the first time

    -Andre Breton

  9. Tattoozen
    Tattoozen April 5, 2013 at 6:28 pm |

    As for permanent “heat”, one theory is that because human babies take so long to be relatively independent (like 12 years) that women developed the appearance of always being fertile in order to keep the make around to co-parent. The idea being that as long as there was a risk of some other guy getting your baby momma pregnant then the make would stick around to protect his genetic lineage.

    In my opinion clothing is often used to control women’s role in society. High heels, corsets, dresses, burquas all limit mobility and activity. All the cultures with these arcane dress codes also decree women to be weak, subject to victim hood, and needing to be “protected”. It’s about control and subjugation.

  10. Tattoozen
    Tattoozen April 5, 2013 at 6:29 pm |

    “Male” not “make”
    Damn autocorrect.

  11. A-Bob
    A-Bob April 5, 2013 at 6:44 pm |

    Andre Breton was an interesting artist.
    But sexually he was a victim of his time and place.
    If you are denied visual access to the vagina
    stockings and panties will turn you on
    if you are denied even that..
    who knows what way the kink will twist.

  12. Mumbles
    Mumbles April 5, 2013 at 8:29 pm |


    How do you know he was denied visual access to anything?

    I’m sure Breton could have asked Man Ray (for ex.) to show him a photo of one if indeed he had no access to an actual vagina. Good lord.

    What’s the big deal about getting turned on by whatever turns you on?

  13. Proulx Michel
    Proulx Michel April 6, 2013 at 3:22 am |

    boubi writes:

    “One of the main explanation for wearing this kind of stuff is that if not covered women would be sexually assaulted by men.”

    It would rather seem that the more women are covered, the more they are submitted to male aggressions, like it is the cas in Egypt, for instance.

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot April 6, 2013 at 4:30 am |

      Long ago, in the nice little magazine called Science Digest, which gave me a lot of my current scientific background, I read about Tahiti and the missionaries. Before, Tahitians went almost naked, sex was easy, casual, and frequent, and rape was practically unknown. After the missionaries made the women cover up their tits, and taught all of them proper shame, rape was more common. And drinking the rum that came with Jesus.

      Though the Church had some wonderful flowers, I can’t say what weighs more on the downside — the suffering through the wars, inquisitions, and the support of inequitable governments on the one hand, or the suffering caused by the sexual warping of so many people.

      In the sixties, we experimented a lot with nudity. For us, it lessened social tension, while desensitizing sexual visual stimuli. That wasn’t a problem when we actually did have sex. All in all, it felt better, cleaner, even. I think we should have much more of it.

      Rather than be corrupted by seeing nudity and sexual activity, children form a healthier attitude toward sex as part of life in cultures more casual about them, than those like ours that seek to “protect” children from sexual knowledge. Less inclination to child abuse in adults, too.

  14. mai_neh
    mai_neh April 6, 2013 at 6:21 am |

    Keep in mind that modern human civilization hasn’t existed on earth for all that long, so evolution hasn’t had much time to affect how we look since the time humans invented agriculture and started spreading across the planet. Before that we originated in the temperate grassland regions of Africa and the Middle East where we had to hunt down fast-running prey, so humans evolved to become long-distance runners, and evolved relatively hairless bodies with lots of sweat glands so we would not overheat while running down our prey. We were able to dispense with furry bodies because we learned to make clothing to keep us warm while we weren’t running down the gazelles.

    This is why nowadays the good looking fellas run shirtless in the park 😉 While running we don’t need much clothing (or fur).

  15. Proulx Michel
    Proulx Michel April 6, 2013 at 6:23 am |

    The Patagons lived naked in a climate that is rather cold, the southern tip of Southern America. As soon as the missionaries had them covered, they started developing diseases.

    I myself have experimented that living barefoot in winter (I admit though that the climate of Southern France is not that of Quebec) had allowed me to suffer much less of cold in winter. The other day, in Germany, I delighted walking barefoot in the snow. And the experience of the Saddhus in India who can clim Mount Kailash almost naked, and sit in the snow without being affected by cold is also IMO another indication that this nakedness is not that much of a problem in a good deal of the climates of Earth (though not all, of course).

    But the arrogance of those women who delight in advertising their religion with their clothing (and trying to shame those who don’t) is not something that should be neglected…

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot April 6, 2013 at 9:01 am |

      “But the arrogance of those women who delight in advertising their religion with their clothing (and trying to shame those who don’t) is not something that should be neglected…”

      Oh, now, Michel!

