To clarify a few things:
Women are not like fruit. Women are not like flowers. Women are not like semi-precious stones. Women are not saints. Women are not bitches, nor are they tits, nor pussy. Women are not inanimate objects. Women are not fabrications of unrealistic expectations, neither are they reductions of derogatory slang. Women are women. Women are humans. Their counterparts are men. Women cannot be compared to anything. They do not bare a likeness to anything else. Please do not strike up resemblances between women and anything else, including a fruit, even if it is the very best of the lot. You do not need to dignify our existence by comparing us to absolutely anything that comes to the mind. Please do not put us on a poisonous pedestal, a pedestal on which if we move slightly left or right away from the center and fail to maintain the image of an ideal or a likeness bore upon us, we are shamed, ostracized, our dignities chewed up and spat out. Women are not disposable. The tendency to compare women to “things” is the reason why women are treated like disposable commodities. Women are women. Women are not men, and I confess that we posses biological, physiological and emotional characteristics that are not in accordance with men. I admit that women are different from men, just as men are different from women. But we are both human. Our origins are the same. Our rights, our human rights, should be the same. They are not, but they should be. As humans, men and women must be treated equally.
Hijab, as we know it to be today, is the head covering that a fair amount of Muslim women wear. Hijab, however, in the Quranic context, means “curtain”, and alludes to modesty. I have utmost respect and admiration for women who perform Hijab by conducting their lives with modesty in their hearts and an equal amount of respect and admiration for women who don the Hijab, the headscarf, out of their own choice. In fact, I have only respect and admiration for all women who are modest, irrespective of religion. One does not need to wear a burqa or an abaya to convey modesty, but if that is how they choose to express themselves, then by all means, let them. The system of veiling (burqa and so on and so forth) predates Islam. Like, it goes a long way back, a Mediterranean custom and was worn by women of high status and nobility. It was, essentially, a symbol of status. To dress modestly, in Islam, applies explicitly to men and women. However, given that the Quran, time and time again, has been interpreted in tragically misogynistic socities, the rules of how men should conduct themselves (of which there are many) have been greatly ignored, and focus has shifted upon women instead. A woman’s beauty isn’t going to be “consumed” unless men are purposefully seeking to “consume” her beauty. Furthermore, beauty isn’t a physical characteric, because women with near perfect physical features who have abhorrent souls are anything but beautiful. Thus, it is impossible to “consume” a woman’s beauty, because her beauty is in her heart. However, if this beauty refers to that of her physical features, I can’t fathom why a man wouldn’t look down or look away out of respect for a woman, if he is so unable to control his sexual desires. In fact, perhaps he shouldn’t be allowed to leave the house if such is the case.
And remember: when you tell a woman what to do, dictate how she conducts herself and muzzle her voice, you reduce her to an animal, and in Islam – much like every religion’s beliefs – women are not to be treated like animals.