“I was a Burqa Queen for a day….and I’m not even a Muslim”

Fashion editor sparks anger with her personal account of what it’s like to wander around the streets of New York City, dressed in Muslim women’s garb – a burqa – otherwise known as a ‘cloth coffin.’

Vice magazine published a story on its website yesterday that details difficulties experienced by Annette Lamothe-Ramos, its fashion editor, while wearing a burqa, a cloth coffin, normally worn by some Muslim women when they are out in public. 

The editor told of how she ‘scared tourists’, felt like Batman and began to sweat in places she had never sweated before, all of which offended readers of the consistently irreverent magazine.

This is Lamothe-Ramos’ account of how it went down:

I was recently asked by our global editor to track down a burqa for a music video we were planning to shoot, I guess because I’m the fashion editor. I didn’t know a thing about Islamic clothing—or that you can’t just go to the burqa shop and get one. Turns out it’s a giant pain in the ass. But I did find the one I wanted, eventually.

As I scrolled through countless websites looking for hijabs, niqabs, khimars, abayas, jilbabs, and other religious-tinged garments, I began to notice that no one has anything positive to say about any of them. Nearly every news story I’ve ever read with the word burqa in it labels the garments as oppressive to women, and the only articles I found by females who’d actually worn them had been written about their experiences walking the streets of Muslim countries.

After watching 74 YouTube videos and parsing 108 Google search pages, I couldn’t find one article or video explaining if burqas were comfortable or how Americans reacted to seeing someone resembling the Grim Reaper float by them in line at Starbucks. I figured that the only way I’d really know what life was like for women who have been consigned to wear the least-revealing piece of clothing of all time was to dress up as one of them. 

My little fashion-cum-social experiment started when Ben Ritter arrived to photograph me as I figured out how to assemble my burqa. There were a number of different types available online from various countries, and for whatever reason I decided to go with the Saudi Arabian variant. Saudi burqas consist of five pieces and seemed in much more in line with my idea of a “proper” burqa than the Afghan version with bedazzled “fashion sleeves.” 

My dog Bowie was really confused by my outfit. The only other time I’d seen her this freaked out by me was when I dressed up as a pregnant nun on Halloween. 

 We hadn’t left my house but I was already bitching about how hot it was. I wanted to go naked under the abaya but since burqas are supposed to be outwear, I wore it over a crop top and the shortest shorts I could find in my closet.

Walking around the East Village or Brooklyn surrounded by people we knew seemed like a waste of time, so we hopped on a train uptown to pretend we were tourists. No one really paid much attention to me except the woman on the bench behind me who was sitting with her children. She dragged them to the other end of the platform when she saw me step onto the train. What a bitch! 

When we got out of the subway it started to rain really hard. Lucky for me, I didn’t need an umbrella—one of the few pluses of wearing a burqa. I’m a native New Yorker, which means I had never been to the Empire State Building. So we went there. I didn’t realize the significance of visiting one of the tallest buildings in New York dressed in Islamic garb until we reached the entrance. I felt like a jerk.

Once we reached the roof things got really uncomfortable. I could tell all the foreigners were talking shit about me in their native tongues. The group behind me also followed us around, presumably because we were taking so many photos. While I posed for pictures we noticed that one of the security guards was following us around. I guess he was trying to figure out if we were pulling some stupid stunt (we were) or casing the joint (we were not).

When scaring tourists got boring, we decided to walk further uptown to Central Park in an attempt to bother some locals. The burqa was dragging through puddles so I ended up having to hold the front with both hands. Although completely inconvenient, it wasn’t all that bad and I found myself pretending I was a dainty princess in an elegant gown.

A big gust of wind nearly blew me down the block. I caught my reflection in a doorway and thought I looked like Batman, so I made Ben take a picture. All of the cold air blowing through the sleeves of the khimar felt really good. I had to keep taking breaks to rest. The rain had stopped and it was so humid I was starting to sweat in places I’d never sweat before. If I had to wear something like this in the desert I would most likely die. 

The most important thing I learned during the day was how to smile with my eyes. I hate smiling but assumed no one wanted to see an angry bitch in a burqa, so I put in the extra effort. Nice, huh?

