Recently pop singer Gwen Stefani made news by making what she referred to as a “major sacrifice” by performing her concert in Malaysia with shoulders, legs and belly completely covered. The reason for ditching her usual attire, which often consists of short skirts and midriff-revealing halter tops, was in reaction to protests from the 10,000-member National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students who said such clothing would clash with Islamic culture and values and provide a poor role model for Malaysian youth. The revealing costumes routinely worn by Stefani and other performers are not only found offensive by Muslims. There are many Jewish, Christian and other religions and cultures that discourage immodest clothing, too. Some groups representing those religions have even complained in the past about the bad example being set for girls and young women by so many in the entertainment industry.
So why would Stefani respond to the protests from a Muslim group, while ignoring similar complaints from Christian and other groups? About 60 percent of Malaysia's population is Muslim, while those in the United States identifying themselves as Christian is over 75 percent. The reason Stefani would bow to Muslims protesting her dress therefore could not be about numbers.
Maybe it is an example of the squeaky wheel getting the oil and Christian and other groups have just not complained as loudly as some Muslim groups have. Perhaps no other groups have ever directed their pleas for decency in the entertainment industry specifically at Stefani. Speaking of the protests from the Malaysian Muslim group, Stefani said, “I’ve been in the music industry for 20 years and this is the first time that I’m facing opposition from people who have misunderstood me…I’m not a bad girl.”
Michelle Malkin said Stefani is not a bad girl, “just a dhimmi.” “Dhimmi” is a term used to refer to a non-Muslim living in a country ruled by sharia law who entered a contract to pay respect to and acknowledge Muslim supremacy in return for a guarantee of safety. In other words, maybe it is not a matter of Stefani respecting Muslims more than Christians, but rather a matter of fearing them more. Only she knows whether her decision was made more out of respect for another religion and a foreign culture or out of fear for her safety, or simply if this is the only time anyone specifically asked her to cover up her bare parts. It could just be that simple.
For six years I attended a Christian school with a dress code that required girls to wear skirts no shorter than just above the top of the knee. Girls were allowed to wear slacks to after-school events, but were not allowed to wear shorts. Most visitors to the school honored the dress code as well. There is nothing wrong with voluntarily paying respect to another person or group’s idea of what is appropriate. It does make me wonder, though, what it would take for performers in this country to start showing more respect for the beliefs and ideals of Christian, Jewish and other religions. Leaving aside the religious or cultural aspect even, I wonder what it would take for some of today’s entertainers to listen to moms who don’t want their daughters emulating singers performing in what look like bedazzled undies. Would a protest, or maybe even a boycott, do the trick, or are threats of violence the only thing that gets results?
In the rare instance when individuals today commit violence in the name of Christianity, as some of the abortion clinic bombers in the United States have done, you will hear most Christian groups loudly renounce that violence. Denunciations of violence committed in the name of Islam, whether it be bombings or beheadings of people who refuse to conform to sharia, are generally more scarce and less loud.
I have no quarrel with Gwen Stefani, or anyone else, who makes the decision to dress more modestly out of respect for another’s culture or religion. In the case of an entertainer like Stefani who has many young female fans looking up to them, it can actually be a very good thing. I just wish that it did not take a protest from a Muslim group in a foreign country to make it happen. There are plenty of moms that I hear from on a regular basis right here in America who would like to see a whole lot less of the women their daughters idolize.