      Perhaps you have a particular view of that in France. Here in the States, the hijab is no more arrogant than a cross on the chest, or a nenju on the wrist. It can take a bit of courage to declare yourself. When it’s forced, then it stops being an expression of religion, and an emblem of subjugation.

  16. boubi
    boubi April 6, 2013 at 6:45 am |

    P Michel
    ++ It would rather seem that the more women are covered, the more they are submitted to male aggressions, like it is the cas in Egypt, for instance. ++

    The more it’s forbidden the more it is tempting … off course.

    Then it becomes a “cultural” factor.

    In many places in Europe, Australia etc where this kind of “cultural” repression becomes the norm due to the concentration of this kind of believes, it is common for normal women passing through those “territories” to be at the very least verbally assaulted for being “immodestly” dressed, when it is not sexual harassment of rape.

    Gays too are subject to the same treatment with added the risk of being punched, kicked, beaten with baseball bats, just for being themselves.

    + + + + + + + +
    mam justifies rape of unveiled women
    Australian cleric compares victims
    to ‘uncovered meat’ that attracts cats
    Published: 10/26/2006 at 1:40 PM

    Printer Friendly
    Text smaller
    Text bigger

    Australia’s top Muslim cleric rationalized a series of gang rapes by Arab men, blaming women who “sway suggestively,” wear make-up and don’t cover themselves in the tradition of Islam.

    Sheik Ibrahim Mogra with Sheik Taj el-Dene Elhilaly. (Courtesy Sydney Daily Telegraph)

    Sheik Taj el-Dene Elhilaly’s comments in a Ramadan sermon in a Sydney mosque have stirred a furor in the country with even Prime Minister John Howard weighing in with condemnation.

    The cleric also said the judge in the case, who sentenced the rapists, had “no mercy.”

    “But the problem, but the problem all began with who?” he said, referring to the women victims – whom he said were “weapons used by Satan.”

    The victims of the vicious gang rapes are leading the national outcry – with some calling for deportation of the sheik. In a Sydney Daily Telegraph online poll, 84 percent of people said the Egyptian-born sheik should be deported.

    “If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it … whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat?” the sheik said in his sermon. “The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred.”

    A 16-year-old girl, whose gang rape investigation was the subject of a secret police report, issued an open letter yesterday.

    “You are a sad person who has no understanding of what really happens when these people inflict harm and degrading acts upon me or any other young girl,” she said.

    Initially, the mufti of Australia would not back away from his comments. But today he apologized.

    “I unreservedly apologize to any woman who is offended by my comments,” he said in a statement. “I had only intended to protect women’s honor.”

    Howard said the sheik’s remarks were “appalling and reprehensible.”
    + + + +


    Brad, if you are, rightly, scared that some fanatic may harm you, PLEASE delete this post.

    But if you do it, just realize the point we reached, when reproducing news or well known truth that may lead to aggression, and how we got there.

  17. boubi
    boubi April 6, 2013 at 6:57 am |

    Of course women are worth as much as a piece of meat left around.

    Women are not persons, they are “untermenschen”, that don’t deserve to be considered human as a man.

    Now please find from where this “cultural bias” was originated, and by whom it is being propagated.

    There is in the laws something called “apology of crime” which consist in justifying and inciting the practice of a crime.

  18. AnneMH
    AnneMH April 6, 2013 at 7:18 am |

    That was cool to learn the differences between all the different coverings. I did not know enough to tell the difference but I see them. It has been a shift in the communities I work in that are largely hispanic and Spanish speaking to see a few families who are Muslim and in various levels of covering coming in. The different types of dress are interesting to me.

    On the clothing issue, I have always lived in colder areas and so I never really questioned wearing clothes (although swimming naked is really a cool experience). I have had some very liberal/hippy type friends who were very against bras. They thought the girls should be free! Never worked for me, they bounce a lot you know. Not very comfortable. So it is just something I can’t really get comfortable with, all this nudity, but I am okay with that too.