I was starving and couldn’t eat a hot dog, so I made the horrible choice of trying to eat an ice-cream bar. It was a stressful experience for me, but passing park-goers were happy to watch me struggle as I lifted the mouth flap ever so shyly to shove ice cream in my face. I didn’t want to give any of those creeps the satisfaction of snapping a photo so I ate it as fast as I could and got ice cream all over the inside of the niqab. It was disgusting.

Eventually I had to give up on the smiling because I started breathing like Johnny Depp’s mom in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. The fact that the park smelled like wet horseshit didn’t help. “I’m. Over. This.”

Six hours later, after a number of complications, I finally ripped the goddamn thing off. I’ve never been so happy to go home.

Eight out of ten people that I came in contact with while wearing a burqa acted as if I didn’t even exist (This is NYC, seeing people in outlandish outfits is no big deal) , which actually made feel worse than the looks I received from busybodies who were offended by my presence.

The UK Daily Mail  reports on some of the nasty reader comments she got:

One reader responded: ‘How completely offensive and orientalist of you. Would you also consider rolling around in a wheelchair all day to document people’s reactions and get a feel for it?’ 

They continued, commenting on some of the picture captions used in the article: ‘This is written with an abundance of completely inconsiderate, distasteful, snide, oppressive remarks… ‘Grim Reaper’?? ‘BATMAN’? And the worst of all, ‘Doesn’t Ben look like he just married a virgin?’ Shame on you’.

‘Wow,’ another wrote. ‘You really should have consulted some Muslims for this to have not come off as so terribly offensive. A little more research goes a long way. This had me cringing the whole time.

 

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  1. Virgin Mary veiled woman of the world and we are proud to be like Mary in the veil, not like your sister naked bitch with men before you have sex, always successful is Maiharb, I want to ask one question only!
    Is Islam burn a book is your religion?? Do you offended your religion??
    Islam is the last divine religions .. Islam is the last prophet .. Islam believe in all the apostles of Jesus and Moses like Muhammad ..

  2. The only reason to don a burka is of you’re attending a Halloween party…or committing a robbery.

  3. First off, it takes a pretty demented mindset to equate what she did with someone wheel chair bound. So burqa wearing woman and those who support it are in essance declaring that woman who wear the cloth coffin are handicapped?

    The fact is that it far more acceptable to first put that cloth coffin on and after the experience critique it, than what we are all doing. I know I wouldn’t need to put one on, but I am always far more respectful of a perspective once experience has been thrown into the equation.

    In our world, the western world, people are not familiar with this type of oppressive clothing on woman and because it’s different and because it’s worn in New York City, post 9/11, you are apt to get stares, glares, and fearful reactions. If the burqa was associated with something positive, for example, people would probably smile, not shrink away in fear, but react better.

    BNI, I love the last photo of the woman in the cloth coffin and the girl along side the hefty hefty cinch sacks.

  4. “‘You really should have consulted some Muslims for this to have not come off as so terribly offensive.”
    It has come to this – we are no longer allowed to have an opinion without first checking with a muslim!

    As an atheist, I am already on the islamic “better dead list”, why should I care about their opinion?

  5. Aren’t niqabs and burqas fun! That’s right, scare the shit out of all your friends! Scare the mailman, scare people you don’t even know. Get yourself a niqab or burqa today!

  6. Well done and a very funny look at what the muslims want their property to walk around in on hot days and so on. The challenge of eating, walking and so on in one of these coffins, tells me that it is a true hater of women, mysoginist muslim, who would demand that his property live in one of these black coffins. There is nothing in the coran that demands that women wear these full garbage bags. Any woman, worthy of earning their American citizenship, would demand to be treated as an equal and refuse to wear these bags. That being said, no muslim who wants to wear one of these property bags should be allowed to become a US citizen. PS. We have men wearing the bags to do robberies and so on. That is enough to ban the burka.

  7. Good for Annette! However, she doesn’t realize the purpose of the Islamic veil: to distinguish the Moslem women from ‘others’ so the jihadists will not rape them.

