Picture, if you will, two women walking side-by-side, perhaps even hand-in-hand, along the edge of the beach where it meets the city. It is a sunny day, warm without being too warm, and there is a lazy breath of wind that is heard in the rustling of leaves rather than felt. There are children playing on the sand, women drinking coffee together as they gossip on the balconies overlooking the sea, men in the cafés talking business over tea – or perhaps it is beer, and maybe it’s not business they talk about but sport, or sex, if there’s a difference.
Two women: one garbed in black and veiled, so that only her eyes may be seen; the other as naked as Eve once was, though the sunglasses mar that comparison.
They do not pass unnoticed. Can you hear the voices raised in anger, in the cafés and on the balconies? Do you hear the laughter from the children, who pause in their games to point?
(Are these women equal before God? Is one morally superior to the other? Which is more deserving of respect? Or is one a victim of social pressure? Are they both victims?)
What rumours! They say one of the women is a prostitute! That one is a slut! That one is obsessed with her appearance and has spent a small fortune on plastic surgery to make herself as sexy as possible.
“It’s offensive!” they cry. “Unfeminist! How does she dare to walk the streets like that? Something must be done about it…”