    I would think it was difficult to not have an ashamed view of yourself if you had to be covered, for your honor or not it seems difficult. But I am sure it is more complicated, I can relate it to me not feeling comfortable just hanging out naked. I did have an interesting conversation with a 16 year old girl, friend of my son. She has been raised American and has family all over the world. She is a very attractive young lady and here in the US she dresses in typically tight or short clothing. She went overseas to a middle eastern country (can’t recall details) and dressed more modestly but still as an American. Then one day there was a ceremony or wedding where she wore some covering like the head one and a more modest dress. She said that was the only time she felt really relaxed and comfortable during that trip.

  19. boubi
    boubi April 6, 2013 at 7:54 am |

    +++ She said that was the only time she felt really relaxed and comfortable during that trip. +++

    Could it be because the “look” of the people wasn’t there anymore?

    Could it be because she didn’t feel anymore a social pressure on her?

  20. Mumbles
    Mumbles April 6, 2013 at 8:29 am |

    “Is it alright to kiss a Nun? It is if you don’t get into the habit.”

    -an indirectly recollected probably not-a-quote from William Gaddis, The Recognitions

  21. anon 108
    anon 108 April 6, 2013 at 9:33 am |

    Still unemployed, I am required to check in at least once a week at a government-sponsored back-to-work scheme run by a Muslim charity based in a Mosque just down the road from me in Whitechapel – the proper old East End of London.

    These days, the population of Whitechapel is overwhelmingly Muslim, in much the same way that it was overwhelmingly Jewish in the early years of the last century when my grandparents settled there having just got off the boat from Russia.

    I’ve noticed that most of the young women working for the charity and coming and going in the streets round about who wear hijabs and niqabs – and very many do – also wear make-up (eye-liner and/or eye-shadow for the niqab-wearers) and jewellery (rings, bracelets, bangles etc.).

    Erm…that’s it.

  22. boubi
    boubi April 6, 2013 at 9:37 am |

    @ minkfoot

    Those clothes are NOT a mere expression of some belief, they are the expression of the inferiority of the woman, her subjugation, of the fact that they are “meat” to be conciled from men’s view.

    They state that they “culture” is above state’s laws, and it it what they say very clearly when interviewed.

    It’s very different from some ethnic cloth or religious symbol.

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot April 6, 2013 at 11:30 am |

      I don’t think it’s as absolute as you say. It’s true that there are places in the world where women who would rather not wear an Islamic head covering are coerced into it by social pressure or even law. But there are also many women, young women at that, who decide to wear it on their own, even though their family would accept their decision either way.

      In my parents’ culture, as in much of Europe and even the United States, head covering for women was the norm — you were seen as somewhat loose if you did not cover your head/hair. Headscarves among the women of Eastern Europe were universal. Even in my life, I can remember when women would not be allowed in an Orthodox church wearing pants or without head covering. Remember when Catholic women would hairpin a handerchief to their head because they forgot a hat for a church serrvice?

      Times change, and cultural mores. In some places, due to political and religious friction, it’s more of a big deal than others. Perhaps your views are colored by that? When I see a hijab, I do not assume the woman is oppressed, because I just don’t know.

  23. boubi
    boubi April 6, 2013 at 9:47 am |

    @ anon 108

    … and what happens if some female shows up in mini skirt in the neighborhood or some fag or someone with a bottle in its hand ?

    1. anon 108
      anon 108 April 6, 2013 at 10:35 am |


      There are young ladies in short skirts to be seen in the neighborhood. I imagine there are homosexuals, too. And I’ve certainly seen people holding bottles/cans of alcohol as they stroll about the place (if that’s what you mean), some of whom may be gay. Nothing’s ‘happened’ – not that’s worth re-telling. Not that I’ve witnessed.

  24. Proulx Michel
    Proulx Michel April 6, 2013 at 11:30 am |

    Actually, the situation in France, from what a German girl friend told me, is that, in Paris, it is becoming ever so more difficult, especially in some areas of the Capital, to be shortly clothed. There are gangs of youths of Northern African and Black African origins who will insult and tease girls that are too “fashionable”. Those who are clearly of Muslim origins (or apparently so) will be chided for not wearing a veil.

    It is less so in the South, but it can be different in the areas of the cities (Montpellier, Marseille, Toulouse) where the Muslim concentrations are thick. That veil thing, I think, is only the tip of the iceberg…

    1. anon 108
      anon 108 April 6, 2013 at 11:53 am |

      From what I’ve read and heard, the situation in parts of the UK – including London – is not always good either, PM.