    Islam gives killer zombie jihadists the right to rape kafirs…just don’t do it to a Moz.

    The veil is about rape, not piety.

  8. The comments this woman recieved were islamic propoganda 101. They jump on anything and call it intolerant or insensitive or whatever especially when it obviously isn’t in order to move the level of what is considered “offencive” i.e. what sort of thing it is permissible to say or talk about. The goal of this behavior is to create thru manipulation of social norms, an environment that is similar to shariah and dhimmitude. Specifically that non muslims have to ask muslims permission for everythin.

    Those weren’t naive multiculti moral relativists posting those complaints but cynical muslim jihadists using the story as excuse for them to plant their propoganda in a national news outlet.

  9. She’s a stupid bitch to put it on at all. I’d set it in fire before I considered walking near it. She thought people’s comments and looks were offensive. Headbags are disgusting uniforms of the enemy.

  10. i thinkAnnette was very brave to wear this garb. the photo that shows her almost being blown away in the wind is funny.but wearing one of these things has got to be awful at least she didn’t wear the long black gloves i’ve seen in some pics

  11. She got ice cream all over the inside of the niqab. This confirms how filthy and disease-prone these garments can actually be.

    The hospitals in Bengladesh forbid women dressed this way to enter the hospitals because of the incredible amount of germs they carry. I had a doctor friend who once told me how they stink.

    So, stay away as much as possible from women dressed in these garbage bags because that is exactly what they are: walking germ carriers.

  12. The people condemning her were all “moral relativists” who probably wouldn’t hesitate for a second to call conservative Christians or Jews “misogynists” for advocating modesty or morality of any sort, but if Muslims demand that women be covered and segregated the very same people defend the Muslims and condemn others for being insensitive and “racist” (and as we all know Islam is not a race).

  13. Isn’t that niqab and not a burka? She should have gone whole hog and put on the vision limiting, even more stiffling burka with the face grill.. I’m shocked some real Mooslime didn’t whack her for showing too much face, wearing nail polish and jewelry. A funny piece for the most part but why is she dismayed at people not wanting to be in the presence of a walking, potentially armed, garbage bag? There isn’t enough money on the planet to get me into one of those portable prisons.

    • AMEN!!!! As a man, I could truly pity the women who’re condemned to wearing those cloth-coffins whenever they leave the confines of their home – until I remember that they all too willingly insist on staying with that SATANIC ideological-system known as Islam!!!!

      Let them throw it completely off and spite those EVIL Moslems (especially those “clergy!!!”) who insist on such extreme subjugation – if they would ALL do that AND stop allowing the men ANY use of their bodies, perhaps that system would really start crumbling…

      Yes, I agree that it looks more like some combination of niqab plus a chador as opposed to a true burqa, where her face would be totally invisible!!! [And I’m EXTREMELY GLAD that Bangladeshi hospitals forbid the wearers of such a monstrosity to enter their premises – it’s time to exterminate Islam as an ideology!!!

      Paraphrasing Cato Censor: Ceterum censeo delendam esse Islaminem!!!! [Besides, I think that Islam must be destroyed!!!!]

  14. And if she had written an article declaring that she felt “liberated,” “judged for who I am not what a I look like,” “like I could learn to enjoy this,” blah, blah, blah, she would not have been sent any hate mail but praises and accolades for being “open minded,” and “embracing diversity.”

    There’s just no pleasing the loony left.

    As for rolling around in a wheelchair for the day, there’s nothing wrong with that. I think people would be more considerate of those who must use a wheelchair after they’ve experienced the difficulty and frustration the wheelchair-bound live with every day.

    At least the burqa’d bitches have a choice to be bagheads. The wheelchair-bound do not.

  15. Anyone can dress up and write any sort of opinion piece. What gives weight to anything she has to say?
    I could care less what a fashion Writer thinks.
    As soon as some dolt dresses up in slave gear willingly I cease caring.

  16. her account was hysterical! Ripped that damned thing off!!! had to laugh! Who the hell would want to even think of being covered in this POS cloth! Too bad for the idiots who were offened! I’m offened everytime I see these things walking my streets! Because I remember 9/11 thank you!