Some days ago I came across a truly inspirational post in a blog which belongs to one of blogger world's most talented writers, Amy. (this is not my personal conviction but the conclusion of many many people who visit her blog and who have become lifelong fans)
In that post she talked about modesty and its certain implications and also the outlook of our present so-called, very free, very civilized society on people, esp. women who choose to be modest in all aspects of life and particularly in their clothing.
Literature being my major and specialty, I remembered a poem I sometimes analyse in one of my classes, so I wrote Amy and told her about it and hope that she would do a post on it very soon.
I shall paste the text of my email in this post so that anyone interested would be able to read the points I've mentioned.
Your post on modesty was so thought-provoking and beautifully written that I've decided to pin a copy of it on our department board (of course with your consent). I'm sure I can also use it in some of my other classes where we discuss different short stories [especially feminist ones which I sometimes choose on purpose in order to analyze in my very own special way ].
I'm not writing this letter to tell you just about my intent (of course I do need your permission). The reason why I'm writing is that, reading the "responses" to your post (I'm the kind that reads "all" the responses to a particular interesting post prior to writing my own) I came across one in which the writer had agreed with some of your points about modesty in clothing but then declared that she did NOT see any reason why a woman should cover her hair, as she saw no real temptation in that.
Knowing your great talent in writing very reasonable articles worthy of re-reading I decided to send you some information that I have in literature (my specialty), concerning this very matter. I'm sure you would be able to write something very interesting on it.
For one of my courses (literary schools) I teach the different literary trends and one of these is a movement called "symbolism". What I think you would find most interesting is that a French world-famous poet, Baudelaire, who is in a sense the founder of symbolism, in a series of poems entitled "Flowers of Evil" has one particular poem worth paying close attention to.
The poem called "Of Her Hair" is the embodiment of an inspirational effect of a woman's (Jeanne Duval) perfume and, above all, her magnificent flowing black hair on the poet.[this was super interesting for me as I know that in Islam apart from covering ones hair and not showing it to anyone other than ones husband or male relatives whom the Lord has allowed in the Quran -like fathers, brothers, fathers in law, uncles, and grandfathers who are in the Islamic word called "Maharem", or Mahram -if I'm not mistaken- a women is also FORBIDDEN to use perfume in the presence of non-mahram men, and reading Baudelaire's poem ( and also my own experience as a married woman who knows men much more than unmarried women) shows how very true and reasonable this order of the Lord is].
By the way your own explanation of modesty seems very "Islamic" especially the parts where you said covering even up to ones wrist and covering ones feet (have you read the Islamic orders for "hijab"?) or was that just your own convictions about modesty?
Once again I've gone "way" past my intended length of the email, really sorry for that.
Anyway I'll copy/ past the text of the poem and leave the rest to you and your able pen.
Kiss little Peapod, she is so very cute and loveable in her pics, reminds me of a long ago family friend's daughter who had a philippinian mother and an Iranian Father, she was two when I was 14 so now she must be a young lady, we've lost touch for a long time now.
May the Dear Lord Bless you and your lovely family and be an ever present guide and help.
I am very much in need of prayer so please keep me in mind when you pray.
Lots of Love
Of Her Hair
O shadowy fleece that falls and curls upon those bare
O ecstasy! To loose upon the midnight air
The memories asleep in this tumultuous hair,
I long to rake it in my fingers, tress by tress!
Asia the languorous, the burning solitude
Of Africa — a whole world, distant, all but dead —
Survives in thy profundities, O odorous wood!
My soul, as other souls put forth on the deep flood
Of music, sails away upon thy scent instead.
There where the sap of life mounts hot in man and tree,
And lush desire untamed swoons in the torrid zone,
Undulant tresses, wild strong waves, oh, carry me!
Dream, like a dazzling sun, from out this ebony sea
Rises; and sails and banks of rowers propel me on.
All the confusion, all the mingled colors, cries,
Smells of a busy port, upon my senses beat;
Where smoothly on the golden streakèd ripples flies
The barque, its arms outspread to gather in the skies,
Against whose glory trembles the unabating heat.
In this black ocean where the primal ocean roars,
Drunken, in love with drunkenness, I plunge and drown;
Over my dubious spirit the rolling tide outpours
Its peace — oh, fruitful indolence, upon thy shores,
Cradled in languor, let me drift and lay me down!
Blue hair, darkness made palpable, like the big tent
Of desert sky all glittering with many a star
Thou coverest me — oh, I am drugged as with the blent
Effluvia of a sleeping caravan, the scent
Of coco oil impregnated with musk and tar.
Fear not! Upon this savage mane for ever thy lord
Will sow pearls, sapphires, rubies, every stone that gleams,
To keep thee faithful! Art not thou the sycamored
Oasis whither my thoughts journey, and the dark gourd
Whereof I drink in long slow draughts the wine of dreams?
— George Dillon & Edna St. Vincent Millay, Flowers of Evil