  25. Mumbles
    Mumbles April 6, 2013 at 12:01 pm |

    Wars and rumors of wars. Sounds like the same old same old. And as long as a patriarchy reigns, it will always be the woman’s fault.

  26. boubi
    boubi April 6, 2013 at 12:25 pm |

    The main problem is that in some soft-headed campus subculture, those bearded fanatics are treated with sympathy because they are allegedly “resisting” to the “ZOG-imperialist evil domination”, and because they are “oppressed” (by whom if not themselves?).

    This destroys any critical understanding of what happens.

    They are “oppressed” and they cannot fully practice their “culture” …

    Women, gay, jews etc hate becomes “inner cultural whatever” and denouncing it puts you on the “hate, racist” side of the things, while it is exactly the opposite.

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot April 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm |

      Um, I have a beard.

  27. boubi
    boubi April 6, 2013 at 1:09 pm |

    … are you also a fanatic?

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot April 6, 2013 at 2:06 pm |

      Some would say so. How about you? Are you one?

  28. boubi
    boubi April 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm |

    Just make a grid and see for yourself who they hate …

    You’ll find a high level of correspondence with white suprematists … free women, gays, jews, liberals, democracy …

    When you have a doubt just make a grid/matrix and put a mark where it is due.

  29. boubi
    boubi April 6, 2013 at 1:18 pm |

    I know Brad, someone will tell you that these are just “a few” and that the majority is against it, right.

    But have you ever ever heard about this majority doing something in order to shut these “fanatics” up, the only thing i ever heard from them was “don’t be SO judgmental”.

    1. AnneMH
      AnneMH April 6, 2013 at 5:24 pm |

      But have you ever ever heard about this majority doing something in order to shut these “fanatics” up, the only thing i ever heard from them was “don’t be SO judgmental”.
      (quote from Boubi)

      This is on a side note, but I have heard they are trying to reclassify the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group. I know there have been many protests to their actions.

      All over the world people are standing up to their group when they go too far. How many teenage girls are standing up (and how many are still under a covering that hides abuse) to get to go to school or to not be forced into marriage, even to just be free from a public beating because they were raped. As my example where the young lady was more comfortable covered, there is something to not being stared at constantly or draw negative attention. So the culture will make this shift together over time.

  30. Justin Lewis
    Justin Lewis April 6, 2013 at 4:50 pm |

    I’m a sex crazy ape! I want to hear more about sex!

    Please do make more sexy sex installments.

  31. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 6, 2013 at 9:33 pm |

    “I’m not really reaching for any sort of conclusion here.”- the Bradster.

    “My hand just moves. It’s will-less (ishinashini).” – Sasaki, to Giko David Ruben.

    “I got a dirty, dirty feelin’
    That I just can’t shake
    Yeah my brain keeps burnin’
    And my body just aches

    I know a woman’s body is only flesh and bone
    A woman’s body is only flesh and bone

    How come I can’t let go?
    I’m between two worlds
    I said oh yeah, I’m out of my mind
    I’m between two worlds

    There’s a lot of talk about the danger zone
    There’s adventure novels ’bout takin’ to the road

    I know a woman’s body is only flesh and bone
    How come I can’t let go?”

    -Tom Petty and Mike Campbell

    She has attributed her youthful looks to a healthy love life and given hope to millions by saying she had the best sex of her life at 71.
    So it is something of a let down to find out that even sex symbol Jane Fonda needs artificial help.
    The Barbarella star has revealed she took the male sex hormone testosterone from the age of 70 to boost her libido.
    Miss Fonda said it made ‘a huge difference’.

    (

    No burka for Jane.

  32. AnneMH
    AnneMH April 7, 2013 at 7:12 am |

    on my side note thar people are doing things about our homegrown hateful groups, 10 non-violent ways to protest the Westboro Baptist Church

  33. Curt
    Curt April 7, 2013 at 7:27 am |

    For anyone interested Thomas Moore wrote a good book on this subject titled: “The Soul of Sex.” Definitely worth checking out.

  34. pola
    pola April 7, 2013 at 11:48 am |

    Humans are hairless because (among other reasons) this enables us to walk/jog long distances without overheating.

    This is the problem with the moral relativism Brad displays when writing about Buddhist teachers exploiting their authority for sexual gratification: He cannot meaningfully comment on the practices of another religion. So they oppress women, but they’re all just human, right? In fact, they are doing the rest of us beknighted plebs a favour by revealing their imperfect humanity. Perhaps they deserve donations!

