I just finished Sardines by Nuruddin Farah, from his trilogy Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship. The last book I read of his was From a Crooked Rib and had written a post, Desire and Temptation, about how different cultures viewed temptation and who was to blame. In that post, I discussed how the tradition of women having to cover their bodies depicted women as being so tempting that men could not resist the very sight of them.
Well, I just came across these lines in Sardines where a mother is looking at her daughter’s body and says,
Yes, I’m referring to the canon laws which decree that to nobody other than her own husband, her brother or other women should a woman expose any part of her body save her feet, face, and hands. See? A man isn’t burdened with the weight of his body, every cell in a man is not an instigator of sin in another being. A woman’s body is tempting sin and Satan dwells in it. A woman’s body issues evil message to the eyes which behold it. A woman’s body estranges man from his Creator. A woman’s body is better hidden, as a corrupted Arab parable has it, like the reverse side of the moon.
And I got to thinking that yes, women’s bodies are pretty cool! As a matter of fact, I think I prefer to be estranged and tempted. And I don’t know who Satan thinks he is, but I am perfectly capable of controlling myself without the help of any divine laws being imposed on civilians like me.