Is morality determined by the length of a woman’s blouse?

Apparently, showing your midriff is worse than dishonesty, breach of rights, self-righteousness and hatred.

Humay Waseem July 31, 2014
Over time I have noticed a common trend on Pakistani Facebook pages, especially those of designers and celebrities: crude, caustic and downright hateful slandering of celebrities.

I recently stumbled upon a picture of Humaima Malick looking gorgeous in an elegant Élan ensemble and all I could think of was the talent and beauty that exists in our country. But then I read the bitterest of verbal abuses on the picture, which included:
“She is lookin’ dumb and her makeup is damn worst”

Kitni ugly hai pata nai kyun uthaya hua hai isko

“This is behayaee and immoral behaviour”

Photo: Élan Facebook Page

Apparently, showing inches of your midriff is “immoral” and a bigger issue than dishonesty, breach of rights, self-righteousness and hatred. If a dress were to simply determine how decent or virtuous a person was then one wouldn’t need to develop any virtue at all.

A woman in a scarf is seen as pious and one in a western attire as corrupt; a baseless prejudice that has people believing that morality lies in the length of a woman’s blouse.

Funnily, all of these comments came from women using pseudonyms and pictures of objects or animals in their display pictures. It became apparent that these women were living highly controlled and over-protected lives. Sadly, women living under the strict patriarchal control of their husbands, fathers or brothers are not allowed to wear what they want, go where they want, work where they want and sometimes even marry who they want. Women who demand their basic rights are subjected to abuse and violence; curbing their chances to grow, thrive and survive.

This points to the root issue of the breach of basic human liberties, including self-expression and living in a manner one pleases. Living in the 21st century, where the world is witnessing the discoveries of the first draft of the human genome, Shinya Yamanaka’s induced pluripotent stem cells, Higgs boson at CERN and Photonic molecules at MIT, we are stuck judging women for their choices in dressing.

It is unfortunate because, instead of respecting basic rights, they conveniently bash those who choose to live uninhibited lives. How can women be empowered when the image of an empowered woman becomes a subject to hate? When will women realise that they can only grow if they allow other women to freely express themselves?

Our people need to realise that the country can only progress culturally if we reassess our standards of morality and respect, and appreciate everyone in the same manner. Making an issue out of something so trivial and labelling it immoral would not only disempower women but the entire generations to follow.
Humay Waseem A writer and fashion designer who has a knack for social observation and comedic critique. She aspires to empower women and children to explore their inner talents and brilliance. She tweets @HumayWMD (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Fiza Mahmood | 8 years ago | Reply Morality depends on region, like middle eartern women will not expose their body with sexy blouses while polish approach is different.
mshaiq | 9 years ago | Reply Great blog, Humay. I'm sickened and disappointed that most of the comments here are from men who have decided that Islam gives them the right to police women's bodies. Everyone, before commenting, please go look up rape culture. You are a part of it. Yes, this is all part of rape culture. Once you've read it, stop and think. Why are you policing women's bodies when women do not police yours? Religion and faith are personal matters. You are not God and have no right to tell a woman what her religion tells her to do. It is HER religion. The same way she doesn't tell you what your religion is. Because, guess why? It's YOUR religion. See how it's all left up to the individual? Do you know why? Because God is the one who will judge his subjects. This power to judge is His and His alone. It has not been delegated to you. Stop policing other people's faith and choices (e.g. to wear what they want).
Voice of Reason | 8 years ago If 'individualism' did not corrupt our society, we would not care about people like you. You would be welcome to earn your hell in isolation, if you will. But any culture and/or society is influenced by the people that constitute it, and therefore it is imperative that the collective behavior is driven by the rule of Allah. If religion was an individual concept, why are their masjids that 'collect' people together and reward you more for it. I agree with the author only on the aspect that people are hypocritical in the sense, that while they complain of immorality, they do so in an abusive way and are sinning in a different way themselves. Celebrities are polluting our culture! There is no justification otherwise.
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