  35. Proulx Michel
    Proulx Michel April 7, 2013 at 1:46 pm |

    pola: by writing what you write, you (deliberately?) forget one crucial element of Brad’s relativism; which is that, in the context where Zen masters are considered to be endowed with the same infailibility as the Pope, and so by people who, secretly wish that they, themselves, will one day gain the very same infailibility, thos who really go overboard do us, in sorts, a favour by telling the same that, no, there is no infailibility, but that it’s no use to ascribe super powers to someone who can’t even keep his rut in check.

  36. AnneMH
    AnneMH April 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm |

    You can see this attitude as encouraging humans to act fallibly, or you can see it as paying attention to reality. I mean how many years before we notice that people don’t always do the best and most skillful action. Well of course they do! Therefore paying some attention to that instead of pretending our spiritual leaders are dieties is important. Then we are once again responsible for our own lives, our own salvation/enlightenment, and our own mistakes. Not nearly as much fun as giving those things over to a leader and considering ourselves really special, but actually real.

  37. Fred
    Fred April 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm |

    Some human beings can be the vessel through which emptiness speaks, but
    emptiness doesn’t need to speak, and the conditioned I is fallible

  38. Fred
    Fred April 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm |

    Even Daniel Ingram Buddha is fallible.

  39. Mumbles
    Mumbles April 7, 2013 at 6:50 pm |

    When we got older
    and our tits began
    to sag, it became
    noticeable how
    visiting friends,
    just hanging out,
    nothing special,
    a social visit,
    two beers or
    twenty, began
    to fall off,
    in direct proportion
    to the having
    of kids, because
    of course
    you love
    your own kids,
    but other people’s
    can be no fun
    after awhile,
    once their three
    year old has thrown
    the ashtray at your
    head, or simply
    pooped his pants
    while you sat next
    to him eating;
    no matter
    how drunk, you
    tend to remember
    enough to avoid
    possibly repeating the
    So the casual,
    inexpensive social
    life begins to fade,
    and you are now
    content to hang out
    with the in-laws,
    eat their food,
    watch some tv,
    play with the dog,
    and go on home.
    Emptiness, the
    kind you thought
    would set in if
    you stayed single
    sitting at some bar
    staring past the
    liquor bottles
    at the your own
    sad reflection
    in the mirror,
    lighting another
    cigarette because
    you hope between
    the booze and the
    nicotine, one or both
    will soon kill you;
    that same empty
    feeling sets in
    as you don’t smoke
    but do drink too
    much sitting
    in your house
    on a plushy couch
    bought on sale
    at tax refund time,
    that existential
    ennui, the suicidal
    pull that makes
    you not care at all
    that your balls now
    drag the toilet
    water as you sit to
    pee like a man,
    or that your hairline
    is so shocking that
    your standard joke
    about whats left of
    it is getting wavy,
    as in waving goodbye,
    does not illicit laughter,
    or pause on the part
    of the listener after
    which they disagree
    with you, which was
    actually the middle-period
    because when they began
    to say that, you knew
    they meant yeah,
    you’re right, buddy.
    When we got older
    and our tits began to
    sag, it became noticeable
    that in order to feel
    the passage of time,
    you have to avoid
    all mirrors, love again
    the kids who are
    now graduating
    from high school and
    college, and check to see if
    our friends have forgiven
    us for getting shit
    faced drunk at that
    New Year’s Eve party
    and grabbing their

  40. Proulx Michel
    Proulx Michel April 8, 2013 at 3:10 am |

    There is something too, about the girl who goes to the Middle East and ends up feeling safer by doing as all the women: that’s the meaning of coercition. Part of my family (in law) is Lebanese. I know what it means.
    And living here, in France, it is quite obvious that the ultimate goal is that all women eventually disappear…

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot April 8, 2013 at 4:31 am |

      But don’t forget that peoples affect eacg other, even when they just share a border. How about all the youth that is liberalized, or completely drops their culture under the influence of the dominant culture. Cultures are dynamic and *will* change. But when people feel threatened, they tend to take refuge in tradition.

      As an American, I have little right to criticize other countries for how they treat their minorities, but I do think the apparent hostility toward economically stressed and culturally conservative minorities is counterproductive to a mutual cultural accommodation.

      However, I have little hope that things will get better soon. People made functionally insane by their greed, hatred, and ignorance rule the world, so that not only the minorities feel stressed and threatened, but all people retreat into tribal identities to regard the Other as the enemy and cause of their problems.

      This has happened over and over in recent times. Societies with just economies and nearly full employment have fewer social problems. But the people in charge have an interest in preventing most others from seeing how they do not govern in the general interest, but to further their own power and perquisites. One major way they do this is to encourage friction between the factions of the ruled, which tends to obscure this manipulation.

      Simple principles, but I have watched them in play my whole life. The first thing we need to do is not get caught up in the emotions and identify with a part of society, as opposed to considering what is best for the whole.

  41. boubi
    boubi April 8, 2013 at 5:01 am |

    Things improve (human right’s way) when there is some force pushing in that direction AND when people are free of some kind of brain washing (ideology/religion).

    In Europe/Western world we had to fight religion dogmas and feudalism (in many forms), it took a lot of time and it’s not yet finished.

    In other parts of the world and here in the “West” too there are forces pushing back thanks to the petrol generated wealth. This wealth is applied mainly to impose a religious dogma.

    It’s the biggest and most powerful COUNTER REFORM since the inquisition.

    You talk about that Westboro Baptist Church and the fact that there is an opposition from christians against it. How many are they in this church?

    Now think about the program of the winning party in Tunisia, the first two in Egypt, the many ones in Pakistan just to name a few, all of them religious inspired.

    Try to make a grid with human rights, woman’s, children’s, gay’s, other religious group’s, freedom of speech and so on.

    This done try to look for some “same religion” group that has the same attitude towards them as christians critics of Westboro Baptist Church …

  42. A-Bob
    A-Bob April 8, 2013 at 11:47 am |

    Well he made it..
    Elvis outlived her.

  43. pola
    pola April 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm |

    @Michael Proulx:

    Brad has previously drawn a distinction between a Buddhist and papal infallibilty on the grounds that Catholics don’t actually really believe the Pope is infallible, so maybe you should take your argument up with him. FWIW, I’m not claiming that “Zen masters” or anyone are remotely superior to other humans. brad is kind of doing that, in fact, but only if they behave in a more selfish and exploitative manner than ordinary people. It’s kind of giving people an opt out on basically decent behaviour

  44. boubi
    boubi April 8, 2013 at 6:43 pm |

    Hi Brad

    Let’s stop “this thing” about unsavory “cultural behaviours” and talk about gnosis. A few readers of the blog will like the subject.

    Just reading news i went to know something more (from knowing nothing it’s a good increase anyway) about gnosticism.


    Quoting from Wikipedia (which is not a scholarly opus, but a good start)
    ++ The word gnostic comes from the Greek word gnosis, meaning “knowledge”, which is often used in Greek philosophy in a manner more consistent with the English “enlightenment”. ++

    A question to the learned ones :
    Anything to do with prajna?

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot April 8, 2013 at 7:51 pm |

      The “gno-” in the Greek “gnosis” is cognate with the Indic “-jna” in “prajna.” But it may not be any more significant a connection than Don Juan being called a man of “knowledge.” Any spiritual endeavor can be cast as an effort to acquire, contact, or realize some kind of knowledge, be it subtle, or subtler.

  45. AnneMH
    AnneMH April 8, 2013 at 8:27 pm |

    I think my answer to some of these conversations is to buy the toaster where you get Jesus’ face toasted into the bread. I think that really makes sense now,

  46. Fred
    Fred April 9, 2013 at 12:17 pm |

    Prajna is the realization that all things are empty of inherent existence,
    including Jesus’ face being toasted into the bread.

  47. Muddy Elephant
    Muddy Elephant April 10, 2013 at 1:04 am |

    More blog posts on this topic yes! Us apes get restless without some good sexual self reflection.

  48. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon April 10, 2013 at 10:39 am |

    Burka Durka Mohammed Jihad!

  49. SoF
    SoF April 10, 2013 at 11:54 am |

    I have always found SEX to be an uncomfortable subject.

    Especially while standing up in a canoe.

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot April 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm |

      You just have to be very careful with your J-stroke.

  50. Khru
    Khru April 11, 2013 at 1:07 am |

    This blog needs more articles about sex and sexy sex.

Comments are closed.